February 24, 2009

Ape Caves Again

Filed under: General — mmrobins @ 1:03 pm

Big group. Don’t lose your exit buddy. Whoever that is…

I went with Danny and a dozen or so of his friends to hike through Ape Caves near Mount St Helens. This was the second time I had been, although this time there was practically nobody else there besides our group since there was so much snow on the ground. The signs on the way up to the caves all say that they’re closed, but that just seems to mean there’s no tours. We had to walk a little farther than normal to the entrance since they don’t plow the roads as far, but once you’re in the caves snow isn’t really a concern since they’re a constant temperature. I think that’s the largest group I’ve ever been hiking with and was somewhat impressed that we didn’t simply lose someone. We did both the lower and upper parts of the cave fairly quickly. Most of the group headed back to Seattle after we all had Thai food together. I woke up the next day feeling incredibly sore, but it appears that’s due to a nasty cold Kim has managed to give me, and not the 3-4 miles of hiking.

Dog for a Month

Filed under: Pet — mmrobins @ 9:59 am


We’ve now had Ubuntu for close to a month and we’re loving her. I’ve learned a lot about having a house dog too, as I’ve had dogs before at my parents, but never inside dogs. At my parents our dogs only came in for a little while when it was cold out. Ubuntu has access to our yard through a doggy door, but she doesn’t spend most of her time outside.

The first new thing that I found really weird at first was this concept of having a crate. My initial reaction was that crating a dog just seems cruel as they have to spend so much time cooped up. However, she loves her crate. She feels safe in there and goes in there to gnaw on bones. When she’s ready for bed she just goes in. However, recently she’s figured out how to open the crate door by shaking it until the slide locker comes loose. Lately when I come home from work she’s at the door to greet me since she’s escaped her crate.

Another thing I never subscribed to before was the notion of using treats for training. That always seemed like the easy way out. Well, it is. It’s so much easier. Ubuntu has learned so many tricks so much faster than I’ve been able to teach my dogs in the past. We’re currently teaching her to bring us her leash before we go on a walk, and for that one treats aren’t necessary since the walk is it’s own reward.

Ready for dinner

Having to walk a dog twice a day is something fairly different too. At times it seems like an inconvenience, but a half hour after work walking seems to do me good as well as the dog. When we got her she pulled like crazy on her leash, but then we got a halti head collar and it was magical. We spent a bit of time doing research on the halti vs the gentle leader, but in the end they both seemed like great options as long as you could find the right size in either. We got the halti because it was $2 cheaper and has a backup latch that attaches to the collar. Basically it’s like a harness for the dog’s head, so that if they pull, it turns them around with their own force. Ubuntu was so confused initially as to why when she pulled forward, she ended up looking sideways. She’s still not the most well behaved dog on a leash, but she’s getting better and the halti saves the walks from being a constant struggle.

Another area I never really worried about with outside dogs was their nails. Inside we actually need to worry about her scratching up the floors and since she interacts more with people we don’t want her having claws either. We bought some nail clippers, but Ubuntu’s nails hadn’t been trimmed in quite some time and they’re black so we immediately cut the quick and she bled. I’ve since switched to using a dremmel to slowly get her nails back to a decent length. It’s taken some time to get her to be okay with the dremmel process, but it’s a lot less error prone than clipping.

Finally, I’ve found I love watching the Dog Whisperer. I would watch it without owning a dog if I had known how interesting it was. I thought it would bore me to death to watch a dog trainer, but it turns out to be more about training people than dogs and the psychological aspects of that. It’s fascinating.

Time to go feed the dog breakfast.