From the moment we talked about our Major Project in EC&I 831, I knew that I would want to pick Option 2. How often do we get the opportunity to pick something we want to learn and actually get a little credit for it? I mean, this makes it feel like I am doing something I want to do, but on the clock!
As someone who constantly has a running list of things I would like to know how to do and be awesome at, I found it tough to select something for this project. First, I have always wanted to learn to play guitar. I was learning decades ago from an extremely passionate guitar enthusiast. But, eventually, that went to the wayside. I still love to sing and honestly would love to be able to play the guitar while I do it. However, I am not sure how much everyone around me would enjoy it.
Second, I love to bake. I used to bake non-stop and always said my dream job would be to own a coffee and bakery shop. The truth is, my husband is not wrong when he says I would NEVER be able to do the 4am wake ups in order to have everything ready. However, if I could just do fancy treats and cakes, then I could operate on my own time. Right?! I would truthfully love to learn the art of cake decorating! However, add in the amount of time and money it would take to do this, along with my annoying gluten allergy, and cake decorating seems like a pretty big hassle.
Third, I have always wanted to learn to crochet. Truth is, until I read Riley’s post on her learning project, I didn’t even know the difference between crocheting and knitting (she has a great visual comparison). I think I would enjoy it, but I honestly don’t have the time for it and would end up finding it stressful rather than relaxing.
So what? I have been forcing myself to try to enjoy golf for the last few months. As someone who again, likes to be good at things, I find the sport pretty frustrating. However, I am growing and enjoying it more now then I was a few months ago. I could sign up for lessons, watch videos and read pro golf tips, but is this really going to benefit me right now? Maybe I will leave that for the 2022 To-Do-List.
That led me to the question of “What can I dedicate time to learning that will not take me away from my family but will in fact enhance it? Possibly even invite participation?”
Meet Duke and Gryff (short for Gryffindor – full on Harry Potter geek right here). These are my fur babies. I have two human babies too, but these days they don’t need me nearly as much as they once did (at 19 and 10), and these little fluff balls give me somewhere to direct all my extra love.
After some serious consideration, I have decided to make these two a big part of my project. Duke is currently 6 1/2 years old and Gryff will be 6 months in October. When Duke was a pup, we did puppy classes and found he caught on quickly to a few basic commands. He is a loving, sweet dog who is generally easy to care for. However, as time went on, some annoying habits and behaviours came to light.
Duke is over-the-top excited whenever someone comes to the door. He will jump all over them and takes a bit to calm down no matter how many times he is scolded for this or how much we expect him to sit. I partly blame my mother for this as showing up with milk bones in her purse has really conditioned Duke to think everyone must be there for him. He has also not always been good around other dogs. I attribute this mostly to his over excitement, but it is still a challenge. He has often gone right to play mode without any caution when seeing another dog and as you can imagine, this does not always go well. Possibly for this reason, Duke is a terrible leash walker. He constantly has a “Me first” attitude and will not stop pulling no matter what we do! Despite these annoying traits, we love him and always considered him to be a pretty good dog.
We were worried about how this would go when we got Gryff though. However, from having him around our neighbours dogs, we knew he would calm down eventually. I really wanted another dog and kept at it until I got my way on this one. LOL. I am really so happy I did though. In many ways, Gryff has made Duke a much better dog.
Right from the start, Gryff was an easier dog. He loves to snuggle, eats well and didn’t bark. He balances out Duke’s slightly anxious nature and even calms him. However, now that Gryff is getting a little older, we are seeing the effects of each others behaviour. Duke has started to bark since Gryff arrived. At first it seemed to be just a warning bark if he had enough. Then it developed into more playful barking and now it is developing into a habit. Gryff has picked this up and is now starting to bark a bit as well. In addition, when company comes over, or one of us arrives home, we now have a whole new level of chaos. Finally, walks are terrible!! Now instead of one pulling, we have two, and often in opposite directions.
So all of this leads me to my choice of project. I have decided that I would like to try to learn what I can about dog training from online sources. I did not find obedience classes to be particularly useful, nor do I wish to commit to a certain time each week. This project gives me the flexibility to learn about this in a more individualized way. Through this project there are a few areas I am hoping to improve. I specifically want to target their behaviour around company, around other dogs and when walking on leash, but I do hope I am able to learn more that carries over. I feel this is a suitable project as it benefits my family, is something they can participate in and will allow me a chance to explore if it really is possible to learn a skill like this using social media outlets.
To begin, I have decided to create a Wakelet as a way to organize my findings. I started looking for frequently followed individuals or organizations offering pet tips on Twitter and Instagram. I plan to also explore Pinterest and YouTube. I will be organizing my findings in a Wakelet in an effort to keep it all in one place. I am looking forward to checking out all the resources out there and becoming a better puppy momma!
As for how I will document this process, I am still toying with ideas. I may see what Wakelet will do for me, compile a series of samples along the way and embed it all in one place. Or, I might compile it all in a iMovie or a Flipgrid. I’m still sorting these details out!
Are there any specific resources you know of that I should definitely check out? Do you have any training tips for me from your own experience? I’d love to hear about them if you do!
Finally, I must give a shout out to Curtis, who inspired me to spice up this post a bit with a hint of the flare he has added to his own! All of these can be found at https://giphy.com/. Just click on the photos to go right to the source.