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. 🙂

 

poem-sweet July 5, 2016

Filed under: Poetry,poodles — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Beetle black eyes

sparkling intelligence

in that black satin face

long pink tongue

hangs between canine teeth

ferociously happy.

.

.

Shaved the puppy today.  His face is nekkid but he’s extra cute!  We’ve been training today.  He learned 3 new tricks!  He puts the toy into a lacrosse stick for me to throw it (very handy on mucky days), he’ll lie over my feet, and he stands on his back feet.  This in addition to come, sit, down, back, catch, go pee.  Very talented puppy. 😉

#miniaturepoodle

 

poem- asking January 27, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:28 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

She was young,

but she had a dream

to cut herself free

from the stigma of family

substance abuse,

poverty, and

hopelessness,

if only someone would give her scissors

and show her how to use them.

A teacher said,

“You can do it!”

So she applied for a training course,

wondering how she’d pay for the tool kit

or pay for the rent to live in another town.

“We’ll write letters!” said the teacher.

“It’ll work out!”

Community groups responded to her letters

and her impressive resume of volunteer activities

with cheques in hand. 

“You’ve helped this community.

We want to help you achieve this dream.”

The billet said, “Would you work off

your room and board in chores?”

And suddenly the impossible

was happening.

Shining new scissors sliced her past away

and cut open hope

for her future.

.

.

.

True story.  Apprenticeship programs offer kids real skills and credits for professional training and high school credit.  Some times there are barriers for kids to take advantage of the opportunity, but where there is a will, there is a way.  The school is there to help kids achieve their dreams, after all.  Thanks to the service clubs who make a difference, quietly meeting needs in their communities: Lions,  Rotary, Royal Canadian Legion, Elks, Kinsmen, Oddfellows, and the like.  Today is a particularly good day in my world.

 

Amazingly well trained dog! July 13, 2013

Filed under: fun — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yeah.  I’m still avoiding my CampNaNoWriMo writing (I just added a question mark! That’s something!).

It’s my husband’s fault for sending this to me in an email.  It’s absolutely amazing!  And he’s so HAPPY!  Wonderful to see a joyful, clever canine.   OJ can do 3 of these.  Dusty could do about 5 in his prime.  How many can YOUR dog do?

.

 

 
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: