Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Teaching a Dog to Read

"If you wish to be a writer, write." - Epictetus

I've decided that I will write in the morning before I do anything else (except feed the furry kids and load up the day's pages for LASR/WC/Aurora). That means either I get my butt in gear and write my blog the night before, or my blog posts will be later in the morning than usual.

Not writing makes me cranky. Sad. Upset. Depressed. I have to write. And, when I don't, I'm not a fun person to be around. So, it's a priority from here on out.

I'm still not publicly announcing WHAT I'm writing, but I'm writing. And when it's done and submitted, I'll tell you what it is. Some of you know (because you're part of my crit group), but I feel as though talking about it will jinx the flow... silly maybe, but there it is.

I ran into a wall today at only 500 words, and I was determined to hit at least 700. So, I putzed around looking at writing prompts and dares and found one that worked for me ... have something random happen that turns out isn't really random at all (the example the site gave was having a car accident happen outside a cop's house -- the cop calls it in, then goes to help ... but it turns out that it wasn't an accident at all, that the serial killer she's been hunting needed to get her out of the secure house and was driving one of the cars).

So, it gave me an idea for the next scene and off I went. I managed a total of just over 1000 words. If all goes as planned, this story will be done by mid-October, if not earlier.


I'm going to teach my dog the alphabet. No, really... I was talking to a lady who has a therapy dog and she's teaching hers. He knows all the letters in his name (so when she says, "Simon, how do you spell your name? Where's the 'S'... the 'I'..." he can pick them out).

One of the things required of a therapy dog is that they have a large bag of tricks. The cuter and more unusual, the better. Dakota can do the usual (sit, down, shake, etc) plus she high-fives, rolls over and bows. She can also hold a treat on her nose until we tell her to flip it, then tosses and catches it (most of the time). We want her to sneeze on command, wipe her face and speak (and whisper). It's a lot of work, but she's smart and picks up on things pretty quickly.

Our old trainer at PetsMart (who did Dakota's AKC Good Citizen training) offers a therapy dog training class (with official certification at the end), so we're going to look into taking that soon. Handlers only have to be ten years old, so DD can handle her, too, which is awesome.

With any luck, in the next few months, Dakota will be certified and we can start going to nursing homes, schools, libraries, etc.


You Are Strong

You are tough as nails. You have amazing endurance, drive, and ambition.

You motor through any obstacles in your way. It's almost impossible to deter you.

You enjoy working hard, but you also take time to savor the sweeter side of life.

You give yourself a break when you need it. This down time adds to your stability.

Works for me.... I'm craving chocolate now, though.



Dru said...

Good luck with your writing.

That is a great idea for Dakota to learn how to read and also help nursing homes, hospitals and sick kids.

You Are Refined

You aren't uptight, but you are still very polished and polite. You are graceful.

You are classic, both in style and tastes. You don't even notice trends.

You are charming and charismatic. You are good at smoothing over even the most difficult situations.

You are eloquent and understated. You don't keep going once you feel someone gets the point.

It's accurate.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, lord! Too cool. What if Dakota figures out you're spelling: b-a-t-h?

I used to have a dog who was so smart, we had to spell cookie or she'd go nuts in anticipation.

Though eventually she figured out the letters too.

Tori Lennox said...

Having Dakota as a therapy dog is an awesome idea!

Brandy said...

I can't wait to hear what fun tricks you teach Dakota! I bet she'll learn quickly!
Hope your week is going well!