Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cute Little Barks & Jaw Power

I have long held that demand barking will not be reinforced in my house. I just don't like it! But at the same time, I want the dogs to be able to communicate. If Laev needs out of her crate in the morning, for example, I want her to tell me that rather than wet the bed. So I carefully reinforced the quieter barks, so that now Laev has a very soft bark that communicates need, and I can safely ignore most loud barks which are just fussing and will end soon. :-)

Just now Laev, resisting a nap and trying to engage in *something* to prevent her from falling asleep, walked over, looked at me, and said clearly, "Mrap." It was a tiny little bark, barely worthy of the word, but a distinct vocalization. "Look, I want something, but I know that if I make too much noise, you'll ignore me." So I dutifully told her she was cute, and she thought that was nice, and then she fell asleep in a patch of sunlight.

Laev lost a little weight while we were out of town (lots of kennel pacing combined with suddenly cooler weather), and she was never plump -- her raw diet sees to that -- so petting her now is like slapping granite. She's all muscle! She has been, of course, but normally you can just see the outline of her ribs, and now you can actually distinguish them, so she needs 2-3 pounds. She will be happy to help with that, though. :-)

I gave her a handful of dry, hard treats in a Tricky Treat Ball this morning to occupy her and throw a few calories her way, and she was crushing it in her uber-jaws. I can compress it if I use two hands, but sheesh! I couldn't possibly palm it and crush it. Then later I put a few biscuits in a Kong Stuff-a-Ball, and wow! she can crunch that, too! Scary. I guess I should be surprised, since I routinely swing her off the ground with her tug, but it's just impressive to see it another way

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