Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gearing Up for Christmas

With Thanksgiving over, Christmas is looming close on the horizon. It is time to start thinking about Christmas decorations, crafts, presents, and more! I don't do a ton for Christmas normally. I rarely decorate my house. Instead, I follow a few traditions every year. The one that is the most fun is making Christmas candy with my family. This year, we are going to do it at my sister's house for the first time, which should be fun. We always put together a list of candies we want to make, invite our friends over, and spend a few hours together in a group stirring, baking, dipping, and creating Christmas candies and cookies.

A few from last year that are favorites are toffee and chocolate cremes.

As a family, we only have a handful of other traditions, all of which are either Christmas eve or Christmas day (such as opening one present Christmas eve before going to bed, doing stockings before breakfast Christmas morning, etc.).

In the past couple of years, I have started sending out Christmas cards as part of my holiday routine. I normally try to get the picture for them taken by the end of November so that I can start doing card shopping and have my cards ordered and arrived early enough to send out sometime in the second week of December. I feel like for the card to really be appreciated it has to arrive early enough for people to hang it up and look at it for a while before the big holiday hits.

Last year, I took some good photos of the animals. I was lacking a good photo of me with them, though. This year, I am hoping to come up with a good photo of me and a good one of the dogs. But, I am already doing my card shopping. Tiny Prints has an amazing Christmas Card selection and has some great deals. Plus, I like that I can personalize the cards with text or pictures how I want to arrange it. My biggest problem is going to be picking out which card layout to use.

I was sort of leaning toward the postcards at first. It seemed like a simple way to send out the Christmas cards to my family and friends, with cheaper stamps, no need to worry about envelopes, and all that other fuss. If I get enough good Christmas photos, I might still do a post card and go with this layout.

But, I am also sort of rethinking the idea of doing a post card. I'm not sure if I want pictures of me and my dogs visible to every person who comes in contact with the postcard, especially with my return address right there on it. I might be just a little bit paranoid like that.

Additionally, I really like the weight and elegance lent to a larger folded card that arrives in a slick envelope.
This design is pretty appealing to me, especially since some of my family and friends are either Jewish or non religious. Sending a Happy Holidays card is a great way, in my mind, of being able to include everyone without so much risk of offending anyone.

If I don't end up with enough pictures for either of those cards, I will have an even harder time deciding. There are a ton of different options. I think I just need to do my Christmas photo shoot and pick a card once I look at the pictures.

Do you have any Christmas traditions that you feel have to happen for it to really be the Christmas season?

*Disclaimer- I will receive 50 holiday cards in exchange for this post about Tiny Prints. However, all the opinions expressed here are very much my own and in no way were altered by this. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday shopping I managed to avoid for the most part. Instead of hitting the stores, we got super early, loaded up the car with the dogs, and me and my mom hit the beach. Our goal was to be there by sunrise. A few big storms had recently passed through, so we had big hopes of finding some treasures on the beach. No such luck with that, but we did have a ton of fun!

The water was very foamy. This was my attempt at capturing a picture of the waves coming in with the gorgeous pink in the sky from the sunrise.

I then insisted the we stay at the beach long enough for the sun to rise up and hit the beach itself instead of just way out in the water. I couldn't stand to lose the chance to take some pictures of the pups enjoying the beach, especially with how hard it has been to get good pictures lately with all the clouds and rain. 

And, I had to get a picture of some dog's paws. I just can't help myself. It is, apparently, my addition.

When I have been saying "we" throughout this post, I actually mean not just me and the dogs, but my mom and her Border Collie Possum as well. It was my mom's idea to go to the beach, and I am glad she had it.

I didn't end up coming home with many good pictures of Pallo. He was pretty leery of standing with his back to the ocean just so I could take a picture. Since the tide was coming in fast and we got hit by a number of waves, his caution was probably valid. But, it made for frustrating picture taking. Especially since I forgot to bring along my extra batteries and the low battery light came on after the first couple of pictures I took, so I was trying to conserve rather than just keeping the camera on and snapping pictures of everything.

When I said above that the ocean was foamy, I meant really foamy. And, this log was at the top of the beach, right before the gravel bar in front of the cliff. We even had to jump up onto some people's private stair cases a few times to get away from the waves. Probably it won't do any good for my recurring nightmares of being stuck on the beach between the cliffs and a rising tide with no where to go- but at least my fear of that happening meant we booked it out of there in between waves no problem, other than getting our feet a little wet.

We left the beach at about 9 after spending almost three hours there. We really weren't going to do any Black Friday shopping, but then drove past the Rogue Brewery which had a Sale sign out front- we couldn't help but stop in. After hauling five cases of beer out of their warehouse and in to the car (at only $10 for a 12-22 oz case, how are you supposed to resist?), we headed home. But, we had to stop and check for chanterelles (a type of wild mushroom that grows in the fall in the Pacific Northwest) one last time since it is the end of the season. There weren't many there, but me and my mom did find enough for me to bring home and make some soup in the next couple of days.

Hope everyone else had a great holiday, a safe Black Friday, and has a fun weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope all of my US friends had a great Thanksgiving.

Here at the house of flyball dogs, the dogs had turkey yesterday morning for breakfast. Each one got two turkey feet, a turkey heart, a turkey liver, a turkey neck, and turkey gizzards. All courtesy of a friend of my mom's who was awesome enough to bring by the scraps from butchering his turkeys. A good bit more bone than normal, but evened out by boneless meal the day before.

My car spent all day at the shop getting fixed up, then I drove out to my mom's at 7. And, her awesome friend had dropped off two five gallon buckets of elk scraps from the elk they butchered earlier that day. Very little fat or connective tissue, just lots of good, clean red meat. Which meant that the dog's breakfast this morning, Thursday, Thanksgiving, was the elk meat left over after I ran out of ziplock freezer bags.

I bagged up the elk meat for the freezer in the time while my rolls were rising. We traditionally go to our community potluck every year. Each person brings the dish that to them is essential for Thanksgiving, because otherwise, you may be without it at all (we have had years of no turkey, or no mashed potatoes, or no gravy, or no rolls). I did a rosemary currant roll that ended up being a really nice crusty roll, but without the strong rosemary taste I was hoping for (I even soaked the crushed rosemary overnight in the olive oil, then added fresh rosemary to the dough).

Overall, the potluck was great. Plenty of turkey (including a wild caught turkey), stuffing, green bean casserole, home made cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more. We pulled out Jenga (the tower game) and Guesstures and various groups took turns having some fun with those.

There were only two downsides to Thanksgiving this year: The first being an explosion of Pyrex (after it was set on a hot burner by someone who just arrived and was making room for the dish on the serving table) which shot glass everywhere, including into some of the food dishes, which had to be scrapped. No one was hurt by the glass though, and more people arrived shortly to replace the ruined food. The other downside was that while there were cookies, cinnamon rolls, pecan pie, and blackberry cobbler, no one brought a pumpkin pie.

Which is why we have a pumpkin pie in the oven right now. Which we will eat for breakfast tomorrow.

We made a turkey for ourselves (so we can have leftovers) and have the bones all in the crockpot making stock. In the morning, we will be getting up early, straining the stock and putting together a Turkey Stew in the crockpot, and heading to the beach. A few major storms came through recently (one is on its way through right now), meaning that if we get to the beach early in the morning during the low tide, there should be tons of awesome treasures to find. And, we will probably be home in time to have turkey stew for lunch before I have to head back into town to go to work.

Hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving, and wishing luck to those brave souls venturing out into the Black Friday shopping.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pallo's FM title ribbon

I neglected, after our last flyball tournament, to take Pallo's picture with his huge shiny ribbon. We lucked since most of the tournaments in our region don't do ribbons for placements or titles, but Pallo hit the big Flyball Master (FM) 5,000 point title at one of the few tournaments with ribbons!

I love getting ribbons. The title certificates a nice, and I keep all of them, but the ribbons are so much easier and prettier for hanging on the wall.

Koira didn't want to be left out of the picture session this morning. She did get a new title at the tournament, but they weren't giving titling ribbons to titles lower than 5,000 (so Pallo just barely squeaked in there).

I was using this morning to try out a new winter photo set up. The light was really bad today though, since it is very overcast and dark outside, so even with the south facing window, the white backdrop (wrapped around to help reflect the light back into the middle) and both the over head light and the stand lamp on, a lot of the pictures were really grainy or blurry. And, my camera has about the harshest flash ever (though it ended up not too bad to use if I put a piece of cardboard in front of it to reflect the flash up).

Hoping we get some sunnier winter days, or else the blog is going to be sadly lacking in pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flyball training progress

Koira has been making a ton of progress in training. Her rotation for her turns remained really good at practice last night. When we switched to the other lane for our second practice session, though, she fumbled the ball every time. Our two boxes are identical, but apparently they fire differently enough to mess her up. Hopefully it will become a non-issue once her turn is built into her muscle memory more.

I did get a team mate to video her last turn of the night, after we switched back to the "good" box again.

I LOVE the rotation you can see in this video. But, after watching it a few times and having a fellow flyball friend from another team watch it, we both started seeing that Koira is double hitting. If you watch closely, it appears that she is hitting with her front feet, then her back, then moving her front feet over and up before pushing off of the box. It is easier to see in slow motion.

I am hoping the double hitting is just because she was getting tired at the end of the night. But, it does mean I will be trying to get a team mate to video all of her turns next time we practice, so that I can see if it is a chronic problem and get a better idea of how to fix it.

Pallo took a step backwards in his ball carrying training. He dropped early over half of the time, a few of them really early. But, I kept reminding him of what he was supposed to be doing, and the last few runs were good, with the ball only being dropped as he opened his mouth to grab the tug, just as it should be.

*And super duper thanks to a fellow flyballer who helped me out with putting the video into slow motion.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Elective surgery

Spay and Neuter
Spays and neuters are probably the two most common surgeries we put our pets through. With such severe pet overpopulation issues in the US and countries around the world, spaying and neutering every pet who is adopted from a shelter, and encouraging the same for all pets, has been a major push for pet lovers world wide. Most shelters adopt out dogs and cats only if they have already been altered, and those that don't will most often require a spay/neuter contract to be signed, with proof of the surgery taking place required within a certain amount of time. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a majorly important step in controlling pet overpopulation.

But, recent reading has lead me to believe there is a lot more we should consider before getting our companions this elective surgery. Dr. Zink is probably the foremost veterinarian in the dog sporting world. Her earliest published works mention spaying and neutering as pet population control measures and then move on. In more recent years, however, Dr. Zink has changed her stance on every dog being subjected to this surgery, especially at a young age.

Performance dogs need to be sound in body to compete in the high impact sports we enjoy doing with them such as agility, obedience, flyball, and other sports. Early spaying and neutering may actually be putting our dogs at an increased risk. Early spaying or neutering, that is, doing the surgery before the dog finishes growing, can impact our dogs in many ways, including increasing overall height, causing disproportionate leg bone lengths (which causes poor angulation and additional stress on the dog's joints), and shows increased chances of hip dysplasia.

Early spay and neuter has also been linked to higher chances of bone cancer and hemangiosarcoma. Mammary cancer risk is increased, however, with every heat cycle a bitch goes through, but is generally only malignant 30% of the time and is one of the most successfully treated cancers in dogs. Prostate cancer has been assumed to have a reduced risk in neutered males, but recent studies have suggested that neutering in fact does not change the odds.

Koira was spayed at 6 months old and Pallo was neutered at about 9 months old. If I were to get another dog who was not previously spayed or neutered, I believe that while I would still have the surgery done, I would wait until the dog was at least a year old, or possibly even a year and a half or two years depending on the breed and projected age of maturity. Leaving the surgery for a little bit later can alleviate some of the risks of spay/neuter, especially those associated with orthopedic growth.

For more reading on spay and neuter, refer to this article by Dr. Zink, with resources for all the studies included at the bottom.

Dew Claws

You can see in this picture how Koira is using her dew claws to help her climb up out of the water

Dew claw removal is another elective surgery that is performed on many dogs in the US that may have severe consequences for performance dogs. Again, Dr. Zink has some great articles about this issue that can be found here and here.

Dew claws have long been thought to be useless on all dogs, simply an extra toe that risks getting caught or ripped off during physical activity. However, Dr. Zink has found that not only does the dew claw help with reducing joint stress and increasing traction while running, but removing the dew claw increases the risk of carpal arthritis significantly as well as causing the five (count them, five) tendons an muscle groups connected to the dew claw to atrophy.

Pallo's dew claws, while not visible in this picture, are helping him keep his balance and traction on the box.

Both Koira and Pallo have their dew claws in the front. Both of them have nice, tight dew claws that aren't loose and don't flap around out in space. I contemplated whether they should have the dew claws removed (if they were to ever be put under for another surgery) to reduce the risk of injury. But, I have very much changed my mind about this. Dew claws are important for a functioning canine athlete. Should one of them ever severely injure their dew claw in such a way as removing it is the best choice, then I will have it removed. Otherwise, I will be leaving their dews alone.

Pallo's dew claw
Koira's dew claws

How should these issues affect your choice of a performance dog?

As most people know, dogs adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered already or are adopted out on a spay/neuter contract. This doesn't mean that your next performance dog can't come from rescue, however. Some rescues will be willing to work with you if a dog is not yet spayed or neutered and is not yet physically mature by having you sign a contract stating that you will get the surgery performed when the dog reaches a certain age or the growth plates are proven closed. Others, especially smaller local shelters, will be reluctant to work with individuals on this, as the last thing they want is for any of the dogs to leave the shelter and produce offspring.

If you choose to purchase a performance dog from a reputable breeder, you should have more options available to you. While many breeders would prefer their dogs be altered before going to their new homes if they are not going to be bred, most of them will be willing to work with you if you share the information about why you would prefer to wait and are willing to sign a contract to return the dog if the surgery doesn't take place by a certain date.

For dew claws, options are both more limited and more open. Most dew claws are removed within a few days of birth by the breeder or vet. At this age, they can pretty much just pinch the dews off. However, this may mean that the shelter dog or breed rescue you are interested in already has had their dew claws removed ages ago. On the other hand, many shelter dogs will still have their dew claws intact.

Breeders may be willing to not remove the dew claws of their puppies. However, since the dew claws are removed at such a young age and must be removed (or are strongly encouraged to be removed) to show in conformation, many reputable breeders will insist on removing the dew claws from all puppies, since decisions on which puppy you will be bringing home would be made at a much later date. Performance breeders who breed either purebreds for working stock or sport mixes will likely be more open to leaving dew claws intact than those who also breed for the conformation ring.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Once again, it is Monday. At least this week I am just about over my cold.

Last week, the only things I ended up making were potato cheddar soup (served over lightly steamed broccoli) and homemade chicken noodle soup, with home made broth. I ate the leftovers most of the week, and had some of the extra chicken meat on some biscuits for a take-to-work lunch. And, my awesome Mom brought by some black bean soup for me that she had made. Between the three soups and instant oatmeal for breakfast, I was set for the week with leftovers.

This week's plan will use some of the stuff I didn't make last week. First on that list is curry, which is going into the crock pot right now. Chicken breasts, potatoes, carrots are going in now with the coconut milk and curry powder. Before I leave for work at 5 tonight I will add the bell peppers and bok choy to the pot as well. I haven't made curry in the crock pot before, but I am assured by many online recipes that it will turn out great, so I am hopeful. I LOVE leftover curry, so it would be awesome to be able to make a big batch at once. Plus, while tonight I will probably eat just the curry, tomorrow I will put some rice in the slow cooker to serve with the leftovers.

The last bowl of my mom's black bean soup is also on the menu this week. Probably for lunch today or tomorrow.

A pot roast in the crock pot is also sounding really good, made just with some chicken broth, sea salt, potatoes, carrots, and onions.

And, hot dogs in baked beans is another menu item. For some reason, to me, baked beans don't make a meal by themselves. However, if you either put hot dogs cut up in them, or serve them with a grilled cheese sandwich, that makes a full meal. Don't ask me why.

The dogs and cat are having chicken quarters, pork roast, the last of the venison scrap, and some goat liver/kidney. I'm being hopeful that some elk-hunting friends will bring back some elk heart, liver, and other scraps for me soon since elk hunting season opened last week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rear end awareness training

Quick post of a few training videos with the dogs. I have started doing some rear end awareness training with them, since I think both of my dogs could use it. Plus, it will be useful for training some fun tricks later on.

Koira and Pallo are both working on learning how to step sideways with their back feet while keeping their front feet on a target. Koira has been doing much better with this than Pallo, who still doesn't seem to get the concept either of the front foot target being important or that he has a hind end that can do anything to be rewarded for.

Pallo and Koira have also learned to back up in front of me while I walk forward. I am now training a rear-foot target using the back up command. The dogs get clicked and treated when their back feet get on the target placed behind them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My dog is awesome

So, not sure if anyone will even understand this, but Koira made an awesome breakthrough today at Flyball practice.

Edited to add some pictures (taken a couple weeks ago)

Koira's turns have been decent with a prop in front of the box. She gets four feet on the box, doesn't do any double hitting (none of her feet hit the box more than once), and she pushes off strongly with her back legs. I have been rewarding this type of turn heavily with her, emphasizing her high foot placement on the box.

Koira's turn. Yes, her back feet did end up on the box, high on the box, during this turn. But, those hind feet are more like an after thought. 

Today, I saw what her turns can look like. Instead of hitting the box front feet first, then bending her body around and allowing her rear feet to follow, then pushing off the box, she did something I didn't even realize I wanted her to do, before.

This is a pic of Koira during our warmup. We do restrained recalls over jumps and start the dogs off from the box like this for those.

Koira jumped toward the box, then did a sort of mid-air twist thing, hit the box with all for feet, then rocketed off. It sounds weird when I say it like that, and I don't even know if even the flyball people will get what I mean when I say it. But, you know how those super fast dogs, like the ones Touch N Go runs, seem to just leap into the air straight toward the box, then miraculously manage to turn in mid air, landing with all four feet properly placed on the box, with the hind feet hitting almost the same time as the front, then have a good, strong, push off with all four feet? That's what I saw Koira do for the first time today.

Pallo's turn at practice, nice and high. But, still not as awesome as the turn I just saw from Koira this week. Really, I think most dogs just aren't built for doing that type of turn.

The first time she did it was in our first session at practice. It was her 6th turn or so, and when I saw that awesomeness, I could tell it was the turn I wanted but didn't know how to get. I quit there, giving her a big game of tug and a release to get some water.

When we came in for our second session (we work all our dogs twice, for shorter sessions, for best results), she did it again. The mid-air rotation was actually so much there that she got her back feet too high and missed the face of the box with one of them. We put in a slightly shorter PVC jump prop in (we had a triple gutter and a PVC jump as props) to not push her so high. And, her rotation was amazing.

Pallo supermanning it over a jump at practice, tongue out in concentration

The last two turns she did were a bit sloppy. One foot was low on the box, and she had trouble getting the ball fully in her mouth. But, those last sloppy turns still seemed better than the fast turns she started with at the beginning of the first session. Because, instead of hitting with her front feet, then her back, she was still doing a really good mid-air rotation.

I am super hopeful that with more practicing, she will keep this up. By learning this rotation type turn, I think the turn will stick with her a lot longer and better than her old turning style. Frankly, the turns she gave me today were even better than any turn I've ever seen from Pallo, and I have always loved his turns (and been complimented on them a lot at tournaments, so its not just me).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I spent Sunday in Portland at a Pet First Aid class. It was a lot of fun, and even though I already knew a lot of the material, I learned a good bit as well, and had fun. However, I didn't have fun with the 2 hour drive to get there first thing in the morning, and really didn't like the hour I spent lost in Portland before the 2 hour drive to get home again. And now I think I'm getting sick, with sore throat, constant sneezing fits, and possibly a fever (though I couldn't find my thermometer when I looked, so not sure on that part).

When I am sick, I generally spend my time in the house, with the heater up absurdly high, wrapped in blankets, sitting on a heating pad, eating hot soup and drinking hot tea. But, I have no soup makings, no tea, and need to do dishes to have any clean bowls or cups. And, I need to go shopping for some actual food in the house.

So, Menu Plan.

Breakfast: Instant oatmeal for as long as I am sick probably, since it is hot, easy on the throat, and super quick to make.

Lunch/dinner: Potato soup (need to pick up broth, milk, celery, carrots at the store); lentil soup (need the carrots and celery, and broth for this too); Yellow curry chicken, potatoes, carrots, and veggies (especially if this ends up being the head cold type sickness, then the curry is a lifesaver, so will probably use more celery and carrots, but need to pick up the curry, coconut milk, more potatoes, and some other veggies); Stew (so, need to pick up beef, which I will probably only do if a roast is on sale)

And this is a picture of some beans. Because I am low on pictures and low on energy/motivation to take actual relevant pictures for this post.

I'll think of other stuff to eat later in the week if I run out of food. I have to go do some shopping first thing tomorrow if I want to eat much at all. But, maybe being sick will motivate me to work on some more NaNo writing? Because I have, at the end of today, used up all the extra words I wrote earlier in the week, so need to start writing seriously again tomorrow.

For the dogs and cat:

Monday: Venison scrap
Tuesday: Chicken quarters
Wednesday: Venison scrap
Thursday: Chicken quarters
Friday: Goat or pork liver (whichever I grab) and beef kidneys
Saturday: Chicken quarters
Sunday: Chicken quarters

Probably going to do a good bit of chicken quarters this week, since it is the quickest thing to toss to the pups. The venison scrap is courtesy of my mom's neighbor, who had leftover trim and scrap from hunting this year. I hear he also set aside the turkey hearts, necks, and gizzards for me from the ones they just butchered as well. Then, if I am not super sick this week, it is about time to harvest some rabbits, so some of the menu might change for the pups if that happens. They have never had rabbit before, so it might be an interesting, new experience for them.

Oh, and for those wondering about the grey kitten in the Wordless Wednesday post last week, that is Grey Kitty, also known as Kitty. Martha was pregnant when I first brought her home, and I didn't know about spay/aborts as an option back then, so Kitty was born on September 11th, four years ago. Kitty lives with my mom, while Kitty's two siblings, Azu and Vida, live across the street from my mom with a long time neighbor/family friend.

For more menu planning ideas, visit StoneGable and I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, November 5, 2011

When I say "GO"

So, to make you all think that I am totally crazy when I talk, as I did in my last post, about my totally fearful dog who spends half the day every week being afraid of the day itself, I thought I would share some pictures from Friday afternoon. Because, at exactly 12:02 in the afternoon on Friday, Koira stopped shaking, asked to go out to potty, and begged for breakfast time. So we went to the park for some fun.

My dogs start out with this expression as I hold up their ball, getting ready to throw

Then all that pretty elegance turns into these expressions, as my count down of "Ready.... Set..." finally reaches the point where I say "GO"

Pallo always ends up looking super worried, as if the ball is his best friend in the world, about to be lost forever in the dark abyss.

The day, by the way, was amazing. Which is good, because the forecast for the next ten days is rain, rain, rain. So I guess its a good thing that, when making the choice between taking the dogs to the park or working on my NaNoWriMo novel for the day, that I chose walking the dogs.

Doesn't Koira look so relaxed and happy in this picture? Doesn't it make you think I must be insane for worrying about how anxious she is?

 And, you know, I may not have gotten anything written for NaNoWriMo yesterday (or today for that matter, bad me), but then, if I had, I would never have a picture of my dogs looking like this.

And besides, it made Koira happy.

Plus, I ended up with my new favorite picture of Pallo

Friday, November 4, 2011

Least I should forget it is Friday....

Koira will remind me. Friday is garbage day. To Koira, this means that Friday is the Day Large Noisy Dog-Eating Beasts Roam the Neighborhood. She will get up super early in the morning, about an hour before the first signs of garbage collection. She will either nudge me until I lift the covers for her to burrow under, or else hop off the bed and go hide in the "dog cave" in a corner behind the papasan chair. Whichever behavior she chooses, she will do it shaking. Then, Koira will continue to shake until at least noon, which is a good 4 hours after the last garbage truck in our neighborhood leaves. The slightest noise, on a Friday morning, will turn terrifying. The neighbors do laundry, causing their washer or dryer to make noise. Normally, the dogs don't even notice, since this happens on a daily basis. On Friday morning, though, this noise causes Koira to shake like a dry rattling leaf on a tree in a windstorm.

And this happens every week. No frantic behavior is the result, unless I try to take her out of the house. All that happens is I have a terrified puddle of quivering dog laying right up next to me all morning, or hiding out behind my chair. She will refuse to go outside to potty, and turns down her breakfast until the afternoon. The only thing that scares Koira as much as Friday mornings is when we visit my mom on Tuesdays, and the normalcy of the world is turned upside down when Tuesday becomes "Dog Eating Beast Day" to Koira. In fact, our garbage day used to be Tuesday as well. When they first rescheduled garbage pickup to Friday, Koira had two days every week of terrified shaking. Eventually, she realized that Tuesdays no longer eat dogs.

So, question. How in the world do you desensitize a dog to a day of the week? I can't even hear garbage trucks from my bedroom. There is no where we could go that would avoid them completely (especially given that cars drive past garbage trucks and under overpasses, which is a whole different issue). Turning on the TV or radio does nothing, which I concluded after about two months of sleeping to loud music and/or turning the TV on when I went to bed and leaving it on until after the garbage runs were over. Koira reaches a fear threshold where food and play mean nothing, simply by waking up on a Friday morning. Desensitize that, why don't you?