Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bobbing For Vegetables

The vegetable garden exploded with produce while we were on vacation, and we spent the day on Sunday harvesting and cleaning vegetables. It was a warm day so the pool was filled for the dogs while we worked outside.

We discovered that Boston loves snow peas, and threw a few in the pool for her. We also learned that snow peas do not float, and Boston had to stick her face in the water to get them. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can get a better look at the bubbles she is blowing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Vacation

The Post family went on a week's vacation to Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota and just returned Saturday. It was a fun week even though the fishing wasn't so good. I had high hopes of catching my first muskie but didn't catch anything. Richard felt he didn't do much better, but that's a matter of opinion. He snagged this dandy piece of driftwood which I am pretty excited about. We brought it home and it's in the garden.

Sage went swimming for the first time in his life, that we know of. He had a blast and mastered retrieving the stick quickly.

Boston went on her own vacation to "summer camp" at another foster home, Jon and Louis Speck. We thought it would be good for her to spend time away from us, and vice versa. It puts things into perspective for both us and Boston. The Specks are training a service dog, Jazz, who is in the Working Wonders class (one class ahead of us); they also have another dog, Nugget. Louis is going to send pictures of Boston's visit and I'll post them.

Louise reports that Boston was the (almost) perfect house guest. Boston came back to us a different gal. She definitely has grown during the week. What was most exciting is that she is calmer. We sat on the patio Saturday night and didn't have to supervise her and Sage's playtime like we normally do. They just laid together side by side, romping occasionally. It was so nice. There has been no counter surfing since she got home. I told Louise she is a miracle worker!

It's almost like Boston is a different dog. Louise took Boston to her Monday night training class last week. Richard claims there must have been a mix-up and Louise took the wrong dog home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on Boston

So much for my posting more messages. I didn't realize it had been so long until I looked at the date of the last blog post. Time flies! It's been a busy time for Boston and me. I've been work-working quite a bit and Boston has been working on new skills.

We're starting to get into the stage in training class of what I call the "fun stuff". Getting beyond the basic pet obedience skills of sit, drop, wait, etc. Here are a few things we're working on now:

  • Push - the first step is to teach the dogs to push drawers and doors close. We're now starting to work on rocker light switches that we hold in our hand. The end result is the dog will rise to turn on/off a light switch on the wall.

  • Go to bed - we are shaping the behavior to teach the dog to go to a rug and lay down. A very useful skill in keeping the dog in a controlled situation - and out from under our feet!

  • Get it and give (a.k.a., retrieving) - we've been working on this skill for quite a while and it's one of Boston's favorites. She is extremely good at retrieving items and giving them to me. We're challenging her more and more with this skill by putting items under chairs, tables etc., on chair seats and the back of shelves, and under vehicles. She's up to the challenge and will go in for the items and bring to me. We are also raising the bar on the types of items she is retrieving.

Another skill we will work on in the future is "rise". This is used to chain with the push skill to turn on lights, among other things. Boston is trying to get extra credit and doing her own version of rise right now. She's quite the counter surfer. We have to be careful to push items back from the edge and keep a close eye on her.

Update on her diet. We have finally found a food that she will tolerate and are slooowly working her off the chicken and rice. It's taking at least twice as much time as a normal transition, but are seeing progress so I continue to move forward with it.

Update on the Boots. Boston has stopped terrorizing me with her tugging and attacking my pants (and legs!) so the boots have been repurposed. They're actually one of the best investments I've made. I use them now for chores, gardening and on rainy days. Here's a picture of a recent raspberry harvest from the garden. The day I picked these it was pouring rain, but as far as we're concerned well worth the inconvenience.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Re: Boston's Horoscope for July

Posting Boston's horoscope might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Right out of the gate yesterday morning she was challenging me. Her first visit outside after getting up in the morning is usually on point - she does her business and heads for the house because breakfast is waiting.

Instead, Friday morning Boston chased birds and squirrels (a newly acquired interest), and vaulted herself vertically to get at the bird feeders. I find her ability to be that agile quite impressive, but it wasn't making me happy this particular morning - I had a cup of coffee waiting for me inside. After a few laps around the yard Boston turned her attention back to me and we went inside.

Being inside wasn't much better. Boston loves to check out what is on my dresser table, and she quickly removed several items.

I decided a long walk was in order. Which, according to her horoscope, might be what Boston was trying to get all along. She thought it should be play time with Sage, and pestered him the first half of the walk. Thankfully I took the long route this day and they both settled down eventually. By the time we got home Boston was a pooped pup, and I took advantage of the situation to clip her nails.

Finally, I get my way.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boston's Horoscope for July

Aquarius Pets (January 20 - February 18)

Mars and Pluto will enliven your Aquarian pet's imagination this month, and what's going on in that adorably furry head might surprise you. Your pet could escalate a dispute over coming in or going out and force you into a confrontation. You might not even be aware of what's going on at first -- or at least that's what your dog or cat might be hoping! If there's a long-standing argument about permission to sit on the furniture, or how many times a day you're going for a walk, you'll be amazed at how far your pet will go to make a point, particularly around July 3 and 4.