Friday, March 4, 2011

RV Show

This morning we headed off to the Spring RV show. There were a few new 5th wheels, but most of the innovation was scene in the little guys. Every year they are packing a lot of functionality into a little package. The only one I took photos of was the little pop-up with just two beds. It was so small it could be towed by a compact car and what a great way to get out camping and get up off the ground. You'd still have the tent experience, just none of the hard ground experience. There were a couple of huge 5th wheels that we liked, but we are still happy with what we've got so we passed up on the great deals.

After the RV show, and picking up all our fruit and vegetables for the next few days it was into the Brick to check out mattresses. As we walked in the door we said to each other that we were only looking... an hour later the deal was done and it will be delivered on Wednesday. We went all out and got a KING size - for Spike of course, and a nice headboard to go with it. Its a good thing we had more resolve at the RV show...

Today's word of the day is raffish (RAF-ish adjective - 1: marked by or suggestive of flashy vulgarity or crudeness ; 2: marked by a careless unconventionality : rakish). I find that many today's young women (girls) dress in a raffish fashion.

Spike was Pet of the Week on another blog (see here). Isn't he cute!

My pleasures today: making really cool vegan pita pockets for our picnic in the city today ; watching dogs play at the dog park while we ate our lunch ; getting through the long day with no diet cheats (this was a major accomplishment as I had a serious craving for hamburger and fries) ; running into Maureen, a lady who used to work the same place I did - she is one of the nicest people I know and in fact she would be anybody's amazing mentor, both on work topics and also on being a wonderful person.


31 Day Challenge today is: An experience that made you who you are today.

Off the top of my head the only experiences that I can think of are bad and not to be talked about, but on further thought I remembered my first horse, Frey, and all the life experiences I gained while having him.

Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and TrainingFrey was a "troubled" horse, not at all the right horse for a timid beginner rider and horse owner. He would bolt at the slightest provocation even when just standing together in the paddock, I can't even begin to count the number of times he bolted while being led - he was just so afraid - and not at all the Fjord temperament that I had expected. After he had been living at our house for just a week or two I could no longer even get near him. It was time for some professional help so off to the trainer he went. She had many of the same problems and he ended up living in a box stall for a while as no one could catch him. I was desperate to make this work so started reading up on various training techniques and came upon clicker training. This seemed like something I could do as it broke things down into tiny increments - easy enough for someone with no experience to do. Read "Don't Shoot the Dog" for a great overview of operant conditioning as it relates to both humans and other animals - I've given copies to more than a few people.

We made quite a bit of progress on the ground and were creating a good bond - each tiny success felt like a miracle. Then the place I had him closed down, so we had to move to another facility, this time with a trainer who used to train for the RCMP. Now was the time to move forward and get him going under saddle. Frey did well under saddle for Frank and it was only a month or two before he was ready to be ridden by me. All went well the first time, but the second time, a cat ran out from the hay and made him bolt. I came off onto a pile of jump standards and after a trip to the ER didn't have the confidence to go on with him. Many tears and sleepless nights later he went back to the breeder.

The breeder sent me Dora, a been there/done that older mare. Dora is the horse I should have had all along. She helped me to get (most) of my confidence back, especially while dealing with horses on the ground.

How does this experience relate to the person I am today? By reading and practicing clicker training/operant conditioning I got greater insight into how creatures (including us) work and learn. This helps me to deal with people on a daily basis in a more sympathetic and kind way, I can interact with Grace in a more positive and less reactive way, and I can train our dogs better. With this experience I was able to train Spike to be a service dog, which helped me to get though a tough time at work.