Friday, March 23, 2012

How far is too far?

I am a true animal dork.  Dork, dork dork.  I know this and embrace it....

I have my little English Cocker Spaniel, Toe that I'm working with in agility.  He gets it - however, he has to suffer through his owner's herky jerky clumsy movements when she tries to run the course in practice.  

I enrolled in an online dog trick class offered by Silvia Trkman who is an amazing dog trainer and agility competitor - tho I did not know this when I registered.  Others who know more let me in on that tidbit.  Many of the tricks will assist in body awareness and agility for the dogs and people.

Online dog tricks?  Yeah.

Weird, I know.

She gives us written homework every 2 weeks.  We practice and leave comments or questions and she answers us.  People that paid more money can post video, she watches and offer them specific suggestions.  We all have access to watch the videos which is very helpful as many dogs seem to offer similar things and most people struggle with similar things...

It's actually pretty effective.  Good thing since this woman lives in a small village in Slovenia! 

Technology.  It's an amazing thing.

And now we fast forward to my question above. 

I had an incident with Toe about a month ago.  I let him out of the car and instead of running to the front gate to wait and be let in the yard, he ran the other way.  Down the dirt road.  I called and he didn't even hesitate.  He just kept running.  Away from me.  

He's always just jumped out of the car and run to our gate to come in the yard and into the house.  We also had an agility practice around that time where he just really didn't want to come to me... he was sniffing the ground, became hugely interested in that thing over there, and I was just not the thing he wanted to see or listen to or respond to.  It really bummed me out.  As when a dog is reliably coming and then they don't.. somehow I think the handler is doing something to cause it... whether I'm aware of what I'm doing or not. 

Now I don't trust he will come when called.

I thought about it and I upped the ante.

I call ONE time.  I have a habit of chitter chatter... I need to cut it out.  Think about the co-worker in your office that talks all day long.  You eventually tune them out.  Same things with our dogs.

And when he comes to me, he gets an extra special, never before used treat.  I don't use this treat for anything else... not for tricks or agility.  It has to be so awesome that he will really WANT to come to me come hell or high water.   So far I've used left over turkey or chicken that we've had for dinner, all seasoned up nice and juicy and flavorful...  I tried sardines once... figured dogs would love something fishy and stinky.  But that didn't work well in my pockets.  It was pretty wet and crumbly and then I stink like sardines.

He still goes nuts when he is on the trail of a rabbit.  



We have that kitten with the digestive issues we had to feed raw food to... many raw food cat sites talk about using raw ground rabbit.  I know where it can be sourced....

I got online to see what else this company might have.  I was thinking along the lines of rabbit pelts or skins... maybe if I pulled something like that out of my pocket, Toe would actually GET some rabbit fix vs. the ones that always run away, eluding him.

They had dehydrated rabbit feet... dehydrated rabbit ears... dehydrated ground rabbit....I bought some of each, along with a fleece tug toy that had a rabbit skin woven into the braid.

I told Furry Husband what I was doing.  He sort of "um-hmms" me and nods but he is so used to the training talk and the classes and the different training concepts that he begins to tune me out ... much like that co-worker from above I described.

I got my special package full of bunny parts last night.


Furry Husband was pretty much horrified.  If I thought it was gross, he thought it was 10 times gross-er than I did.

I had house rabbits for a time - tame, litterbox trained bunnies.  It was as if I cut my pet bunny's feet off and put them in a bag.  There was dried blood on them, tissue, sinew and the little furry paws... front and back.  Guess the "idea" of them is one thing and the "live" version another.

I kept saying, "But honey, I told you what I ordered..."  and he kept saying, wide eyed and backing slowly away from me... "yeah, but I thought it was like a TOY or something!" 

I haven't opened the ear package yet.  I used to rub my pet rabbit's ears in mock grooming and she loved it... so it may take me a minute to open that package.  I'm feeling a little Silence of the Lambs and fava beans and ... and.... and....

Anyway - I am trying to become all things bunny for Toe so I am such high value he really really wants to come to me to see what awesome fun or food I might have for him vs. whatever else the world may offer. 

I fed one hind foot to each dog last night to see what reaction I'd get.

All their little eyes got as big as dinner plates... pupils dilated in awe and amazement....they each took a foot and then the crunch, crunch, crunch was almost more than I could stand... really gross.  Yup.  Think that is gonna be one heck of a high value treat ... IF I can get over my "ewwwwwie".

It's like I've become the Jeffery Dahmer of rabbits with their feet, ears and dried entrails in my freezer.

That isn't going too far for your dog.... is it?

(shhhh - don't ask Furry Husband that question - I think I already know the answer!)