bookboundlaurel asked: I have a very adorable wire fox terrier named Livvy. She is a rescue (like Watson?). The pictures of Watson running and exploring off-leash baffle me—how did you train him to come back to you? Livvy is too excited by all the wonderful sights and smells of the world and must remain on a leash for her safety. What's your secret? I would love for Livvy to be as free as her distant terrier cousin, Watson.
Watson is not always a good dog. He will steal food at every opportunity, and unless you command him to be “GENTLE,” he will try to take off your hand along with that strawberry. He’s been known to leave me some spite-poops on the living room rug if I travel too much. He is possessive, and will snarl at dogs who try to sit in my lap (except Max because they are friends) (Bentley gets bullied a lot).
From the very beginning of our life together, though, we’ve worked on two things:
Both of these started out because I knew Watson would be a traveling dog — I hate holding up the line at security, and chasing Watson though the airport would be a nightmare. That second command is great for hiking, though, and keeps him safe.
There are a lot of tutorials online for teaching your dog to stay and come. It’s much easier if your dog is treat-oriented like Watson. You probably want to start with a long leash and in an enclosed yard or dog park.
Watson wasn’t allowed off leash on hikes until after we’d been together over a year. I always kept him in sight, and would call him back every time he wandered more than a few feet away. LOTS of rewarding with treats and praise. Watson is always heavily supervised and far, far away from any cars. We also practice constantly, even now.
Several times a week, we play hide-and-seek to reinforce “COME.” Here is a silly video I made. After he knew “stay” and “come,” I gradually increased the distance between the two commands. You’ll see him cheat a little in the video on “stay.” Eventually, he was able to “stay” long enough for me to go and hide. When I call him, he’s coming from a few rooms away, based on just the voice command. Then, so he doesn’t grab the treat and run away again, I have him sit, do two twists, and wave after finding me. Obviously, this won’t work if his hearing goes at some point, but right now this means that if he’s ever out of sight, he still knows the command.
Off-leash is always risky with terriers. There are lots of people who would never let their terrier off a leash, full stop. I get that. As such, I think it important to err on the side of not trusting your dog, and being over-cautious. But, also, to read the landscape and know your dog. Watson wants a cookie way more than he wants to chase a lizard, and that’s good fortune.
Good luck with Livvy! I hope she has many joyful but safe adventures!ask watson
There’s a metaphor here I can’t quite identify. That, or I need to chill the heck out because heeeeeey it is summmmmmer.
From Alison Winter’s Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain:
“Martineau prided herself on playing ‘reason over passion’ and was touted as one of Britain’s most ‘mannish’ women. She was certainly one of the most public and well traveled.
Barrett thought of herself as driven by feeling, was becoming known in this period as one of the most womanly of writers, and was extremely reclusive” (234).
Basically I love both of these women and feel a great deal of excitement over the fact that they chilled out with each other despite the differences in their personalities. I want to believe that Elizabeth would send Robert out for the night when Harriet came over. They would probably marathon Pride and Prejudice for hours while blogging and feeding Flush popcorn and cookies.
You know Elizabeth would have been posting pictures of Flush on the daily.
Harriett’s not much of an animal person because they’re always messing with her garden and the baby trees Wordsworth gave her (Autobiography, section VI), but she likes Flush as an exception to the rule. And then she’s like, “hey did you read that article in Mother Jones?” and Elizabeth is like, “totally” and it’s the best, ever.harriet martineau Elizabeth Barrett Browning bookish
Today I was looking for bookends. “Have you checked the secret closet outside, past the stairs, next to the boiler room?” asked Librarian Jason.
“I have not.” I went out the loading dock, followed the ramp down, and then further down dark stairs. Just before the boiler room, a secret outdoor closet. Inside, I found all sort of things, but, most importantly, I found bookends. And! Not only bookends! But bookends in the exact same color scheme as my popular reading collection signage. “You directed me to a Room of Requirement,” I said to Jason.
“Cool,” he said.
Then, I thought.
Isn’t the library always a Room of Requirement?
It breathes and rearranges, sometimes, not always, producing what you need. Sometimes everything is in the right place. You walk past the same shelf for years before realizing the book you need is sitting there until you need it. Sometimes it’s a
strange sort of place that leads you to this-is-not-what-I-was-looking-for-at-all-until-I-found-it.librarian library bookish librarian jason it is time for finals I am so sleepy not done with papers going to nashville tomorrow I am doomed