Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Legend Lives

I was outside, rearranging the seats in the minivan, when Daryl came and told me. "Frankie Manning is dead." Daryl doesn't sugar coat anything. He doesn't gently build up to bad news, hoping to soften any blows; it's just not his way. "Frankie Manning is dead. He died this morning."

I only met Frankie once, just about a year ago, and he was getting ready to celebrate his 95th birthday. His health was failing. Yet, I felt that I had just been told that a close relative had suddenly passed away. Frankie Manning was a legend. He had begun to become a fixture in everyone's minds; an immortal who would always be there. This man, this 95 year old man, who was born in Florida and grew up in Harlem; this retired postal worker, someone who had lived most of his life just trying to get by, became the inspiration for the song of thousands of Americans.

I could go into detail about the history of his life, but it is too easy to just google his name and find hundreds of tributes to him. I will only say this: Some people refer to him as "the original lindy hopper" but I think it would be more accurate to call him "THE lindy hopper." There is not a single move, not a single step, not a single turn that we do that was not touched or influenced by Frankie. We owe his legacy all that we are.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paddinton's New Groove

This week, I am starting Paddington's pre-agility training. It is my hope that by next spring, I will be able to begin training him on an actual agility course. Before attempting to train for competition agility, there are some things I would like Paddington to work on. I would like for Paddington to always look to me, or his respective handler, for commands. Right now, when Paddington knows that he is going to get a reward, he begins doing all kinds of random tricks. I could ask him to roll over, and he will sit pretty, play dead, spin, talk, and THEN roll over. He begins his long string of tricks before I even give him a command. And so, I would like to work on having him look to me, receive the command, and THEN do the appropriate trick.  In agility, the course is never in the same order, or laid out in the same way. The obstacles are the same, but the dog must look to the handler to know which obstacle he needs to go to next. This relationship is very important in agility.

Second, Paddy needs to come when called. He needs to come every time, in every situation. There have been quite a few instances recently, where he has bolted out of the house and nearly gotten hit by cars because he will not come if he knows we can't catch him. This is my fault as a trainer, and I should not allow my dog to get into such dangerous situations. I feel that this needs to be accomplished above all else.

Third, Paddy needs to learn the command "heel." This goes along with looking to me for commands. 

After we have accomplished all of these things, I will begin introducing Paddington to the obstacles. He needs to get used to them, and kind of "bond" with them. Two obstacles that I know we will have problems with are the tunnel, and the chute. I know that he will be timid to go into these obstacles. He seems to be a bit claustrophobic, and won't even go under Jonah's swing to get a toy.

Here is a video of dogs doing what I hope to be the end result of our training in a couple of years; I had looked for a video of a yorkie doing it, but they are so tiny you can't see them on the video:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time for an update

It has been pointed out to me, several times by several people, that it has been FORever since my last blog post. Truth be told, I have a new blog. I decided in January that I wanted a more serious blog to discuss my parenting choices, and some of the paths we have chosen to take with Jonah. I want to keep this blog as a lighter side to everything. Not long after I began my parenting blog, I was asked to blog for a website just for mommies. The main feature of the site is the message boards, but there are also articles and of course the blog. I am now one of a few bloggers who posts about my experiences in motherhood.

In order to continue blogging for the website, I have to update my blog at least three times a week. This sucks up just about all of my blogging time. 

So, readers, I am sorry that it has been several months since my last post. I will try to continue to keep this blog. A lot of things have happened with Jonah since my last post. He learned to sit up. He is beginning to show signs of crawling, and can make it across the room in just seconds. He has begun eating several different purees (besides avocado) including meats. He has begun a few select finger foods as well! He can say Mom, and he signs "all-done" and "Nurse." He poops in the potty about 80% of the time that we are at home! We have had so many breakthroughs, it will take several posts to catch everyone up!

If you would like the address to my new blog, or if you would like to know the mommy site that I am posting to, email me and I will send it to you!