Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm aka Hurricane Sandy

Yesterday afternoon and last night the Frankenstorm swept through the Mid Atlantic and northeast. It was one of the biggest (in land area) ever. And some of the strongest winds the Washington DC area has ever seen in a hurricane. Plus it dumped almost 3 feet of storm in the Potomac Highlands.

But Draco and Bella didn't care about any of those stats. And honestly they didn't notice anything was different until we went to bed.

Draco doesn't like the rain. So he didn't want to go outside much but when there's a shower in April he doesn't want to go out then either. As the winds started to pick up he didn't react. Around 5pm I gave him an Ultra Calm so I thought it was doing its magic. But as it turns out the reason he didn't react to the high winds was because the tv was on and Dave and I were just relaxing watching the constant coverage on NBC4.

But when we turn out the lights and the tv off he started to stare out of the sliding glass door and became anxious. He started to pace and pant. He got on the my side of the couch then jumped down, got on Dave's side of the couch then jumped down, went upstairs panted paced and couldn't find anything to make him happy. I followed him around trying to soothe him for an hour. When nothing I did worked I decided he was on his own and I went to sleep. When I woke up 6 hours later, the power was still on, the winds were quiet and Draco was asleep by the couch on his bed.

She didn't notice anything at all. She went outside all day and ran around eating leaves like it wasn't raining and the winds were strong enough to blow her away. When we took her out around 11 when the winds were at the highest she still didn't care. Thank goodness! Let's hope her carefree attitude never changes and starts to influence Draco.

We survived the Frankenstorm of 2012!

How about everyone else?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Good Judge of Character

All has been relatively quiet on the puppy front of late. Except last night. It started out about the same as the nights have been recently. She played around for a little while and then moved to her spot on the couch and closed her eyes. She was asleep for about twenty minutes when the action started.

I was watching Discovery Channel, which was airing a special on Osama Bin Laden. About ten minutes in, I paused the television and called my parents. The image frozen on the screen was of Bin Laden himself. I spoke with my mom for a few minutes when I noticed Bella wake up. She looked at the TV, then sat up and started growling, low and throaty at first and then getting louder. The growl led to a few quick barks. I said to her, "I know he's a bad man, but he's not going to hurt you." She continued to growl. I hit 'play' on the remote and let the image change before pausing it again. Bella looked at the TV growled once more and laid back down.

I think we'll stick with football tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rally-O Class #2

Bella and I attended our second Rally-O Class on Sunday. And it didn’t feel like the first class as much as I thought it would.

I remembered how to get there and Bella remembered too, she tried to drag me all the way there from the car. I recognized several of our classmates and our instructor, Patsy. Even Patsy remembered who we were.

Side note: There seems to be a trend in dog training. Everyone knows the dog’s names but not the human handlers' names. So when someone wants to get my attention they say “Bella”.

The three week hiatus from class seemed to lower the attendance. We lost one of the dog/human pairs. The sheep dog was missing from class. And Mocha the chocolate Lab/Weimaraner mix showed up late and was asked to leave early.

Apparently, while we all were working the course, Patsy asked Mocha and her handler to exit the course and took them aside. Pasty was concerned Mocha’s handler was too rough with the leash corrections. Pasty instructed Mocha's handler on the "art" of treat luring and showed her how to use treat luring to achieve the maneuvers. After a few minutes of practice, Patsy felt she was too frustrated to continue and asked her to go home and come calm down and practice the treat luring. I was shocked when Patsy told us. I didn’t notice them at all because Bella and I went onto the course before them. But I have never heard of a handler and dog being asked to leave class for improper leash correction.

Bella and I had spent the last three weeks practicing the maneuvers from class #1. The practice seemed to help us. But this week’s course was way different than last week’s (every week has a new course) and it seemed way harder. Here are the maneuvers we preformed:

Moving Down Walk Around Dog
270° to the Right
Send Over Jump, Handler Passes By
360° Right Turn
About Turn Right
Call Dog Front, Finish Left, Forward
Straight Figure 8 Weave Twice
Moving Side Step Right
Halt, About Turn Right and Forward
Down Stop
Halt, Turn Right One Step, Call to Heal, Halt
Moving Down, Walk Around Dog
Back Up Three Steps (HARD!)

Wow I am tired just remembering. We did the full course three times. And the jump several more times individually. At the first class she went over the jump like she had been doing it all her life. But on Sunday she was like, “What is that?!?!…I don’t think so, I will just follow you”. She finally got it. I think we will still have to work at it. Patsy sent us some instructions to make our own jumps at home to practice. They require a PVC pipe and a drill. I guess Dave will need to dust off his work belt...okay okay...I guess Dave will need to go buy a work belt and Handy Man for Dummies book.

I was nervous before class but when we got home Bella was happy and sleepy and slept for the rest of the day so I was happy too.

I am looking forward to the next class...I just hope I don’t have to wait three weeks.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our 2nd Rally-O Class?

The last two Rally-O classes were cancelled. The September 30th class was cancelled because our instructor had a wedding and a family reunion. And last week’s because of the rain.

This means Sunday’s class is going to feel like the first day of class all over again.

I hate the first day of class. It is awkward because you don’t know anyone and you are unsure what to do. I really don’t want to do that again. It won't exactly be like the first class. But I still don't really know anyone and I am not really sure what Bella and I are doing yet.

But on Sunday we will have our second class of the course. Bella and I have been practicing. And we got a new leash which should help my hands out a lot. The nylon leash killed my hands last time. So we are ready to go.

I just hope we have class on Sunday…

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Miss Bella!

Today is Bella's first birthday.

She had a very big day. Chassie started the day by singing her Happy Birthday. I came downstairs and both Chassie and I excitedly wished her a happy birthday. She jumped around and moved between us, extremely excited because we were. I took her for a walk and then we went to Doggie Day Camp. Chassie told me to tell them it was her birthday and when I did, the guy at the counter said, "Oh, then it's free today." She even got a peanut butter treat for free.

Now, she's laid out next to me, sleeping peacefully. I'd say she had a pretty good day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Serial Killer Eyes

“She has serial killer eyes”

Some might remember me repeating that phase over and over again to describe Bella for the first few months. It was hard for me. Even though I was super excited to have her in our lives, I intimately knew how hard it is to raise a puppy. I did it with Draco all by myself and I didn’t want to do it again. But Dave had never had a puppy before and to be honest he didn't believe me.

So we ended up with a high energy, notoriously difficult, smart puppy. Her linage is from Champions in rally and hunting. Which means she can go all day and still be mischievous at night.

But why did I think she had “Serial Killer Eyes”?

Her eyes looked like human eyes. Green human eyes. And human eyes on an animal are creepy. She would stare at me with her human eyes like she was reading me. Just like a serial killer would. To make it worse, as she was using her serial killer eyes to stare at me she would do things like pee on the carpet or rip a piece of the drywall off. It was creepy and then infuriating.

As her eyes started to turn a golden amber color the freaking human quality started to subside. And she stopped peeing on the carpet and we were able to repair all the walls which have remained intact. I began to feeling differently about her.

A few months ago Bella, Dave and I were watching TV downstairs. She was laying almost on top of me and I was looking at her and petting her and kissing her. And Dave suddenly said,

“You love her”

To which I replied, “No I don’t…okay I do but don’t tell anyone”.

I don’t remember when it happened, could have been when her eyes changed color, when she started really listening to the commands, or when she was really sick, but it happened…I fell in love with her.

She is a big cuddlebug and loves to sit in front of me watching TV and lean her head back and look into my eyes as I scratch her chest.

But her eyes still have a glimmer of serial killer in them sometimes…