Give Me My Rat!!

After work study camp, something over a week ago now, I went up to Cleveland for a two-day seminar at Ohio Air Dogs. And then this weekend past I was in Columbus for a two-day at ARF. I only got a couple days at home. Today I drove to Nashville, TN. I’ll be starting a TDAA four-day judging clinic at Happy Dog Ranch. As I look at my calendar my weekends are fairly booked for quite awhile…

In my days at home, when I’m not traveling or giving a seminar somewhere, I stay pretty busy with chores around the property. I have my garden in. I think I’ll expand it a little bit this next week. It’s been a strange wet start to the spring. I also moved a number of trees here and there on the property. I find young seedlings in the late fall that clearly won’t survive where they’re coming up. So I’ll dig them up and find a new home for them in the spring.

The other excitement is that we’ve adopted a ninth chicken. And it has complicated my life. A former agility student, who is also a college professor down in town, hatched an egg in one of her classes. The prospective foster home fell through… and so she got in touch to see if I wanted the baby chick. Unfortunately all of my growing chickens, nearly full size now, are completely cannibalistic so I have to raise the chick in segregation. And like adult chickens, baby chickens are idiots, only more so.

Oh, I have to tell this story… at ARF this past weekend I loaned a young lady Kory to run in an exercise because her dog came up lame or sick or something. I hander her Kory’s rat and told her to have a game of tug with him as reward when they were done with the sequence. She asked if he had a word to drop it and give it to her. I told her “Just tell him ‘Give me my rat!’” It was really fun to watch as they were done. He tugged with her and she said “Give me my rat!”… over and over again; because he tugged more furiously and just would not let go. Truth be known… that’s what I tell him when I want him to continue tugging. Like I said, it was fun to watch.

I should have my camera/smartphone ready as I travel. This morning as I bumped along the shores of the Ohio River driving across Route 7, I saw a station wagon planted, three-quarters buried in somebody’s front yard down around Ironton. Maybe I’ll get a picture of it on the way back through.

Sketch of a Lesson Plan

I left Marsha with this set of the floor… and no numbered sequences. She had to teach the Wednesday night classes.

The bombshell of the evening is that Marsha announced that we will discontinue operating as a training center. After something like 20 years of teaching classes I’m ready to call it quits.

We’d like to make the facility available as something of a “social club” for local agility fans. Our vision is that it will be more of a community thing; but clearly without the structured classes that is so much a part of my blood. I think that many people want structure, and teaching, and mentoring. We’ll see how it goes. There’s plenty of structure across the river. But from now on, I’m just going to be one of the guys.

I intend to change the set of the building every week; and make available training sequences. And I’ll plan on training with whoever wants to show up on Wednesday evenings. It will be a bit of a different relationship.

We’ll see how it goes. It could be that in a month, it’ll just be me and Marsha training out there.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

2 Responses to “Give Me My Rat!!”

  1. Beth Moline Says:

    Somewhere between the Indiana border and a bit into Kentucky on 65 South, there was a sign that said “Used Cow’s” with a phone number. I saw it the first time about 15 years ago. I have no idea if it’s still there. I didn’t own a cell phone at the time, they didn’t have cameras in them back then anyway. Didn’t have a camera with me either. I’ve wondered several times since I first saw the sign, what a used cow is. When I think of a used cow, I think of the hunk of beef on my plate.

  2. Erica Says:

    I hope you’ll continue to blog and conduct some workshops/seminars. I’d really miss my fix.

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