Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I've been immersed in information regarding puppy training. I came across the teachings of Chuck Eisenmann (sounds like a cult, doesn't it?).

Some of you will remember a popular show called the Littlest Hobo. I used to love that show. A German Shepherd named London starred in the show, along with his various lookalike dogs. The man who trained and handled these dogs was Chuck Eisenmann, and if you would like to know what it is that has lured me towards his training methods, follow this link and scroll about halfway down. There are a number of stories as they appeared in various newspapers where Chuck and his dogs took their demonstration, and the ability of these dogs is quite impressive. You don't have to read very far to get impressed. I'll put one story here, in case you're too lazy to click and scroll.....

It was an amazing experience meeting Chuck Eisenmann and his four huge German Shepherds, London, Thorn, Litlon, and Toro in their room at the Holiday Inn. I’ve been around dogs -- and people -- all my life, but never came up against a combination like Chuck and his dogs before.

When my photographer and I walked in, Chuck said, "Shut the door, London." London went over and shut the door. Later, the door was opened again and he asked Toro, "Toro, will you do the honors?" Toro went over and pawed the door shut.
As we talked, Chuck would illustrate his point. He doesn’t like to use hand signals. His dogs understand him, he says, and I believe it, having seen. He asked one to bring some camera film. It was done. Sometimes he talked to the dogs in German, sometimes in French. He didn’t use the same words to give commands.

Once he spelled "g-l-a-s-s-e-s," and asked London to point them out. London came over and gave a lick at my bifocals. I asked Chuck if he would be confused by the same word also being used for other kinds of glasses. For an answer, Chuck told him to take the water glass to Bob. It was delivered to me. Chuck said, "Now get the glasses which are worn" -- the sun glasses were picked up and Chuck said, "Give them to Ed." It was done. Chuck crumpled a napkin, told Toro to put it in the ashtray. The dogs indicated their familiarity with many objects in the room on request. Always casual. One dog can speak several rudimentary phrases, separating the syllables but not articulating clearly. It is easy to understand, however, when he says, ‘I don’t want to." Memphis Press Scimitar

There are a bunch of similar stories. Mr. Eisenmann has written a few books (which I will be ordering) and his technique of "educating" dogs insted of training them has given rise to a fairly new school of thought regarding dog training. I'm planning on ordering those books, but in the meantime I've joined a discussion forum on the topic, where lots of friendly and experienced trainers trade tips and stories about training their dogs.

Anyways, I've been adapting my attitudes and habits towards training, and though Abu is still a little young to "educate" (ever try teaching a 2 year old to read?) she is old enough for us to work on things like attention span, paying attention, and simple basic commands that make more complicated teaching later on possible. The results have been pleasing. At 8 weeks old, she is better behaved than many adult dogs I have met.

Even so, she's a lot of work, and giving her the attention, training and consistency she needs has forced me to make lifestyle adjustments. For example, how many of you would expect me to be out walking my dog at 7:30 in the morning? Going to bed by 10? I haven't touched my PS2 in weeks, and I always have to come home. Always.

Now I'm praying I can get on top of this paper training business.

This is my life. Raising my puppy. Nothing more exciting. Nothing intense. Getting ready for Africa. Looks like my puppy AND me need our shots ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Oh gosh.

It has been a satisfying day, though I didn't finish everything I intended to do. In fact this weekend has more than made up for my absolutely HORRID week. Now I need to get to work on some things. Namely, getting my taxes filed. Getting my shots for the Africa trip.... getting a load of laundry done.

There's a possibility that there will be a change with my new job. It would be a very good change, with more manageable hours, and nearly a hundred extra bucks every month. Instead of working those two brutal nights every other week, I'd be working an hour and a half, monday to thursday, every week. This would be better for everyone involved. so I'm praying it works out.

Today I attended a barbecue at a friend's place, and took Abu with. She got a real kick playing with the bichon frishe named Annie that lives there..... though Abu certainly couldn't keep up with Annie's speed or energy level, it was good to see her having fun with another job, and getting lots of exercise without having to excercise myself.

Now, of course, Abut is crashed out on her blanket, getting lots of rest so she can wake up at bedtime.

God has been teaching me about boundaries, and what sort of people to not allow inside. I'm allowed to have my space, and I'm allowed to protect it. You too.
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