May 14, 2009

Wet Indecisionsrain coat

We couldn’t decide today whether or not to go for our morning walk, just Gretchen and me. The rain that started yesterday afternoon, continued like Noah’s flood and nothing looked very appealing. Therefore, we decided to work inside and see if the clouds might lighten up a bit. And what do you know? By the time we picked up Ollie for our first walk of the day, we were experiencing “intermittent spitting,” as Gretchen likes to call it. When we got to the park to play, drizzle came and drizzle went and we stayed relatively dry.

Of course, Ollie still had to wear the raincoat because everything was so undecided — the weather, where we’d end up playing — that Gretchen thought it best to strap it on him. Amazing that he doesn’t mind, but he really doesn’t care. In fact, he gets mighty excited when Gretchen pulls the coat out of her bag and tries her best to settle his wiggly body down long enough to put it on him.

wiggle runOllie knows how to wiggle!

We started out at the park playing fetch, but after a few spurts of energy, Ollie just hung out by Gretchen and well, that isn’t exercise now is it?

I tried to engage him, slamming my body and my ball into his body, but he just wasn’t that interested (probably because he could smell the treats in Gretchen’s pocket!)

Gretchen had a hard time getting photographs today — partly because of the rain, but partly because all the ones she took just didn’t feel right to her. Still, she snapped away hoping to capture the fun of our frolics.

Here’s what she got…

Flying out of the frame!
Me flying out of the frame!
Come and get me, Ollie!
Come and get me, Ollie!
See! You really want to play with me!
See! You really want to play with me!
What? You stole my ball?
What? You stole my ball?

Ollie kind of gave up after this so we headed over to the tennis courts to see if we could reengage him again! Didn’t take much!

"Look at me runs! I's a fast puppy!"
"Look at me runs! I's a fast puppy!"
"Really fast!"
"Really fast!"
"You can'ts even catches me!"
"You can'ts even catches me!"
"Wait a minute! Someone says treat?"
"Wait a minute! Someone says treat?"

We gave Ollie a pretty good rub down before we dropped him back off at his house and then headed to meet up with Gerta.  I’d never met Gerta before so I was a tad bit nervous. She wasn’t. She was gung ho to play with me and immediately went into a play bow the second she saw me.  Generally, a play bow is pretty easy for a dog to do, but Gretchen had strapped on a backpack to Gerta making a play bow pretty difficult.

"Don't I look magnificent?"
"Don't I look magnificent?"

Why a backpack? Well, Gerta’s been struggling with excessive energy. I know what that’s like. Home alone. Nobody to play with. Things that are usually forbidden start to look really interesting. To burn off some of that extra energy, Gretchen loaded up my backpack with lentils and canned food with the intention of making Gerta carry a little extra poundage.  She didn’t mind at all and frankly, the backpack looks better on her than it does on me! I hate that thing!

The tactic worked (as far as we know) because 15 minutes into the walk, Gerta was panting. We’ll have to check with her parents to make certain she stayed away from the forbidden objects — like the leather boots and cereal boxes!

Gerta wore the pack proudly and even when she saw a pigeon (something she dearly

"I think I saw a pigeon!"
"I think I saw a pigeon!"

loves) she didn’t seem encumbered by the weight on her back.

To make sure Gerta was good and tired, we walked a lot today and stopped every once in awhile to rest. Stopping is always a cue for Gretchen to whip out her camera and try to position us into the exact spot she wants.

I’m kind of bored with this (day in and day out!) and so I decided to teach Gerta a few of my stretching techniques.  Doga it’s called, like Yoga for dogs.

First, you look this way…

this way

Then you stretch back over this way making certain not to lose your grounded center…breathe, breathe, breathe deeply…

that way

Then you look up…wait, Gerta, downward facing dog comes later…

downward dog

"You try wearing a weighted backpack while you're stretching! It ain't so easy, buddy!"
"You try wearing a weighted backpack while you're stretching! It ain't so easy, buddy!"
"Okay, so let's practice the resting pose. You've got that down pretty good!"
"Okay, so let's practice the resting pose. You've got that down pretty good!"
"Let's try the eating pose!"
"Let's try the eating pose!"

As you can see, we got along famously and even walked home side by side.  I’m excited to walk with Gerta again tomorrow!

"Could you move over a bit? That backpack is rubbing against me!"
"Could you move over a bit? That backpack is rubbing against me!"
"Yep, sorry about that. I'm wider than I think!  Did you see me take out that chair back at the cafe?
"Yep, sorry about that. I'm wider than I think! Did you see me take out that chair back at the cafe?"

After Gerta went home, we went straight up the hill to pick up Teabiscuit. She’s still not sure she likes me very much…see that look in her eye?

"I know, Biscuit. The handrailing isn't at my height either!"
"I know, Biscuit. The handrailing isn't at my height either!"

But I think secretly, Teabiscuit does like me. Whenever another dog approached, one we didn’t know, she’d sidle right up to me for protection…

"What's that saying about when you're NOT the lead dog?"
"What's that saying about when you're NOT the lead dog?"

Of course, she also kept her distance, but was very obedient when Gretchen called her near for a little cuddle time…

"You want to hold me and rub me? Great!"
"You want to hold me and rub me? Great!"

Teabiscuit and I have a lot in common. Chief among our traits are our nervousness around strange dogs and our love of eating green grass!

chompingchomping2

After our long walk, Gretchen stopped by a cafe near Teabiscuit’s house to post some of her business cards. We waited very patiently outside and I made sure no one came near my Biscuit!

protector

Give her time…she’ll come around and see what a swell fellow I am!

After Teabiscuit it was back in the car for our long drive to agility class. It was a big night since we got to run a whole course! We’ve never done that before and while I missed a few parts, I did really well on the jumps and the tunnels. Frankly, it’s Gretchen who has to learn to give me the right cues and she has a long way to go before she has it down…let me tell you!

Uh, excuse me. I’m right here!

Well come on, you know it’s true. I can only go where you send me and sometimes you don’t know where to send me do you?

You’re right, Rube. I’ll keep working on it, which means you’ll have to be patient when I get to those points of indecision.

No worries. It’s all good.

Until tomorrow,

Rubin

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