Thursday, September 6, 2012

Catching Up

I haven't been a terribly good blogger this summer, I know that. Posts have dwindled through the summer, until they stopped entirely almost a month ago. I've had some very good reasons for that, though, such as:

On August 10th, Maisy and I moved. This was the first time she's moved during her adult life, and a lot of thought went into transitioning her through this time. There are some definite good points about the new place (no off-leash dogs in our neighborhood!), there are some not-so-good points, too (shared living spaces and no fenced yard). Still, for the most part, she and I have settled in, and I'm thrilled with how well she's handled the change.

I didn't time moving very well, as Maisy and I had only been in our new place for about a week when we both went on vacation. I went to a week-long training seminar at the Shedd Aquarium, and Maisy went to A Dog Spot, a small boarding kennel in southern Minnesota.

Oh my gosh, you guys. We both had a great time. For my part, the Shedd was amazing. We spent 9-12 hours there each day for five days. About two-thirds of our time was spent in lecture (by none other than Ken Ramirez, one of my favorite presenters), during which we covered a 500+ page book on animal training. The remainder of the time was spent observing training sessions with penguins, dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, California sea lions, birds, and lizards. We got to go behind the scenes and saw areas of the aquarium the public never sees. It was fascinating.

For her part, Maisy did wonderfully. We've used A Dog Spot before, and I love the staff there. They go out of their way to make the dogs comfortable, and since the staff are also dog trainers, they are very good at matching up dogs for play groups and interrupting before things if needed. It also helps that their outdoor play yard is huge. Since Maisy's best bud Trout was also staying there that week, she had tons of fun, and even got to meet some new friends.

Hanging Out
Photo by Lauren. I think.
I have spent a lot of time with my friends, and since most of my friends are dog people, this means that Maisy has been quite the little social butterfly, too. She's gotten to discover the joy of Frisbees and water retrieves (okay, so she's missing the “retrieve” part of all this, but she does love racing the other dogs to whatever has been thrown). She's gone hiking with new friends on new trails. She's hung out in very busy parks with off-leash dogs and children. And she's handled it all incredibly well.

I've quit worrying about her so much lately, and have started to treat her like a “normal” dog (whatever that is). In her case, it means that I don't baby her as much as I used to. I'm still thoughtful about where I take her and what I do with her, but I also don't keep her in a bubble. She needed that once. She doesn't anymore. We're both taking some chances and stepping outside of our comfort zones, and while I won't hesitate to step in if she's struggling, I find that she needs me to do that less and less.

Going Forward
I'm working on a series of posts about my time at the Shedd Animal Training Seminar, and should hopefully have some up next week. I've also been keeping some notes about the process of moving with a reactive dog, so I'll probably do a few posts about that, too. Just so you guys know, I don't have internet access in my new place (and probably won't for awhile), so it will be a bit hard for me to respond to comments. I'll do my best, but because I'm depending on free wifi at the library, I can't get online very often!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to catching up with you all! Hope you're doing well!


Kerry M. said...

Can't wait to hear about the shed aquarium training session. How exciting. Of all the trainers I've heard (only on DVD) Ken Ramirez is the most scientific and data driven. I appreciate that. Dog training needs more science.

andrea said...

Moving is always tough matter the circumstances

glad you are finding your groove ok

Sara said...


Also, welcome back to the blog world, friend!

Karen said...

Lucky you, getting to work with Ken Ramirez!

Kristine said...

Oh wow, what an incredible opportunity! I am definitely looking forward to reading about your experiences at the aquarium. I always learn so much from your posts and I am sure this series will be no exception.

And congratulations on a successful move! We actually moved as well back in July and while my dog handled it very well, there were some surprising issues I didn't expect. I am glad you are both settled in now.