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Posts tagged ‘dog training’

No digesting in the living room

We have taught our dog to communicate when he wants to enter or exit the house.

We had in mind one short, sharp bark; like the strike of a doorknob. Naturally Jed had more important things in mind, such as whether there is a world record for licking your own arse.

The best we could do was teach him to sit by the door and groan. It’s not ‘speaking’; it’s more a cross between a whine, a grunt, and the most annoying sound in the world. Like he’s constipated and is addressing a private motivational speech to his bowel.

Recently, Jed has been waking up at 4am and sitting by the bedroom door, groaning.

The first time it happened, we leapt out of bed and, working like the crack team we are, Husband opened the bedroom door in one fluid motion, while I urgently ushered Jed out. I suppose the horrors of The Great Puppy Plague of 2009 – or if you prefer, the Vanish/Frend Mega Promotional Tour Bonanza – are still close to mind. In fairness, Jed was only six months old at the time. He hasn’t been compelled to use his stomach as an automatic weapon for many months now.

However, we are always aware that Jed swallows possums whole. He’ll issue a hiccup and I’ll swarm all over him and fire him out the door so vigorously that if I miss, there’ll be a dog-shaped hole in the adjacent wall. And Jed’s all, “Dude. Let me get this straight: I’m not allowed run in the living room, or chew bones, or bring tennis balls, and now I’m not allowed DIGEST in the living room? Man, this place gets more like a police state every dog day.”

So. Our bedroom. 4am. Five minutes after Jed’s hasty eviction, he was back at the door, groaning to be let in. An hour later, he gave a repeat performance, and again at 6am.

The following night, Husband and I lay in bed at 4am, having a discussion over the soundtrack of incremental groaning.  To set the scene, it was less like the climax of a romantic comedy, and more like a low-budget, straight-to-video slasher musical.

“There’s nothing wrong with the little fecker,” I said with a pillow over my head. “He just wants to stroll around smelling on stuff and lookin’ for action.”

“He’s probably too hot,” said Husband.

“Well, so am I, but you don’t catch ME groaning by the door.”

“But Niamhie, we’ve taught him to communicate with us when he wants to get out-”

“Yeah, but NOT AT NIGHT.”

“So what; he’s allowed to communicate with us during the day but not at night?”

“Pretty much.”

The following day we had a family meeting, wherein (the minutes show) all parties agreed that Jed would not be let out at 4am in the morning regardless of volume.

That night/morning, I was woken by Andrew crooning to his dog. ‘Aw Floppy, what’s up? What’s up, little man? You too hot? Poor puppy. Let’s check if the windows are open. You want something to eat? How about a steak sandwich? No? Well have you enough water? Let’s have a look then. Aw, you just want your ears pulled, don’t you? Don’t you? There you go.’

I practice a tougher form of love than Andrew, both on my dog and indeed other people. I’m not saying it’s right but, you know. Maybe that’s why I’m more popular.

I’m just saying.

Over breakfast that day, Andrew and I blinked blearily at each other over our respective mueslis.

“I don’t think you should be ENGAGING with him,” I said.

“Well, I have to. Otherwise, he rams me with his nose.”

That night, there was apparently groaning at 4am, but since I slept through it I only have Andrew’s word for it. Mind you, the groaning did wake me at 06:30. It was only half an hour before I usually get up, so I brought the dog out and swore at him while we watched the sun rise. It was actually quite lovely and in retrospect I would totally recommend swearing at your dog while watching the sun rise.

There is undoubtedly a boredom factor in Jed’s nocturnal activity, but the last week has been blisteringly hot. During another family meeting – I swear, Andrew and I haven’t talked this much since 1998 – I suggested putting Jed in his kennel at night. However, we’ve never fully kennel trained him, and there’s a possibility we (and the rest of Port Underwood) will have to sleep through at least one night of Jed conducting a loud, one-sided conversation about how he doesn’t like being locked up. We considered putting him straight into the kennel if he wakes us up at 4am, but we don’t want to make it a punishment.

Seriously, we WILL kennel train him. Sometime.

Last night, we put Jed’s mat outside the bedroom door, and settled him there an hour before he usually goes to bed. This morning, seems like everyone’s happy.

But one in particular:

Early morning stretch.

AND there are videos

Jed demonstrates limited interest in kayaking:

Dog vs. Kayak: Jed 0, Kayak 1

Jed gets onboard:

The power of woman

Me: NO!

Me: Sorry. It’s just that, Jed’s not allowed to widdle on cars.

Me: The rule is: he’s not allowed to widdle on anything man-made.

Andrew: Am I man-made? Because I don’t want him weeing on my leg.

Meep: Ahem. Woman-made.

The point may have been arguable, but neither man present was about to take on a woman who has incubated fully formed humans.

Viewers are advised to use discretion

Warning: some viewers may find the following footage disturbing.

Below are some videos we took after our daily walk this afternoon, of Jed with his favourite toy: ‘Ball’.

There are some things you should know, before these clips make you doubt our devotion to our dog.

Firstly, if you think I am tormenting my dog, well, I treat Husband a LOT worse. Which might only make you want to alert Amnesty International immediately after placing the call to Animal Welfare. However, it’s not as if either of them aren’t equipped with weapons. Husband has a modicum of wit at his disposal, and Jed’s teeth are extremely sharp.

Secondly, as you will hear in the videos, Jed is quite a chatty little fellow. He likes to ‘speak’ to us when he is excited about something or just wants to vent about the state of the world today. It does not denote agitation; that would be a distinctive whine and hiding.

Thirdly, this is the third iteration of Ball. We purchase them at vast expense from Animates on Lincoln Road, whenever Jed a) fails to retrieve them from the sea, b) throws them out the car window, and potentially c) drops them down a storm drain.

Fourthly, Jed dropped Ball down a storm drain yesterday. Ferndown Track ends beside a property at the head of Grassmere Road. Jed likes to taunt the two resident dogs from beyond the safety of their driveway gate, so just before the end of the track, I put him in a sit/stay. While I wrestled my bike over the barrier, Jed spat out Ball and it rolled into the gutter beside the track, and thence into the storm drain/pipe beneath the track.

While Jed sat and complained loudly about the absence of Ball, Husband and I traced the end of the pipe down the hill. It was a good twenty feet long. On hands and knees, you could just about make out Ball bobbing in a puddle of slimy mud about eight feet beyond reach. Since the pipe was only about eighteen inches diameter, sending Jed in after it would likely have resulted in both Ball and Puppy wedged up the pipe.

So we cycled back home where Husband collected the car, drove all the way back down Mountain Road, up Grassmere Road, and fished Ball out of the storm drain with a broom.

The things we do for that dog.

And don’t get me going on green tripe.

More about humping

This morning on Muriwai Beach, Jed and I met a woman walking her dog. His owner had the same hairdo as her dog Samson, an Airedale terrier. If you know your dog breeds, you can imagine how terrifying that was: Airedale terriers are exceptionally fluffy.

My dog may also happen to be exceptionally fluffy, but Jed has Serious Fluff: a protective layer that is largely waterproof and keeps him warm, handy when retrieving ducks in snow: SERIOUS Fluff. Let’s overlook the fact that it is lovely and soft and warm and snuggly.

Also, I don’t model my hairstyle on Jed.

ANYWAY, Jed doesn’t get to meet that many dogs, so we stopped to make acquaintance.

“They want to play!” cooed Samson’s owner. “Isn’t that sweet?”

I was not sure whether she was enquiring about her dog humping Jed’s head, which – honestly – I didn’t think was THAT sweet. At least, I could think of several other words that might have been more appropriate.

Now, I’m conflicted about humping. Whereas generally I am not a big fan of the hump – especially when one of my lower limbs is the target – there is no doubt that sometimes a surfeit of pure, joyous canine emotion can only be truly expressed with a major humpfest.

However, I recall the time in South Island some heinous spaniel stoat mix humped my four month old puppy all the way up the beach. His owner finally came over to wag his finger at his randy pooch – still grimly going for it, tongue out, eyes lolling – and said, “I should give you a smack for that!”

I’m not sure what his training method was (Pacifism? Christian charity?), but it had little effect. Personally, I thought a smack would have benefited either the dog or its owner. Also some sand kicked in their faces.

Back on Muriwai Beach, Jed took the humping with tremendous good grace. By that, I mean Samson escaped with his popsicles and hind legs intact and still largely attached to himself.

What I DID think was sweet, was Jed’s ambitious attempts to mount a dog twice his size for some revenge humping. This comprised a flailing leap onto Samson’s back, where he balanced on his nuts and sort of dangled.

AW, THAT’S MY BOY!

That would be: Sque-ak

Oamaru’s Salvation Army ‘opportunity shop’ operates a donation system for toys.

I picked out three stuffed animals for my puppy in various stages of freshness and entirety. When I handed over $10, the volunteer responded as if I’d just given them the deeds to a building. If it’s a ploy to make people feel guilty, well, it worked. However, I didn’t feel good about stinging any more money from Mother-In-Law.

As far as degrees of evilness go, I’m sure scabbing the Salvation Army is several degrees worse than touching up my mother-in-law for $10. But the Salvation Army is unlikely to hunt me down and make me feel EVEN GUILTIER, whereas my mother-in-law by virtue of her proximity has significantly more potential for drowning my lifeforce in cess. Not that she would. I’m just saying.

0904-jeds-toys

Jed’s toys from L-R: Ducky, Your Pussy, Robot, McKenzie, and The Scatalogical Performing Artist Formerly Known As Squeak With A Hyphen.

Note: Jed only recognises Your Pussy when underlined with a dirty snigger.

This post is mainly for benefit of Husband, due back any day now (if that day is next Saturday 25th), so that he can acquaint himself with Jed’s toys. Because obviously, unless he says: ‘Jed! Fetch The Scatalogical Performing Artist Formerly Known As Squeak With A Hyphen!’, Jed won’t know what he’s on about

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