Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reading Materials

I know that I was doing a monthly post where I would do a review on a dog and great dane related book that I had read.  I have a feeling that it's going to be a little while before I get back on that train again, but I thought I would do a little post about what I'm currently reading and see what others are also currently reading.

I'm kind of juggling reading materials in three different areas.  There's the work related area where I'm trying to get caught up in background information.  Basically reading the papers and books that get cited a lot and that people in the field feel are the most relevant.  My basic interest is animal behavior.  The specific area that I'm doing my reading on is stereotypic behavior.  It's something that I've found interesting for a while, but now that I'm actually doing some reading up on it, I'm even more interested than before!  What kind of behaviors are people seeing in various animals?  Do we know what triggers it?  Do we know why it starts or stops?  Is it good or bad?  What are the physiological and neurological factors driving this behavior?  What has been done to alleviate it and/or prevent it?  It's some really interesting stuff!

My second category of reading material is dog related.  This a really broad category and is anything from sport specific, to breed specific, to conformation, to movement, to just stories about dogs.  I'm currently just starting "Peak Performance," but I'll be switching gears a little in a couple of days and taking on another book.  As I rotate through my dog related books I feel that it keeps me mentally invested in the things that I do with my dogs and why I do it.  It keeps me thinking (when I'm not having my moments of burn out more recently) about what I want to continue to do with them.  Areas where I want my training to improve.  Different methods to train the same task or behavior.  I really like to rotate my reading material in this area because it basically keeps me thinking.  I'm always picking up little golden nuggets from one area that will help in others.  There's so much exciting stuff out there that it's no wonder I have a giant stack of unread books sitting on my desk just waiting to be opened!

The third category is just my "pleasure" reading category.  While the other two areas are also enjoyable, when I'm reading those materials, I want to be more mentally engaged in what I'm reading.  For those books I want to be really mentally present and trying to take in, retain, and apply what I'm reading.  My pleasure reading category are the books that allow me to sort of check out.  I get to read them simply for the pleasure of reading them.  This is also the area that generally falls by the way side when I'm more backed up with reading in the other categories.  I'm currently reading "A Dance With Dragons."  This is the most recent book in the Game of Thrones series.  It's taken me a while to get around to reading this book, though we got it right when it came out.  I am happy to say that I'm not a bandwagon Martin follower.  I was reading these books back before the TV series brought them to the attention of the mainstream world.

So that's my current reading material.  What are you reading?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hello World!

Ouch!  Have meant to get on here many time, but it's the same ole story.  Too much going on and not enough motivation to actually write anything.  I've been in a bit of a slump with regards to training the dogs and getting myself to actually work with them on the variety of things that we need to work on has been trying.  I've been feeling incredibly unmotivated and I don't like it.  I've been keeping up on their physical exercise, so no fatties here!;0)  Business at work has also caused my schedule to jump all over the place as well.  Like I said, same story, different day.  However, I'm going to make a commitment to get back on here at least once a week.  I don't want to set the bar too high and burn myself out before I even get back into the swing of things, so we're starting with lowered expectations.

I don't even know where to fill things in.  Currently all three dogs are in their summer time off.  We won't be doing any competitions again until the fall.  I'm actually pretty happy about this.  I was getting a bit burnt out.  I have more weekends free and I feel like I'm getting more stuff done around the house (because I am) and seeing more of friends (because I am), which are all good things.  I'll still be showing Elizabeth's girl Ruby in conformation, so it's not like I'm disappearing completely, I just won't have my own dogs to juggle, which is immensely easier.

I believe our last big show that we did was the Great Dane Club of Northern California's fabulous specialty weekend!  I still absolutely love that show, love the trip, and love getting to see everyone.  They also pulled off an awesome addition to their fabulous show this year and had dual obedience and rally trials!  Totally awesome!  Naturally, I entered Heffner and Bess in everything.  Without going into too much detail (and because it's been long enough now that my mind is a little foggy on the exact details), Heffner ended up doing way better than I expected and Bess did way worse than I expected.  While Heffner still had his moments of distraction in the ring, I was incredibly pleased and impressed with how well he did even as things were heating up!  Bess, well, she had a rather stressful day and admittedly I didn't handle it very well.  I ended up scratching her from the second trial all together.  She ran out of the ring during her Graduate Novice run and completely stopped moving during her Rally Advanced run.  Not great.  In all, she only qualified in Rally Excellent.  Heffner earned to qualifying legs in Beginner Novice and one Rally Excellent leg!  He would have had a second Excellent leg except that I screwed up one of the new stations TWICE!  Ouch!  In conformation I got to take Bess' sire into the ring in the veterans class.  On Saturday he took best veteran in show!!

After the show itself was over, we all (Ruthie came along as well for Monday's activities) headed down to San Jose to stay with my friend Megan, who was gracious enough to let us stay in her house!  And the reason we were down that way was to go to a Denise Fenzi obedience seminar!!  I was able to get three working spots so that all three dogs could get worked!!  It was awesome!!  She had some good ideas of stuff for us to work on and I was pleased with what advice she had.  A lot of what she mentioned with Bess totally made sense.  In a nut shell, I'm often way too much for Bess when I'm praising and verbally rewarding her.  It's basically causing her to shut down a bit.  There's a whole lot more, naturally, but I don't want this post to get too long.

And that pretty much leads us up to now.  Just this past Tuesday Bess got spayed and also got a gastropexy.  She is recovering beautifully, though the inactivity is starting to wear on her and therefore me. 

All in all, things are good, I just need to get my rear in gear on a few fronts and get out of this funk that I've been in.  Hopefully my posts will become more frequent than just once a week, but we'll see how things go.  I really look forward to trying to catch back up on everyone's blogs and see what's going on.  And the new Blogger format is creeping me out a bit.  I don't do with change that isn't mediated by me!!!lol