Day of Celebration & Loss

My little dog is a rescue, so she doesn’t have an “official” birthday.  Because of this, I include her in my special day, or usually week.  This year we went with a winter accessories theme.

All this for a walk

Really?  Again?

This may look familiar because we tried the boots about three years ago.  My hope was that she had become more patient and tolerant in her “pre-golden” years.  Unfortunately, this is not to be, and we have decided “Au natural” is still the best look for Lu.  She is patient with the jacket, since she is almost hairless, but the boots are a definite no-go.

snowday

The rare Arctic Pit, cousin to the Arctic fox.

Lu’s begging abilities continue to improve, although she is a little “in my space” at times,

Lucy Lulu

Is that edible?!

but we are working on setting boundaries, and I’m seeing some improvement.

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I’m still here – just sayin.  I can see you chewing!

Personally, last week was tough.  I lost my mom on January 19th, 2018.  She never got to meet Lu, but she saw lot’s of pictures, and loved her from afar.   Mom left this world on the day that Lu and I celebrated our birthdays – for me, my 50th, and for Lu a celebration of another year with happiness.  Mom would have liked that she left this world on a day that life was being celebrated.  I will miss her.

Lucy Run! So, so cold – brrrrr

The last week or so has seen some brutally cold weather for this early in the winter season.  Lulu has started every morning optimistic, eagerly awaiting her morning outing at the patio door.

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Let’s move it!  I have to be back in before you start eating!

These have been very short lived excursions.  Lu has walked to the edge of the patio, to monitor the dismal surroundings.

end of patio 2018

Hmmmmm…

Found a spot in the arctic tundra to take care of things.

Waiting to go out 2018

Where are the squirrels?

…and then quickly realized it was still cold as crap!

OMG its cold

OMG!

 

 

It has not been a good two weeks for a dog with very little body fat, and almost no hair, and because of this, my house has turned into a war zone, there being just too much energy to keep cooped up.  There are deer antlers, torn toys and kongs EVERYWHERE.  Thank goodness she is a good dog, and is not interested in anything other than her own toys.

On a positive note, it was a good diet week.  I lost another pound to end at 10.5 pounds, and that was after being tested with my trip to Columbus, OH, where I left a 45 degree day (FINALLY), to end up in another blizzard (Damn).  I also work in operations, with mostly men, so my choice for lunch each day was Tim Horton’s, Wendy’s, and the Waffle House.  It was a tough choice, but I ended up just closely watching calories and picking through all the “stuff.”  I hate salads, so I’m a little challenged.  My downfall was the grits at Waffle House.  They were floating in butter.  I only had two bites, but I think that threw my stomach into a spiral, and after two weeks of cleansing, my stomach made me pay.  I spent most of the afternoon and night nauseous, and hiding in a bathroom with a door that would not lock.

This week’s goal is 2 pounds for me, and less frostbite for Lulu.  We miss our weekend walks, but the asphalt is just too cold, and it will be a cold day in hell (or CT), before Lucy Lulu puts hoity toity boots on her paws!

Who is in Charge?!

Did you say something?

Did you say something?

I am a bit impulsive and certainly not structured, so it comes as no real surprise that my decision to train Lu had mixed results.  I was taken aback when a friend had told me that Lulu was the dominant one in our relationship, so I decided obedience training was in order.  We had dabbled in it when I first rescued Lu, and had gone to a few classes – working with a few trainers.  Ultimately, Lulu had ended up doing what Lulu wanted to do most of the time.

In my typical disciplined approach, I googled obedience training, read a few articles, and began the lessons.  First, I needed to teach her that I was to go through doors first, as she waited.  I also needed her to look at me when I spoke to her.  I remember reading the last article, and stepping to the back door to call her,  yelling to her as she ignored me – intentionally ignored me.  Let the games begin!

The first door attempt at establishing who was who in the pecking order, resulted in both of us wedging ourselves into the door at the same time, with her insisting she push through first.  She is pretty good at sitting, so I told her to sit, and as I turned to go through the door, she bolted forward, slamming me to the side as she triumphantly led the way.  After our 83rd attempt, I stood staring down at her –  her tongue lolling out as she grinned up at me.  Let’s see, what did she value over anything else – easy – her walks.

I took Lulu into the mud room to head out front for a walk, and as I opened the door she attempted to shove 40 pounds of solid muscle between my legs and out the door.  I closed the door gently on her head (maybe not as gently as I should have) until she backed into the mud room and sat to stare at the door.  Again, I opened the door, and again she leapt forward.  I closed the door again.  This went on for about a half hour, until she finally figured out that as long as she sat quietly, the door stayed open.  The next step was to have her look at me for instruction.

We stood with the door open and the storm door closed.  She sat hunched, staring at the door, trembling as adrenaline coursed through her bunched up muscle.  I reached to open the storm door and she crouched, so I let the door go and waited as the trembling stopped and she slowly calmed down.  I continued the exercise, reaching for the door, as she crouched in anticipation, letting the door go, and waiting repeatedly for her to calm down.

Finally, we reached a point where I could step back and forth through the door as she sat bunched, staring straight ahead – eagerly waiting for me to call her.  Now it was time for the second step.  I stood and waited, softly asking her to “look at me.”  She knew what “look at me meant.”  We had practiced this with one of her trainers.  Stubbornly, she stared straight forward as I repeated the command, refusing to even glance in my direction.  She looked so angry and frustrated – so I waited, and waited, and waited.

I stood there for about 10 minutes, until with slitted eyes and taught facial muscles, she looked up at me – or rather she glared up at me.  I called her and she came through the door, slinging her body to the side as she flew past me.  I was tempted to try one more time, but we were both exhausted from our battle of wills.  We headed out on our walk, her pulling at the end of her leash – leading our small pack down the street.   She looked proud and defiant – head lifted high, turning like a radar as she searched for prey.  Small steps I thought as I pulled her back.  She seemed to pull slightly less as we continued, but that may have just been wishful thinking on my part at the time.

Over the last few months we have continued our lessons.  She now waits patiently until I go through the door.  She watches me the whole time – maintaining eye contact for as long as I ask her to sit in front of the door.  She also now walks at my side, and instead of bolting after anything that moves, she does a little dance of anticipation.  She has come a long way in a year.

She is an incredibly athletic dog – having Staffordshire terrier, American Bull terrier, and Viesla in her lineage.  She has an incredible prey drive and is high energy.  I would like to teach her agility after we have our obedience conquered, but first I have to get her past her dog aggression.  I don’t know what happened to her before I found her, but she was in bad shape when we met.  I’ve used three trainers.  I have not had good experiences with any of them, so for now, I will keep reading articles, and we will keep battling until I find the right trainer for my fiercly stubborn little bully dog.