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Corvis the Dog's Journal
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Corvis the Dog's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, October 5th, 2003
12:32 pm
There have been no flea sightings in the last week. Look here for that saga.

Also of worth reporting on this blog: he had his annual physical in early September. I've had him a year. And even the doctor was impressed by how much happier he seems to be. For the recordkeeping aspects: he weighed in at 44.4 pounds (down quite a bit! I blame the summer heat) and got a three year rabies shot. He had a mild ear thing, and skin thing, for which his ears were washed out (big ears, not a happy dog AT ALL) and he was given a vile tasting antibiotic. The Antibiotic was in those big "horse-choker" hand-packed pills that would dissolve in disasterous ways when I tried to force them on him. So I found a compromise that worked -- I would open them up and dump the contents into his food, and pour a bit of oil in with it (he LOVES oil). The skin thing, likely triggered by the fleas, was resolved before the fleas were, but has stayed OK.
Saturday, August 16th, 2003
3:57 pm
Well, damn. I finally got around to determining the actual dates of my winter vacation (Dec 23-30). I did so to make a reservation for Corvis at Misty Pines. They are already fully booked for that time. Shit. Well, at least I have more lead time on finding an alternative location or petsitter. Better than realizing in November that I needed to do something and had to appeal to misc.market.

Hmmm. Given that we don't have our tickets yet, it makes as much sense to drive up to Vermont and have him do the same arrangements as my parents will figure out for Katy. Either housesitting or boarding, apparently. They'll bond better that way, and I can do New Years in Boston or something. And the Upper Valley is apparently less dog-contentious than the Pittsburgh region.
Thursday, July 24th, 2003
9:46 am
Misc. Amusements
Couple of things that have amused or informed me.

Corvis can howl. Yes, that would seem to be obvious, but in the 10 months I've had him, I've now only experienced it once. Typically, he is inclined to bark for things that demand or have received attention. The other night, however, an ambulance wailed on down the street (this is not an altogether rare occurance). Something about the siren -- the speed, the humidity, whatever. Apparently it hit the right timbor, and it converted Corvis from barking at it (big engine, rah!) to howling with it. Full out howl -- head back, sustained note with longing and vibrato. Which was very very close in pitch to the one outside. I'd love to see him do it again, but I can't match that and he just looks at me funny.

And Corvis just had the sweetest confused look on his face. As I've reported again and again, he really likes motorcycles. He'll track the sound, and run the length of the park (sometimes farther) chasing it. Typically, I presume this comes from the sound -- he reacts well before it is visible. Today, as we were walking back, he saw a motorcycle on a trailer, being pulled by a car (he doesn't care about cars, or light trucks). He barked and then froze... confused. There was clearly a motorcycle, and it was moving... but he didn't hear a motorcycle...

One more week of Agility, Beginners I. I've already signed him up for Beginners II, which starts in three weeks. He really seems to enjoy it, and I enjoy doing it with him -- and he's getting very good at it. He does almost everything off-leash now, one of the few students who can do so. On Monday, on the side, I decided to look at his jumping talent. He can easily handle jumping 20" (this is somewhat taller than he is -- I should measure his shoulder height). In about half the cases, he could clear the 22" jump (with room to spare)... and about a quarter of the times, he would only mostly clear it, and then push off the bar to get over the rest. The instructor claims that this is because he doesn't know how to jump that high yet -- which confirms some suspicions of mine.

Apparently most dogs don't really know how to jump... period. They do it, but don't really recognize their form. They don't have a good sense of where to launch from, where to plant for the next one, etc. I thought this was pretty funny, until I remembered my cross-country training... where most people don't really know how to run, either. Not run effectively, not for distance or speed. Or swim -- I'm very competant in the water, but having never done any kind of swim-team like sport, know I am rather inefficient. So Corvis, at least, knows how to jump, but not how to jump high. He may need to strength-train. I'm amused.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2003
9:45 am
Civic Sweetness
Corvis likes trucks, buses, and motorcycles. This will, in all probability, be his downfall -- he hears a loud engine, and is compelled to chase. In most cases -- and the reason I still let him off the leash -- he runs the length of the park barking. And I've been slowly weaning him of the habit, although I know that, because a bit of it is lowlevel (and he loses his rational mind), it will never be suppressed entirely.

I woke up this morning and remembered that I had parked on the side of the street where streetcleaning happens today. Fortunately, I had no ticket, and so before Corvis' walk I moved my car to the other side of the street. Then I grabbed the newspaper and went out to the park to let him romp.

A couple of minutes ago, the street cleaner did come by. I presume an awareness on the part of the reader to what a street cleaner looks and sounds like -- a slow rumbling thing. Corvis, having satisfied his park needs and starting to settle next to me, sprung to action. He darted to the side of the park and started to bark and chase and herd. This was going to be bad, because in most cases he can't keep up and so it has departed his "zone" before he would catch up. Street cleaners don't go that fast, not when actually "cleaning".

Instead, it came to a halt. The guy got out of the truck, and walked across the street to Corvis. Called him over, after acknowledging that he was my dog. I was walking over -- I try not to run to him when he's in the heat of battle, because that just embolden and encourages him -- much like yelling when the dog is barking only makes them think you are joining the Call. I prefer to stand on the other side and cause a commotion to disrupt and distract him. So the guy from the streetcleaner calls him over and starts petting him until I show up. That's not a small thing -- there are Parking Authority people in a car behind the streetcleaner (the real reason they do it?) who very well could have become pissy about him wasting time. The guy just did not want to see him run across the street... he also has a lab mix, "who could be his brother" by the look.

The dog community is great. Last night I stood out in a downpour with another owner, chatting about cars, when a strange dog appeared. Together we managed to decipher its name and phone number, and alert the owner of the dog's whereabouts. And then the other guy continued to stand out in the rain for the next 20-30 minutes until the owner showed up (I had given slightly confused directions -- said we were at the dog park, but gave a street coordinate off by one). And today, a dog owning stranger realized my dog was attracted to his vehicle and took the time to save him.
Thursday, June 5th, 2003
2:48 pm
At some point in the near future I'll write up a summary of Corvis' Agility class at Splash and Dash, which he had week 1 of 10 on Monday. I'll also summarize what I learned at Misty Pines Puppy Orientation yesterday.

I'm posting this entry on the followup from that. Speaking to the instructor after, and introducing him to Corvis, he recommended that I take a private session with Jeff Woods (president, owner of the park, and nationally recognized behavior master). So I called them up this morning and was able to schedule an hour of his time Wednesday, 11 June at 9am (I pretend to be a responsible employee). Expensive, of course, but nothing but the best for my Corvis (while I can afford it).

He will probably mellow without it, and he's still a better behaved dog than most in many regards... but the instructor agreed that intelligent dogs are both the hardest but have the greatest potential regarding obedience. Certainly that was obvious on Monday in Agility class, where absolutely nothing phased him despite arriving really late. He was the demonstration model for what to teach them for homework. At home, even, he's a Great Dog, except when he isn't. I get the sense that, working with people like Mr. Woods, we could make everything even better even when something I don't know about him rises to the surface.
Sunday, May 4th, 2003
4:34 pm
Birding for Corvisdog
Corvis caught a bird today. Or, at least, he played with it. I was on the phone, and then heard chirping... and Corvis looming over a bird. It was a young bird (feathered) and, when I saw it, was injured. Corvis wasn't quite sure what to do with it... if it moved he would chase it, but he mostly seemed confused at the violent chirping. I tried to keep him away from it, but realized there wasn't much I could do (and was having a nice conversation on the phone)... so I saw the two walk off into the woods and that was the last I saw of the bird.

He almost caught a squirrel yesterday, but that was the squirrel's fault. As we were going up the walk to my door, a squirrel climbed down a tree and ran in front of the stairs (about 3 feet from the dog, through the garden, and then up the utility pole. Corvis' reaction time was compromised by the absurdity of the situation, but he still was gaining on it when he reached the end of the leash. I didn't have time to think about dropping it until he was already verticle on his hind legs and the squirrel was across the side street. He got within about 6 inches. Stupid squirrel. I feel like I've mucked with natural Squirrel Selection by not dropping the leash.

Otherwise, he has been pretty mellow. Didn't try too hard to eat any of my 4 male guests on Friday, and curled up next to one of them on the couch. This is ++progress.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2003
11:30 am
Misty Pines
Posted to record that Corvis is enrolled for an orientation course at Misty Pines on June 4th. Should have done so earlier, I think their training programs are probably stronger than Animal Friends -- and it gets him in the system, and lets me make arrangements with their behaviorists. A long way off, though. I may consult with my Animal Friends' teachers and see if they think he's qualified for the CGC course which starts soon -- missed the last start date of last week.

Haven't updated in a while, but the dog is doing well. He's calming down, and seems to listen a bit better in stressful situations. That is, Sunday was a beautiful day, but I had work and a compbio project meeting in my office @ 5pm. So, with the permission of my partner, I brought him in -- to take him to the park after. He was great with my partner, and OK when Girish came in. Mahim came in, who he did not like (growl growl) - but he was willing to listen to me, and hang out at my feet instead of intimidating him. When Girish's female partner showed up, however, it got a bit more complicated: Corvis likes women, but going over to her brought him close to the guy he did not like. Fortunately the meeting was basically over, and we went and spent 2+ hours at Frick.

Also, he almost nipped qiika on Thursday, which was completely out of character.
Thursday, March 13th, 2003
9:32 am
Corvis Clothing Relocation, Inc.

My Fuzzy lay over the chair back,
My Fuzzy was easy to see,
My Fuzzy is not near the chair back
Corvis bring back my Fuzzy to Me.

Bring back,
Bring back,
Oh, bring back my Fuzzy to me, to me
Bring back,
Bring back,
Corvis bring back my Fuzzy to me

(to the tune of My Bonnie(the short version), and as performed by the Beatles. Note that the copyright is Carlin Music Corp. Could be expanded to the epic version)
Thursday, February 27th, 2003
11:33 pm
Corvis graduated from his Basic Obedience course with flying colors. His demonstrated trick was "Paw" and "Other Paw". ommkarja was the handler, and she's really good at it. The teachers were amazed that not only did I have the miracle good behavior dog, I also had the non-dog-person girlfriend who could come in 5 weeks into the program, having never trained a dog, and out-handle most of the regulars.

And he wore his illuminating collar that drew much attention and applause. This may become a business venture considering the interest it attracts.
Tuesday, February 11th, 2003
3:43 pm
So Corvis is cat-like, but that doesn't mean he likes cats. As a cat approaches to live in our humble abode, I've grown increasing nervous. I thought it could work, and it probably can. I've never lived in a peaceful cat-dog house... but then, both my mother and I are allergic to cats, and on the whole, ours is a dog family.

The only data point with cats and Corvis is when we first met him. We were at the shelter, and, at our request, they brought a cat into the little room. Even at that time, it wasn't a dealbreaker, but we wanted to know how he would respond. He ignored the cat, except when the handler paid too much attention to it. Then he got upset. On the other hand, he was a young dog who had been cooped up for too long, and really wanted attention.

But was the attention need masking his prey drive, or has it been satisfied?

As recently as last weekend, when my mother came to town: when we hugged, he attacked me. (This is predictable but not indicitive: when he gets stressed out by dogs he doesn't like, he attacks me). This was certainly a problem for Sarah in the first couple of days home with him. He's started to chill out on that.

But he gets bored during the day -- he's working on a decent barking habit. And there is still the jealousy thing, if the cat ever gets more attention than him (likely, Sarah is pretty cat affectionate) it might be enough. Or most likely, the cat will do something cat-like and dumb (like step on him).

If he and the cat don't get along, I don't give the cat very good odds. Against the other dogs I've known, the cat has had enough advantages of mobility and sharp claws. I would imagine that in a conflict, Corvis' ears are vulnerable, and I'm bracing for having him in a cone. But in my house, in the entire house, there is one surface that he has been unable to reach. And that is a surface likely unaccessible for the cat, either. He's not the fastest dog, but certainly agile enough. And considering that even Jack Russel Terriers kill cats...

Needless to say, a cat/dog conflict is at the root of our relationship, and the stains of a damaged cat would be on more than just the walls and wood floors.
Friday, February 7th, 2003
8:28 pm
After class yesterday, I asked the crew what they recommended regarding giving Corvis a job. They recommended I get him into Agility. And particularly, they thought he had the concentration to do well in Flyball (what is, see sample). They recommended I take him to Misty Pines, although they came to realize that they don't offer just Agility -- Agility is mixed in with Obedience... which I what I should be doing in this course...

Anyway, I guess I'll take him to this place of luxury. Sounds like they have good behaviorists, which I need to get for him. And they have a really good reputation (albeit expensive!)

So frisbee and flyball?
7:21 pm
More of the story comes to light?
Realized I haven't updated in a while. Corvis has continued to wow at his classes.

Came home tonight. Normally when I park in the front -- and the car alarm makes its beep -- he is knocking down the door by the time I get key in the lock. This time I was able to open the door and pick up the mail before I was accosted. He was apparently hanging out down at the other end of the house.

As I did my usual junk mail sort routine while walking to turn on the torch light, he ran to the couch and started cowering. I looked at the dog, then the lamp, and understood: he had pushed the papasan into the torch, knocking it over and shattering the diffuser. Poor guy must have spent the day terrified of what I would do to him when I saw it -- it was clear in his eye he was about to really get it. He had not eaten the rest of his breakfast.

Kind of hard to explain to him that the lamp only cost a couple of bucks at Target and I was more concerned about whether he had hurt himself with all the broken glass around. That his doctor's visit (one scheduled for monday to readdress the weeping eye thing) will cost more than replacing the diffuser.

One of the key points in obedience training is that dogs are not born with guilt. Their moms don't make remarks about them never calling. It isn't something they naturally understand. This dog has fear issues. This dog had fear issues with breaking the lamp.
Saturday, January 18th, 2003
9:15 am
The things I do for my dog
According to the weather right now it is 4F, but with the windchill it feels like -10F. And because I didn't bother to look at the time before I committed, I made the dog go out to pee in this. He wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to stay in bed. He wants to go back to bed. I agree.
Friday, January 17th, 2003
1:47 am
Not an auspicious start
Over the past two days I became nervous about taking Corvis to class. There were going to be two German Shepards. Corvis might go into one of his "attack all human" fits. He might just be his neurotic self. So I worked from home today, to make sure he didn't build up isolation anger and got plenty of exercise.

He got into a tussle with Copper the Dalmation, a good friend of his. He was somewhat cranky about not eating -- they had advised us not to feed em before class. I fed him anyway and he chilled out.

And now I'm not so sure about this class. I don't take it as a good sign that, several times throughout the hour, the various trainers asked me "What are you doing here?" or "Can he teach my dog to do it that well?" Corvis kicked into model behavior -- particularly because the treats were flying. A consequence of my low-treat obedience training is that he is really really good for treats.

So yeah. Picked up a little -- but while everyone else was struggling to get their dog to pay attention to them, I had Corvis do a flawless "lie down and stay". While some where trying to teach their dog to sit, I had Corvis practicing "pushups" -- sitting, lying down, sitting up, lying down. I taught Corvis to lie down on command in an afternoon two days ago. Did I mention he's smart?

I didn't take it as a good sign that the teaching staff was vocally relieved when he jumped up to the table with the treats ("So he isn't completely perfect!"). Umm, yeah. I think the CGC is in the bag, if I wanted to get it at this place. I may try somewhere else for that. It may just be that I'm really put off by the lead instructor who reminds me just a bit too much of Vicki Goldberg. I apparently still have resentment of betrayal associated with that... and he we are again with a star student. Flashbacks that ain't cool.

Maybe I'll need to find a behaviorist for his fear issues. I was hoping it was an easy thing like with Amber. But no, Corvis wooed and wowed the training staff.
Sunday, January 12th, 2003
7:40 pm
Saturday, January 11th, 2003
1:01 pm
Not battle hardened
Oh, and the wiring for his illuminated collar was not up to the strains of his sparring. It will have to be rebuilt.
12:57 pm
I continue, after looking at pictures and references, to be convinced that corvisdog may be a (likely pure if true) Canaan dog (a fairly rare breed). He fits the spec on everything but that his ears are not erect -- although it looks like that may be a bobbing procedure for the dogs with "large" ears. Right shape. His colouration is tricky -- he lacks the signature mask -- but that's cause he's solid black (permitted in spec). And they describe his behavior almost completely, including being "soft", and using his ears as strong expressive agent. I took some more pictures of him, which I'll get developed and consult with some breed experts...

It seems unlikely, because from what I can tell, while there are very few breeders in the country, there seem to be even less density in this area. The breeders are pretty controlling, too, which would make it likely that he's pure. I'm sure for the h4r3(0r3, a solid black with black mask is not terribly desireable, but would someone have bought a puppy (somewhere around $600 for a pet), import (or move with it) to Pittsburgh, and then dump it (without even saying what it was or defering to rescue?) Seems unlikely (although one can imagine with the strong orthodox jewish population in the area, that there might be some affinitity for an israeli dog).

It is, of course, completely academic -- I don't have paperwork for him. But it would be nice to know.

From class, it would seem that I'll get better traction with him if I give him a job (or two). I'm thinking of trying frisbee some more -- read up on the training techniques, and he seems physically perfect for it (jumps like a damn cat, and is under 55lbs, an important weight for preventing serious injury). Apparently, one can also convince herding dogs looking for work that their job is, say, laundry consolidation. That would be pretty cool.
Thursday, January 9th, 2003
5:14 pm
And weighing in at a massive 46lbs
Corvis just held his own in a fight with a 1 year old, 120-lb (oversize) German Shepard (and some of the time with a second, 95-lb 3 year old shepard, who felt like he needed to aid his comrade). He just has a thing against Shepards.

The fight scared me, naturally. But he never really looked like he was losing. That scared me almost as much.
Wednesday, January 8th, 2003
12:13 am
Venter sequenced his dog?

In Shatner voice: "VENTER!"
Sunday, January 5th, 2003
12:50 pm
Little bit of blood goes a long way...
...to flipping me out. Fresh snow today, and corvis got to burn off some of his limitless energy with a 6mo yellow lab. Then we romped off in the woods to avoid the sledder invasion. In the end, I was still unable to grab him before he sprinted the 100+ yards to play with some kid. Fortunately, the kid's dog does the same thing, so he wasn't concerned and knew what to do. Ugh. Damn snow -- so pretty, but so pretty restrictive.

When we came back to the house, I fed him and noticed the trail of bloody pawprints. His rear left paw was bleeding... enough that I had to walk back through the house with my spray bottle (what a great product) and some paper towels. Lacking proper equipment, I wrapped his paw with paper towels and a rubber band and hit the net. He wasn't particularly happy with it. By the time I figured out what I needed, it had soaked through (leaving more marks), but when I went to refresh it (and head out to get the stuff), the wound itself was no longer bleeding. And I thought I regenerated fast.

He's been pretty clingy since I got back again, and it really seems to pain him whenever I leave. He's also discovered that, when sufficiently clear, he can jump up and stand on the extended tile window ledge (which is just about as wide as he is). Between that kind of thing, and his excessive personal grooming, he may actually be part cat.
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