Savings for Trainers; Favorite Photographs NZ

I don’t like to use the blog to promote things. The good people here at the office attempt to remind me that I have to make a living, but they have pretty much given up trying to convince me to use the blog as a marketing device. But on occasion they make arguments that even I can’t refute. In this case it’s “Don’t you want other professionals to have a chance to save a bunch of money? Don’t you think they’d at least want to know?”

So, okay, in hopes this is helpful to the professionals out there who use some of my books and booklets: There’s a good deal on now, 10 free booklets if you buy 10 Puppy Primers (which are already already 50% if you buy 10 at a time.) Your tax accountant will love it … if you have the money, and need more books for next year, spend it now. I’m taking the same advice. I have to buy a new computer, and as soon as I post this I’ll be driving to the Apple store.

Whew, I can check that off now. Someday I will get over being 1) a woman (my daddy the old-fashioned banker felt women and money should never mix. seriously.) 2) a child of the 60’s (poor is good! live off the land! eat berries and tubers!) and 3) an academic (money may not be made outside of academia –unless, of course, you are in business or medicine, in which case the sky is the limit.)

MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Willie loves the snow, which allows him to play frisbee because the snow dampens the impact when he lands. He and I have been going up the hill almost every day, me on snow shoes, he on those handy all-weather paws that dogs have. On Wednesday we’re going on a walk with a friend and her Bully mix. It’ll be interesting to see how they do together. They did well when younger, but the other guy is much older now. I hope they get along well, it’s great when Willie adds dogs to his circle of buddies. He met a herding cross last week, lovely young female with great dog skills, and he hated¬† her. Go figure.

The lambs are thriving. Truffles seems to be giving a lot of milk, so I am starting to cut back on the milk I’m giving them. They are not pleased about this situation, but we’ll weigh them to ensure that they are gaining weight and decide what to do from there. Both of the twins are incredibly rude: they leap onto you when you enter the pen FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME. Not a problem now, but it will be when they weigh in at 100 pounds. I think some clicker training is in order here.¬† (I did train an aggressive ram to ‘touch’ my raised hand to keep him from putting his head down and ramming into me. As long as their head is up you’re safe.) Should be fun actually to clicker train the lambs.

We’re still covered in snow here, although it’s supposed to rain Thursday. And then, of course, freeze. Yuck. The worst possible combo. Cross your paws for us. And thank you, sincerely, for all your holidays messages, I felt warmed and happy when I read each one of them. Here’s a bit of warmth back to all of you, some more photos from beautiful New Zealand.


  1. Alexandra W says

    I feel you on the snow. We’ve got more than a foot where I am, with a nasty crust that’s hard enough to make walking difficult but soft enough that you crunch through every time, and so long nature walks are right out at the moment. I’ve been exercising my beagle by throwing a piece of kibble down the stairs one at a time for his dinner.

  2. says

    Those dad messages are really potent, aren’t they? My dad said “A lady always carries a purse.” I’ve actually found myself stuffing a purse into my panniers before going on a long bike ride. Pitiful.

    Good luck on the walk tomorrow. I’d love to see research some day on why dogs like some dogs and not others. It’s obviously more than just good communication skills–maybe chemistry?

  3. Alexandra says

    Video, please, of you clicker training lambs. I think that’s quite entertaining and a brilliant idea!

  4. em says

    Hee Hee! I know that it isn’t a joke, but the idea of training the sheep struck me as so funny. It’s a wonderful idea, but the image of you competing in a herding trial not with Willie but with your flock of wonder-sheep, trained to manoeuver and pen themselves leapt immediately to mind and just won’t be shaken loose.

    I hope that Willie rekindles his relationship with his bully friend. I’ve found that Otis is more selective about new dogs as he’s matured. He’s still very friendly and polite with dogs, but he’s much less likely to “hit it off” with a stranger at nearly four years old than he was at two. Back then, he’d play with any dog- any size, any energy level (with the exception of small puppies), but now he’s looking for something particular. Sometimes it seems that size is the factor (bigger is better), sometimes it’s energy (high but focused, not hyper and scattered), and sometimes he makes overtures to a dog because they LOOK like a dog he knows and loves (yellow labradoodles are the most common target), even if they don’t seem interested in him. He also seems to make sex-based distinctions. He likes female dogs, but he doesn’t roughhouse with them the way that he does with his male friends. He’ll run and bump a bit, but he never tackles or wrestles with them, no matter how big they are or how physical they are with him.

    He still loves to play, but now if an ideal playmate doesn’t turn up, he doesn’t make do, he takes a pass. Grown up, I suppose.

  5. says

    I got an iPad for Christmas. We discovered we needed Wi-Fi for it = trip to the Apple store. Then we learned we needed a newer computer to run Wi-Fi = another trip to the Apple store.

    Here’s my other Christmas anecdote: Every previous Christmas of my younger dog’s life there’s been a giftwrapped squeeky stuffed animal toy under the tree. Now she’s four & she’s been successfully discouraged from disemboweling them & leaving fiberfill all over the house. When we checked the toy basket we found a few intact, so we didn’t buy her one this year. Christmas morning she watched us unwrap gifts with great interest. When we were done & there had been nothing for dogs except home baked treats, she immediately went to the toy basket & rummaged around until she found a toy that still squeeks. She brought it over & stood there squeeking it while looking at us hopefully. A reminder? A guilt trip?

    Classical conditioning, right? Anticipation and reinforcement, but only once a year!

  6. J.C. Burcham says

    Love love love the pictures from NZ. Especially loved the bird post. I studied birds in NZ for 3 mos in 1998. Have been getting into your blog posts and look forward to hearing how Willie’s play date went. Thanks for telling about the special!

  7. AnneJ says

    I find I am constantly training sheep. Not with a clicker, but what do sheep want most, even more than food? They want to feel safe. Dogs are inherently unsafe to a sheep, being predators, so I find myself training my sheep to do what I want by using the dog, and the release of dog’s pressure, to get them to do what I want. So I use the dog to teach the sheep not to trample me at feeding time, or to teach them to go into the barn, or to get on the trailer, or to stand still so I can catch them. Stopping the dog, backing the dog off, even quitting and going away, are all rewards for the sheep. I suppose I should remember the technical term for that (negative reinforcement?) but I’m not sure.

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