Saturday, August 4, 2007

File under - Thoughts: random

Random Thought #1 - I sat down here at the computer desk just now to vaccuum the keyboard - you know that thing where you gently dust off the keys with the brush-thingie from the sweeper? And while I was gently sweeping, the little brush must have pushed some majorly significant key, because brower's tool bar and my Google tool bar have completely disappeared. If I move the cursor up to the top of the monitor screen, the browser too bar reappears, but where is Google? Where?


I feel like I need to grab and lantern and a rope and wade in to some murky techno-swamp to find it, bringing with me my faithful trackin' dog, Blue, and a flask of liquid courage.

What have I done? How can I fix it? The thought of going without my Google tool bar is making my breath come in funny, tight little gasps.

Random Thought #2 - I just learned the other day that catching pieces of airborne food is just something that dogs should be able to do. Just like I know how to use a jumbo styling wand to flatten my bangs without burning my forehead; just like my husband instinctively knows how much beer or soda pop he can gulp before releasing a belch that won't shatter the fragile antique glass in our windows. One gulp too many and we'd be standing in a pile of shards.

Hershey can execute a leap into the air and bring down chunks of food large or small. He shows a marked preference for any sort of meat, but comes running from the farthest part of the house at the rustling of a chip bag. He's not choosy about his salty snacks. Tortilla chips, pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, Fritos, potato crisps - he eats them all, right out of the air.

Wimzie, not so much. She mostly stands there, looking alert and all, "Throw it, already! You know I can catch this" and then you throw it and it hits her in the head. Or lands on the floor at her feet, where she looks at it in surprise, as if to say, "Omigosh! A Cheese Nip cracker just came from....nowhere? How...? Should I...?"

By that time, Hershey has shoved her aside and eaten it. It is his time to shine, the only opportunity he has in life to feel superior to her, the Dog Who Gets Smacked in the Face with a Chunk of Big Mac.

I discovered Cesar Millan about a month ago and he has learned me a thing or two. Plus being really, really cute, but that's beside the point. I watch his National Geographic Channel show, The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, only for the information he provides about dogs. Not because of his macho walk or his dirty chuckle, no matter what my husband thinks. Anyway, Cesar says that catching food in mid-air is a skill dogs should have, but some of them don't have it because they're spoiled rotten.

When he said this, I cast a guilty, furtive glance at Wimzie, who was lying on her back on a sofa cushion, bolstered by a snuggly blanket with her four paws up in the air. I hastily averted my eyes and cleared my throat, turning up the volume on the television a little louder.

The first thing we were doing wrong was just putting out a bowl of dry dog food and letting her snack all day, choosing when (and where) she would eat. We were giving her and Hershey too much power over their food, he said, and that dogs and wolves living in a pack eat only when the pack leader says "Eat."

So we started feeding them twice a day, morning and evening, after their major walks. We give them a few minutes to chomp down their food and anything not eaten gets taken away. Wimzie was not a fan of this new approach and for the first few days, would only sniff at her bowl, deigning to take a few bites.

"She'll eat when she's hungry, the little brat," my husband said, removing her bowl from the floor to the kitchen counter when she turned her back on it and yawned, strolling into the dining room with an air that reeked of Paris Hilton.

We were resolute and gave her no treats, no snacks, no nothing. By day three, she cracked and ate a bowl of dog food like an actual dog, instead of mincing at it like a pampered princess. Which, of course, is how we've been treating her for the past ten years. The only things that distinguish her from the above-mentioned heiress is that we haven't bought her a Prada handbag or bailed her out of the county lock-up.

The next step was training her how to act like a dog and work for her food. Cesar said that this could be accomplished by using high-value foods, like meat and cheese, to motivate her to catch. We are meeting with spotty success. She honestly doesn't want to catch stuff, preferring, when all is said and done, that she be hand-fed while lounging on my lap. So I throw bits of food and Hershey catches 90% of it. He is the happiest dog you ever saw. Wimzie caught one piece today out of about eight that were tossed in her general direction, and even that was by accident. She nearly choked on it and I was faced with the possibility of performing the Hug of Life on a moody, ungrateful Jack Russell terrier.

Hershey watched her coughing with great interest, undoubtedly hoping that she'd yak it up on the carpet so that he could steal it away. She swallowed the bite of cheese and didn't move a muscle when the next piece fell on the floor right next to her feet. Hershey moved in swifly on a recovery mission, but she gave him one quick look and he fell back, reprimanded.

I'm not sure where we're going with all this, but I'm hoping that it isn't going to take pieces of prime rib or, say, an entire lamb chop to encourage her to actually lift her lazy feet from the floor.

No comments: