The house is filled with that oh-so-lovely silence made by tired, sleeping animals. Even the cats are snoozing away this afternoon, after spending the morning out and about. The dogs and I started the day with an agility lesson, followed by running some errands and a hike at the conservation area. Now we’re all tired, but I have to work while they sleep!
It was fun getting back to agility after our 6-week break. I had planned on taking the dogs for a bit of a hike prior to our lesson in hopes of taking the edge off (especially with Kess), but no luck. Just as we were getting ready to head out, a very violent thunderstorm hit. No way I was heading out in that! By the time it blew over, it was time to go straight to our lesson. There, another storm hit and my was it loud in that tin-roofed arena! We had to stop the lesson because we couldn’t hear each other talk, let alone a clicker. Hannah and Kess seemed find despite the noise, and just snoozed in their crates. I had Ross and Mira in the car and I was a little worried about them. They are both a little uncomfortable during storms, and Mira has shown herself on occasion to be downright thunderphobic. The storm didn’t last long, and when I checked on them they both seemed fine. We’ve had a few storms roll through in the last couple of days and I have not noticed Mira acting fearfully. Perhaps her latest homeopathic remedy has helped. I’ll know more when we’ve had a few more storms.
Our lesson was mostly a refresher in training for me, to remind me of what I need to be working on with each dog. They are so different that it takes me a little bit to make the shift as we switch back and forth. Hannah is consistent, calm and thoughtful. She remembered everything and was great. When we asked her to do the weaves, she did all twelve without hesitation, three times in a row. Clearly she remembered what she was supposed to do. I know I say this often, but what a great dog.
Kess, as expected, was a nutcase. She was so wiggly and wild that it was hard to really do anything with her at first. My instructor observed that when I click and feed a behaviour, I feed very quickly. I do this because she’s moving so fast it’s tough to reward the behaviour I want. She suggested that this fast feeding may in fact be increasing Kess’s energy level, and encouraged me to take a second or two before feeding her after I click. It was hard for me to re-program myself to do this, but once I got it a few times, amazingly Kess settled down. It’s having someone make observations like this that make paying for lessons worth while.
Today is my first day at home in a couple of weeks and it feels so, so good to just be quietly at my computer while the thunder and rain pound outside. I am really glad I decided to stay in this house for now, as I simply don’t have the energy to move right now. I have too much on the go, and I need to put my efforts into those projects. Plus I really do love it here. And now that the house is going to be “mine” for a bit, I am planning how to make it reflect me a bit more.
I’ve started working in the garden already, and just finished putting down some more pasture seed in the dog yard. I am going to move the composters out of that fenced area as the dogs get into digging around it when things start to really decompose. I need to empty these bins, which will be much easier with a wheelbarrow. I priced some today and they’re not cheap. I’m hoping I can find one second hand. The cheapest one I found today was $88 and was made of plastic. I refuse to buy plastic, but the metal one was $188! Needless to say, I left without both. There is one I see sitting idle at a neihbour’s so I may simply knock on their door, introduce myself, and ask if I can borrow it.
I have some ideas for improving the dog yard, building in some shade and a better way for the cats to get around without being harassed. I’ve also found some used electronet fencing for sale, which I will use to fence off more of the property. I would like to be able to have the dogs out with me when I’m gardening or reading in my hammock, but I need a fence around that area as people can and do walk by, and the dogs are able to just run across the lane to meet them. I’d rather they didn’t, so I always have to keep an eye out for passers by. With a fence up, I won’t need to worry about that anymore.
I’m also considering turning the downstairs bedroom into a dog room, provided I can get the landlord to take all his stuff out. He currently uses it as a storage room, but has half emptied it over the past year. I suspect if I ask him nicely, he’ll clear out the rest of it. After all, if I am paying for the whole house, I should have use of it. Besides, I must get my stuff out of storage and move it here, so I’ll need to use that space one way or another.
Enough planning – it’s time for me to get down to some work. I have essays to grade, and papers to write. Classes ended yesterday so no more 12 hour days for the dogs for the foreseable future. Yippee! Tomorrow I don’t have to go in until noon, which will mean I can even get them out for a good hike at the conservation area before going to work. Next week I work Tuesday and Thursday, half days. After that, I’m off for the summer. Off from having to drive into town that is. I have plenty of work, but can do it all from home. Summer is almost here…