Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prepare your Puppy for Halloween adventures

Today is Halloween, which is a special night that humans dress up, act foolish and eat candy. What is up with you people anyway? And then you do stuff like this to us! So Halloween can be a weird experience for a puppy to see humans with masks and costumes on. Which is why it is a good idea to expose your puppy to all sorts of weirdness like masks, hats, and costumes BEFORE encountering them on Halloween. That's why Jenn always dons a hat or mask or costume when she is teaching puppy classes.

So you would think that Jenn would have prepared our puppy Jet, so that Halloween would not be a big deal. And Jenn thought she had covered all the bases by exposing Jet to lots of calm, gentle children of different ages.
But because Jet had not experienced one thing-Face Paint, things got a little out of hand.

Today, on a visit over to Bill and Meghan's house, Jet encountered their daughter Eva getting ready to enjoy Halloween and her face was painted with pretty little butterflies. Well, that face paint totally freaked Jet out! She started barking and growling at Eva and it scared her. Jenn tried to calm Jet down and distract her to get her out of the whole situation quickly.

Jenn came home very worried that Jet would bark and lunge at a child. It is very important that we all like children, cause Jenn and Eric's friends have lots of kids. So, Jenn got to work on a plan to help Jet feel more comfortable around kids and around face paint. First, Jenn is going to make sure that Jet spends more time every day having a calm, positive experience with a child. This is a challenge for folks that don't have children of their own, so you've got to go where the kids are. This means inviting people over that have children or lots of field trips to different places where kids will be. And letting nice, gentle kids give Jet a command and then give her a reward (like cheese or chicken). We always want Jet to think that kids are super great (which they are). We'll see how Jenn's plan for Jet goes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You so need to know about Temple Grandin!

"Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be." -Temple Grandin

Who is Temple Grandin? Jenn got to hear Temple Grandin as the closing speaker at the APDT conference in Atlanta. We can all learn a thing or two from this amazing woman. She is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. She is a renowned lecturer and an author of many books including Thinking in Pictures, Animals in Translation......and Animals Make Us Human. She is a unique visionary, who has changed the way in which livestock are handled to much more humane standards. And she is a person with autism, specifically Asperger's Syndrome.

Temple credits her experiences with both the visual and isolating aspects of autism with helping her to understand animals in a way few people can. She channeled herself completely and selflessly into working towards treating animals with patience, respect and kindness.
The movie about Temple Grandin's life starring Claire Danes aired on HBO last spring and it is a truly special experience. They run it periodically on HBO, and you can get it on Netflix too. Check out more info on the movie here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jenn's Adventures at the APDT Conference

Jenn had an amazing time attending the Association of Pet Dog Trainer annual conference in Atlanta! This conference is an educational opportunity for reward based trainers to share ideas, research and visions of the future of dog training. Jenn went to sessions by John Rogerson, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Victoria Stilwell, Leslie Nelson, Alexandra Horowitz, Dr. Barbara Sherman, Colleen Pelar, and Jean Owen. She really enjoyed the presentations by John Rogerson and Leslie Nelson especially. She said it was a stellar conference and she got to finally get a picture with Dr. Ian Dunbar, founder of APDT. And with Victoria Stilwell too!Jenn said the big treat was going to a screening of the HBO movie based on the life of Temple Grandin. At the end of the film, Temple Grandin herself appeared on stage to answer questions. Really a special evening for all those in attendance.
She also got lots of great swag at the trade show, including the Manners Minder, a remote trainer developed by Dr. Sophia Yin. Apparently, we're going to have a ton of fun with this! More on that later...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jet likes leaves?!

Jet really likes leaves! She has been playing with the brown leaves coming off the fig tree like they are special toys coming down from the sky. She also plucks them off and shoves them in my face! I simply cannot understand her fascination. I have thoroughly checked out these leaves and they are no different from any other. Perhaps one day Jet will explain this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New routines and Fall is finally here!

Bernie, Jet and I are settling into our routines without our "queen" Big Sandy. Lots of friends sent us cards, notes and emails saying how sorry they were about Big Sandy changing addresses. That was so nice of them. I really miss my friend, but now I don't have to worry about accidentally running into her or hurting her when I romp around. We don't have to be so careful anymore about making a ruckus in the livingroom. Jenn even said that it is OK if we go a little crazy now and then.

And it finally seems to be fall, which is my favorite time of the year. This is Jet's first fall, so I have to show her the ropes once again. Nice things about fall are that Jet and I can sit next to the door as the cool breeze blows in. We can look out and survey the yard from the deck. There has been an unprecedented amount of squirrel activity to keep track of. And we must monitor this activity. Bernie and I check out the trees. Then Jet and I check out the field. All is clear for the moment, but I know these squirrels are up to something. I better stay on my toes while Jenn is away at the Association of Pet Dog Trainer conference next week. She's going to learn lots of new things about reward based dog training and get to meet some very smart and fun people.