Friday, March 31, 2017

The great escapologist!

Saturday mornings have always been special for me. I am not sure of the actual reasons for this, other than the 'feel good, end of the work week, hope for a relaxing couple of days,' kinda impetus. Of course, now-----that's a redundant reaction, as I have a six day week----one day working and six days off!
Perdy and I hit the footpaths of Tararu at a civilised time; about 8 am. She was pulling on the leash, eager to explore the myriad of smells and any possibility of a cat, lurking in the bushes. As we passed the retirement village, Perdy did this weird move; a twisting motion that had the effect of loosening her leash, giving her the chance to pull her little head from the aforementioned 'red imprisoning doggie feature!'
She was OFF---heading towards the 'oldies,' knowing that certain inhabitants of the village would be very welcoming. Perdy knows who will stick out the 'welcoming mat.' She has them all sorted into categories, all on the 'love me, hate me,' spectrum.
I, naturally 'followed the leash,' so to speak, dragging myself along the pathways and little roads of the village, looking like a bedraggled beachcomber. Luckily, many of the dear oldies, know me, from my many sojourns, past, and in front of the village, and along the waterfront. There were waves and smiles, as if they were in on this little Perdy escapade!; they were bloody COMPLICIT!
One lady, who has told me her name quite a few times, but I keep calling her the wrong name, pointed in the direction of one of the units in front of the village. I followed her finger and approached the inhabitant. The front door was open, and I could hear the sound of laughing and Perdy barking.
I knocked and called out at the same time.
'Come in, Neil,' a friendly voice replied.
What a sight: a cat sitting imperiously on the dining table and PERDY barking in that frustrated, 'I can't get you,' tone, while the owner, who's name I also forgot, watching with a smile that said, 'this beats being bored, any day.'
As for me---I was wondering when the bout of AFIB was going to hit!   It didn't---because I  managed to grab a wriggling Perdy and stick her lead back on---a little tighter. That was until the lead broke---and she was off again, this time heading out towards the main road.
'Oh no!' I shouted, loud enough to cause the manager to push the alarm. Wow---things really were going 'shite-shape!' If this didn't bring on an 'attack,' then I was going to have some other sort of 'medical event!'
I wobbled towards the main road, fully expecting there to be cars swerving to avoid the manic Jack Russell.
Nope---there she was, sitting under the huge tree that shades the front part of the village---patiently waiting for me.
GOT  ya---maybe not. It is after all--April the first in New Zealand. BUT---I often have dreams like this little ditty!!
Have a great day, folks.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dogs and kids---much in common--PB4L!

This is a post that many teachers in NZ will 'get.' Some of you will laugh, others shrug my comments off as 'unseemly,' whilst other may be a little angry, for all the right---or wrong---reasons.
I well remember the time, when the school I worked at, decided (or was it decided for them?) that they would go down the pathway of PB4L (Oops---I better expand on that---Positive Behaviour for Learning)
In short---

PB4L – Positive Behaviour for Learning | Education in New Zealand
Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) improves the behaviour and well-being of children and young people. ... Programmes offer tools for supporting positive behaviour in situations of clear need, and in more settled environments. ... More about the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L ...

There---that's more 'official' than the simplistic manner in which I may have 'reported the programme.
Many schools through New Zealand have embraced the initiative, with mixed results. I suspect that how successful the schools have been, depends on how 'fully' the staff (that includes ALL personal who work in the school) have embraced the programme. As with all 'new initiatives, there is the time taken re PD and the roll out, along with the humps and bumps along the way. Schools are constantly involved in many initiatives that 'may or may not enhance their teaching practice so one could take the view that energy levels flag after a while, re any new 'programmes.'

I am going to suggest that any effective teacher has always known that most of the premises of the PB4L programme are something that has always worked for them. They know that their relationship with their students is paramount to 'learning,' that the environment they provide is the foundation for learning and that positive reinforcement of good behaviours is way better than negative, sarcastic or bullying approches, that some of their collueges exhibit.

This is where I go bush! I am going to say that dog owners also know a thing or two about PB4L! Recently, I subscribed to a site that draws on many of the premises of PB4L. I am not so sure that I can name it, for legal reasons-----the guy may take exception to my comments.

He debunks, much of what people tell me when it comes to working with my Jack Russell. I hear people telling me to use methods that, so far have not worked, re the main issues I have been having---the running off and the 'not listening,' both of which occur when she is off leash and senses a cat or rat nearby. I maintain that it is simply in her genes to want to chase these critters and I have yet to see a Jack Russell that does NOT respond to such 'stimuli!' It's what they were bred for!

The guy who has the website maintains that negative reinforcement does not work and that a positive relationship with your dog, will ensure that there is no need for punishing (or giving treats all the time) your dog when he/she exhibits 'bad' behaviours. He presents numerous videos showing his approach and his methods 'appear' to work. He does underline his foundational belief that YOU need to be the 'leader of the pack, though,' and that does not necessarily go against the tenets for PB4L re students. (A school is a school and has a hierarchy!)

I have only 'touched on describing the two threads of this 'article,' but the uniting factors are hard to ignore. Many dog owners have always known what I have described, just as generations of effective teachers have quietly gone about their days, educating and giving children a love of learning because they---understand!

Friday, March 3, 2017

A dog needs to speak up sometimes! (Sponsored by Jack Russell-speak!)

Hi----you can call me, Perdy, which is short for Perdita. I know----you are wondering why a dog would bother to write a blog. Well----you better get used to it, because after many requests to my owners,' Rio and  Neil, I have decided to step out, to put myself  'out there,' so to speak, and tell my story. OK---I have to 'piggy back' on Neil's Blog, but doggies have yet to attain full rights in New Zealand. 'They' are still working on stuff like medical cannabis, dirty rivers, and housing issues, so I guess the hairy members of the populace will just have to join the line of others wanting to push their barrows.

It's hard to know where to start because a great deal of water, clean and polluted, has gone under the bridge and I am not even halfway to the rainbow bridge yet. I vaguely remember my first few months in this crazy world. I think I was born in Meremere, a tiny little village to the south of Auckland. I DO remember being carried down a long steep driveway (well that's what it seemed like to me before I learned to escape up that same drive, months later!)
My new life began and oh what a life it's been! Not just for me, but for the two daddies in my life. Yeah, I figured that one out pretty damned quick. There was no way I could play off  'Mum and Dad!'  I know I'm using 'quite educated dogie-talk,' but one thing I have learned in my seven short years; that is not to patronize my readers, using language from the crib! Don't worry---I am more than capable of using 'barks from the gutter,' so BE PREPARED!
Those first few nights in the little flat in Mt Roskill, Auckland were really strange for me. Gone were my brothers and sisters, although, I had heard that I was the 'runt of the litter,' and that meant always being at the back of the line when it came to----everything. Yes, those big hairy siblings ignored me, unless I was in the way! You could say I had issues, right from the start, but I prefer to say, it 'prepared me for what was about to come!'
That first night in ingrained in my memory---that endless night: new smells, sounds no warm bodies to snuggle up against. Yeah, those brothers and sisters WERE good for something. I cried and even though my dads came to check o me in that little crate, I still felt deserted. I didn't understand the strange way they spoke---that was a skill. yet to be learned, but doggie oh doggie, I caught on fast!
Morning came and I had only pooped a few times in the corner of my crate. I hated that. Widdling---well I had no control of that, at that time and I didn't really care. My dads made a huge fuss of me. That was when I figured that, 'this was all up to me!'  I was the center of attention, the focus for everything in the house. There was an issue, though---I WAS NOT ALONE. There was another creature in the home---a hairy thing that did not bark. It was huge (Hey---I was only tiny at ten weeks of age!) and it kept staring at me. I stood just outside my crate and I am sure it wanted to eat me.
It had a name---CAT and a second name---Jasmine. I learned much later that Jasmine is the name of a nice smelling flower.  Yeah right! My dads did not know then, butI had a plan. If that cat didn;t stop looking at me, I was going to need to assert my position in the home. BUT---I also figured that time is like a piece of string and my story with my two dads was also an unknown quantity in those first few months.
I'm tired now and I need a rest. There will be much more to follow!