Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Favorite Rope Toy

My current favorite toy is the rope. Its torn, tattered and old, but I sure do love it. It stinks too, but no one seems to mind, I don't. Rob plays rough with me using the toy. We play the tug game with it, and I love it. I pull on it with all my might and my jaws are strong, the humans can even lift me up just by pulling on the rope, which is tight in my jaw.
Kimi and the stinky rope
The humans learn to touch my other body parts, while I'm rough playing with the tug game. They use one hand to pull on the rope, and the other hand strokes my head, neck, shoulders, legs and back. They seem to be reinforcing that this is a friendly game, and I should enjoy the moment, and I do. They are also de-sensitizing my body parts, while reinforcing the 'no bite' rule.
Rob and I.

Being Trained with the Chickadies

Who says that Airedales are impossible to train? If an Airedale has a strong will, the owner just has to have a stronger will. Mum is training me to tolerate the chickens, whom we now call chickadies. I am not allowed to stalk, stare at, or chase the chickadies. I've been very good at it, when I run toward their "condo", also known as the chicken's home, someone will yell at me, "No Birdies", which means, leave them. And I listen.
For a little while, I would be interested in what they get to eat. Mum would throw them old blueberries, or give them pieces of fruit and things, just so that they would come closer to us humans and dog alike, and learn to trust us, and I'd wonder why I'm not getting any of that food. I would try to get to the food they were eating off the ground, but Mum would say, "Leave it", and I'd obey her. I have to - there is no question about disobeying, because I'd be put in a down position if I don't listen. And I don't fancy falling out of favor with mum, since she's the alpha around here.
I've even learned how to walk calmly among my chickadies now. And the birds trust me too, they keep an eye on me, and never ever let me get closer than 3 feet, but now, I'm getting a hang of this. I'm learning to switch off the prey drive in my head. If Dave and Alice came to visit me on my property, I know they would be so delighted to have a free chicken chase and dinner.
My chickadies like to hang around the garden, picking out worms, bugs, rolly pollys and other insects. They roost up in the tree at night, and they lay eggs in their condo. They never seem to leave our property, I guess they like living here, just as I do. It is very nice for me to live on a big property and have these other living things around me. I've even chased a garden snake in my garden. I wonder if the chickadies would eat the snakes because that would make my mum very happy indeed.

So its not impossible to train an Airedale, it just takes a very firm hand and consistency. Oh, and also a lot of patience and time. If I want something, Mum just makes sure that she has more persistence in making sure I defer to her first above all things.


Progress with my Cats

I've been making leaps and bounds with the progress with the cats in my house. As you all know by now, I've got 3 black cats as housemates. In the beginning when they first moved in, we were not getting along well. They would hiss at me constantly, and run away whenever I was around. And of course, their running only triggered my prey drive, and I would chase not knowing why.
But with time, and seeing them over and over, I got used to the fact that they are incredibly shy, and un-socialized, which explains why they display some anti-social behavior. I am the first dog that they've ever seen, because they are house cats. They hardly even interact with other humans, except their own. Living with these shy cats has also taught me to be patient in my approach. I learned to look away, and not stare at them, or posture myself too much. I have to keep reminding myself that they are NOT dogs. When I approach to sniff their butts in a d0g-friendly manner, they bend down and then run away, as if I was a danger.
Its been so warm, that Mum has been giving me ice cubes to cool down. I munch on them, and lick on them, and it feels very good on my tongue.
Me and my ice cube
Mum also gave the kitties an ice cube. They also licked at it and pawed at it, like it was a toy. Snuggles likes the ice cube more than Dozer does. Snuggles also has taken more initiatives to sniff me. I lay down and allow the cats to come up to me, to sniff my butt, tail, legs and back. I've come to understand that this is the only way I am able to get close to the cats, and so I try to be very still when they come close to me.
Here I am watching the cats play with their ice cube on a hot summer's day

I think the cats and I have come to the understanding, that neither of us are going away from this house, and we have to all live together harmoniously.

We've been able to stay close to each other, about a foot away from one another, and no one has tried to hurt anyone else.
Me and my cats, chilling by the back sliding door, enjoying some morning sunshine

From the picture, you can see that I am in the first phase of the Reverse Stripping method. My black saddle has been taken off first.


The Tractor Monster

This is the Tractor Monster. It makes a very loud noise and buzzes around the property, and strangely enough, Mum and Rob take turns, controlling it, making it stop, making it go, making it obey. I can see, they are working very hard to obedience train the tractor monster, but I'm not scared of it at all.
I would follow Rob while he is on the tractor, keeping a close eye on him, and making sure everything is well.
And as you can see, Mum has started handstripping my saddle. Oh, what a relief, it is much cooler with all that thick coat off my back. And just in time too, cos the heat is really unbearable nowadays. Imagine, the temperature is only in the 90s and we Seattlelites are already suffering from heatstroke.


Chickens Arrive!!

We've got chickens!! 4 hens to be exact. One of our friends decided that his brood of 16 chickens were too many, and he was giving some away. The humans decided that they could be quite happy on our 5 acres, and so came the chickens on one fateful Sunday.
This is Bailey. Bailey is a Golden, and an old boy. Nick and Julia, who brought the chickens to our house are his humans. While the humans were excited about the chickens and getting them all set up, I was only interested in Bailey for the time being. We introduced ourselves to each other, and then we ran and played together.

The humans trying to carry the chicken crate out of Bailey's trailer. I'm only keen on playing because I hadn't seen the chickens yet. Are they food for me Mummy?

Finally Rob carries the crate with the 4 hens, and puts it under the big pine tree near the garden shed. I was very interested in them, so was Bailey. He and I went to the crate to have a sniff about. The chickens were quite freaked out, crying away, but after a little while, they calmed down.
Yummy chickens. I didn't growl at the chickens or bark at them. I just wanted to get close enough to sniff their butts, but they were pretty shy animals, and stayed away from me. Who would have thought that I, an Airedale Terrier could ever live with chickens?
Every now and then, I would sit near to the crate and watch them from a distance. Mum said it was important for me to get acquainted with them, because these chickens were going to be around for a while. And also, if I stayed around and stayed calm, the chickens could also get used to the sight and smells of me.
And then of course, it was back to playing chase with Bailey. He is quite an old boy, so we didn't play too roughly. None of the usual bitey face with the Airedales and rough housing.
The sun was also shining quite strongly on us that Sunday. It was very warm indeed. The humans were still in the sun, buzzing about, chatting with each other, but we dogs were much smarter. We went and laid down under the shade. Ahh.. much nicer this way.
I was feeling extremely warm, because my coat is really long now. So I told mum to start stripping me again. The summer this year is really hot and dry. Where has the Seattle rain gone?