Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

pondering- suck it up October 11, 2019

I have a smart dog.

He’s a miniature poodle, and we’ve been doing trick training since he was a pup. He earned his first trick dog title at 8 months old.  Now we’re working on his Trick Dog Championship and there are a couple of foundation things I realize I had not taught him. Since they’re needed for his championship video, I had to teach them.

Last night, I decided we would learn “hold an object in your mouth.”  There are a couple of options to show this. He could walk with me with an object for 10 seconds or stationary hold something for 6 seconds.  First, I tried just having him walk with his ball.  He is capable of holding a ball indefinitely, but, he wants to give it to me to throw, so keeping it and walking up and down the hall at my side did not work.

I switched to the dowel.  Holding a dowel is a foundation for carrying a dumb-bell which is a basic competitive obedience skill. I had been shown how to teach this and had a dowel, but I had never tried it with Kiltti.  I filled a bowl of Cheerios (our training treat) and called him over.  I attempted to put the dowel in his mouth.  He was having NONE of it.  He ran off and refused to come to me.  Evil lady with nefarious plotting in mind!

I went and got a leash.  He welcomed the leash, and then regretted it when I led him back to the couch.  I looped the leash around my leg, and we tried again.  I opened his mouth and set the dowel behind his canines. I gently held his bottom jaw and told him how talented and amazing he was.

His eyes told me he was not stupid enough to believe any nice things I was saying. I let go the jaw, he spit out the dowel he was given lots of treats.  We spent about 2 minutes on this, with his occasional attempts at escape foiled by the leash, and then he was released to go play ball.

An hour later, I picked him up and we did it again.  This time I didn’t have to hold the bottom of the jaw.  I told him how brilliant he was as I lengthened the time.  2 minutes and many Cheerios later, off he went.

Third time, no problem. I filmed him holding the dowel on his own for 12 seconds, twice the time required.  He still thinks this is a stupid trick, but he does it.

This is such a metaphor for some of my more recalcitrant students!  They spit out the dowel of whatever lesson we’re working on.  They don’t care that it’s a building block that is necessary for something they will need to do later on.

Those students who will give a couple of minutes get the task over with, are free to move onto things they enjoy more.  The next time they try the task, it’s easier.  Still not thrilling, but again, it just takes a small effort of cooperation to get it done.  Those kids get a decent report card.  No missing assignments!  In my class, that invariably means at least a B.  Their reward is success!

But those kids who are still feverishly spitting out the dowel?

The obstacle only gets larger when you fight it.  Growth comes with trying new things and trusting there’s a reason to know something, that knowledge is power.

Learning how to ‘suck it up and get it done’ is a valuable life skill.

Here is a scintillating video of Kiltti holding his dowel. 🙂  Excuse my voice. Still dealing with a cold. 🙂

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product: Big G slicker brush April 4, 2019

Filed under: poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:42 pm
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Professional products produce professional results.

If you have a poodle or a poodle cross (doodles, etc) then the dog’s coat likely needs daily brushing to ensure a healthy coat and to avoid the matting that means the dog has to be shaved down.

Wimpy pet store slicker brushes brush the top of the coat, but don’t get down to the skin if the coat is longer than half an inch.  Enter the Chris Christiansen Big G slicker brush.  This brush has transformed my life!

My miniature poodle is in a modified (short) continental clip with a big jacket.  The Big G allows me to brush him to the skin and keep him matt free. I brush (always mist the hair as you brush, to avoid breakage!) then comb for a velvet, professional look.

I highly recommend this product!

You can order it from professional grooming supply stores, but Amazon has it as well!

( I’m an Amazon Affiliate. Click the photo to be taken to the Amazon page for this brush.)

 

poem- tossing

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:24 am
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I toss.

You race.

You leap.

You flip.

You pant.

You return

on a joy-fueled frenzy

for the fun of the chase.

To vicariously share your bliss,

I toss.

.

.

(Just in from a supremely athletic game of fetch- with a Chuckit Flying Squirrel. Now a happily exhausted poodle is at my feet.  I once saw a Ziggy cartoon that said he just wanted to go to dog heaven and toss balls for eternity. I sometimes feel like that is already my prime raison d’etre according to Kiltti!  How about you? Do you play a lot of fetch?).  

 

 

poem- pocketful November 14, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:01 pm
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Old blazer.

I reach into the pocket:

A piece of plastic wrapper and a hole.

While pristine on the outside,

Both sides within are eaten through.

Instantly,

the ghost of an old dog is in the room with me,

the metronome of his tail slowly waving

while he looks away

to hide the twinkle in his eye.

 

 

poem- bother August 17, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:08 pm
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Fabric on the ground

Measure and pin.

Ah! A helper!

Sit on the fabric

Upset the pins

Give me kisses

Crawl into my lap

Production stops.

Canine cuddles provided,

into isolation you go.

Work resumes.

 

poem-puppy love August 5, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:43 pm
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Wrapped around my leg

munching a clattering antler

fuzzy black love.

.

.

Puppies are so sweet when they’re not chewing your glasses or devouring a black ballpoint pen on your cream leather sofa…

 

poem-friendly July 13, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:58 am
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You are eager to make friends,

straining toward possibility

Mom!  Mom! Let me go!

Hey!  Hey!  Friend!

But you must learn self-control

and prove reliable before

you’ll be unleashed on the world.

.

.

First puppy obedience class today.  Someone was the most excited one in the room: way too excited to pretend to be one of the cool kids, and he talked WAY too much.  Apparently he is truly my dog. (cough).

 

 
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