Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to everyone!  It was a beautiful Earth Day on Bully Hill.  More trees and flowers are blooming.

(pink dogwoods)

(apple blossoms)

(cherry blossoms... the kind that actually produce cherries)

(Cherry blossoms... not the fruit tree)

(I'm pretty sure these are weeds, but I really like them)

OK then, I've been on a bit of a hiatus from actually posting information about animal training.  I recently visited a doggie friend that was having a hard time greeting people at the door.  This little bully was getting a bit too excited when guests arrived, and she really did not know how to respond appropriately.  The owners were going to explore a few different options, but one of the things we discussed was teaching the dog to go to a specific "safe spot" when there was a knock at the door.  While this might seem very complicated, it is easy when you break things down into simple steps.

The first step is to start target training with the dog.  I think we've demonstrated that one before using the horses.  Once the dog learns basic target training, you can add some more distance and throw the target.  I also demonstrated this with the horses when teaching them to fetch.

Here, we are going to teach the dogs to go to a safe place using the same basic concept.  Instead of a jolly ball or a ball on a stick, they will need to target a blanket.

The following are some short videos of the dogs after I throw a blanket onto the ground:

This is not exactly the most exciting stuff in the world, but it is good progress.  As demonstrated by Petunia, even if the dog accidentally hits the target, you still click and reward.  The dog needs to figure out for herself why she is being rewarded.  Once your dog figures it out and is going to the target all of the time, you can add a command like "spot."  Thereafter, we can start to reward the dog for staying at the spot for longer and longer periods of time.

Rome was not built in a day, but it is a lovely place now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I don't know why I find this so amusing, but I most certainly do.  Snow is virtually a baby.  She's 6 years old now and she likely weighs a ton.  She's as big and she is ornery.  Part of being a young, growing horse seems to be a desire to eat all the time.  She consumes far more food than Ellie Mae.  Thus, in the mornings and in the afternoon, Snow is in a huff, waiting to be fed.  If she is in one of the pastures, she will pace back and forth against the fence until I come to get her:

Well, that is slightly amusing, but not really funny.  This, however, is her reaction when I open the gate to "bring her" up to the barn.

I have about 20 videos of the exact same thing.  Sure, the blue-bloods will probably stroke their beards, cluck their tongues, and note that this is not the proper behavior for a horse.  They are probably right.  Still, she's always waiting in front of her stall when I finally make it up to the barn with Ellie, and she seems to be having fun.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flat Stanley Post II

OK, I made a couple of Flat Stanley posts before my charming sister read it.  Here is the second post:

The Arrival

The trip in the mail took two days and I arrived at Bully Hill Farm unscathed... physically that is. Spending two days in solitary confinement is tough. It's just you and your thoughts, man... your thoughts. Well, I was real happy to get out and stretch my legs.

It was great to meet Uncle Paul. I had been told he was fun, but nobody told me that he was so handsome, strong, and kind.

Uncle Paul took me on a tour of the farm just to get me acquainted with everyone and everything. First, I got to meet Aunt Sarah. She is very pretty. Uncle Paul said that she is a Quaker which is an old religious group that settled in Pennsylvania. The Quakers were led by a man named William Penn which is how Pennsylvania got its name. They are a peaceful religion except Aunt Sarah apparently likes to yell at construction workers for making too much noise. Uncle Paul said that is why they had to move to the country.

Uncle Paul and I walked around the farm so I could stretch my legs and see everything.

Uncle Paul carved a fancy sign for the driveway so everyone who visits knows where they are.

The farm has lots of open fields so Uncle Paul's horses can run around and eat grass.
The horses get to stay in a big red barn.

The barn is on top of Bully Hill and you get some really neat views of the surrounding land

After a long trip and a walk up a big hill, I sure am tired and hungry. Uncle Paul says that we will need to eat and get to bed early because living on a farm is a lot of work. I think I'm up for it.


So I know... how is this objectionable?  We learned about the Quaker religion and how a neighboring state got its name, we had a little character development for the protagonist, still my sister was all upset.  There's just no pleasing some people.

The Flat Stanley Project

No, this is not the name of a new band.  A few weeks ago my sister asked if I would assist with a project for my nephew, Matthew.  His class had just finished reading a book called Flat Stanley.  The premise of the book is that Stanley Lambchop is a normal kid, but his father purchases him a bulletin board which falls on him and flattens him.  Despite being flattened, the kid is fine and goes on adventures, solves crimes, etc....  It is painfully obvious that this book was published in 1964.  Anyway, everyone in the class made a Flat Stanley out of paper and mailed it (him, if you want to personify a piece of laminated paper) to a friend or relative.  I was the obvious recipient of my nephew's Flat Stanley since I live on a farm, oh yea, and I'm awesome.

So, I get Flat Stanley in the mail.  I'm supposed to keep a journal for him and track our adventures together.  I figure the easiest thing to do is make a blog for him.  Unfortunately, I have trouble writing for 2nd graders.  Thus, it seems that I will have to censor my work and publish the original product here.  Enjoy.


Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Flat Stanley. I was made by my good friend, Matthew, as part of a school project for Ms. Mowery's 2nd grade class at Northfield Elementary School. Here is Matthew:

He's a smart kid and he's really good at sports.
I'm called "Flat" Stanley because I was flattened when a bulletin board fell on me. Despite some apparent damage to my skeletal structure, Dr. Dan said I was in fine health.  [Dr. Dan, someone from the Physicians Quality Assurance Board is here to see you.]  That was great because it meant nobody had to call Child Protective Services.

One of the neat things about being flat is that I can travel to visit friends and relatives simply by mailing myself in an envelope. Traveling by the U.S. Postal Service is great because it is cheap, I don't get charged for carry-on luggage, and I don't get subjected to searches and full-body scans. I don't even need to take off my shoes.

Matthew decided that it would be a lot of fun for me to visit his Uncle Paul because he lives on a farm. Matthew's mom was a little concerned because Uncle Paul does not always act "age appropriate" and "likes to work blue." I don't know what that means exactly, but I promised to properly censor my journal... despite my obvious First Amendment rights.

I'm really looking forward to learning about farm life.


Obviously this is both very entertaining and totally educational.  Still, my sister was all like "you can't write about Child Protective Services... blah, blah, blaaaaaah."  My point is, kids gotta learn.  Regardless, I have made the Flat Stanley blog pretty lame so I will publish the fun versions here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I have been insanely busy lately.  My normal schedule has me up at 4:30 each morning and if I'm not working or training the dogs, I'm walking around in a zombie-like state eating.  This situation is not ideal for posting interesting stories to the blog, thus it has been rather neglected.  Although, I'm almost a bit surprised that I did not find virtual cobwebs when I came to the site, the computer was a bit dusty.  In an effort to do a little spring cleaning and freshen things up around here, I'm going to provide you with some gratuitous flower photos that I took this week.

  OK, this is not a very manly post, what with the spring cleaning talk and flower pictures, but I'm still a bit giddy over the change in seasons. Still, I will leave you with a short video taken from the banks of the mighty Bully Branch.