Monday, April 29, 2013

Yes, I am Still Alive

Lots of things have been going on in my life in the past few months (I know I'm preaching to the cyber choir), and when I popped over to my blog this morning, I couldn't believe that I haven't posted for over 2 months. While it was a conscious decision to remove myself from blogging and focus on other things - like actually living with my husband and dog - there has been a lot going on that is worthy of a quick entry.

Let's start with Oscar and our nose work training...

I am happy to report that Oscar passed his birch ORT a few weeks ago.  He had a fabulous run - found the odor in 18 seconds and, more importantly, behaved himself like a true gentleman the entire day.  With all the hub-bub of the day - lots of people and dogs in relatively near proximity - he only had one little reactive spat. (Did I mention it was "little"?)

The weeks leading up to the ORT test, I was somewhat doubtful of our ability to pass, but with some clear, concise reflection and wonderfully constructive coaching calls with Kathy Kawalec, we went into the day feeling confident.  I had a great training plan - and the ever important, back-up plan in the event that things went awry.  I stuck to my plan and, golly gee-whiz, it worked.

Speaking of Kathy Kawalec...

For those who do not know Kathy, she is an amazing woman and teacher. I have learned more from the handful of times I have worked with her than the cumulative traditional "training" seminars and workshops and books I have read on dog training throughout the past 8 years.  The emphasis she places on developing - and supporting - the partnership you have with your dog/s is intoxicating. The way she helps you build that relationship is even better...her kind words and support, yet critical critique are empowering.  Her ability to communicate the importance of using personal rewards (that would be you) over non-personal rewards (treats, toys...) and how to use them has turned a new leaf in my everyday interactions with Oscar.  She has helped me shift my awareness in so many ways and I continue to learn from her through her amazing online Cognitive Dog Training Foundation course.  For anyone wanting more...more than the click and treat- type training...consider working with Kathy. She's simply fabulous and your dog will truly thank you for it. 

And on the home front...

Aaron and I have been busy builder bees with our bathroom remodel...a complete tear-out...and it's finally getting near completion. What a project it has been.  The day we began demolition the water line busted from the old pedestal sink (and of course, it was the hot water) and shot water across the room until one of us could run down to the basement to turn the water supply off.  Lesson learned: turn the water off before you being working - and have a plan when $hit hits the fan! As with all projects that wasn't our only surprise along the way.  A near 90-year old house sure has a history...let's just leave it at that.  So, here we are, today, 3 months later with a beautiful new bathroom (still in progress) that was built from the foundation up - the way we wanted it.

I hope to get back into some regular blogging and share a lot of my recent learning.  God knows that I've done a lot of that lately...between nose work, more nose work, Kathy Kawalec and a new instructor's puppy course through the Karen Pryor academy...I'd say my academic mind has reached it's tipping point for the first half of the year.  Phew!

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