Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I have a very good dog, she has a rather slow owner...

Last night after I posted DH asked if I'd figured out what the hang-up was. I'd been chasing the problem around in my head and I felt like the answer was simple and obvious but I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I outlined what I thought it could be but none of those reasons felt like I'd hit the nail on the head.

As I was saying this, I looked down at Sierra who was laying near my chair. I paused, taking in her body language. She met my gaze and I was taken back. I'd not reacted in any obvious (to a human) way but she knew. Probably picking up on the chemical changes that occur with emotions and noticing subtle body language like the slight unconcious tensing of muscles, change of respiratory rate and carbon dioxide levels on my breath etc. Lying to a dog about how you feel is darn near impossible. Even though I wasn't at all upset with her, it was affecting her.

Her eyes asked what was wrong, why was I uphappy, she was trying so hard and just didn't understand despite it. "I'm sorry," her eyes said, "I don't like it when you're upset, tell me how to fix it and I will..." I sighed and all the frusteration just rushed out of me. My poor girl, she'd been trying her heart out and I'd been so frusterated with MY figuring it out I stopped listening to her. We'd practiced and practiced but we practiced failure. Our rate of reinforcement had fallen... it should be about 1x every 3-5 seconds, which should have been a neon sign to me right there to stop what I was doing. If I can't find an opportunity to reinforce at least that fast, I'm doing something WRONG. The lack of progress? Prolly due to my making the R-o-R so low she lost her confidence in what we were doing. How did I let that happen, how did I MISS something so obvious??? She went 3 days and kept trying every time I asked was out of sheer heart. *sigh* Si-si Girl, I screwed up again didn't I? I know better than to let the R-o-R get so low, I know better than to lump, I know better to persist in bone-headed behaviour when it's not working. Yet I fall into the trap of doing just that at times still, though thankfully not frequently now. I called her over, she put her head on my knee and leaned into me in quiet understanding. I rubbed the shoulder she offered and appologized for being so oblivious, promising tomorrow we'd do better. Nub, nub, nub went her stumpy little tail on my foot, "Yes, tomorrow we'll do better and we'll have fun mum."

Today we're coming at it fresh, we're doing better, we're getting better results... last two rounds we've gotten the behaviour offered precisely consistently instead of her going to fast and missing the criteria, then getting anxious that's not what I wanted and throwing off a different behaviour. Much, much better! It seems like life is one long learning curve for me and the biggest challenge isn't just absorbing the information but integrating it into practice consistently enough that it gets generalized. Thankfully I have dogs that are very forgiving of my occasional denseness.

Training aside, it was a really average day. We, once again, had nothing to do (well, nothing I can do one armed and with a helpful helper...) and no where to go, just lots of time to fill. He did manage to get a nap in - I rocked him the entire time as he was fidgiting so badly. Poor mite. The rest of the day we spent part of it doing fun stuff, reading, singing (badly) with some French tapes (well I sing badly, he just goes LALALALALALALA real loud), playing, going outside to the park and showing Laurent the different shapes and textures of the plants and letting him feel them all... normally I revel in these quiet days and spend them soaking up every moment of being with him but it's been this way for several days and I'm just itching to get out of the house. Tomorrow we're making a break for it... ;-)

In more vain and less wonderous news... I found my first grey hairs. Yup, that's plural. There were 8-9 of them. I'm feeling surprisingly blase about it but I didn't expect it at 25. Laurent better hope he inherits from his father's side of the family though, DH's grandfather had a full head of jet black hair at 90+, only going grey in his mid-90's!
Just realized I haven't posted a recipe in awhile, so here's a quickie from tonight.

Pork and potato stew with smoked kabana
Serves 4, Prep 15 m, Cooking 2 h 25m
1.5 kg pork shoulder cut into 2 cm pieces
100g smoked kabana sausage thickly sliced
1 lg brown onion, halved and cut into wedges
4 medium sized potatos good for stewing cut in wedges
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 lemon
625 ml chicken stock (make this yourself, see prior post on how to make it if you don't know how)
2 T dijon mustard
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
First make the stock, according to directions, this takes an hour or so if you don't have some pre-made frozen. Take the fat you trimmed from the pork and melt to grease the pan or alternatively you can use olive oil sufficient to coat the pan. Brown the meat and set aside. Brown the onions and kabana till onions are lightly brown. Put potatos in an oven-proof dish with garlic, put the pork and the onions and kabana together in the dish. Put stock in the dish with the rest. Put the lemon juice and mustard in a container and mix thoroughly, pour over the rest. Add the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, put it into a preheated oven at 180C till cooked, stirring gently half way through. This was originally from Good Taste (July 2006, p ) but the way it's cooked is slightly different for ease of making and we used our standard stock recipie instead of using theirs which was, well, just a plain WEIRD way to make stock imo.

1 comment:

katef said...

just thought I'd let you know you are not alone... I had my first greys at around 23-24.... my Mum was almost totally grey by 28.... I am not quite that bad but lets just say I am not going grey gracefull! :)