Friday, April 18, 2008


Riley is doing a 3-part series of workshops with the cat trainers at the Cincinnati Zoo. He had his second one this week on Monday morning. They learned about clicker training, which is what they use with the cats and other animals at the zoo. It's also something we've read about for working with Pablo, though we hadn't used an actual clicker. We like the ideas of positive reinforcement, luring and shaping behaviors we want, and ignoring those we don't. The kids have been even more committed to this than I have (even when they're the ones getting nipped!) -- as I've wanted to resort to harsher methods in my more stressed out moments with our active, nipping little puppy. Thankfully, Riley and Maya have kept me true to my own ideals in those moments! Just as with all aspects of people/home/animal care here, I consider myself the one responsible for the puppy care, and the kids have no assigned puppy duties; yet they have been so amazingly helpful with every aspect of taking care of Pablo-- staying attentive for when he's at the back door wanting to go out to "potty," redirecting him to his toys when he's using furniture or shoes or people as chew toys, and with other basic puppy training.

After the zoo class, the kids and Pablo and I took a trip to the pet shop for a clicker; and I later picked up a couple of clicker training books and a book about Labs that has lots of pretty pictures, breed information, and some drawings of dog anatomy. At Pablo's vet appointment yesterday they got to talk with the vet assistant about their questions and concerns about people having dogs' tails snipped (they were surprised when they saw in the book that their are bones in the tail).

Here is Riley drawing a picture while waiting for the zoo workshop to start.

Maya and Seth at the zoo playground

A squirrel that Maya spent a long time watching

Maya and Seth outside the fox's den

At home:

Riley and Pablo clicker training

Maya holding an earthworm before moving him from the sunny, dry spot where she found him to a shadier, muddier area

Seth and Pablo enjoying the water

These aren't animal-related, but here are a couple more pictures from home this week:

Riley playing guitar

Maya checking out a rocks-and-minerals field guide

Friday, April 11, 2008

Here are a few pictures from home lately. There are a few more on our new Project 365 photo blog. I added a link to it along the side of this blog site in the "Other Interests and Activities" section. Here is a site that explains Project 365.

We bought some used games (Scrabble/Scrabble Jr, My Little Pony Memory game, Math Bingo) and Lego's earlier this week and have been having a blast with them all. Since April is National Poetry Month as well as Shakespeare's likely birth month, we're celebrating with a variety of poetry books from the library and animated Shakespeare videos from Netflix. The overwhelming favorite poet so far has been Ogden Nash. Maya and I, inspired by one of the poems in Ogden Nash's Zoo, looked at pictures on the internet and read about the lamprey as well as the legends about the death of King Henry I of England, rumored to have died from eating a "surfeit of lampreys." Nash's poem says it was King John of England who was killed by the surfeit of lampreys, though the closest similar rumor, among other rumors, we found about him said he died from eating a "surfeit of peaches." Maybe we're missing something??? Anyway, there have been several lampreys in Maya's pretend playing lately as well as one in her story here. We are not, however, interested in exploring them deeply enough to try Lamprey Pie!!! Interesting connection with words here, though -- one of the other books we happened to bring home from the library in the same trip is called "As: A Surfeit of Similes."

Here are some of the kids' Lego creations:

Seth working on a truck

Maya's house with a window box, and her girl and lion riding on a cart

Riley's house

It has been so nice to have warm enough days to enjoy the backyard and the trampoline

Here I am with Maya starting a yoga video

And here is Maya still sticking with it in spite of Pablo