June 20, 2008 at 4:50 pm (Dog Update) (, )

Last night Tom and I were walking through the neighborhood with the dogs and I felt something just above my ankle.  I used my other foot to smack it, you know how you do when you have an itch but you keep walking?  Well, it was a bug!  And it sucking my blood, but it hurt and almost instantly started itching.  When I got home I was kinda skeeved out so I put some hydrogen peroxide on it and anti-itch cream.  Today it’s the largest mosquito bite I’ve ever seen.  The thing practically has a life of it’s own.  But as seeing how it’s not bothering me, it’s just really big, I’m not too concerned.  Yet. Do you think I might die?

Operation: Train the Dogs is progressing well. Have I mentioned this?  As a refresher, a couple of weeks ago, we were eating dinner inside the house when the dogs saw something outside they wanted to attack and ran full force into the patio screen. Spice knocked it off it’s track.  She was mostly surprised but Tom really yelled her for good measure.  It’s completely unacceptable for them to bum-rush the doors however, so I began training them to SIT and STAY while I open the door and only leave on my command.  If I see one movement to break the stay, I close the door and start over.  Spice hates when that happens and she never breaks a stay twice in a row.  In fact, she pivots and gives me her full attention the second time.  So that’s been going well.  Lola doesn’t sit.  Lola never sits.  I’m not sure anatomically she’s capable of sitting, but she does stand there and she’s very good about the stay part, which is the important part.  I think she’s really learned mostly from watching Spice.

However.  However.  Just this week I was reading out on the deck and the dogs were indoors because they kept barking and running the fence and totally annoying me.  Well, again they saw something and I hear some running toenails and all of a sudden, Spice comes out the screen door on the lower level! What the Frack?!  I hustle down there, yelling at Spice to “come here” so I could kill her, and there is a small opening in the corner of the screen where the material came loose from the frame.  Lola was still in the house trying to figure out if she should exit in the same manner.  Frankly, I’m surprised that Lola hasn’t been the leader in this misbehavior.  Anyway, Spice has now decided that she can come and go as she pleases.  Not.  I caught her again that night trying to figure out if she could do it without me noticing.  And then today I saw her use her nose to push the on the screen in the kitchen, trying to determine if there was a weakness to escape through.

Tom’s suggestion was to get a new slider door with a dog door built in.  I nixed that fast.  I don’t want them and their disgusting muddy feet coming in randomly.  I’m not sure how to fix this problem, but it all begins with reattaching the screen material to the door frame so there is no opening.

I plan on following up with my training by making them sit and stay inside the house while I walk outside and stand at the top of the deck stairs, and then release them.  Right now they take off like sprinters and are the canine equivalent of Slinkies going down the stairs.  And usually Spice tramples Lola so there is a lot of angry verbalization from Lola as they race out.  My hope is that if I’m standing at the top of the stairs, they won’t be able to build up the necessary steam to tumble down the stairs.  And if I do this all summer and fall, hopefully it will stick and this winter when it’s covered in snow and ice they won’t kill themselves.  I know they will always go down the stairs faster than is prudent, I just want to avoid broken bones.

I have a lot of time on my hands and enjoy a good challenge.  The dogs shouldn’t have tested me.


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