Dog Training: How to Ignore Cats

First of all, for more on dog training and on general dog-related things, I would go to my Sister’s blog HERE because with me in university, she has quite a bit more contact with our pooch now.

Gwynn is an Aussie-doodle (australian shepherd and poodle mix) with a good temperament, plays well with dogs, and has an unfortunate habit of going batshit crazy over cats.

When visiting relatives/ family friends who have cats, he will go absolutely bonkers to get to them t play.

Cats are a new species to him, a strange and mysterious one that he ha never had the chance to play with before.

To him, they are like leprechauns. Ones that you (and it seems like only you) see every once in a while. It is very confusing for him when he sees a cat on the porch of some house, or walking down the street, because he wants to play with that cat so badly, an it doesn’t seem as though Lexy or I have caught sight of the Leprecat, even though it’s RIGHT THERE.

This is a bit of a bother to my sister and I, and to the rest of the family, because it’s very hard to have a nice family visit with the Dog there acting like a cat addict going through withdrawal symptoms while we wave cats in front of his face.

We aren’t, by the way, waving cats in front of his face.

BUT to hep stop him from going through this act of apeshit crazyness, we have worked on training him out of it when we can.

I managed to take a video of it a while back, when we were going for a walk and happened to see a cat hanging out on the porch of one house.

Here is what happened.

To explain the training a bit better, we are trying to train Gwynn to get into the habit of thinking that when he sees a cat, he should sit down and look to Lexy (or, later, whoever is holding the leash).

Since the cat was there, we had him sit down next to Lexy and he would get a treat every time he looked up at my sister.

We didn’t have a clicker on hand with us, so when he looked up at my sister she said “yes” to indicate what she was giving him a treat for. He looks up, “yes”, Treat.

That way, if he looked away before my sister managed to get the treat for him, he wouldn’t get confused and think he was getting the treat for looking at the cat.

This is working somewhat, but since it’s rare that we find a cat willing to stick around for us to stand there and play this training game, it is slow going.

To give you an idea of why, exactly, we would like him to at least calm down a little in regards to cats, it isn’t just for social reasons.

When walking, if we don’t see the cat before Gwynn does, he will lunge towards the cat with the probable hope taht if he can just get to it fast enough, they could be friends.

This usually results in my sisters arm to get jerked (painfully, as it has happened to me as well), and risk loosing grip of his leash.

This is not good.

If anyone has any other suggestions on how to teach your dog to be calm around cats, please feel free to mention, and please check out my sisters blog for more 😀

I believe she has a section describing the training classes that she (and I, earlier) have gone to, and other training tricks of hers.

Also feel free to share any funny walking stories. I think that this kind of training can be done for squirrels as well 😉

Thanks!

Family and ‘Family’

Time with the family is always fun, and as I’ve said before, I’m really glad for the new 2 reading weeks.

Currently, I am again writing on the go, this time in the car.

The family and I are heading out yonder to visit with other family and ‘family’ who all happen to live about 3 hours away.

‘Family’, if you don’t know the term (commonly said with ‘air quotes’) are family friends who you have known since you were little, or have become the ‘chosen’ family of the family.

The ‘family’ that we visit are people who when I was younger I thought that they were aunt/uncle and cousins.

They are still sort-of relatives, but in a secret way.

A ‘secret’ way.

(When I start to mention them, I still refer to them as family though I don’t call them my aunt __ or uncle__ or cousins __, __, and __, but instead call them family while a sort-of twitch/grimace overcomes my face, and then I repeat family with air quotes and then try to explain. It adds about a minute and a half to my explanations, though I’m getting better at shortening it to “They’re family friends”. ‘Secret’ family.)

This ‘Secret’ family has two cats now, the two most adorable tuxedo-ed balls of fluff I’ve see in a while, and Gwynn has very little cat-conversation skills.

This means that he goes ape-shit crazy over felines in general.

We are trying to civilize him to the manner of don’t-try-to-lick-or-drool-on-the-cat Cat manners.

It’s taking some work.

But some family of ours has farm country (I believe that Lexy has mentioned it in her blog at least once) and two dogs, so now that we have Gwynn we have to trust Sammy and Odie to teach our city slicker puppy to NOT go to the other farm turf, and to tire him out suitably. Farm dogs can do that.

In the cartoon world Insanity has made in my mind, cartoon country dogs always have a stalk of grass poking out the corner of their mouths. They’re relaxed, and tired, but turn into army commanders when the dog from the next property over tries to invade their Territory, and savage gang fighters when they meet raccoons.

Army commanders have shades suddenly.

Savage gang fighters style their now-raised hackles into punky spikes.

Insanity giggles.

Eventually I will figure out my scanner and will be able to post my own pictures…

We are also visiting Grandma. She has Alzheimer’s.

Sometimes it’s funny, but generally it’s sad.

One other thing about the relatives with the farm, they have a 4 year old.

We take turns amusing her. I’m posting this (we’re out of the car now :D) and she’s asking me if my laptop is magic.

I didn’t want to lie like I did when she was two, so I pointed to the lights and said that it was as magic as the lights. Of course, lat time I lied to her about electricity being magic, it was asking why a lightbulb works, sooo…

Young kids are adorable, but when you want to do something else, you don’t really want to hook monkeys in a barrel together. What a surprise.

Gabbie says ‘Hi’

ffffffffff FFFFFF fffff  (this is me showing Gabbie how the keyboard works)

Here is Gabbie typing her name:

gabbi sullivan

Isn’t it amazing? mom (also her spelling mom)

Uh, 13 Doodle, We have a Code Brown in Balsam

My job this past summer was working as a Maintenance Worker at Grundy Lake.

I wasn’t the person who would direct you to your site.

I wasn’t the person who helped you change sites and sold you firewood.

I wasn’t the person who put on the nature shows, telling you about bears, and bugs, and what’s what about nature.

I didn’t guide you through any of the free trails Grundy has to offer, pointing out interesting things along the way.

I wasn’t the person who told you to quiet down from partying at midnight.

I wasn’t the person who told you you have to leave your site at 2, and do you realize it’s 2:30?

I wasn’t the person who you called to deal with your noisy neighbours, who also happened to be cutting branches from the forest for their fire.

I wasn’t any of these people, but I was the person who made sure you would want to come back.

I was the person who kept the main attraction clean.

Yes, I do mean that I made sure that branches weren’t overgrowing the roads and the sites.

Yes, I do mean that I mowed grass and trimmed the trails.

Yes, I do mean that I clipped back those prickly bushes from by the parking lots, and around your site.

But when I say that I keep the main attraction clean, I do not mean nature.

I mean the toilets.

You might say I deal with the real ‘business’ of maintaining the Park.

You may laugh, scoff at the idea that the toilets are the main attraction, but would you be so willing to go camping if the only option while camping with a little more than 100 other campers (in your AREA) was a couple of thunder boxes?

This is a hole, dug approx. 6 feet into the ground, with a box with a hole in it set on top. Bring your own toilet paper, and a flashlight if it's dark.

Grundy is known for it’s privacy ratings, but we can’t exactly make this private… every once in a while we have to go and fill in the hole, dig another one a little ways off, and put the box back on top. Putting another box, or some other kind of privacy thing around it wouldn’t work.

Yes, While the back-country sites have thunderboxes, their excuse is that they are for the people who want to go roughing it. That is for the people who want to canoe across the lake with their suff, and set up tents where they can find flat places. I think there are about 4 or 5 backcountry sites in Grundy… We don’ have to go there and clip it back, we leave that to the Rangers close to the area (Ontario Parks Rangers, a summer job for people who are turning 17 the year they sign up for it, free room and board and food, minimum wage.)

For everyone else, there are the outhouses.

We clean the outhouses.

We clean them every day.

We sweep them out, get rid of webs, wipe down the seats (with cleaning spray and a rag) to each and every set of outhouses.

There are 36 sets, I believe, in Grundy.

3 of those sets are set up as one side of one outhouse is mens, and the other is women’s.

The rest have two outhouses at each spot, which means that there are 66 individual outhouses that two Maintenance workers clean.

Every day.

 

This is what one Grundy Lake outhouse looks like. Right next to it, another would be set up, but for girls. Singles would be one of these buildings, with one gender for each door.

We also paint these when the paint starts getting cracked… I think I painted about 6 sets of outhouses this past summer. My coworkers complained about t, but I liked painting them. It used up time, and I like painting in general.

The inside looks like this... But this summer we painted the insides cream rather than green.

The toilets at Grundy actually flush as well, which was nice until I realized that it means that It can also get clogged.

Ladies flushing pads, and moms (and dads too) flush diapers… Why YES it’s the perfect size to go down that hole, now lets flush it… oh, right, that adds water and makes it expand! Oh gosh, it’s clogged!

What a surprise.

Really.

Anyway, while working, we drive around in the MNR trucks, and when we get radio calls (all students were 13 _your name_, and if you were calling someone, lets say their code name was 3-4, you would say “3-4 read 13 _your name_” and end with “13 clear”. Calls for you from this person would be “13_your name_ read 3-4” ), and one of the most common were for Code Browns.

Can you guess what it is?

Well, it’s when someone misses in a big way.

I figure that some of these people are holding themselves up while taking a dump, otherwise how did they get it all over the seat? On the floor? On the walls? (methinks this last one is some REALLY upset stomach)

I’m certain some kids think it’s funny to poop in awkward places, because I found a present behind one of the toilets once.

Yeah. my pictures look kind of unreal, and not really appropriate… also, for the majority, I haven’t had my camera, and even though I’ve been blogging for  while now, I still haven’t gotten to the point here I can see poop n the floor and splattered on the walls and think “Hey, I should get a picture of that.”

For the really bad ones we use a pressure washer (water tank in back of truck), but otherwise use a ‘bunny tail’.

This is a Bunny tail. No rabbits were harmed for the use of this.

Yeah. Bunny Tail is how I was introduced to it.

It’s gross, and there’s a lot of groaning about it, but we do it.

There are risks.

The nauseating smell, the campers who complain in he first place, the risk of a backwash of ‘shit-mist’ from the pressure-washer (hide behind door is the preferred method), along with the feeling of “Oh, nooooooo!” when the pressure washer runs out of gas and you have to leave the Scene of the Crime to get more….

But we do it.

Because we are the Maintenance workers.

We wear our coveralls with pride.

We clomp in our Steel-toed boots knowing that we’ve done a job-well-done.

While in our trucks, we still wave to campers, even knowing that there’s a certain percentage of assholes out there among you who we will have to deal with, them and their shit, and are happy when people wave back.

Yes, we wonder if the reason you smiled so widely is because you know we have to go clean up the smear you left behind, or if perhaps its because you’re happy that that Code Red (only on the female side, guess what it is) will soon be cleaned up, but we wave and smile anyway. (P.S. we are actually required to wave in the beginning, but after a week or so you get used to it and do it intentionally)

No, we are not Gate workers, we are not Naturalists, we are not Park Wardens.

We are Maintenance workers.

We clean up your shit.