Sunday, March 5, 2017

"Oh, Kaye!" chats about politics and puppies

This past month has been a busy one.

Being mom to a new puppy (sometimes referred to as Princess Piranha) has kept me on my toes.

Anyone reading my Meanderings and Muses knows what I mean.  Puppy and Politics, that's what it's all about for me these days.  Who would have guessed?

Getting more and more involved in local political activities is keeping me busy - remember, "It's a marathon, not a sprint!"  There is much to do.  

One of the local events was a visit to Rep. Virginia Foxx's office.  She was not there, but her staff was expecting us and they were kind and courteous to all 180+ of us who presented individual letters addressed to Rep. Foxx.   

The other was a tea and cookies event held on Saturday.  She declined this invitation also, even though she was just down the street a couple blocks at a speaking engagement right before the event started

The tea went on as planned and was a huge success.  Rep. Foxx was represented by a photo and an empty chair.  Too bad she chose not to attend, there were excellent points made by attendees and questions that deserved answers.

I have strong feelings about all this.  I happen to think elected officials have an obligation to listen to their constituents.  To answer questions.

Silly me.


Moving along to puppies . . . 

Puppy Kindergarten started this week.

Oh, laws . . .

Let me tell you about Puppy Kindergarten.

It's basically a dog obedience class except it's for puppies only.  Puppies who have about an inch long attention span and very sharp little teeth.

The woman who owns Woof Pack Pet Services is an amazing woman who teaches a variety of classes, has a puppy day care facility, a boarding facility for dogs, and another for cats.

So.  Thursday night was our first class.

Here's our pack -

An adorable mix of pups - all sweet as pie.

The class is based on "Positive Reinforcement."

I love that.

We have been to various classes for dog training in the past - and left - because we did not care for their training philosophy.

This one just seems, to us, to be just right.

So there we were with out itty bitty little fluff ball and all these bigger, but oh so sweet, dogs.  And because they're all puppies, they all have the same issues.  Short attention spans and sharp little teeth.  

Some, however, are already better trained than others.  I'd have to say Annabelle was not as well trained as some, but perhaps a little better trained than others.

But, once she got tired, she was done with learning.

She didn't care if she was being offered a T-bone steak for "down," she was not interested.

Donald is acting as "handler" since he possesses all the patience in the family.

My role is cheerleader and photographer.

That suits me just fine 'cause I get to watch all the other puppies while Don does all the work.

And I smiled and I laughed and I had the best time.

And you know, it's nice to put the rest of the world aside for an evening to watch the simple joy of puppies.

So, Dear Reds, I'm guessing many of you have your own stories about doggie obedience classes, and I'd love to hear them.


  1. Oh, Kaye, what cute dogs!

    Alas, I have no dog obedience stories, just a slightly amusing one about our golden retrievers who loved to climb the fence and go gallivanting around the neighborhood. Since John was working PM watch with the police department, it always fell to me to go chase the two of them down and bring them home again.
    Wish that I could have trained them not to climb the fence . . . .

  2. The first dog I ever took to an obedience class was a wily 10-year-old border collie with herding experience. I went because he had clearly had some advanced training before he showed up as a stray at my house, and I wanted to know as much about what we were doing as he did.

    The first thing he taught me was that he was a strict grammarian. I had to be precise with my commands, if I expected him to obey. If I looked him square in the eye and said, "Sit!" he'd say, "Who are you talking to, Mom?" I had to say, "Liam, sit!" if I expected a response from him. The second thing he taught me was that it was really fun to have the border collie in the obedience class. He'd understand what I wanted him to do immediately, and I'd spend the rest of the class cooing and petting and shoveling treats his way while he moved steadily and flawlessly through all the stuff the other dogs struggled to learn. The instructor often used him as the demo dog, and even borrowed him once or twice to show prospective students that, yes, old dogs could learn new tricks if they'd enroll in her class.

    He loved it, and so did I. He loved it so much, in fact, that we went all the way up through advanced obedience, and when we were back home he'd sometimes lead me to the backpack where I kept all the treats and beg me to play that game with him where he did simple, stupid stuff and I fed him the best treats ever. I've taken all my dogs to obedience since then, with varying results, but it's a great way to teach your dog manners, get them out in public so they aren't afraid of new places and people, and get to know them as you form your partnership bond. I applaud you for taking your puppy. Have fun!

  3. I especially love these pictures! And PP is so sweet. I've never had a dog. And cats are, for the most part, untrainable. They either do or they don't but they make lovely companions.

  4. Oh, Kaye, Annabelle is so cute. Although, boy, those puppy teeth are murder. We took our first three dogs through obedience class. The older of our first two German shepherds, Hallie, could never get through the exercise where you put the dog in a down stay and walk out of sight, no matter how many treats she might have earned. She just couldn't bear to be separated from us.

    Alas, we have not put either of the current two shepherds, who are now three and four, through obedience. Recommendations, Gigi?

  5. So cute! And I love the… Is it a Weimaraner? Looking so alert and proud of himself. Or her.
    And of course the PP is the cutest. Forever.

    No, we had many dogs growing up, and obedient was the last thing they were. Four goofy Irish setters, a Puli,, twp English Springer spaniels and a Great Dane named Milton. Not all at the same time. And, again, obedient is not the word I would use.
    But nothing is more annoying than an ill
    trained dog, so you are certainly doing the right thing! And I am all about positive reinforcement, good job! :-)
    It is now 5:19 AM, and I am in the Santa Barbara airport. Being obedient. Xxxx

  6. I am a cat person, so obedience training is irrelevant. Truth be told: My cats have always trained me well! They set the rules and I follow them. Every new cat was going to be different, I said. And every single cat, it's been the same. They own my heart. And they own me.

  7. Great post Kaye! My family's German shepherds growing up were NOT well-trained, and only once did we get taken to court (for grabbing the little yapper next door and giving him a shake. I'm sure he asked for it, but still...)

    So when we got Tonka as an 8 month old, we signed up. His habit of jumping on guests was the worst problem--at 11, he no longer does this but I suspect it's because of arthritis. He and I also went to agility classes for a while, which was wonderful fun. Until we got to the plank, like a balance beam, but higher. Tonka was lured onto it by little pieces of irresistible hot dog. Once he got up there and had eaten all the snacks, he realized he was quite a ways off the ground, and began to shake. He shook until he fell off. And then the trainer made him go back up. That kind took the wind out of our sails.

    But if we have other dogs, I will definitely take them to class!

  8. And ps Kaye, I'm totally with you--elected officials should feel obligated to hear out their constituents.

    And constituents should be polite while they express their views--

  9. Oh, Kaye! Annabelle is adorabelle! It's so hard to get mad at puppies, even when they combine the destructive forces of a tornado and Jaws, isn't it? Good luck with the training.

    We have only had one dog, right at the beginning of our marriage 35 years ago. I realized then that Steve and I have, shall we say, opposing views on how to make dogs behave. Our dog Knife (he was meant to be my protector, see, since Steve traveled then six months of the year), while very smart, was the least obedient dog on the planet, and kept running off the instant he went out the door to relieve himself. He would literally run miles away; one night I got a phone call from Steve's high school football coach, who lived over a mile from us, saying that Knife was "mounted" on his aging female dog, and he couldn't get them apart. Eiyiyi.

    The next day, old Knife went under the knife. He eventually went to live with an older neighbor, who was home enough that they could walk him twice a day. But he was never truly trustworthy if left alone in an unfenced area.

  10. Aww, puppies. So cute, but yeah. The teeth! Our dog was older when he came to us (1.5 years), but in retrospect he would have benefitted from some obedience training.


  11. I love all these stories.

    Joan, a dog that climbs fences is hard to keep down, I agree. That's one determined guy!

    Oh, Gigi. This is such a lovely story. You guys had a bond that goes beyond the norm, I think.

    Hallie, cats are untrainable. But lovely companions. I completely agree with both these statements. And I miss having cats, but Harley wouldn't hear of it, and frankly - now? Now I think I'd run screaming into the night with kitties and a puppy. oy.

    Deborah - I had a West Highland Terrier, Pax, who got pretty upset during the "down" training several years back. The trainer handled it badly and set poor Pax back several lessons. That's one of the obedience classes I quit. But, Pax was with me for 16 years, including a not so nice divorce. I loved that dog so much it was completely fine with me whatever he did. Thankfully, he was one of the better behaved dogs in my life.

    Hank! I hope by now you are safely back home. You have had quite a trip! That very proud dog you mentioned - named "Dozier" - is the most gentle of giants. A picture I did not get Thursday evening was Dozier and Annabelle nose-to-nose getting to know one another. Her reaching way up, him bending slightly forward to say hello. It made me a little teary, truth be told.

    Amanda, I adore cats. They are so wonderfully graceful, magical and mysterious. Maybe Annabelle would like an older cat to come live with her . . .

    Oh, Roberta. That story about sweet Tonka broke my heart. My temper would have flared, I'm afraid, and Tonka and I would have probably just hit the road.

    Karen, you made me laugh out loud. Knife! What a perfect name! What a fun filled free spirit!

    Mary/Liz - but we love 'em with or without that training, and that's the truth.

  12. We had a dog growing up, but my sister was the one who took him to obedience class. I'm not convinced that was a total success, but "Nugget" loved to snuggle, which was the most important thing to us.

    Elected officials who refuse to meet with their constituents? Isn't that like refusing to meet with your boss? Seems like a fireable offense to me!

  13. Ingrid - I'm with you; a cuddly snuggly dog is worth its weight in gold.

    And yep, I'm with you all the way on the fireable offense also. Unfortunately, gerrymandering is beyond believable in North Carolina.

  14. Ok, I just wrote quite a long and entertaining post about my dogs, Toby, 11, and Penny, 3. I lost it. Screw it.

    They both had immersion training, separately, before they were a year old. They were boarded while we took a vacation, and the training was individual, 16 ten minute sessions per day, included taking them around to shops and public places, socializing both to other dogs and to people "The Wizard of Oz", and yes, was a member of equity for six weeks. He was amazing, hit his mark every time, got through a two hour show and then stood still to be petted by 800 or so children. From there he was certified as a therapy dog and for years we had a case load of hospice patients. He brought sunshine and pain relief to so many, and it was a privilege to be his handler. He's now retired from all that, lives for daily walks and cuddles

    Penny is only three and not at all of a disposition to be a therapy anything. For starters she can't bear to have her fluffy tail touched, snarling but not not snapping at least. This is a no no for a therapy dog. Mostly she is a well behaved curly haired short legged shin sitter, loving her cat, Eliot, and playing ball as long as I will toss it to her.

    Both are Pomapoos, don't shed, don't smell and smart as hell. I adore them.

    1. BTW Kaye, thank you for attempting to hold our lawmakers' feet to the fire. I am so disgusted and pretty much unable to watch network news since November. Son't get me started..

  15. One of the reasons we do not currently have a dog is that my husband believes that obedience classes equal breaking the animal spirit. There are many other reasons . . . but really!!
    Cute puppies.

    And, on the other subject, "constituent services"???? Show up, people.

  16. Finta - Therapy dogs! Therapy dogs fall into my list of heroes. Being in The Wizard of Oz is another whole deal - wow!!!!!!!! love this! And thank you for the kind words about holding some feet to the fire. This NEEDS to be happening. Elected officials are no longer going into this to help people - they're lining their pockets.

    Denise Ann - Exactly! Constituent services.

  17. 45 years into dog training, I am in favor of the positive reinforcement approach to teaching skills. Just be sure that the instructors also teach how to say "NO' at some point, because there are things dogs do that have to be stopped. And...don't be too seduced by the cuteness of puppies playing with other puppies. It teaches them to be excited around all other dogs, rather than learning to be comfortable around other dogs and focused and responsive to their owners.

  18. Lori - 45 years - Amazing! The word "No?" Oh yes - not to worry Melissa believes in the word "no." I am, as I said, quite impressed with her. Here's "some" of her qualifications -
    Animal Behavior College - ABCTD Dog Trainer
    Animal Behavior College - Mentor Trainer
    AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
    Therapy Pets Unlimited Evaluator
    Therapy Pets Unlimited - Regional Director for North Carolina

  19. No playing with other dogs happening in the doggy obedience class - at least not in the beginning. All dogs stay "on leash" and keep to their own spaces. But they are learning a little about socialization

  20. Kaye, love love love the photos! Thank you for sharing. I checked Rep. Virginia Foxx - her FB page says she is a champion of conservative ideas.

    Story about dog obedience - one of my cousins had a dog named Nellie. that was our great grandmother's name! I think it was a coincidence. Nellie went to dog obedience school. I learned a sign to let Nellie know that I wanted her to sit before I can give her a treat. She was a mix of Doberman and other breeds. She was a good "nanny" to my cousin's baby, like the Nanny dog in Peter Pan.

    Thank you! xoxo

  21. oh, bib-li-o-phile. Nellie sounds like a total love (and I love that name so much). Dobermans are sweet natured and every one I've met seemed to want to be very protective of smaller animals and children. (Now I want to go read Peter Pan again)

  22. You're a brave woman to take on a puppy. I decided after our Airedale/mix puppies years ago that I would do that no more forever! I love them but. . . Nowadays we adopt "rescue" dogs who are adult and housebroken and just ready to be loved.
    Is there any kind of organization that keeps a report card on elected officials? Not so much how they vote but how responsive or accessible they are to their constituents.

  23. Kaye, I am so in love with Annabelle! She is the cutest little furball, and I am so cheered by her pictures. I'm betting that she will be the star of her class.

    I must admit that I never took our dogs to dog training, but my daughter is a big believer in the classes, and she recently finished a course with their new puppy. I take it that there are other courses to come. I think dogs are pretty smart in figuring out which owners are serious about the rules and which are easy pickings. My daughter is serious, and, like with her children, there are expectations that are to be met. Me, I'm the easy pickings. However, when my husband retires and gets back home, we are going to finally have another dog, and we might take more time to invest in some training.

    Kaye, you know how I admire your activism in politics these days. While I have gotten much more involved in supporting organizations with donations, I am looking to do some physical involvement, too. And, these politicians not showing up at events is such a cowardly, disrespectful action.

  24. Oh, Kaye, thank you so much for being active. It is a marathon but honestly I am really missing my former complacency. *Sigh* As for puppies, when Otto (my schnauzer) and I went to puppy obedience school we were kindly asked to leave when he felt compelled to pee on all of the other dogs. Such a boy. Annie, our brindle pitbull-mystery rescue, never needed obedience class. She is very sensitive and if anyone uses rough language she hides under the kitchen table. Seriously, no one argues in the house because it might upset Annie. She makes us a better version of ourselves. Otto not so much. I think you have found the perfect antidote to these perilous times -- puppies! Your Annabelle is ridiculously adorable!

  25. Pat, brave? Pfft. I think we had just forgotten how much work a puppy can be!!! LordAMercy - the energy! LOL I think there are all sorts of report cards, I'm never sure which are reliable and which aren't, but I'm sure she scores high on ultra-conservative issues.

    Kathy, you are adorable! I love the comparison between you and your sweet daughter and your disciplinarian styles. But now, remember, I have met your daughter and whatever you and Phillip did, you did it just right - she is just wonderful.

    Jenn. I love you. You and your whole household. That Annie keeps arguments to a minimum is so lovely I can hardly stand it. That Otto peed on the other puppies makes me scream laughing. My Pax peed on my ex-husband's leg and we were absolutely going to be besties forever and ever after that.

  26. Great photos and article -thank you ! My adorable westie and I did puppy training two years ago but the only one who ended up trained is me...

  27. Fun read---I'm so with you, Kaye! And maybe our reps need some training, too--along with our pups! Getting ready for Dad's 85th b'day party this evening. See ya again soon! Loved everyone's stories. xo

  28. Cats can be trained, the Key West Cat Man speaks to that. Mostly it is like trying to push jello, we have been able to train our cats to do a few things. One cat was leash trained, another responded to verbal commands ~~Ozzy say Meow me? Meow. The 3 we have now understand and will comply with"no" & "down"; followed by a cat stare n sneer.

    Loyal cat person that I am I still would love to pet those babies.

    Looking back over the years in politics, it seemed that elected officials paid more attention to the heavy fund raisers than they did to their constistuents. Still part of the problem I think.

  29. We took my beagle to kindergarten when she was a pup and she wore a dress on her graduation day that my daughter wore as a toddler. She still doesn't heed me when we go out and scents cause her to stray from the path of worshipping my every command. �� But she's usually a good girl and the sweetest. Your own pup is also pretty dang cute.

  30. Elisabeth - I can see how that could happen. LOL - I'll keep you posted!

    Sending your dad lots of birthday wishes, Lynne!

    Coralee! This is amazing! I'd love to meet and pet some of those Hemingway cats too. I love that they're still around

    Sonia. A graduation dress - TOO adorable, I love it. Annabelle is a curious as a cat, so yes, I can see where scents can cause that stray in worship. (that was funny)

  31. Adorable!Is she a corgi? With or without tail? Keep us informed. My German Shorthaired Pointer came from my brother, fully trained when I got him. He forgot one tiny detail. The dog was petrified of loud noises. That was fine. We were not using him for hunting, but we lived in Florida - thunder capital of the nation. Not a good situation. He never got over his fear of thunder, but he was a wonderful dog. Turned out he had a natural knack for finding lost children. We tried to have him trained as a rescue dog for child rescue (washed out on the loud noises test) but he did pass the therapy dog test with flying colors and spent many a happy day in nursing homes and peds hospitals.

  32. Kait, a corgi yes, with a little bitty nub of a tail. Your pointer joins my list of heroes being a therapy dog. That is one of the nicest things in the world.