Our day wasn't terrible, but it was the kind of day where you wish you could just start over and tweak a few things.
We started the day off on the right foot (pun is intended here, as you'll read in a second) and went to Wolfe's Pond Park. Louie and I went yesterday and Marge had a blast playing in the stream, so my sister and I figured hey, why not, let's go again today. We made our way up the trail to the stream, where Marge, once again, went in without hesitation. This is big for her; she used to despise water, probably after we (stupidly) bathed her with the hose way back when we got her last June/July. It's nice to finally see her get elbow-deep, and I'm hoping one day I'll have a swimmer.
Well, we were about to get going, Marge made a dash across the stream happily for one last time, and I look down to put my shoes on (yes, I had waded with her a bit) and my toe is bleeding. Pretty badly, too. I must have stepped on a rock or something - the stream is pretty clean, so I'm not too worried about it being anything hazardous. I had some paper towel with me, tried to put pressure, it wasn't stopping. So my sister and I figured we should probably head back. I limped down the trail, walking on my heel, which I have come to discover is very painful. It kind of stunk to have to go home after only staying barely a half hour, which is about the time it takes to get there in the first place.
Well, we got home, I soaked my foot. It still hurts a bit, but I'm just keeping an eye on it and putting antibiotic cream on. I'm really hoping it doesn't look funky tomorrow. Better me than Marge, though, without a doubt. I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself if Marge came out with bloodied paws.
Then, on to Rally.. I was all set for a good, successful night hopping around the course with a bum foot. However, as we pulled up and got out, Marge got to listen to the very loud, very strange sound of a metal grate being pulled up. (It allows for ventilation in the training hall, which isn't air conditioned.) That freaked her out, she wanted to run away, get back in the car, anything. It was that full-fledged panic state.
Waited a few minutes, got her inside the training hall, where a couple of minutes later she decided that she wanted nothing more than to leave. I calmed her down with the cheese stuffed Kong and she was "workable" for the rest of the class, but veryyy distractable. I had to keep the Kong with me the entire time and use it as a reward or else she'd try to pull back to the audience area to retreive it. And the noises didn't end there.. there must have been a lot of flights going out of the airports, because we heard planes (which sound quite similar to low thunder) the entire class. Marge was certainly aware of that.
We did two courses, both of which Marge did fine on. She was a little distracted, but I tried to amp her up and give lots of treats and praise. After the second run, she looked REALLY freaked so I took her outside for a few minutes to calm her down. She seemed a bit better when we came back in.
She got nose to nose with an intact GSD through my own fault - I was waiting with her right outside where the course ended. She looked like she tensed up a little bit, but didn't snark, so I praised the heck out of her. She was very interested in going over to Chase, who she knows from Agility, but I didn't allow it. Seemed fine around all people.
That's what really killed me about the class; if not for those stupid noises, she probably would have been fine.
Before going home we detoured at my grandmother's.. I figured that maybe a visit there would make her happy. She was excited to see my grandmother (and promptly decided to pee on her front lawn, which may also have contributed to her all-over-the-place attitude at class) but wasn't 100%.
She did run around the back yard, which I think she enjoyed, but overall was just very excitable. Not even necessarily in a fearful way.. but in an anxious way. My dad stopped by and she wasn't afraid of him.. she was going up to his face and giving kisses, but was whining and making these little arf noises every time he spoke to her.
Fortunately, I'd say we ended the night on a good note. We came home and practiced Agility in the backyard. She's doing very well with the weave poles and I actually did a jump, jump, weave sequence with her. I had the first and last poles bent to try to teach her the entry point. She did great.. though a little tired.
Now she's passed out on her green mat behind me. Calm, at least. Hopefully all the maladies incurred today stay in today and don't carry over into the week.
***(A BIG thank you to Rufus and Indie for shouting out to us with these blog awards!! (I think that's even French?) Thanks guys!)***
Sunday, June 7, 2009
MargeBlog started in early 2009 as a training journal for my newly adopted, skittish Lab mix, Marge. Marge's world was small back then; her fears really limited the things I could do with her. Aside from trips to the park and attending beginner training classes, Marge was mostly a stay at home gal - not because either of us wanted her to be, just because the demons from her unsuitable upbringing continued to haunt her.
Slowly, the fear diminished, her world grew. Now, Marge is a fun-loving, squirrel-chasing, winning Agility and Rally dog who accompanies me to a wide variety of places. Here, you will frequently find detailed training updates, snippets from Marge's every day life at home, and photo-filled posts detailing our many outdoor adventures.
This is more than just a dog blog - it is an actual look in to what one shelter dog's life ultimately became when she found her first and forever home and began to blossom.
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A rescue from Georgia bounced around from shelter to shelter and state to state with her siblings, Marge did not have the luxury of living in a home - my home - until just past her first birthday. A life behind bars had taken its toll on Marge, whose obvious fear of people, noise, and city life in general left a lot for her to learn about how to get by in New York.
Marge is a different dog now than she was back then. It took years of new, positive life experiences, but her fears, which used to consume everything we did, are now only one theme in a great big book of adventures.
These days, Marge enjoys going to training classes, taking trips to agility trials, having play dates with friends, and eating anything that's even remotely edible - not bad for a dog who spent her puppy days in cages.
My time with Marge has been a learning experience for which I am ever grateful. As my first dog, she has taught me and continues to teach me so much more than I ever imagined about dogs, training, and behavioral/fear issues. She's a fun dog with a sense of humor who loves life and learning.
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