Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What to Notice

A few nights ago, it was late, I was tired, and I could hear my daughters practicing their cellos (celli?) in their studio. (Studio may be a grandiose term; it's a shed, albeit with French doors and several windows, with an interior that we painted lilac, and it was designated their music room because inside our small house, two cellos/celli playing at one time is a lot.)

The background on this is that we've always had this rule, as loosely followed as it was enforced, of no practicing after 9:30, 10 at the latest, 10 being the hour specified in the city ordinance prohibiting noise. It was 11:30 and my daughters were playing their cellos/celli. Was I steamed.

I went out to the shed, offered a reprimand, and invited them to shut it down and go to bed. All the while I grumbled--about having had to rise from my warm cozy bed, about the possibility of their having disturbed the neighbors, and so on.

When I woke up in the morning, I saw that what I've often suspected is true: I am the most ridiculous person in the world. Here I have these teen-age daughters, these straight A students, these musicians who diligently practice: girls who are nice, fun to be with, and funny as all get-out, girls who never cause me a moment's worry that they might be sneaking out to gleefully roll around in all the trouble that teen-agers often do roll around in. If the worst thing they ever do is practice their cellos/celli at 11:30 at night on a school night--well! Then I will have been mightily blessed.

Late, while walking My Good Dog, I listened to the Make Dogs Your Life podcast, episode 4, the interview with Jessica Dolce, a professional walker of dogs. Ms. Dolce talked about this very topic as applied to dogs, and I realized how incredibly good My Good Dog is, let me count the ways:
1. Never chews on shoes or furniture or any other item except chew toys.
2. Is 100% house-broken.
3. Is absent any hint of food or toy aggression.
4. Is always sweet and calm to small dogs, no matter how aggressive the small dog is.
5. Is almost always sweet and calm with any dog (except, rarely, dogs that are aggressive to her--she usually doesn't react, but once in a while, she does--and, only twice, she was snappy with dogs who seemed passive and sweet).
6. Learns new tricks quickly.
7. Obeys basic commands: sit, stay, wait, down, sit up, shake.
8. Walks well on a leash.
9. Is always sweet and calm with family members.
10. Never lies on the furniture (when we're home).
11. Doesn't jump up on people who don't let her jump up on them.
12. Has learned not to lick my face.
13. Never steals food from the table or counter.
14. Never gets into the trash.
15. Is a pleasant companion.

All that having been said, if My Bad Dog's one personality flaw is her reactivity to mail carriers and all delivery personnel and strangers who come to our house unannounced, well, maybe that isn't the worst thing in the world.

Especially if that one personality flaw is seeming to (very gradually) diminish.

I decided to record the level of reactivity along with the stimulus to help me monitor improvement. Reactivity is measured on a 0 to 5 scale, 0 being obliviousness and 5 being nuclear explosion.

Today's Report Card
# of cats sighted: 2
reactivity: 1

# of FedEx trucks (in motion): 1
reactivity: 1

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