Tuesday, April 22, 2014


OK - a couple of epic fails.  grin.  This is just for grins and giggles so no worries about failing here.

Speck knows when I come into her pen with raisins and the clicker.  She will follow me, come to me etc.  I take her out 2x a day for milking anyway.  Decided to see what would happen if I let her out without taking her collar.


She ran away.  Sigh.  She didn't care I had raisins.  She isn't "self-rewarding" as far as I can tell - she isn't grazing or jumping and playing with that look of goat mischievousness on her face.  She is trying to find a way back into the pen and she runs the fence length of the pen... which is a rectangle so she can go around and around with me behind her.  Frustrating.

I caught her, but it sort of reinforced me being behind her and pushing her away... I'm not running to chase her or making any noise etc.  Just calmly walking her down. 

Then I thought - oh!  I will put a "leash" on her so she just can't run away and see how that goes.  I can just keep it slack but will stand on it or whatever so she can't run away at least... I can reward her for any steps toward me or for staying in one spot.


Once she realized there was a leash?  All she did was pull away from it and then didn't care about anything else.  Just that she has this gawd awful restraint on her OMG OMG OMG. 

And of course since those two things happened on a whim as I was thinking it over, I didn't capture them for your viewing enjoyment... grin.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Introducing Speck the test goat....

Here is our third click and treat session.  It's less than a minute.  The dogs came in the pen which was fine til it remembered raisins are poisonous to dogs and they are small and hard to treat with when you have slimy goat slobber on your hand and you drop them on the ground.  Whoops.  

You can tell she is excited cuz she stands on her hind legs which she doesn't normally do around me.  The blog post I read of someone who had trained their goat this way said that would happen.  I just ignored it.  

I like that when Furry Husband came in to give another flake she was distracted but then remembered, "raisins!" And came back to me...she got a larger chunk o' raisins from my hand for that.  

Not sure how many sessions to have like this to cement that a click equals a reward for it to be permanent in her goat brain?  Will just play around with it.  HAPPY EASTER!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Animals iz cool!

Ok, I am weird.  Y'all know this.  I've been thinking.  My agility diva friend in Fairbanks is going to this agility workshop, and they will spend some time clicker training chickens.

Yes, chickens.  She sent me a blog posting someone had about it.  Seems it really helps you figure out timing as chickens move much faster than dogs...and it helps you figure out how to break stuff down, sequence it and get a desired behavior.

Before this, my milking doe, Speck, has difficulty going to the milk room.  My other goats will go on walk about when I let them out of their pen but once I head in for milking, they come a'runnin.  Not Speck.  She plays keep away.  It's time consuming and annoying.  I've been thinking on it....  I have her coming to me if I have a bowl of grain IN the pen.  I take her collar and lead her out, lead her into the milk room and all is fine.

If she gets out of the pen...no dice.  Even with a bowl of grain.  I mean, eventually the grain looks good enough I can get near her to take her collar....but it isn't the instant come running like the other does.  It takes a lot more time and is still annoying.  

And I know training is about making the wrong thing hard and the thing you want the easiest path.  So I've just been sort of mulling it over in my head.  

Then with my friend going to this chicken-clicker thing.

And I saw a vid on FB with a cat doing dog tricks.  I googled clicker training a cat.  Read about it.  Interesting.  Seems if you are patient and break things down and use short sessions you can indeed clicker train your cat.  The idea is the same as I read on the chicken blog post...

And you figure all sorts,of ani-mules are trained this way in movies, places like Sea World etc.  how else do you train the odd animal?  Good boy Spot and a happy pat on the head  for a dog just doesn't translate to all other species.

I'm no genius or amazingly gifted at anything...but I am gonna try to freaking clicker train a goat.  Am gonna see if I can't teach a cat a trick or two.  Just wanna play with it and see what happens.  I'm excited about it.


Session 1 & 2 tonight with Speck, the goat.  Simply click and treat.  20-30 times.  Let her associate the sound with the reward.  She digs raisins in a big way and that is a treat that isn't ever on the menu.  Figure it's a "high value" treat.  So far she is all about it.  She was excited about them.  

I'll take some vid to show you step by step which hopefully doesn't bore the pants off anyone....or if it DOES bore the pants off you, have some FUN with that while they are off and let's just see what happens.  So interesting!  

Friday, January 31, 2014


Shew - it is snowy out there.  I am working from home cuz I am lucky to have a job where they let me take me laptop home and I knew a winter storm was coming. 

So I'm taking a quick break to write a bit.... nothing in particular, just taking a break.

When I work from home, I feed the animals at 3ish... it's only 2:30 and the dogs are STARING at me quite intently.  The cats are restless and every time I look in a cat's direction I get a question meow?  Or I get a little chirr-up?  

I think they want to be fed.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks.... this Sunday is the Walking Dead Seasons 1 & 2 marathon, then the Superbowl. 

I am a huge, giant weenie and Walking Dead gives me nightmares but I am TRYING to hang with it.  I am trying to think of the zombies and metaphors for all the scary unknowns you would face if civilization as we know it ceased to exist. 

I don't like monsters - and at the same time I also get disturbed by end of days sort of shows.  Walking is playing to my psycho fears!!!

While I WANT to believe people are good.  I think the more realistic scenario would be that our really ugly sides would show more and people would panic and cause great injury to each other.

Plus, I imagine what it would be like to lose friends or family and be forever cut off from people you know or love and the panic and hopelessness and fear and discomfort involved every day... no more running water?  No more grocery stores?  No more phone or Internet or central heating/cooling.... and if you got sick or injured... well you may be completely fucked with no Drs or hospitals.  I totally go there and "feel" what it might be like and I freak myself out... like way out.

So yeah.  Hard show for me to watch but for whatever reason, I WANT to watch it and get over myself.  ??  Am I subconsciously proving something to myself?  ???  Who knows?  And what would that proof be anyway???  grin.  I have no idea.

And while I'm not a huge football fan, I do enjoy the commercials and the hype and we plan on having yummy food available and I am all about food... so yeah.. a GREAT way to relax and come down from the adrenaline rush after watching zombies maim and kill and devour...

Bacon wrapped sweet potato bites.  Those will make EVERYTHING better.  I'm sure of it.

Next weekend we get our taxes done and while I don't think we will have any refund and I'm pretty sure we will owe $$, at least they will be done and I can *hope* we will get a refund.  After taxes, Shorty goes to her first Triebball class.  A sport developed in Germany that uses exercise balls in lieu of sheep and the dogs learn to herd them about.  I think it will be super interesting and I think Shorty will really have a lot of fun with it!  I am excited to learn something different and watch Shorty learn... see how she learns.  I haven't done much with her cuz she is more of Furry Husband's dog and I don't wanna break up that happy bond.

Weekend after that is the FOUR day agility show with Toe. 

Er. Ma. Gawd. 

Four days of driving to Denver and back to try and run around an agility course and earn the final qualifying score for Toe to get his AKC Standard Agility title and thus the final thing for his AKC Versatility Title.

I'm sort of looking forward to it because the venue is dog central... everything dog will be there... obedience, fly ball demos, conformation classes, agility... vendors for all things dog out the wazoo... which is fun to walk around and see.  Plus I can finally get my grooming scissors and clipper blades sharpened properly.  I've had them to some places around town and they haven't been quite right...

Tho I'm not looking forward to the drive every day... and I will make plans to see family while there...which isn't always easy and leaves me sometimes with not so very pleasant emotional baggage feelings.  shrug.  Whattya gonna do?   Put on your big girl panties and be a damn adult - that is what I'm gonna do.

Sera has been good, tho last weekend she pulled up lame.  grumble grumble.  We've had snow and melt and frozen, uneven ground, and more snow and more mud... and so it's possible she twisted something to took a mis-step.  Since it is snowy out and I can't - oh wait - don't want to ride in the cold... well... rest is my option right now. 

I have taken her on a couple road rides with a friend who started keeping her horse here and that has been a BLAST.  Sera has been a star for only having been on road rides like once or twice?  But she is mature now and we are definitely more in tune with each other... so I don't get as easily freaked out and she trusts my guidance more...

I am really looking forward to putting some miles on her this summer for trails and roads and just going out and going forward and having fun.  I think the nice long walk/trot down the road is doing her good.. both physically but also mentally for us both!

So things will be fun and interesting and keep me busy for the next few weeks anyway!  Cheers!! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mornings and the funnies

Lately I have STRUGGLED to get up in the morning.  Man.  I don't know what that is about.  I think it is the cold and the dark but it's ALWAYS been cold and dark and I had no trouble getting up before? 

Anyway - once I haul my butt outta bed and we get our chores done.  It is coffee and comics time.  I love this part about my mornings!  I love sitting down with my hot cuppa' joe and digging into the funny pages.  Only of course they are all on-line now and not in the newspaper.  Or if they are in the newspaper it is a measly offering of comics.

I think they are artists.  They create characters... they draw and their drawings always look the same - how do they do that???  And they come up with such clever ideas and "stories" that can be told in 4 tiny windows or less.... amazing to me.  They are all so unique to whomever the cartoonist is.  AND they can defy all realms of reality. 

Anything can be brought to life... animals, inanimate objects, people....

I know comics are maybe something people don't think about but man, I LOVE them and have huge respect for all those cartoonists out there... I seriously look forward to my funny papers every. single. day. 

Cheers and have a fabulous day today! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Colorado Kennel Club

K....I'm happy .... and bored cuz it is snowy and cold and almost dark outside.  And I got such a nice comment from Funder that I thought I really *should* try to post more.  Grin. 

Entered Toe in the CKC dog show February 14-17.  Oy, four days of agility!  I know I am not a die hard agility handler cuz I am not looking forward to driving 1.5 hrs each way to Denver and back.  However, I wanted to get his versatility title thru AKC, do dog performance stuff I'd never done and he is ONE qualifying score away from his standard agility title.  The last title needed for the versatility title....  He has his tracking title, obedience title, rally title and jumpers with weaves title....shew!

Figure 4 days of running courses I have a pretty good shot.  We will be in classes Jan & Feb leading up to the show which helps me to figure out running and remembering all the body language needed....when classes have been sporadic like over the holidays, my already beginner handling skill just deteriorates into crap.  There is a reason I was never a hunter/jumper...can't remember courses to save my life.  At least with Dressage tests the patterns only change after years...I can memorize them for months and months.  

Agility has been HARD!  It's so much like working with horses only with dogs you aren't on them - you are on the ground and every facial expression, movement, and step is read by your dog.  I have learned a lot, and know it's only a drop in the bucket.   Wish me luck!  

Happy S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!    70's songs just run thru my head.....


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!

Hello!  I know this blog has been allowed to go a little dormant.... however, when I am sad and a little on the depressed side, I tend to be way more in my own head and I write more - even tho' my posts for the most part are cheerful.  I mean, yeah, I AM cheerful and I enjoy finding humor in most everything in life ... and still when I was struggling with a bit o' the depressive side there was always a bit of a shadow - or brain bugs - or that f*&^ing demented hamster running on a wheel in my head that woulnd't stop - and that is why I wrote more and posted more.

Eating 100% better than I used to and moving 100% more really, really fixed that issue 98% of the time. 

Personally, I think my diet before contributed greatly to this shadow of depression.  I ate mostly processed food stuff like the diet industry's fat-free anything, pizza, pasta, man-made foods - ummmm -  what the hell IS Velveeta anyway?  Personally I think your body just wasn't made to thrive off those things and we would all be better off eating foods we recognize... things that are "real". 

Yeah - like broccoli, squash, chicken, beef, fish, eggs, pork, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, pears, pomegranates, avocados, nuts - veggies, proteins, fruits...things that are what they are without the ingredient list a mile long.  Things typically found on the outside aisles of your local grocery store....

And yes, it took time and patience to learn to eat these things as I was not raised on anything remotely resembling healthy.  Yes, it was difficult.  However, you CAN love these things and I DO love these things now.  Never thought I could or would like veggies or fruits and now I do for reals and for true.  Both for how they taste and for how they make me feel.

Then came the exercise and moving piece...  and I did well on my own to start.  I had success with basic bodyweight movement and sprints. 

I hurt myself sprinting while on my own - didn't warm up enough - and I went to a PT that my lunchtime yoga instructor recommended.  She fixed my issue and would show me where I was injured in anatomy books and explain what she was doing to help me.  Very much appreciated.  Yet when I excitedly told her about the things I was doing at home, she told me I should stop because I would get really "bulky" and man-like in my musculature.  This made me sad and I knew enough to know that wasn't true.  Knew this was one of those fitness myths I'd read about and women are so much more capable....and sad this myth is so pervasive. 

We moved on to Crossfit cuz we had friends who SWORE by it and drank that kool-aid by the gallon.  grin. 

Then my elbows got a bit trashed from all the high reps in Crossfit... beginning with my left elbow.  The coach there was grumpy and annoyed by my seemingly endless questions... I know.  I just have questions!  And I wanted to know more and more and more but that enthusiasm was too much for his grumpy soul and our personalities didn't jive.

I asked him about my elbow when it first began to hurt and I think he had just had it with me.  He told me I could have wrung out a towel too hard for all he knew.  He told me I should use this to my advantage to practice one-arm pull ups with the "good" elbow. 

Which didn't make any sense to me because I couldn't even do ONE normal pull up.  How in the hell would I just start knocking out one-arm pull ups and if my left elbow was hurting... I didn't want to trash out my right one.  And I was not having fun any more there - just didn't "believe" in the kool-aid anymore after a year.  

I recently went to a kettlebell guy in town.  He had been helpful - absolutely - in critiquing my swing and in making sure I am creating tension in my core to assist me with movement.  When I told him of my pull-up goals he thought I should do high reps to attain them.  I tried this.  And the high rep thing just.  isn't.  working.  My right elbow hurts and I'm still not any closer to my pull ups.  I don't think this method is wrong per se, but damn, MY body just can't handle it and there HAS to be another way.  I am feeling so frustrated by my injuries.  

I looked at working remotely with WG-Fit and Dave Hedges in Ireland back in August (because isn't the Internet so freaking cool?  You can meet up and connect with people you would NEVER know or run into otherwise).... he thought he might start up some on-line training.  Tho' it hasn't happened.  He showed support for my efforts and was kind enough to answer questions I had without being condescending which I was so, so grateful for.  Tho again, I think I am a little too all over the place in my excitement... Shannon-esque you might say ... with my enthusiasm and endless questions.  *head hangs in sorrow*    He has a blog chock full of good information and video demos to learn from as well - totally nice guy who knows his shit but he is in Ireland and I am in Colorado.  

I am reading, reading, reading.... trying to learn all I can about fitness because it is truly amazing to me how it has made me feel SO. MUCH. BETTER.  

I just can't begin to explain how much better it is in my own head and how I feel empowered cuz I did it.  No one did it for me.  I did it.  I am the one who figured out foods and how to cook them and I am the one who began moving and being consistent in movement and I am the one that helped myself to feel so much better and I am the one who changed my body.  I did this.  No one else could have done it for me.  It was all up to me and like those motivational childrens movies with a moral at the end... I HAD THE POWER INSIDE MYSELF ALL THIS TIME.  And you do too... we all do.  We are all so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

I am going to work remotely with Cori of Redefining Strength and Man Bicep.  Check her out here and here.  She is the real deal.  Not a bunch of fake marketing b.s.  But real exercises, real technique focused on proper form and movement.  Real rehab and recovery techniques. 

AND the best part to me right now - when I feel I have been chasing away everyone in the fitness world with my Shannon-esque -  she is enthusiastic and I don't think I scare her or have driven her crazy ... yet. 

I know I can be "overwhelming" in my excitement.  It is a blessing many times being the YES, YES, YES - JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET - YAHOOO!!!! sort of person .....tho' it has bitten me in the ass as well.  I am really looking forward to working with a woman and having some female energy injected into my fitness journey.  I need help with all the detail stuff and progressing. 

She is going to help me figure out how to write some programming with my specific goals in mind --- with my capabilities and limits and how to expand in ways that won't injure me.  I am so willing to put in work and effort, and I just don't want to hurt myself anymore in that work and effort.  There has to be a way to make progress without injury.  I think there is a "work smarter - not harder" element here to be learned. 

And I am really hoping she can help me to put a filter on the things I read and help me to think about them and how one would go applying them.... I seriously looked at going back to college and getting a degree in exercise and kinethesiology at my ripe old age of 43... but I am so over getting more and more in huge debt with college loans.  Feels like I'll never have my Masters degree paid off as it is.... 

I know we have something to learn from everyone we encounter.**  And I so want to learn....

So anyway - check out Man Bicep and Redefining Strength for loads of good info and maybe you want to take some online training too?  Or subscribe to an exercise library full o' good workouts? 

And while I think about this blog... it is a good thing when I am away cuz it means I am out in the real world moving and living and not under that little shadow of depression and the brain bugs are gone and the hamster is quiet. 

I wish you all much love and peace and strength in this new year of 2014!!!

**(I'm not a Crossfit hater - I struggle with residual bad feelings but I think that has a lot to do with ME and not the sport itself.  I still watch the Games on ESPN and I still love Elizabeth Akinwale.  I think a lot of people do well with it - I don't think it is the absolute recipie for grievous injury and rhabdo - I enjoyed it for a time!  AND even tho my crossfit coach and I did not mesh well in the end, I DID learn from him, yes - good things too.  Before he got fed up with me... and eventually I from him.  heh)