Monday, August 07, 2006

Giant Puppy and Old Man

Giant Puppy and Little Old Man anxiously shared his couch one morning last week for about 15 seconds, both sitting at alert upon my arrival at the back door. Observation made:
* She is capable of not making him jump down, at least when I am present.

These two have a lot to learn, and they are making good progress. In the process, I happen to be getting a lot of exercise which is very welcome. I would like to avoid the dissertation spread.

I have been teaching her to let him share his couch with her. I am also teaching him to tolerate her presence near him on his couch. I praise her enthusiastically when she sits nicely next to him. She gets a stern warning and stare whenever she paws or leans on him. At the same time I correct her, I need to be aware of what Old Man does. He needs praise whenever he stays sitting next to her. Sometimes I find myself correcting one while simultaneously praising the other. She seems to get which message is hers, but he's clueless. She may be confused too, but she covers it well - unlike students who smile and nod even while completely lost. Old Man's first impulse is to let Giant Puppy have her way by jumping down from his couch when she barges in. She then jumps down on top of him. This has to stop because Giant 60 pound Puppy will soon outweigh me and could injure him if she doesn't learn to sit nicely next to him. My guess is that they'll work it out in the times I'm not home or not looking. My prediction:
* Max will cede the couch to her and only use it when she's kenneled.

I am also teaching her to let me clean her water drool off of the floor and her jowls without her biting at the towel. She loves towels. And, she makes an impressive amount of water drool every time she gets a drink - about 60 times a day. Sometimes the water runs out of her mouth in parallel fangs that can reach the floor. I don't mind really, but having water spots - some of which are large - on the floor constantly means that an unwary walker may slip. That's happened a few times. All of this ends up ensuring that our floors get 'cleaned' patch by patch every day without abrasive chemicals - just good ol' dog drool plus water and elbow grease. WW is a very dusty place so this is a very welcome new habit to be into, so long as I can get the biting at the towel thing under control. I never deliberately reinforce her for biting at the towel, but sometimes I think she gets reinforced for biting at the towel when I dry her face.

Over the weekend Giant Puppy perfected sitting on Max's couch so that she could keep a close eye on Loom Sleyer's outdoor project. She also noticed Max's Fom pillow. So, now she's got another lesson to learn and I probably have a new pillow to sew for he so she can still have fun dragging around what looks like a giant floppy cloth basketball. I would let her have the pillow to play with but 1) it is His, 2) she's already appropriated enough of His stuff, and 3) it's full of tiny foam beads that are no doubt not fit for anyone's consumption. She has already demonstrated that she can discriminate her bone from his bone so it stands to reason that she can learn to tell the difference between his and her pillow.

We also had guests visit over the weekend. Observation made:
* Giant Puppy is as freightened of people as she is fireworks.
The arrival of three people sent her scurrying behind the washing machine. I lured her out with a treat and gave each of our visitors a treat. She came around eventually. All of this led me to decide that we need to have people over much more often so she doesn't wimp out at the sight of people. I think driving her downtown for walks wouldn't hurt. It's a reliable place to run into crowds. Maybe she'll be able to handle the farmer's market in a few months! Then she can try to not follow in her brother's foot steps by not thieving from vendors. He can be so sneaky.

Finally, my new iPod arrived! Conclusion drawn:
* The on-the-go playlist function is the best surprise.
You can select and add songs to a playlist on the fly right on the iPod. I *love* that!
* Worst surprise: It did not come with an AC adapter! 400 plus bucks and you have to charge it through the computer! I plug my iPod into the car stereo for road trips and do not want to pack a freaking laptop just to be able to charge it back up for the return trip. Being a PhD packer, I could squeaze it in but I'm also a giant lightweight so keeping the poundage down is a big plus.
* I bought an AC adapter - made by Apple.
It works great. Don't buy the non-Apple adapters. I found out they can fry your iPod.

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