Sunday, August 27, 2017

Trickmeister Dude: Pick It Up

August 27 2017

Dudley has a passel of tricks in his bag, but it's been too bloody hot to work on any this summer.

One trick is Touch It; it started with my hat. When he started picking it up on his own, that morphed into Pick It Up. From that it's developed that he has to Pick It Up and hand it to me before he gets a treat. The handing it to me part really hadn't clicked - it's more luck that I can grab it before he drops it - but we really haven't worked on it. 

The other day Steph said she left a feed tub out in the pasture, and to pick it up if I saw it. Did somebody say Pick It Up?

Connie and Sarah and I were out riding later, and I spied the bucket. I sent Dudley over. "Pick It Up!" I said. Dudley reached down, picked up the bucket, and when I reached for it, he handed it to me! Oh for a camera!!!!! Of course he got big praise and a treat for that!

I tried it again when we got back to the house, but instead he did his Spanish Steps. Not what I asked for, but he did them so well, I changed to the command for that ("Step" and a nudge with my toe on each side), and gave him a treat.

Today I fetched a camera after our ride, and tried to get Pick It Up of a feed bucket on video.

Here it is! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Bird in the Hand

August 4 2017

So *now* what am I supposed to do?

I walk up to the house, and I first see Audrey, the wispy terrorist cat, lounging ever-so-regally-catlike upon a step. For some reason she reminds me of Queen Cersei, smug, supercilious, so in control of things.

Next I see, two steps down, a fluffy scruffy baby bird, facing Audrey, peeping at the world. (Finch? Oriole?)

Well. What am I supposed to do? Let the terrorist continue terrorizing this little chick? It's obviously already been in the cat's mouth at some point, though I don't see anything broken or bleeding.

I scoop up the birdlet, who squawks in major indignation and consternation. Audrey glares at me, Really?

I follow the procedure I always do with injured birds who fly into a window and stun themselves or get caught by a cat: I drop some soft paper towels into a box, put the bird in the box and close it and put it inside the house in a quiet corner for a while - locking the cat outside. Either the bird will die or revive.

This little birdie revives somewhat, and after a while is chirping away inside the box. Well. *now* what do I do? Audrey is still on the front steps, wondering where her little bird toy went. I decide to put the little bird back outside where it was, and lock Audrey inside. Maybe the birdie's parents are somewhere around. They *should* be around, anyway.

So, I lock Audrey inside, scoop up the chick, and set it back outside in the grass near where I found it. It can flap its wings, but it makes no attempt to fly away or rescue itself. It chirps away, chirp, chirp, chirp, for an hour. Not a parent in sight. Inside, Audrey is getting obnoxious. Can't leave the cat locked in the house all day and night till the bird figures something out or stops making such noise.

So *now* what do I do? I let the cat out the front, but go scoop up the bird again. It struggles, then snuggles in my grasp again. We're old friends now. I go to the back yard and set it in the grass, but at the rate it's chirping, Audrey will be around shortly to resume baby bird terrorism. 

I scoop up my bird friend again, and take it further out back, to near the creek, far enough from the cat, but, I'm sure, near other predators. Really, what else can I do but turn it loose. I set it up on a tree branch… and wish it well. 

Mother Nature will take care of it, one way or another.