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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The dragons are biting.

If it has a mouth...it bites.


Dogs bite, cats bite, shit...fish bite...HUMANS bite...ask any cop or preschool teacher...


I get this "does it bite?" question ALOT. I always say that if it has a mouth it can bite you...If its som'thing that tends to be docile, I say "these tend not to bite". I can not remember a time in recent years where I've told som'one an animal was not going to bite them, in an absolute :never: way.

I find myself, more and more pondering peoples motivations behind pets. I mean, I was one of them, so I can understand it on that level, but I have "moved on" in many ways...as in, I like to have animals, but the need to go out and actively acquire new ones is a need that has left me for the most part.

I once was a consumer. Iam still, technically a producer. Even though I have for the most part shunned my former breeding operations, I still produce animals professionally, and due to my "career" assist novices in producing animals. Helping the novices, tends to produce more ill feelings than me producing my own animals, due to the sheer number of people who have bad motivators...and then here Iam, being the one having to deal with aggressive offspring from aggressive parents, having to baby non feeder snakes, which can from parents that were likely non feeders, and having to find homes for, or euthanize animals born with birth defects, when their producers reject responsibility for them

Ah, to cull or not to cull. Iam all for culling, in the spay neuter sense. As in, this dog is not perfect, lets bar it from breeding, but spare its life, and find it a home. But in reptiles, its not so easy. I can't spay/neuter a bearded dragon, and no matter how well I screen people, every year, som' tool decides that that kinked tail shouldn't stop lizzy from having babies. Or the School teacher, that year after year, produced tiny, pathetic, weakling bearded dragons, that grew slowly, the great majority of them with birth defects, and me doing everything, from reasoning, to pleading with her, not to pair the parents anymore. Every year, I'd find her eggs in the incubator, until finally, exhasted, as female beardeds become from egg laying, the mother of the weaklings passed on.

And there in lies the other evil. Egg laying. I'd say 90+% of the female beardeds I've known have died in egg laying. They get old, they get thin and their bodies just can't push them out. Its inevitable. Those that don't die in egg laying, die of accidents, or being euthanized when disease strikes their aging bodies. Males die generally of kidney failure or obesity, tho they do get to live twice as long as the girls do.

I used to say I've been bitten by beardeds twice. I remember both times...one was a very skittish animal that a person saved from a classroom where the kids were caugh torturing it. It nailed me as I tried to examine it for health. It was scared out of its mind.

The second animal, was an animal that belonged to a customer, and he felt the need to retell you its pedigree every time they brought it into the store (which was often). Reminds me of the people who approach you with their dog and blurt out "shes a champion such and such, when you hadn't even noticed the animal yet.....Of course pedigrees in bearded dragons for the most part are simply pretty animals bred to pretty animals, selected for color or pattern mutations. Anyway, despite its pedigree, it was a rather mediore looking animal, and it nailed me as I held up a nail clipper. It gave no signals, it just bit me, let go and was fine. The top of my finger was not fine

but these two stories, while I say they are the only ones, really aren't. I get bitten by babies almost daily now...som'thing I couldn't have said 6 years ago. Baby beardeds seem to be becoming more and more aggressive as the years pass, I have also noticed an increase in flightly skittish animals. Beardeds so skittish, they are almost impossible to handle, and they take quite a bit of forced interactions to 'grow out of it".

I remember a specific group of leatherbacks imported from europe. I have never dealt with beardeds that were so aggressive at a juvenile age. Absolutely untrustworthy and "evil" as we called them. They weren't a hard sell tho, they were a rare morph, and no doubt every last one of them went on to reproduce.

I have seen birth defects increase, with a big peak around 2008, I see fewer today, but I think thats due to most of the novices no longer breeding, and have given away their adults.

Thats the other thing...where are all these dragons going? This year and last, people in mass gave up their pets. It was insane. It was like I missed the "everyone relinquish anything alive" memo. People poured in wanting to give up the animals they swore were family members...many people saying the reason was the animals babies could no longer fund the hobby...ironic since the majority of people who buy a bearded dragon or two are not thinking about breeding for money...yet, once they have, and the money flow stops, the animals are worthless to them

Ironically, the pet, the exotic pet, that makes people different, is slowly going the way of the poorly bred purebred dog.

I see many more bites in my future.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things I learned this month



Emma had this photo taken at the dog park and uploaded to facebook, not by me, and I stumbled across it...I gather those feet belong to som' poor smuck being suckered into tossing that ball.


Jigantor will do anything for a cherry tomato. Like, anything. Its fish crack, she about jumped out of the tank at the sight of one


You can teach the gourami to spin in both directions on cue in less time that you can teach it to the crazy pomeranian.

The old cats like the new cat, whether they admit it or not

I really really want to build lego but don't ever seem too.

temps over 104 will fry your corn plants but not your tomatos *shrug*

The Critter can learn to sit, leave it, and focus, but can't seem to figure out stay to save her life.

I really need to start training other peoples dogs on the side, but Iam a chicken shit.


Kiwis allergies turned out to be a yeast infection

Critter is a tick factory, her new name is "The Tick"

I feel more and more unburdened as I sell off the last of the snakes

Iam really lucky to have Kev around. Even if hes not around

My neighbor refered to my side yard as "a jungle" so my mission is almost complete

How to be nicer to customers at work

the handgun gets heavy after about twenty minutes

Chickens think fig beetles are tasty

The new cat is a circus performer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It seems a waste...


to live in California and not take advantage of it.


I mean, Hollywood, is like a 40 min drive from here. When you grow up here, you forget that.

I have been thinking more and more about that. Especially watching Jesse and jasmine get those commercial deals...aside from the walking handstand...there's not much there I haven't taught already, or couldn't teach.

Not to say theres not alot there, there is. I think that came out wrong. :p

So I sit back and think about why I think about this...I guess I over analyze everything...thinking about why I think what I think...

I have ZERO desire to be famous. Honestly. I do want recognition occasionally, but for the most part Iam content with no one knowing who the heck Iam. Part of the reason I don't go into training profesionally...

I think alot about animal wrangling and movie animal training. That, to me, is perfect...firstly, I have the experience with exotics...you name it, from parrots to gators, hedgehogs to rattlers...I can handle it... anyway...you don't have to deal with the public...sure you have clients...but you are, I imagine, for the most part, not dealing with the level of stupid I see at the shop daily.



I have been watching youtube vids of the late show (tonight show? I dunno) with stupid pet tricks...and think...god Chili could be on that show...


I guess I have no real point in this entry...just that maybe I'll get brave and you'll see Chili up in lights one day...hopefully with everyone completely ignoring me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peppers can dance just fine...

their owner however has two left feet and a sore back....



A very sore back. I went yesterday to a Canine Freestyle seminar...teaching routine ideas...som'thing I very much needed since Iam not very good as coming up with my own stuff unless a gun is to my head. I need to see it, decide I like it, and then I can teach it.

I dont' just like training... the finished result, but the process too, as I know the dogs like the process, but I do suffer from motivation problems. The human side of me wants to go "look! Look what I did!" but then the other human side of me thinks that no one genuinely cares and is humoring me.

I don't really even like working the dogs in public around non dog people, even if the comments aren't rude, if the comments are wrong, they bother me. A guy in petco yesterday saw me working Chili outside (just sits and downs) and then when he walked by Chili pulled towards him to sniff him. I didn't say or do anything to stop him except hold the leash and the guy made a comment about how he'll get there and learn not to pull....or something to that effect...I guess he thought I was training him not to pull???? Either way it was a wtf moment and I thought, really thought about how unperceptive the public is at the obvious.

Anyway, back to the seminar...there were five dogs, plus the trainers dogs and everyone, for the most part was very well behaved. Chili had a couple of TINY outbursts, mostly confined to dogs outside the fence and once or twice to the husky that despite instructions not to, kept wandering into our space.

He took all the tasks in stride and was like "um, ok more?" and there were a few moments where I lost him to the grass sniffing and the fact the trainers had better treats than me...

That said, he also did a hoop jump no problem despite never having seen one before, and doing a down stay and not getting upset for long periods of time (new also). His spin and turn for whatever reason fell apart but I can get that back easy.

So its a bit harder to "dance" with your dog that I thought, the fact he was a small dog just added to it, and the fact he can't do much jumping added to it..firstly, you feel like a retard dancing in front of people. Secondly, having to dumb down cues in the beginning, meant I had to be hunched over alot to keep him with me. And thirdly, I can't dance very well anyway, adding a dog and a clicker and having to keep moving, keep it interesting is HARD.

Despite feeling like a fool, I got lots of positive feedback. I was, once again encouraged to become a professional myself, which meant alot to me considering the sources.

I got to meet the "famous" (to me anyway) Splash and Tug. Tug is a firecracker, springs in his feet and is just an interesting dog to look at, he reminded me of a mouse (in a cute, good way) as he stared a hole in my head looking for treats. Hes much smaller than I imagined, more Tippy sized (longer legged tho) than the Chili size I imagined.

Splash was intense. Maybe its just a border collie thing, I wouldn't know, I've met three now and two ignored me. But I stood to close and a couple times Splash stopped in mid trick to stand there and look at me. You could tell she was figuring me out. Kinda a "I can see through you" mixed with "hi! Iam Splash". Very cute :) She was also smaller than I imagined , and I told her so, while she stared at me.

Anyway, I felt comfortable tho, I was not worried about som'one spraying Chili in the face while I wasn't looking, wasn't worried about having to explain what a clicker was and how it worked, wasn't worried som'one wouldn't understand his reactivity, wasn't worried I wouldn't fit it. It felt wonderful, Iam still on a high note emotionally today.

Time to go train som' dogs. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Revelations

no not the book.



Chili had a rather uncharacteristic revelation today whilst at the outdoor mall. It went som'thing like this...


Wait a minute. Wait...wait...all these people...they are here, to see ME.



Truth be told they were not there to see Chili (please don't tell him, he'll be crushed), but this did not stop him from turning into a complete happiness retard.


He developed that whole body butt wiggle you only tend to see in pit bulls and labs and when that wasn't enough to convey his emotions, he got zoomies. Happiness zoomies.

He then ellicted play from me, right in the center of this busy place, hundreds of people, cars, music over loudspeakers, screaming kids, bikes, dogs, you name it.... and my reactive dog tried to play with me.


part of me, when I re read that, knows I should be crying tears of joy, but Iam honestly still in shock...there was a pom twenty feet away barking at him and he was trying to ellict attention from strangers. At night time to boot. Hes afraid of the dark, this is only his second training session in a dark place.

I mean, I knew this training stuff would work. I knew I could convince him things/people aren't scary, that I could teach him to ignore them no matter what, and to tolerate these things.

I never, in a million years thought he'd genuinely LIKE these things because of training...I mean, I knew it could happen, but Chili is so "selective" hes fearful, and when hes not fearful, hes a snob, he doesn't throw himself at anyone but me and Kev, and recently Cheryl.

Well...now I supposed I have a different problem now...the problem of the OMG I want to meet you! Which is not som'thing I really have much practice in dealing with. I know how, just never thought I'd need it.

Crazy dog, I wish he'd make his mind up already!