"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not Enough Hours

It seems like there are never enough hours in the day.

Our Shabbat Table
I apologize to my faithful readers for not posting enough.  You would think that when you get up between 4 & 5 (and sometimes earlier) and don't hit the rack until 21:00 or later that you could fit a blog post in somewhere.  On Thursday I posted because it was Rosh HaShanah, but on Friday we were preparing to have guests; Twyla's  great friend and her family came up on Shabbat and spent the night and most of the day on Sunday.

I wanted our guests to have a good time, so pretty much everything centered around that.  Shabbat was a pretty rainy day, and I'm glad I put off setting up the tent in the yard, because even though the tent is big and comfortable, slogging through a wet yard would not have been fun, and our guests seemed to enjoy "camping:" out in the house.

We played a couple of games, but I think the most fun was when I created some "madlibs."  Remember those?  You take a story (I make one up) but you leave blanks for things like verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and then you get people to randomly give them to you and fill in the blanks and then you read the story.  I think I did three or four and we laughed 'til we had tears in our eyes.  Now it makes me want to create a bunch more for the future, and Twyla wants to do the same with some well known songs.

A new family member
Moxie and Ryan
We had talked about the benefits of having a dog.  Here in the mountains with all of the predators it's not a bad idea to have a natural alarm.  Casspurr doesn't really bark at anything.  But we weren't about to just rush out and find any old dog.  As if to remind me of how important this might be, it was less than a week ago that a rather large brown rabbit went strolling through the back yard, setting off alarm bells in my head over my precious seedlings of lettuce and cabbage and herbs for the winter.

As providence (not luck) would have it, Twyla's long time friend had told her they were trying to find a new home for a stray that they had picked up, a labrador/boxer/something mix that was sweet, but a little high strung.  So we told them to bring her with them and we would see what happens.  Moxie was and is, definitely full of energy.  I took her for a walk on the leash to do an assessment, and she began understanding what I expected pretty quickly.  So quickly, in fact, that the mom was amazed.  She said what a lot of people say, "Moxiedrags me."  But it's just a matter of technique and establishing quickly who is in charge.

Moxie wants to learn
Here we are on Tuesday, and Moxie understands where the property line is.  She stays pretty much around either the front deck or the back steps.  That's right, after the first night she figured out that this is now her home.  She moves to the front or the back based on where she hears or sees us moving.  After just a little admonishment, she now knows not to rush on, or pester the chickens.  The leash means we get to go quite a distance from the house and that's a real treat and she now almost perfect heels on the walk, meaning she walks at my pace, no matter how fast or slow, on my left side.  She has "sit" down pat, and we are still working on "stay".  I can drop the leash and move up to twenty feet away now.  Her attention span will get longer with each passing day.
I estimate that within six months, I will be able to take her on walks without the leash and she will be totally controllable on voice command alone.

She started out barking for attention, not used to being kept outside. I've done inside dogs for years [not my choice], but I'm not doing that ever again, especially not in a farm situation. But with firm and consistent training over a few hours, she figured out that I wasn't going to tolerate that.  Now, if she starts to try that, I can simply call her to the door, grasp her around the snout and say, "NO BARK" and she remembers for hours.  I had to get up at midnight last night because she started in, but all it took was that one technique and she was quiet the rest of the morning.  Now, there is a fine line.  She needs to know that she is not to bark at us for attention, but that it's okay to bark at strangers or strange animals coming into the yard.  You have to know the difference in the sound of the dog's bark.

I took Moxie for a ride into town for a couple of errands.  She's a bit nervous about riding in the truck.  No sticking her head out the window.  She just lays on the bench seat and loves it every time I stroke her.  Her body language seemed to be: "I don't really care for riding in this contraption, but if it means I get to be close to you, I'll do it." Maybe that will change over time.  We'll see.

Overall, I think this has been a win-win situation for everybody.  It will be fun to see the reaction of Moxie's former family when they come for another visit.  I may not be Cesar Milan, but I come pretty darn close.  Twyla's comments and photo are over on her blog.  She's never been a "dog person," but she's going to be. ;)

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