Saturday, October 27, 2018

Rhode Island - Day 25 - dog training

Fishermen’s Memorial State Campground
Thursday, 24 October 2018

No route map today because we went over roads we’ve seen before.
Our big event today was Dexter’s 11:00 appointment at K9 Dog Training in Warwick.  Fortunately it was a sunny day and would have been warm if not for the wind, because Courtney the trainer wanted us to go walking outside for a bit to see how he did.  But when I said I was sure he’d do pretty well on his own, that it was when I had both dogs out together that I really started having trouble, she said we should take both dogs.

Courtney had the new harness she’d ordered for Dexter, so I took Gracie while she walked Dexter to demonstrate to both of us what his new training program should be like.  It included lots of treats when he kept his attention on her, which went over really well with Dext, who’ll do almost anything for food.  And Courtney kept him pretty much in check and walking near her the whole time, rewarding Dext any time he looked at something else and then looked back at her.  She pointed out that when I let them run ahead and stop to sniff anytime they wanted, that was putting them in charge of the walk, not me.  Which would help explain the trouble I’ve been having with them.

We walked them around the neighborhood for a while but no other dogs appeared so she couldn’t see what happened with those situations.

We went back to her office and she had assistants bring out one dog or another, of differing energy levels, to see if my dogs reacted.  Unfortunately, they were little angels and you’d never know they often went bonkers at the sight of another dog.  But Courtney did show me how to distract Dexter from paying too much attention to them by getting his attention again and giving him a treat for it.

She said I should walk him by himself at least 3 times a day every day to reinforce this, and she thought it would only take a few weeks of that before I’d start seeing a big difference in his behavior.  Even Gracie started being willing to take treats from her hand, which she almost never does, and started paying more attention to Courtney, so Courtney thought if I could walk Gracie separately, too, she could benefit as well.  Though since Dexter throws an extremely loud fit when I try it (a nuisance in campgrounds) I may not be able to do that much.

None of Courtney’s staff could believe Dexter was more than 3 years old.  They all thought he was about 8 or 9 months.  I knew he acted like a puppy, so it was nice to find I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Courtney told me a dog’s behavior gets formed between 4 and 16 weeks of age.  What he becomes then will show up when he’s about 1 year old and will be set when he’s about 3.  She says whatever happened to him before I got him, he’s still psychologically back in the litter and is likely always to stay there.  Nothing wrong with that, but that’s who I’m dealing with.  He can’t handle large groups of dogs well and likely never will, which means conventional day care facilities are out for him.

She was glad to hear I’d already made arrangements to get Dexter, at least, to the day care in Connecticut she recommended – they have the small groups that are all he can handle, plus they use all kinds of ways to get the dogs exercise, even including treadmills if the weather’s too bad to let them run outside.  Sounds perfect for him.

After the training session, I went back to the place where I’d gotten propane before, because I was down to less than ¼ tank, thanks to the very cold nights (and days) we’ve been having and the forecast is for below freezing tomorrow night.

While I was there, I asked the guy to check my tires, because the right rear tires have been sounding for days the way a bicycle sounds when you’ve put playing cards in the spokes – remember?  The guy pointed out one of my mud flaps on those tires was shredded while the other was likely hitting the wheels because a metal bar that held the flap away from the tires had come loose and was also flapping around.  So he replaced a screw that was loose for that one, easy (if you have the tools).

But the other one – he said they could sell me the mud flap but the metal bar to hold that one in place was missing altogether.  I guess something I drove over did a number on my wheels but I have no idea what it would have been to mess up the mud flaps so thoroughly but leave the tires okay.  Anyway, he said they could fabricate one for me but it’d take some time.  I decided not to wait because it was already mid-afternoon.  And together we decided to leave the shredded one in place because it was between the wheels and the fuel tank, so any protection is better than none.

By the time all this was done, time was getting on and we actually got stuck in a little rush hour traffic.  It seems to start there around 3:00 like it does everywhere else these days.  But it was still early and it wasn’t bad.

But by the time I got back to the campground, I could still hear the playing cards in the spokes so decided to call the place tomorrow to see if they could fix the other mud flap.

This weekend we’re predicted to have a nor’easter without snow.  I hear this has happened in late October several times in the last 100 years, and this year is scheduled to be another one.  The weather people’re saying the remnants of Hurricane Willa, having wrecked Texas, is going to swing around in the Atlantic Ocean and head back to coastal New England with a present.  On Saturday we can expect 1”-3” of rain and very high winds.

Based on that, I decided to stay at the campground even if I couldn’t have my regular spot, so I stopped off at the office when I got back to check, and the young woman said sure, just check back in at 8:30 tomorrow to extend my reservation over the weekend.  I already have a reservation for Sunday-Wednesday.

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