Friday, July 26, 2013

Lesson 1b--Making Progress

A happy girl: "Mom's not shooting that clicker at me!"

For a couple of days, I clicked while in the kitchen and waited for the dogs to come running. I did this just before lunch time or dinner time, when the dogs were doing their "Feed us--we're starving" routine. At first, if I clicked, Silver would flinch and draw back (and Sam would lean in for the treat--after all, he heard the clicker, too, and he knows what it means). Eventually, I stood there with a handful of treats, let Silver try to poke her tongue or teeth between my fingers to get the treats, and I just clicked away. Silver started ignoring the clicker.

This was a little risky. I don't want Silver to ignore the clicker. I just want her not to be afraid of it.

Today, before lunch, I took Silver out onto the patio and we worked on touch-the-cup. She still doesn't understand what she's supposed to do--and if she gets frustrated, she'll just lie down--but she has learned that she'll get a treat when she hears the click. If she touched the cup, I clicked and she turned toward me to get the treat. This is something she should have figured out last week, but at least we're on the right track.

So then I took her for a walk on a 30-foot lead so we could work on recalls. She came right away when called and I praised her a lot, but she was not so deeply involved in what she was sniffing at for this to be any indication that recall training is working.

So then I put her in the house and let Sam practice. He came out the door onto the patio and went and slammed his nose into the cup. Click-treat. He knows the drill, but at least this time he didn't lie down with his chin on the cup. After a few more click-treats, I took him for a walk on the 30-foot lead. He doesn't stick to my side the way Silver does, and if he's interested in sniffing at something when you call his name, well--you'll just have to wait your turn. We'll keep practicing, but his recall skills will never be reliable.

Both dogs have had their lunches and are sleeping now. Actually, Silver had about half of Sam's. (Some things never change.) They're sleeping soundly, as if they've actually worked hard. The training sessions were less than 5 minutes per dog. Greyhounds don't have a long attention span.

It's time to chop up more treats. Today they finished off the abundance I cut up before last week's class. Another class tomorrow morning, then we skip a week, so I hope Silver can catch up.

On the knitting front, there's not much to report. The long, orange triangle is still orange, still a triangle, and a bit longer. I'm more than two-thirds of the way through the yarn on this never-ending, knit-till-you-run-out project. I'm put in mind of Penelope, weaving her shroud by day, unraveling it again by night--except that I'm reasonably sure no one is unraveling this (except for those times I've had to frog a few rows to fix a glitch). Anyway, I really want to get this finished: I've figured out what pattern I want to use for my next project (a baby blanket), and I have the yarn, and I want to get it started!

Shawl to enter in the fair

The North Georgia State Fair runs 19-29 September. Fair entries in the craft divisions are due 14-15 September. I have one shawl I'm planning to enter, and I'd like to enter the baby blanket in the fair, too. (The shawl is the same pattern as the orange triangle I'm making now. The photo above doesn't do justice to the color, and the actual shawl is super-soft and very warm.) The baby is due 15 September, but the blanket could be delivered a bit later than that. If I remember correctly from past years, the fair gets lots of crocheted baby blankets entered, but not many knitted ones (and knitting doesn't usually compete against crocheting except for "best in show" awards).

The remodeling at my sister's house is nearly, nearly finished. Everyone is looking forward to the conclusion, and Mother will finally be able to get settled. She's been sleeping in my sister's guest room since early January, and she doesn't have her craft supplies or anything like that in places where she can get to them. (Half her stuff is still in the storage unit. The rest is piled in my sister's living room, dining room, and den.) Also, pollen counts (grass) have been really high lately, so Mother (and I) have been groggy and drowsy and prone to napping the days away. I think if she really had something to do, Mother would be a bit more mentally alert than she has been lately.

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