In an attempt to continue on a path towards a less chaotic and integrated life, I've finally engaged the services of a professional dog trainer.  This, after yet another trip to the lovely Jarrett Small Animal Hospital due to yet another dog fight.  Greg Lyon of Mutts and manners came over for an initial visit and talked with me about the issues - dominance, hyperactivity, aggression... all the not-so-cute facets of my beloved Boston Terriers.  I learned about his training philosophies and methods using the electronic "IQ" collar made by Dogtra.  Even though I was skeptical at first and emotionally, it still turns me off, the sensation produced by the collar only ranges from the vibration of a cell phone to an almost imperceptible electrical tap.  I decided to bight the financial bullet and give THIS form of training a try. 

I have two Bostons, Bobby and Birdy.  Bobby is about seven and has been very difficult from the very beginning - I even had to drop out of a training class since he bloodied 3 dogs' noses and got loose and attacked the instructor's dog on the first night.  Needless to say I sent flowers and apologies and spared the other dogs and owners from further trauma by never returning.  Even with a great deal of training effort on my part, I eventually gave up trying to walk him and have pretty much kept him away from other dogs ever since we came to Kansas three years ago.  He is an absolute sweetie pie when it's just the two of us, don't get me wrong, he's adorable and very playful... and of course I love him very much...

Birdy is about three and is very trainable, walks great on and off leash and seems to respond to any instruction (unless she's in the "zone").  Here she is in the St. Patrick's Day parade.... we were part of a "float" for The Dog House - a collection of dog related products and services vendors.

The fighting issue arises when anyone comes to the door.  Bobby is beside himself with excitement and Birdy attacks him.....to curtail the energy? I think that's what the dog whisperer would say, but I'm not sure.  So.. to begin the training, I opted for working with Bobby, in hopes of being able to walk him and thereby begin to change the dynamics.

At our first lesson, Greg decided to wait out Bobby's obsession with the leash - give him a change to "get it all out of his system".  Greg walked him back and forth in the living room and then in the front yard hundreds of times while Bobby chewed and attacked and wrestled with the leash with unending ferocity.

You can see by the last picture that Bobby was getting pretty tired. Eventually, after almost an hour and a half, Bobby chewed right through the brand-new deluxe ten foot leash and still would not let go. 

The first lesson ended up being almost three hours long and by the conclusion, Bobby was walking on leash for short stretches without pulling and responding to come and sit commands.

This was remarkable progress and a testament to Greg's patience and experience.

Bobby's progress and my goal of reducing vet fees from fighting Bostons is dependent on how much energy I am willing to put into the endeavor.  There's nothing new here in terms of understanding CHANGE from an intellectual point of view. However, since I live most of the time in my own personal la-la-right-brain fantasy land, this is a challenging transition for both Bobby and me.

We've had our second lesson since these pictures were taken and there was still quite a bit of leash obsession, however, with lots of reminders, we were able to walk as a team for substantial stretches.  This is a fantastic improvement from him pulling so hard (even with one of those poky chain collar things) as a young dog that he rubbed his paws pads raw on walks back in Seattle.

Although I am hopeful in theory, we've been back to the vet again (only $67 this time...) and had several other fights not resulting in injury.  Each fight, each struggle with the leash just trying to go out and do some training homework, each swipe of the credit card erodes my momentum. 

This the year of integration though, and as you are my witness, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, slow and steady progression towards balance, peace and harmony - and just a bit of snorting/snuffling/Boston Terrier love.


Happy Spring (March Dress-up Challenge: Submission)

Happy Happy Spring.... I'm officially putting the snow shovel away... do you hear that winter? It's OVER!

So.. lots of catching up to do.

First.. Late again, but First, let's talk about this month's Dress-up Challenge, brought to you by the ever lovely Angela of Sew Loquacious!  Follow the link to view all the other amazing entries for March's challenge.... Pop Art

My first thoughts were of fashion... yeah, yeah, surprise surprise

and who was the fashion icon of the 60's? of course it was TWIGGY!  and... she was often photographed by and with Warhol

I really like the clean lines of the 60's and early 70's, with influences ranging from the space race to architectural minimalism.  Twiggy's androgynous figure perfectly complimented the sheaths and a-line silhouettes of the time.

Then....I remembered that Mondrian dress... 1962 by Yves St. Laurent

and the see-through raincoat from Bladerunner  .... still following?

Photograph by Mark Christie (c) all rights reserved.
Click photograph to link to Mr. Christie's FlickrStrm

and I thought... how about a see-through vinyl dress in the Mondrian style with pockets to add pop-art images... how cool would that be?! So, then I was browsing the internet looking for examples of pop art in fashion, and stumbled on this blog:  I am the Child of the Moon

This is a great collection of images culled from all over the web.  First, some 60's outfits....

and I'm thinking, great, this will illustrate the era nicely, put some modern pieces using pop art imagery... even a retro flare cut to the soup can and Warhol dresses in my web discussion...

And oh, so fashionable...

And then I was like, cool... 60's shoes in plastic boxes! and then...

and then,  Hand on hip, I said to the computer, Really, REALLY, you've got to be kidding...

It's already been DONE? and full size too?


So... since it's so late in the month, I decided to stick with my original idea even though it's been done, and once again, there's nothing new under the sun, and the idea is not that showy. (drama queen that i am)

First... draping a poseable manequin is more difficult than I thought... so small, so unforgiving!

But, so cute when paired with a little fake measuring tape....

Vinyl supply... saved from sheets and shower curtain purchases...

I have to say that sewing on see-through vinyl with see-through thread is a challenge... especially when the bobbin snags every few inches or so...

But, once I started putting the little pieces of paper in the pockets, it began to take shape...

And then...

here's how it looked flat, prior to assembly and below shows the process of fitting it together from the back

And here she is, and I learned that you can not expect to sew a tiny vinyl dress together backwards, dismantle and re-sew it together correctly and have the the same integrity thoughout.... her left shoulder is held together with some trusty double sided tape, but who's gonna tell?

Thanks for viewing and ... click here to see all the other amazing submissions!

Take care, and Happy Happy Spring!


Kansas Etsy Team

This week MacKomics Studio is the featured artist on the Kansas Etsy Team blog.  Check out my interview and ask me any questions!

I'll be posting new stuff soon, but in the mean time, check out the early entrants to the March Dress-up Challenge on the Sew Loquacious site:  http://sewloquacious.blogspot.com/2011/02/march-dress-up-pop-art.html

Sneak Peek at a piece from a weekend-long monotype printing workshop with Ron Pokrasso..... This is 28 inches tall!

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