Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't Stop 'Til You See the Whites of Their Eyes

So it doesn't take long to get on the bad side of a homeowners' association, does it? DH and I are sooooo not HA kind of people and hope that when we buy a house we can find one we love in a non-HA neighborhood, but from what I understand that is increasingly hard to do in many areas. The front yard of all the houses in our neighborhood are xeriscaped, but weeds abound and it's been impossible to keep up with them. So, we got a nasty letter from the HA that we must bend to their will by the end of the weekend and rid our front yard of all life forms. It's back-breaking work. I don't know how my mother does it in her own huge, beautiful, much more elaborately-landscaped yard.

Contrarily, the backyard is suddenly sprouting mushrooms everywhere. Unfortunately, Chewy seems to always notice before me. Do you know what happens to mushrooms when you try to pry them out of a dog's mouth? They disintegrate into mushroom powder. It's impossible stuff. I don't think they're poisonous. They look like the generic white mushroom kind. Spoken like someone truly ignorant of mushroom species. I should take a picture to show you guys, but that means finding one before Chewy does. But why are mushrooms sprouting up in my supposedly desert backyard anyway? Methinks the irrigation system must be over-hydrating some areas.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm already losing faith in my Petsmart dog trainer. We went to our second puppy class on Tuesday and I expressed to her my concerns with the "watch" command we were supposed to teach the dogs over the previous week. Am I the only one whose heard of the concept that animals don't like direct eye contact? That it's a form of aggression and an animal who wants to avoid a conflict will look away if stared in the eyes by another animal? I swear I've read this in all my dog training books. That's why you're not supposed to make eye contact if you meet an aggressive dog who you think might be about to attack you. The girl teaching my class wanted the dogs to hold this command for 30 seconds. Now, beside the fact that my 11-week-old puppy doesn't really have the attention span for that, it also goes against his instinct to look his pack leader in the eye (sorry, Dad, so far you're wrong. I seem to be the pack leader. Mainly, I think, because DH has been working twelve- to sixteen-hour days since early September.).

I tried to very politely and privately ask her what she thought about this. She looked at me like I was crazy, then made a point to do the command with my dog and prove me wrong. Not meanly, but she was definitely trying to show me just how wrong I was. I didn't want to get into it with her so I didn't bother pointing out that the only reason she was able to get him to hold the "watch" was because she was bent over towards him (another no-no according to my books) and letting him jump up on her while "watching." He's not allowed to jump up on people. Whatever. The girl is still an undergrad, so I don't know what I was expecting. We go more for the socialization anyway.

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