It’s All Small Stuff
Every day it’s the same thing. I wake up and have seven dogs that need to be taken care of, along with all the other things we all have to do to get through the day. The pressure of getting started on training is the really tough thing. The old saw about a journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step? The problem is, I need to get through those thousand miles pretty much every day.
Without going into detail, but to give some small overview of the challenges life is throwing at me, I’ll give a brief summary of one small part of my landlord woes since getting the two new Pupillons.
I had a tenant move out of a house that’s a daunting-to-deal-with distance away. It was trashed to the point that I didn’t even want to take pictures. Not a single door is intact-and that includes the front door that was letting in neighborhood cats, and I’m sure a few raccoons; trash and cigarette butts ground into the carpet everywhere; syringes(!); every room packed with funriture.
The list of problems is too depressing to continue, but every wall has holes punched in it. The kid that did it must have been a savant-not a single stud seemed to have been hit-I looked because I have a friend who works in an ER and they see broken knuckles, hands, and wrists all the time. They refer to these guys as, “Stud finders.”
Long story short-I’m moving out of my in-town townhome since I need to be out at the house to fix it up. This is kind of a good thing-the dogs will certainly enjoy having more space than the patio area we have in town. But now all of these projects I’ve been putting off for six months need to be done or I won’t get this place rented. Finishing these projects is another good thing; that’s what I’m telling myself. I still need to finish the ceramic tile in the bathroom; moulding still needs to go in the bedrooms from when I tiled them (over a year ago)….Heck, I’ve even let the upstairs bathroom go without a sink since I want matching tile on the counter! Anyway, some new tenant is going to have a really nice apartment to live in once I get out of here.
There’s no way around it. My life is a mess. There was (IS!) a real danger that the Pupillons weren’t going to be getting trained properly. And the whole reason I got puppies in the first place was so I could train them properly. Well, a training buddy had been telling me that she was taking online dog training classes. This surprised me as she’s the only trainer that I go to when I’m having training problems-she has good insights. I will describe how a new trick isn’t working out and she finds something that I hadn’t even thought of that immediately gets some progress going again. She really understands the whole training process and picks up on my weakest element right away. So I started researching classes and found that the
Karen Pryor Academy was starting for my area fairly quickly.
If you don’t know about Karen Pryor, she, in my opinion and therefor factually, is the best thing to happen to training ever. She has brought the scientific method to all training. There is no “Dominance” or “Pack Leader” philosophy. You get all of that leadership of the pack anyway, but never having to go into a petulant tirade. There is never a “Do it or else!” The or else is simply not getting to have fun anymore. The dogs get to have fun all the time and you get to have the best trained dogs possible-and they’re happier, too!
The course is extremely demanding, and not cheap, so I agonized over the decision for a couple of weeks. But a couple of thoughts kept coming up:
1. I have a window of about six months to get these puppies hardwired to be great learners. I see young dogs doing so much these days that I am truly inspired.
2. The Mutt-Cracker (SWEET!) is quickly approaching and I have some great ideas from last year that couldn’t be realized.And I really want this year’s production to be as good as I can make it.
Well, once I became convinced that this course offered me my best chance of getting these pups (and the rest of my crew) trained to the highest degree in the next six months, well, it was an easy decision to pull the trigger and get enrolled.
That easy decision is causing me some severe problems these days, but I’m going to come out in December with the best Mutt-Cracker (SWEET!) yet, along with six amazing circus dogs. Hopefully a chance to catch my breath, too. But that will be January. (I can hope!)