Tuesday, February 15, 2011

False alarm

Poor Zorro. When we got home from work yesterday, he wasn't standing in front of the door, wagging his tail and yawning, as per usual. Instead, he darted out of the downstairs bedroom, looking panic-stricken, and went straight for the front door. It didn't take long to identify the problem: the upstairs smoke alarm was chirping, indicating a low battery. This sound is barely perceptible to the frequency is maddening to dogs, akin, I suspect, to having a vuvuzela blasted directly into your ears.
I took Zorro out and the almost-full moon revitalized him immediately. Denny went upstairs and discovered that Zorro had had an accident, no doubt because of the stress. Luckily, he peed on the bathroom floor. Smart dog.
Memo to self: if I see a big white poodle named Annie, head off sideways, or in the other direction. We encountered her on our run yesterday, and she lunged at Zorro until her owner dragged her away. Zorro has gotten pretty good at his "sit," but no amount of treats and "Look at me's" will distract him when he's provoked in that manner.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Sunday in the park with Zorro

Low 50s today so even more dogs to contend with on our mid-day walk. We're handling the dogs that pass us pretty well; Zorro even managed to endure a curious black and white beagle who stopped and stared before iPod-wearing owner hustled him along.
But because it was so nice out, we encountered some slow dogs, even though we were on the purposeful path. And those are always a problem. Zorro will sit--although not always happily--while another dog passes us, but I don't think he's ready to pass another dog. Especially a slow one. So we have to find workarounds.
In other news, I have trained Zorro to play fetch! If I throw his tennis ball, he will get it and bring it back. But so far, it's always in exchange for a treat. Zorro is a very results-oriented dog.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday in the park with Zorro

Sunny and high 40s today, a welcome break from the past two weeks of ice and snow. Predictably, that meant that everyone who has a dog or could borrow one was on the path this afternoon. It's Super Bowl Sunday, and I think everyone wanted to get their exercise in before kick-off. We couldn't go five feet without running into another dog. Even the side paths we take to avoid traffic were occupied.
I've developed some strategies for days like today. Walking west toward Glencaryln Park is usually better because that stretch of the path, which goes through the woods, attracts more bikers and runners than dog walkers. Most of the dogs we encounter are purposeful dogs, running alongside their owners. Zorro will usually sit quietly until they've passed.
The stretch of the path that goes east, toward Bon Air Park, seems to attract slow walkers and stragglers, and sometimes unleashed dogs. Zorro doesn't deal well with these malingerers. I think he perceives them as sheep that have wandered away from the flock.
I think I'll wait until the game starts before taking Zorro out again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

All weather dog

We are having a brutal winter. Snow, cold, ice. Zorro isn't the least bit bothered by it, which can be a problem. He doesn't understand why I'm poking along on the icy bike path.
He has good days and bad, but I definitely think his overall behavior is improving. Most of the time, when I say "let's go," he runs right up on the porch, because he knows he'll get a treat. And he's been pretty good about sitting until another dog goes by. The other day, a little beagle stopped and stared right at him, which tested him sorely.
The folks at doggie day care say he has improved greatly since he first started coming there, although they still call him the Boss Man. He got a report card a few weeks ago with an A+ for good behavior. No time outs. And yes, I know how silly that sounds.
We're working on fetch. He understands "drop," so I think we're getting there.