Sunday, June 28, 2009

The dog blog

Thursday, June 25th. We've had our new puppy Kooper for almost 2 weeks now. He is a 2 month Australian Shepherd. We had done quite a lot of research about the breed, visited with another Aussie owner and talked extensively with the breeder. We chose Kooper from the litter when he was just a month old based on what appeared to be his nice, calm nature and his beautiful colouring. However, since picking him up and bringing him home he is showing the true Aussie in him. That is, high energy, strength and intelligence, constant gnawing and chewing, frequent nipping and the occasional angry snarl and bite. It also appears that we have the potential for quite a large dog as opposed to the medium size more characteristic for the breed. At this time, I think he thinks he's the boss, perhaps enjoying his new role having come from more dominate pups at the breeders.

We had our first puppy training on Thursday night. I think it went quite well, no human or puppy was hurt, he didn't pee or poop on the floor and he wasn't barking uncontrollably. The little guy was so tired afterward though, all that play time and constant pulling on his leash. I could probably say Kooper was the most entertaining of the 7 dogs present. He definitely tried to assert himself, but was overpowered a few times by an older and larger labradoodle. Nice that he got a bit of a reality check. The one takeaway from the trainer on how to deal with his biting and nipping was consistently use food as reward for all good behaviour (playing nice, sitting and lying, waiting, leaving temptations alone etc).

Friday didn't end well. We tried some of the new ideas, but today it seems that every time we were playing with him it quickly came to an end when he began to bite. We even saw some true doggy aggression today with nasty growls and far from playful biting. We knew it would be difficult, but we didn't expect such a level of biting issues and aggression. We know its not his fault, and it must something we were doing wrong. We felt we are approaching his training as best we could, applying what we were reading and learning from other dog experts. We were putting a lot of energy, time and effort into his training and we seemed to be only making matters worse. My wife and I were very stressed out and I admitted that I was thinking that perhaps we'd made a mistake. It appears that Kooper felt the stress and sadness in the air and was very quiet in the evening.

One of his good traits is his nightime behaviour. He is quite easy to settle down now at night and there haven't been too many peeing accidents. Sometimes we'll sleep for a while beside his pen and we're testing the crate at bedtime on occasion as well.

We had a good Saturday, we probably gave half of his food today as treat rewards for obeying simple sit, wait and down tests and for leaving certain objects alone and listening to corrective instructions. We had family visitors in the evening and it went well with only occasional nipping.

I also had my second puppy driven stranger meeting in as many days on Saturday. On Friday, Kooper was the perfect chick magnate, attracting two attractive ladies over for a chat. And then on Saturday, I'm sitting with Kooper at the front of the house and one of our neighbours drives by and pulls his car into his driveway. Now this gentleman lives across the road and I've never met him. He always appears very serious, never noticing me or any of our family - quite an unfriendly fellow. He is however, a dog owner. On this day, he sees Kooper and I and as soon as he's parked his car, comes across the street to meet us. And what a nice man he is, I found out he's also from England and we talked about our dgos for a little while. Kooper lives up to being a true dog icebreaker.

It's Sunday morning now, the good news is that he lasted over 7 hours without needing to pee in the night. This morning's energy spurts were all fun and games but perhaps we let them go on a bit too long, so he's been getting rather nasty a few times this morning. He's having he morning nap now and the house is quiet. We'll pick up the new treat training when he wakes up and keep a close eye on his mood.

We are also starting to understand his daily moods, his eating and pee and poop timing and recognizing when he's over stimulated, when he needs some crazy time and when to just let him be. Hopefully, Kooper is starting to understand how we work too. We noticed that Friday was not a usual day as I worked from home and the kids were off school, so maybe that had some effect on his behaviour. Let's hope we don't have many more days like Friday.

Our new addition to our family is already changing our family in many ways. There are many challenges, but I can clearly see the positives and beginning to see the progress with his training. He has been part of our lives for just 2 weeks, but the emotional bond is already there. We love our Kooper.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Branded golf shirt

Without really thinking about it, I donned a bright green golf shirt this morning for work. I got it a while back from a charity golf tournament. The logo is simply the company name and not really recognizable outside the financial industry. It has a few snags and a splattering of chalky dog medicine from this morning, but it does the job.

This morning I'm going through my flagged inbox items, seeing if there was a follow up I'd missed or needed to try again. So I give this guy a call and finally reach him and get some updates. As we're talking I realize, hey, I'm wearing a shirt with this guy's company name on it !

So, I have a few logo'd shirts, not surprisingly some overlap with companies I do business with. However, to pick this day to call this one person (which I hadn't tried in quite a few months and only ever talked to once in about the last 5 years), the same day I pick the shirt (and a have a few different shirts), well that's a pretty interesting coincidence. Maybe wearing it and subconsciously seeing the logo made me seek out that old email ?

Sidenote - this financial services company recently purchased a software company, my contact was actually at their offices this morning. Without going through stacks of old business cards, I'm pretty sure the acquired company was one I'd targeted for a new job a long while ago ! Small world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Role Models

I was in the waiting room of my physiotherapist's office and a father and son walked in from the elevator and the son was wearing a t-shirt with Role Model written on it. I couldn't see the logo or a clue to the inner meaning, but fair enough, maybe this kid really is a role model, say for other students at his school. Anyway, I was enjoying reading a novel called No Time for Goodbye as I'm waiting for my appointment, and a few pages after I see the kid, I read "I'm not the best role model". Which is rather an understatement coming from this criminal character in the book. Just as I'm writing this I remember a clever mass email I got around to reading today from my brother-in-law in Manitoba. It was entitled Who is your Role Model ? It goes something like this...
Each of us is the result of the influence of many people. However some individuals have played a significant role in our development, They are often called "role models" that we consciously or unconsciously imitate. Perhaps you know who that person is, or perhaps you don't. The world renowned Sir Trevoir Rigelsworth, Ph.D, has given us a simple way to determine our role model. It is easy and only takes a minute and it may surprise you.


Be sure not to peek! You don't want to skew your answer.
Try this - it's really neat ..
Don't look at the answers:

1) Pick your favourite number between 1-9

2) Multiply by 3 then

3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3 (I'll wait while you get the Calculator....)

4) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number....

5) Add the digits together

Now Scroll down ..............

With that number, see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:

1. Einstein
2. Oprah Winfrey
3. Mother Teresa
4. Randubius Raji
5. Bill Gates
6. Johann Von Stueckenberg
7. Brad Pitt
8. Babe Ruth
9. PJMixer
10. Barack Obama
I haven't done the math, but the simple logic is there somewhere, but these games are still a fun.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Loyalty ?

My wife was blogging and ranting about customer loyalty today (Bell vs Rogers). I stopped in at World's Biggest Bookstore (not sure if it truly is, but it is the closest bog book store to my office, and it is big and has a great selection) after work and the first book that caught my attention was Loyalty Management.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Off season football treat

Here's something to brighten up this rather dull, gray Thursday. First shot I've seen of one of the new stadiums for next year's World Cup in South Africa. This is in Johannesburg and will be the site of the final. The colours are amazing and immediately say Africa.

Construction (less pretty) pics.

Coincidence versus Fate

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unfortunate coincidences

We hear about car crashes all the time when we're dialed in to traffic reports, and over our lifetimes we are all involved in at least one car accident (I've had three I believe). But sometimes we forget how dangerous driving can really be.

This week, I talked with a customer who I hadn't heard of for a few weeks. It turns out he was involved in a serious accident with his family on the 401 and is suffering from back and neck pain. Today, I learned that the family of a work colleague in Ottawa were involved in a serious car accident yesterday and his daughter is in the hospital. My thoughts are with them.

I once heard that the car, most times, our comfortable and loyal "friend", can turn into your worst enemy in a blink of eye when things go wrong. Please drive safely, for yourself and fellow travelers on the road.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Downer start, but ending on the up

I played soccer tonight and I must say, apart from the good workout, it wasn't a lot of fun. I now have ice on my ankle and my jaw hurts from a full blast goalie clearance I took in the face. I think I may actually pack it in. My ankle, which in normal situations doesn't give me any trouble these days (after the break and surgery last year), is just not strong enough to make a convincing pass or worse, a threatening shot on goal. If you have access to my health file, you'll know about my "frozen shoulder" so I'm not playing my regular ultimate or golf this summer. I thought soccer may be a decent substitute but and I'm a little tentative on the soccer field too. Maybe someone is trying to tell me something ?

So, foot up and on ice, wondering whether to do some physio for my shoulder and if I need to treat my other problem (I'm still a little uncomfortable sharing the details, but let's just say,
PA is forcing me to change my diet and is taking forever to cure). I'm actually saying screw it tonight and enjoying a beer as I feel sorry for myself.

So what else is keeping me busy these days ? Well from the business side, I'm enjoying having my evenings and weekends free until the next busy cycle hits. I'm probably spending the most time with photography and building a good collection of public content on Flickr and sharing personal photos via Picasa. Actually, I'm getting a lot more viewers and comments on Flickr than all my other online sharing these days. New music has fallen on the list, but I'm still downloading quite a bit of new stuff every month. I picked up the latest Q mag today and quickly found some interesting stuff, incl Canadian electronic act Junior Boys, the cool sounds of Camera Obscura (playing at Lees on June 27th), and the hard rocking new album from The Manic Street Preachers.

The other big news that is about to change my life is Kooper. Kooper is our new Australian Shepherd puppy who we're bringing home on Saturday. I'm sure he'll generate quite a bit of content here over the next few months. Still have some prep work to do, incl. installing some extra fencing in the back yard. We picked an Aussie because they are more of a medium sized dog, a super smart, athletic and very loyal.

Watching a little Derek Trucks in High Def (HDNet from the weekend) before heading to bed, hoping to log a few REM meets the sandman hours.

Photo Blog #12: Luminato Long Wave

This is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much these days. I've been immersed in a couple of photography projects: 100 Strangers and capturing all the wonderful things to see at the Luminato Festival that is running thru next weekend here in Toronto.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lightening strikes twice

I was having a great little drawing session with my daughter after work today and out of the miscellany of items we were drawing I asked if she knew how to draw lightening bolts. Then on Twitter shortly after I follow a link to art work on my sister-in-law's Flickr page - whatja know - lightening !