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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lights Out

I legitimately made an attempt to work on yesterday's goals. I got out my dusty bait bag. I chopped up the Nature Balance roll stuff and mixed it with some small kibble. I got out the necessary tools for each animal.

I sat on the couch to eat dinner before I began training.

Before I know it, there was a BANG! and the power goes out. Pure blackness. There was not a single thing to be seen. The streetlights had gone out, the neighborhood was down for the count. My phone was dead, so we used Red's phone light to get a dozen candles lit. We gated the dogs in the foyer, just to keep any crazy animal on candle stuff from happening, then we stepped outside to see how far it went.

The neighborhood was eerily silent, and adding to the creepy effect was the fact that the moon was full, huge and spotlight white. We could see our neighbors in their homes shining flashlights around, so I knew Red couldn't blame it on my hairdryer again.

Finally the utility trucks showed up. So did the cops. A blown transformer maybe?

So anyways, we didn't have any power. And judging by the number of trucks that arrived to crowd around the pole, we wouldn't have power for a while. Red and I pulled out the cribbage board and played by candlelight. Eventually, it was time to get ready for bed. We brushed our teeth and fed the dogs by candlelight. It was kind of relaxing actually. We crawled into bed and as we blew the last candle out, the power came back! 

Thinking back on it now, I actually could have used this incident as a training opportunity. Kirby was oddly alarmed by the sudden outage and was very 'Aussie Alert' until we went to bed. He began barking as soon as the power went out. Going from a fully lit house with the TV on to complete silence and dark did not make him happy. Anytime a car drove by or anything he went on full Aussie Alert Bark, groaning and pacing. But I was too preoccupied finding candles and looking out the window at the utility trucks.

It did bring up another thing to add to Kirby's training list though. He has some anxiety stuff that we need to tackle. We stayed pretty calm last night, to the point where it was kind of humerous. So I dont think our actions were making him tense.


Okay, and in writing that last paragraph, it occurs to me that Kirby has some light reactive stuff in the past. He always has, and it was pretty intense right when I adopted him, but with the help of Tania from House of Misfit Dogs we had pretty much knocked it out almost completely. Kirby doesn't like fire. Candles. Okay, I see where we went wrong. There is my lightbulb moment for the day. I woundn't know that Kirby doesn't like fire except for the fact that when I use the clickey lighter thing anywhere near him to light candles, he barks at me and gets that insane look in his eyes. It's odd that he in no way associates that with the treat clicker??  Interesting....

Gotta love a lightbulb moment.

Monday, February 6, 2012

You Gotta Have Goals!

Since beginning this blog only a short time ago, a small space of my brain has been watching and storing bits of information in regards to my animal's behaviors. I've been picking up little things that I can start working on.  So here is one thing for each animal that will begin today.

Sylvester ~ Introduction to a target clicker stick

Maggie ~ A basic sit.

Kirby ~ Kirby actually has a lot of basic obedience on him already. He would probably excel in it if I gave him the time. But I have no patience for 'that' kind of obedience, so I'd rather put those talents into trick training. Who knows, maybe I can teach him to fetch me a beer! Today we will begin shaping with an empty plastic bottle.

Jake ~ Jake has a lot of basic obedience on him too. But his is very rushed. In fact, if there is even a hint that I might give him a crumb of whatever I hold in my hand, he will launch through his entire hat of tricks. So we will begin slowing this stuff down.

Frankie ~ Standing on her hind legs.

If you're lucky, I will manage to get some of this on video. Either the beginning examples of what I'd like to change, or the change itself.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kitteh Revenge

I hear it all the time. 'Revenge is not an emotion or instinct that animals can grasp'.

I say that's crap. There is nothing you can say to me that will convince me that my cat doesn't plot and get revenge.

I will say, however, that I roll my eyes anytime somebody tells me their dog takes revenge for things. Dogs are a creation of God. Cats are a creation of the devil.

Sylvester is a greedy creature. Not in the way of my Labrador. He's greedy, too. But in a different way. Sylvester believes he is entitled. To the following things:
The couch
The recliner
The other recliner
All overstuffed arms of said furniture
Every rug in the kitchen
A personal wait staff
Bubbles baths of champagne
100% of my attention, even though there are 5 other beings in the house that require my attention

If Sylvester doesn't get these things, he makes me regret it.

Example; Last night, I was running low on cat food. So he got a smidgen less for dinner than normal so that I'd have enough for his breakfast and then I could grab a new bag today. Well apparently Syl counts his kibbles every meal, because as soon as he was finished, he whipped around, yowling and following me around for more. (After a normal meal, Syl generally sits down on a rug, licks his chops, cleans his paws, and uses his litter box). 

This morning, I awake to an angry Red, who immediately insists that I look at his chair, and then look at the loaf of bread I bought over the weekend. I groggily glance at his recliner, which has some mysterious orange stuff spewed all over it. Then I make my way to the kitchen and discover that Syl has knawed through the bag and chewed the tops off of no less than 6 slices of bread.

I return to Red and tell him that it appears as though Kitteh got into the bread and then later realized he ate way too much, and being too lazy to get off his compfy perch at the top of Red's recliner, blew chunks all over the chair. And I wouldn't doubt for a minute that Syl then went on to snooze for a good 6+ hours, happy with life in general. But not yet satisfied that he'd gotten revenge.

No, the revenge part comes when he gets to watch me from his perch, on my hands and knees trying to clean up his mess with a rag.  Before I've even touched my first cup of coffee!  That, my friends, is the ultimate feline revenge.

Don't you dare try and tell me that cats don't understand what revenge is. They do, and they know how to carry it out with a scary kind of flawlessness.