Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter found us

Well darn. There is no hiding anymore. It is the middle of January and I suppose winter had to find us hiding here in Wisconsin eventually. But it doesn't mean I have to like it!

We got about 6" of snow late last week, followed by another inch or two yesterday. Apparently we could get upwards of 8" on Friday! I suppose if one is going to be stuck with winter, you may as well make it worth your while. The dogs do love to play in the snow, after all!

Sub-freezing temperatures have come along with the snow, unfortunately. The dogs do NOT seem to enjoy snow when it is paired with temperatures below 15 degrees. They become weenie little wusses, actually. Yesterday they were pretty pathetic on our walk -- Secret and Luke were wearing blankets, but that was all. Poor Kaiser was naked only because he can't wear his blanket with his harness and I didn't figure he needed it yet.

Well, I was wrong. They were all just in such a sad state. Secret stopped multiple times on our walk to chew the ice balls out of her feet. Luke kept hitching a different leg, as he couldn't decide which foot was more frozen. And poor, poor naked Kaiser looked so sad and cold that I actually picked him up and carried him. Twice.

Enough of that! Today everyone wore blankets AND booties. It was probably close to 20 degrees on our walk, but the wind is pretty cold. While nobody seems overly thrilled about the act of getting dressed, there is no denying that once we get outside they are much, much happier to be dressed for the weather. Everyone was very bouncy and full of themselves on our walk today. I figure it's worth the added effort.

Really, though, when it comes down to it, can you really blame them? I've always found it remarkable that humans expect dogs to be fine in frigid temperatures with no protection. Dogs who live indoors and adapt to our lifestyles aren't any more hardy than we are. Their bodies regulate to the same temperatures as ours (that would be 67 in my house!) and going out into the sub-freezing temperatures (and sub-zero, as we saw this morning and will see tomorrow) is no doubt just as shocking to their system as it is to ours.

I can go outside in the winter wearing a sweater long enough to get something done (take the garbage out, get the mail, etc.). I can even manage in fewer layers of clothing when exerting myself in some fashion, so it is reasonable that a dog should be able to walk or play outside on an average winter day without too much fuss. But when I am dressed as the Michelin Man in order to be comfortable in the elements, I figure they deserve the same consideration -- and I believe they thank me for it. :o)

My little winter weenies were in a sad state last night. Before I even finished shoveling the snow off the rear deck, they were already hiking their feet up and asking to go inside (booties live at the office since I haven't ordered any more to replace the second set that got holes last year). I figured that meant we shouldn't have outdoor play time, so we went down to the basement when everyone started to get squirrely.

I had Secret keep her Back on Track blanket on during her peanut work and holy cow was it interesting to see how much heat her muscles pumped out in that time. The blanket was warm to the touch!

After everyone had their time on the peanut I drug the teeter out and adjusted it to a medium-low height. Remember, it's been darn near a year since Secret has even seen one of them, so I figured I'd better start off low.

Well now I feel bad for not dragging the stupid thing out of the basement and letting them play on it this summer. Kaiser was elated to see it and I couldn't keep him off it. Secret, too, kept charging for it and slamming into her bottom position. Luke could barely get a turn in because every time I sent him towards it one of the others would run onto it and nearly clock him in the chin. So yes.... We will be doing more teeter work in the coming months, but ONE AT A TIME. No better way to turn a dog off a teeter than by getting clocked in the head with one, I'm sure.

I also have to re-duct tape the book to the bottom of my plank, as that has always seemed to be Secret's biggest issue -- having a teeter reset behind her. I will be sure to do that before our next session, which I suppose will be tonight if it's too cold for frisbee.

I am very motivated to get Secret's happy teeter back, which will include getting out and finding other teeters on which to train (which is harder than it sounds around here, unfortunately). I am becoming less enchanted with NADAC each day and really need to buckle down and set a goal date for a USDAA trial -- or hell, even AKC. We just need to try something else.

Once Secret & Kaiser finish their NATCHes, that may be it. We'll see. I just feel I would enjoy one of the other venues more at this point, although I would feel bad if Luke couldn't participate. He qualifies for the Veteran program in USDAA now, but so far as I can tell there isn't an ADCH equivalent for Veterans so I don't know if there is much point. But he could still run, we'll see.

If anyone is curious, it is the recent announcement that the "Video Tape" runs being submitted are earning Q's towards the normal titling program instead of being separated into their own VT award categories. It was one thing when she said that 50% of your Champs Q's could come from VT runs, but I'm sorry, I think it completely degrades the entire organization to allow video tape runs to count towards regular titles. I can set up courses at home and have a 100% Q rate with all three of my dogs. Hello, NATCH 5,294 --- Sorry, but I don't think that is right.

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