Friday, September 24, 2010

A Public Service Announcement


Like, yesterday.

We now return to your regular schedule of Schnauzer-related programming.

Monday, September 20, 2010

State of the Schnauzer

This is going to be long, and emotional, and full of my flavor of crazy.

It's really demotivating to go to shows and trials full of stable, normal dogs.

It's extra demotivating when you decide it will be a good, low-key situation to bring your dog so he can experience a trial environment and in contrast to every other normal dog is a shrieking reactive mess that can't see another dog pooping fifty feet away without getting set off.

I just get so frustrated. Indoors he's practically attached to me, right now he's sprawled across me from knees to shoulders, and if I say his name he's right there looking up at me with utter adoration. But, get his nose past a doorway and he's just gone. The lights are on but there's nobody home.

It's so hard because there is nothing I want more than to run agility. I've been madly in love with this sport since I was eight and it's a huge part of why I got a dog in the first place. I'm not content with just a pet. I want to compete. I want to win. I want to train the nitty gritty technical skills that lead to HIT, Nationals, FCI World Agility Championship winning runs. I love dog training, it's the most fascinating thing I've ever done and I absolutely want to train dogs professionally some day, but I feel like such a sham when I can't get my dog to LOOK at me. And I hear stories about how other people took their messes-of-dogs and turned them around and are doing the things I want to be doing and I think why am I not there? No one knows dog training theory better than me. My mechanical skills are decent, but I could shape anything. I get dog training. I have a very high level of general competence; there isn't much I'm not sufficient at without much practice. I want so bad to be good at this. But my dog won't look at me.

And so, I want a puppy. I feel like if I can just read enough and think enough and watch enough, I can get a perfect puppy and do everything perfect and never hit any snags ever. And I know that's not how it works but if I just try harder I can make reality work as well as it does in my head. And then I get this paralyzing fear that if I mess up I'll end up feeling about that puppy the same way I do about Gatsby.

I like him the most when he's sleeping. When he's not trying to scratch through the screen door because the wind deigned to move a leaf, not when I'm picking him up because carrying him is better than making a scene that everyone thinks involves my dog trying to kill another dog with excitement, not even when we have an actual good day in class and he walks on a leash like normal dogs do. Just when his little warm body is curled up against mine and we aren't doing anything.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why do people think we don't want them to own dogs?

In this particular case, I don't know if this guy was being facetious or not, but it is not the first time I've seen the phrase "so I guess you are trying to dissuade me from getting a dog," or some variant therefore of, thrown back in the forum collective's face when we suggest that maybe dogs are too much for them right now. I want to tackle the "I want a smart dog (read: I want Aibo)" thing too, but not now.

Let me just put this out there: We love dogs.

We love them. Every single person responding to you has a deep and meaningful relationship with one or many dogs that is just the most fantastic thing in the world. We LOVE dogs. A perfect world would have everyone enjoying that magical connection with dogs. It's not like we don't want you to have a dog because we want every dog for ourselves or some nutty thing like that. We love our dogs and sharing our dogs with other people because dogs are freaking awesome.

BUT, we make sacrifices to own dogs. For most of us this isn't a big deal (if the sacrifices outweighed the joy we get from dogs, we wouldn't own dogs), but like hell we're going to suggest you go ahead and get a smart dog because you think it's easier (biggest lie ever told) if you're not aware, willing, and able to make those sacrifices.

Yes, that forum can be a little harsh on people that are just uninformed, but you gotta run the gauntlet.And for the dog's sake, listen! These people know their shit. If you want to learn to get the most out of your camera, you go to camera experts. If you want to get the most out of your dog, you go to dog experts. Would you go to a mainstreme photographer to learn to take mainstreme photographs? I mean really.

This post is dedicated to mikedavid, who deserves to be mascot of the internet. I have never seen anything unite the internet into a shining beacon of solidarity like that man.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Upcoming Events

Sept 11-12: GSD Specialty in Big Bend, WI with Jackie and Erin from
Status: Completed and awesome. Meeting internet people in real life is always stressful (because everyone on the internet is a 40 year old man who wants to rape and axe-murder you, dontcha know), but it was a really good experience. I pet dogs, judged ringside (always a fun game) and was outraged at judging inside the ring, and learned I am no where near fit enough to show dogs, let alone run agility. In my defense, I would like to point out I had a major health crisis this summer in which the words "almost died" were thrown about. So, yeah. Excuses.

Sept 17-19: ASCA Stock, Conformation, and Agility Trial hosted by the Rock River Valley Australian Shepherd Club in Saukville, WI
Status: Upcoming and pending. Camping with Erin and her dogs, because I love to camp. I might take Gatsby, it should be a smaller trial and spread out enough that he's not constantly brain-mush. Maybe he'll even, gasp, relax once in a while. Longshot, I know. But it's a good chance to expose him to some things, I think, and it's close enough that I can always take him home if it's too much.

Sept 22-26: NSDTR-USA 2010 National Specialty in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Status: I have to order food! Hotel is reserved, itinerary is printed out, boarding for the Gatz is booked. I am stoked. We're making a family trip out of it, Aunt and Grandmother are going to go gamble while I ogle dogs and network and try not to make an obnoxious ass out of myself.

Dec 4-5: Winnegamie Dog Club Novice Agility Trial in Menasha, WI
Status: Oh doG please let us be ready. I want to trial SO BAD, but there is SO FAR to go. Anyone have a 2x2 weaves DVD they aren't using? A dog with the ability to think continuously about something for more than five seconds?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In Which the Government Buys Me a Puppy

Do you know what day Friday was?

Student refund check day!

I have some unique circumstances which results in enough financial aid to cover my entire tuition (and yes, I know how amazingly lucky I am, and here's an internet shoutout to the spectacular people who support ,e while I languish in undergrad) and since I moved back home to take care of Gatsby, the money that would go toward my room & board gets refunded.

Friday afternoon I opened a savings account for my puppy fund. This is real, folks. :)

Although most of it is going to pay for the exorbitant medical bills I incurred this summer (good health insurance is a MUST, people), there's some "play" money left over which I'm going to use to start building a grooming kit.

Who knew Dremels were carpentry tools, not specifically manufactured for grinding dog nails?