Thursday, May 01, 2008

Blurbs and Dogs

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” - Samuel Butler

It's SUNNY out! Woot!! Of course, my thermometer reads 22 degrees as I'm writing this, but ... SUN. Sun is good. Warmth with sun would be better, but I'll take what I can get, because I am truly grateful I have sun and not snow like Sarita, or hail like Amy.

Maybe I can even do a little gardening today... **sigh**

Yesterday I spent in blurb hell. I have to create a "tagline", a 100 word description AND a blurb (like what you'd read on the back of a book cover) for "Kitchen Matches (or whatever it will be called)". This is agonizing work. I hit up some friends for help (thanks Allie, Judy, Charity and Ceri!) and am plugging away.

Somedays I think writing the book or story is the easy part.

Speaking of writing books, LOL, I'm working on editing Playing House again. No matter what, I seem to return back to that story over and over. It's the book that won't go away. Fact is, I really like my hero and heroine. We'll see what happens. I may get frustrated again, and put it away again, but...every time I open it, I get a little farther. So, perhaps before I am old(er) and gray(er), I will actually get this silly thing finished and out the door.

And, no, I haven't finished my mystery. I started to take the easy way out and have the murdered confess all... but decided that was lazy. So, now I have to figure out how to show the reader whodunnit without doing that.

Bother. Bother. Bother.

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Dakota did well in class today. Of course, we'd already taught her all the things she was supposed to be learning, so we cheated. Actually, she's really quite good at learning "tricks" (sit, stay, come, down, etc)... if I could teach to stop pulling the leash so hard that I get burns on my hands, that would be a miracle.

I've tried a choke collar, a pinch collar and a gentle leader (halti). I even tried all of them a the same time (hey, I used to ride horses using an English bridle, I can handle that many leashes at the same time). Nothing. Works.

The obedience instructor suggested I use treats to keep her close... just keep stuffing her full of treats so she wouldn't pull, and would learn that staying beside me is a good thing, but the fact is...Dakota is NOT food motivated. Have you SEEN how skinny she is? The instructor even tried hot dogs, and after a couple pieces, Dakota didn't care. She can't have cheese, because it gives her the runs.

I've tried the "I'm a tree" method of stopping and standing still when she pulls (again suggested by the instructor) and then walking forward when she loosens the leash -- the assumption being that when she learns that she gets nowhere when she pulls, she'll stop.

Uh. No. The moment I take a step forward, she throws herself forward again.

I've tried exhausting her before I do leash training by running her up and down the road -- me on the bike, her with the leash between her teeth, PULLING me down the road. We'll do it until she slows down (about 1 1/2 miles), give her a drink and then try walking.

She STILL pulls.

Understand, I'm not giving her a long leash. I make her stay next to me. But, it doesn't matter how long or short the leash is... she pulls non-stop. It makes it miserable for us, because I won't take her for long walks. I'm exhausted when I do -- my arm aches, my hand is all but bleeding.

Gah.

And so are the days of my dog.

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Okay. I'm good with that. :-)

11 comments:

Diane Craver said...

I know what you mean, Marianne. I think writing the book is easier than writing the blurb, tagline and a short description. Glad you got it all done.

Sarita Leone said...

Ugh, I can so understand blurb hell. I agonize over those things!

I hope you get gardening today. We had frost this morning. AHH!!

anno said...

Details, details.... does it ever seem to you that the older you get, the harder it is to get anything really, really done?

Good luck with the gardening... and with getting Dakota to stop pulling.

Dru said...

Good luck with Dakota.

I hope you're able to get some gardening in.

Have a good Thursday.

Amy Addison said...

We're puppy school dropouts, so I'm impressed that you're hanging in there.

Sorry she pulls on the leash. When you figure it out, let me know. We're going to get Indy a gentle-leader and see if that helps, because the 20# dog should not be pulling the 85# kid on his scooter with a collar attached around her neck. But does she know that? Uh, no.

I've been following Kristin Nelson's Blurb posts from her workshop at Spring Fling. It's really interesting. And so logical.

Melissa said...

Hugs on the pulling. We're using one of those choke collars. She doesn't like it, but I think it does help when walking. She, however, is totally food motivated so I'm lucky there.

Good luck!

BethRe said...

22 degrees, I'm ready for it to warm up. I know I'll probably regret saying that but I'm ready for the sun

Tori Lennox said...

We found out who the killer was in my 1920s mystery when the killer tried to kill the heroine, though the heroine suspected who it was to begin with.

Brandy said...

Whew! Dakota sounds like a handful. I hope she eventually trains well.
Good luck with the story. There's a reason you keep going back to it!
AND I hope you are able to garden today!

Have an enjoyable day.

Maria Zannini said...

Having been the veteran of more than a dozen doggy valedictorians, can I give you a suggestion for Dakota's pulling?

We used to raise Samoyeds, who are bred specifically for pulling sleds. Needless to say, that was our biggest problem when they were puppies. They always wanted to pull on us.

We stopped that within a few minutes of training this way.

Use a "choke" collar, the ones that can tighten and release. Walk Dakota as you normally would. Without broadcasting, immediately walk in the opposite direction. You'll jerk her collar only once and then keep walking. Don't stop. As soon as she starts following along, immediately change direction again. Keep this up for a full ten minutes.

Eventually, she'll learn she has to keep an eye on you, cuz obviously you're demented and can't decide which way to go. LOL!

Seriously, she'll learn she has to pay attention. I've done this with every single dog I've ever had. Even the hardheaded Samoyeds caught on within a few minutes.

The trick is to keep them off guard.

Let me know if it helps you.

groovyoldlady said...

Your dog and I are soul sisters. No matter how God tries to lead me, it seems I always pull hard in ten other directions before I actually smarten up and actually listen to HIM!