Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kodi-Instigated Tropic Cascade

Well, there is a rumored bunny boom in our part of Arlington this season.  I've suspected as much, based on increased sightings, and a 200% reduction in known bunny homicides in my own backyard vs. 2009.

Community voices are attributing this tropic cascade to a decrease in the fox population  Fewer foxes, means more living bunnies.  These voices are basing this assumption off of an increase of fox road kill... i am sure a function of better vehicular performance that makes cars accelerate faster than a speeding fox.

I think they are wrong.

The bunny population has BRIAN AND I to thank for their growth and flourish in 2011. After a bloody--- and I do mean bloody 2009, we strategized to avoid a repeat in 2010.  In 2009 we witnessed the killing and consumption of two baby rabbits, and a severe spinal injury to the matriarch of the family- mama rabbit.  In my mind, she hopped off topsy turvy and recovered without so much as an ounce of PTSD.... but reality that is not.

The perpetrator.... our Kodi.

Nine point five pounds of critter killing instinct unleashed and uncontained.  The bunnies never stood a chance.  Or the birds... even in flight.... but that's a different post.

We took both offensive and defensive measures in 2010 to barrier the critters from Kodi, closing up holes in the fence, securing gates, and following the terrier tail around filling in any tunnels she would excavate with her teeny tiny-- yet uber-efficient paws that could dig a hole faster than I could with a shovel.

In 2011, with the observation of brazen bunnies chillaxin' on our front lawn like it was Club Med, we upped their level of protection again... this time physically restraining Kodi from getting more than a whiff of their aroma.  Using baby gates, harnesses, and a three-part pre-exit bunny warning system before exiting the front door is now standard procedure for leaving our home.

I conclude that we have been successful... but of course, on the other side of that tropic cascade is that more bunnies create the need for more aggressive Kodi restraint strategies for 2012 (joy), and, more intruders to Mr. McGregor's garden!

Article about Bunny Boom:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More on Dogs Training Teddy

Follow up to previous post...

I am now seeing that Bruschi and Kodi barking like crazy at the window signals one of three things to Teddy:

-  Friends are coming over
-  Grandpa is coming over
-  Bunny rabbit is playing in the front yard.

All probable scenarios.  I'm studying Teddy's bark interpretation more closely now, to see if he distinguishes between type of barks.  Is there a different bark for friends vs. family, vs. dinner???

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mutual interests: Bunny Rabbit!

Teddy's new favorite animal to spot:  The bunny who frolics in our front yard.  If you follow my facebook posts-- yes, that is the same bunny who drives our dogs WILD in anticipation of fresh meat for dinner.

The other night, the bunny was hanging out on our lawn... as if it were intentionally taunting my terrier, who earlier had 6 teeth removed and was in NO shape to even bark at it, let alone catch it with her jaws.  The bunny's odds of survival have greatly improved for the time being!

We pull up in the car, teddy spots the bunny, and immediately starts saying in a voice as sweet and cute as the bunny itself "Bunny Rabbit,  Bunny Rabbit"   I carefully helped him out of the car so as to not disturb the rabbit, and Teddy got a closer look.

"Bunny Rabbit, Bunny Rabbit"  he kept saying, with a smile.

(More after the jump)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How's this for a "Stay with Temptation?!"

Last night-- our deck... four dogs and Teddy eating watermelon.  How cool?!?!  And, in Bruschi's case... HOW RARE!!!

Visiting pups are Maya and Sully, friends of ours.

All dogs maintained their composure to the end... when Teddy made the slightest suggestion of offering the remains to Bruschi.... who didn't give him a second to reconsider!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dogs training Teddy

In training dogs, we put lots of desired behaviors on cue-- sit, down, stay, come, wait, in Bruschi's case "go long" (he runs far in anticipation of a ball coming his way, like a football player).

Well-- i suspect the dogs MAY be conditioning Teddy, with one of their behaviors indicating to Teddy "my buddies are here!"  I just realized the sequence this morning and am fascinated.  

Dogs jumped to attention at something outside as they do when someone is approaching, and Teddy, next to them, gets excited and says "Max here.  Max.  Max Mama."  He seems to think his friend Max is coming over.

I say "no, Max isn't here."  He says "Ganpa (Grandpa) here?" I also say no, and he looks very confused... then moves on to take all the diapers out of the closet and play with them (he has plenty of toys, btw).  

Happening once does not mean its a cue (for dogs or for humans), and I'm wracking my brain to remember if Teddy's previous Max requests were subsequent of window barking.  

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toddler encounters of the dog kind-- meeting and greeting on the street

By way of previous blog posts, you know that teaching Teddy how to appropriately approach and greet dogs is super important to me.  This is a life skill on par with crossing the street.   It's in both Teddy and the unknowing dog's best interest that the two-foot does not run up and startle the quadruped....ever.    

What's the proper approach?

I intend for my son to come to a complete stop before he is within petting range of the dog... And further back if possible.  Advancing forward is possible only with permission and in a calm and relaxed approach.  

My first step in conditioning Teddy to this... getting the kid to stop.  When asking isn't enough... I tackle (kidding... kind of).  

What's next?  Well, we had the perfect illustration of that on Friday night... en route to a dinner with dog trainers no less!    

Teddy is naturally very curious about the dogs that he sees (he is my son, after all), and getting him to stop is one thing, but diverting his attention and with it the forward lunging is another all together.  It is imperative for me to satisfy his curiosity, and, unhinge his desire to reach out and touch...therefore conditioning him to do what my mom always told us to do in my grandmother's house... "look with no hands!"

That's a challenge-- especially when the dog shows interest.

More after the jump

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Granny...

Dear Granny,

"Only 3 cookies escaped..."
Earlier this evening, when we were home alone, we used our super-powers to get our cookies that you made us off the counter all by ourselves.  No help needed!  They were pretty far back on the counter, so it took a lot of effort.  It was kind of like our mom and dad DIDN'T WANT us to have them.

We kinda ate them all-- well, all except for 3.  And now we are kinda in trouble.  And we need your help to get out of trouble.