Thanks to Jodi of Heart Like a Dog and Freighter, Storm & Thunder’s Mom from 2 Brown Dawgs for co-hosting this week’s Follow-Up Friday Blog Hop, the blog hop that lets you wrap up your week and leads you right into the weekend…
First off, you have to go check out today’s Pet Friendly Friday Photo Challenge on the Go Pet Friendly Blog! I am so excited…My picture was chosen as this week’s Challenge Photo…if you can guess where I am you might win. I won this challenge last month and the prize is a gorgeous calendar. Go check it out!
If you remember my Butterfly Birthday post you saw the video of a very energetic Gulf Fritillary caterpillar spinning his chrysalis underneath my friend Beth’s BBQ grill. Well he’s hatched and now he’s a butterfly. Beth started watching carefully on Sunday and finally, on Tuesday morning she went out to find this…
He’s hanging onto his chrysalis in the morning sun drying his wings. After the imago (*VBP*), or adult stage emerges , a butterfly cannot fly until its wings are unfolded. A newly emerged butterfly needs to spend some time inflating its wings with blood and letting them dry. Some butterflies’ wings may take up to three hours to dry while others take about one hour. Beth waited for over an hour to see this guy’s wings unfold, but he was still drying when she had to leave, and when she got back a couple of hours later he’d already flown off. Vaya con Dios Mr. Butterfly…
30/30 Challenge Wrap-up
On January 1st we began the 30/30 Challenge gauntlet thrown down by the Adventure Weiners of You did What With Your Weiner. The idea was to walk with your dog for 30 minutes every day for 30 days. we’ve posted a ticker every day charting our progress, and as of yesterday we’d managed to walk on 28 of the 31 days, which gives us about a 90% completion rate, and I’m declaring that we were successful. We’ve changed how our day begins and now the walk is the focus of our morning ritual. Gizmo has come to expect it and if I get busy elsewhere he stands by the front door and taps his bell to remind me. My car has been in the shop on and off for about half the month (hidden electrical issues that are stumping mechanics) so we’ve walked to some of our errands in the neighborhood instead of driving. The best part is that we’ve both enjoyed our walks so much that Gizmo is now a registered participant in Idita-Walk 2013. The Idita-Walk is an event to promote physical fitness in the spirit of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The challenge of the Idita-Walk is to walk an average of 30 minutes a day for 35 days between February 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013 for a total of 1049 minutes. You can walk any combination of minutes and days as long as you reach 1049 during the 59 days of the Idita-Walk. We log our minutes online, and when we complete the challenge successfully we’ll get a neat pin.
We’ve got a brand new ticker going to chart our minutes, and we’ll be adding it to our posts so you can see how we’re doing.
Train Your Dog Month Challenge Wrap-up
January was also Train Your Dog Month, and we signed up for the Train Your Dog Challenge over at Something Wagging This Way Comes. We worked on two separate and unrelated behaviors this month and have made good progress with both of them.
Since Gizmo and I often hike with him off lead it’s exigent (*VBP*) that he knows and understands the command “wait”. I use “wait” when I want Gizmo to just stop moving and not proceed until I tell him it’s OK. We’ve practiced this on our morning walks. Every time we come to a street crossing I tell Gizmo to wait, and use the “stay” hand signal. I have not required him to sit or be at heel, just that he stops moving and waits. Starting out with just a few seconds, I’ve built up the time to a minute or so and I’m pleased to report that he has learned the command and now has a fairly reliable “wait”. We’ll keep working on this one since I haven’t really proofed it…I’m not sure what would happen if something irresistible, say a cat running by, occurred. I’m hoping to have some proofing opportunities during the next two months of the Idita-Walk.
Our second behavior involved grooming. Gizmo really hated being brushed…in fact when he saw me go to the drawer where I keep the grooming tools he’d run and hide in his cave under the end table….and don’t even ask about nail clipping. I decided it was time for us to develop a grooming routine. Every evening I would place him in my lap and gently brush/massage him with a Zoom Groom. Once he became comfortable with that I added a few minutes of actual combing with a FurGOPet to break up any snarls and remove his loose undercoat. I experimented with different pressures and strokes and learned what felt good to him and what he didn’t much like. We gradually built up the time until I can now comb and brush him thoroughly with no complaints, wriggling or having him trying to get away from me. In fact, if I don’t get started early enough he’ll jump into my lap and paw me to groom him. Things were going so well I decided to up the ante and try to add nail clipping…I gently zoom-groomed him to get him good and relaxed, then gently lifted a paw and quickly nipped the nails…I didn’t go for perfection or get them as short as I’d like, but at least I was able to nip the points without a major battle. We’ll be working more on this one and in time I hope I’ll be able to use my Dremel on him to round and smooth the nails to where I want them.
Overall, I consider the training challenge a work in progress. We’ve come a long way on both behaviors, and have some goals for further training. Check out the Train Your Dog Month Challenge blog hop to see what everyone else worked on and how they did.