All posts by Dorothy

Fruit Crumble

baked fruit crumbleFruit Crumble is one of the easiest desserts to make – and very, very delicious. The one I made today is fresh rhubarb and frozen black cherries. The recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking.

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C). 8 or 9 inch baking dish. 6 servings.

4 cups of prepared fruit

rhubarb and cherries in baking dishChop rhubarb into 1/2 to 1″ (1-2 cm.) lengths. Sugar it lightly. I used about 1 tsp for 2 cups of chopped rhubarb.

The cherries I used were already pitted. If not, you have to pit them.

(Sprinkle with 2 tbsp lemon juice or kirsch if you like)

Mix crumble topping in a bowl

crumble mixtureCombine ingredients below in a bowl. Work it together like pastry with a pastry blender or fingertips (I used a fork). Work it lightly so the mixture doesn’t get oily.

1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C butter (soft)
1/2 tsp salt – if butter is unsalted

crumble on fruit ready to bakeSpread crumble mix over fruit in baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve hot or cold with ice cream, sweet cream (whipped or not) or sour cream.

You can also use other fruit, alone or in combination – strawberries, apples, peaches. For apples, you might want to add 1 tsp cinnamon to your crumble mixture.

Corrie Street 18 June 2017

Slam Poetry

Daniel looks dead-eyedSlammed by a poetry book. Poetic justice? Poetic irony? Possibilities for wordplay are endless. But the dramatic tension was very real. This week Ken’s attacker was revealed. It was indeed Daniel. The weapon? That huge poetry book that Ken gave him as a congratulations on being everything he ever wanted in a son.

Now Ken is alone in a flat with Daniel, who is unravelling quickly. Might he just finish the job? He even has the poetry book there. Ken doesn’t know it’s not the copy he gave Daniel – that one had blood all over it. But Daniel copied Ken’s inscription into one he bought. Ken’s Daniel holds poetry bookgift is hidden under the floorboards in Daniel and Adam’s flat.

On Wednesday, actors Rob Mallard and Bill Roache were fabulous. The make up people too. Daniel’s face did a Jekyl and Hyde as his stress and desperation increased.

You knew Daniel was guilty as soon as Adam was carted off to jail. Camera cut to Daniel, flinging his arm over Ken’s shoulder, watching the police car leave. You knew too that the whole thing would come out when Ken went to Daniel’s old flat with him. But someone would Daniel chokes Kensave him, someone would figure it out before long.

Ches was voicing suspicions of Daniel. Sinead was wondering what was going on, starting to get a sense something was wrong. They will come to the rescue, I thought.

Just as Daniel is seriously losing it, a knock on the door. It’s mum, back after all these years! And that’s where I suddenly felt deflated.

Denise looks through door at DanielI knew Denise was returning, thanks to an online “as we all know.” But it wasn’t unexpected. There had to be a resolution to what happened to her. I can see the dramatic value of her return right at a critical moment. But that is also maybe the worst time and manner of bringing her back. It’s asking way too much of suspension of disbelief. Too contrived, yet also too easy. How do we get her to see Daniel? I know, let’s just plop her at his place. No!

Have her go first to Ken’s house. There’s a greater likelihood that he Daniel shocked at seeing mumwould still be in the same place than that Daniel would be. Have Daniel and Ken discovered by someone more probable – Sinead, Tracy, Peter. Have Denise turn up with them. Anything except her suddenly appearing at that exact moment as if she’d just returned from the corner store.

Aside from that, this storyline has been great this week. As too have the others – Shona, Bethany and the creepy men getting creepier, and three dads on a day out.

Goderich Postcards

My grandmother’s parents, Matthias and Emily Lymburner, lived for a few years in Goderich, Ontario. These are postcards sent from their early days there in 1911. (click images for larger view)

General View of Goderich Harbour, looking East

goderich harbour looking east D Stewart postcards coll.goderich harbour card message D Stewart postcards coll.Mr. Charles H. Burwell, Tillsonburg, Ont. Goderich, Jan 9th, 1911.

Dear Boy, Charlie:- This card shows the mills and cooperage – the cooper shop, I have marked with an X on the gable-end. It looks small on account of the flour mill being so large. I am feeling fine, and I think I will like it well, here, haven’t seen much of the town yet, it’s nice, though, what I have seen of it. I will write frequently, and will be glad to hear from you all. Yours, M. E. Lymburner.

Look slightly right of middle. See a small yellow triangle at left of large brown building – that’s the X. Matthias was a cooper so that’s where he would have worked.

Central Park, Goderich, Ont. Canada

Central Park Goderich D Stewart postcards coll.central park card message D Stewart postcards coll.

Mrs C H Burwell

This is for Minnie. It is the city hall, and central park. It is the very centre of the town. I will write again when I get time.

I think this is Mary Emily’s writing. She must have been sent it to her daughter Minnie in Tillsonburg with someone.  The courthouse and park is the hub of an octagon of streets that comprises the town centre. The town layout was planned from the very beginning.  The Town of Goderich website describes it.

On the Maitland River, Goderich, Ont. Canada

on the maitland river D Stewart postcards coll.
Mrs Minnie Burwell, Tillsonburg PO, Ont.

Goderich Feb 24 1911 Dear Minnie – Just a line to tell I was down town yesterday and came near losing our way home. There are so many streets and they look so much alike. Well good bye. From Mother

The 1911 Canadian Census has Matthias and Emily, two sons and two youngest daughters living on Britannia Road. It runs west to east  across the south side of town.  The spokes of the streets mean that if you take the wrong one leaving the square, you can end up a long way from where you intended. The Maitland River skirts the east side of town, with its mouth at the harbour.

Court House – Goderich Canada

court house goderich D Stewart postcards coll.court house card message D Stewart postcards coll.
Mrs Chas Burwell, Tillsonburg Ont.

Dear Sister, Just a card to let you [know] we are alive and will answer your letter soon but have been very busy trying to get straightened up. Then I am so lame that it keeps me a long while. John is working at the furniture factory here. I am nearly settled all but washing my curtains and quilts. Evellyn

Evellyn was Minnie’s older sister. John Hewson was her husband. This sounds as if they too had just moved to Goderich. But I cannot find them in the 1911 census.

About this beautiful Court House, the Goderich website (link above) says, “The octagonal-shaped park at the centre was occupied for nearly 100 years by the original Huron County Courthouse, an Italianate brick building of imposing scale, massing and elegance. It was replaced in 1954 by the present building.”

Concrete Elevator, Goderich, Canada

concrete elevator goderich D Stewart postcards coll.elevator card message D Stewart postcards coll.
Mrs Charles Burwell, Tillsonburg PO, Ontario.

Goderich Aug 3, 1911. Dear Minnie – We arrived home just at twelve. Pa was home for dinner, he is well. It is raining hard here this afternoon. Bye Bye from Ma.

Maybe Emily had just got back from visiting her daughter? I don’t know but the message sounds like a check-in.  This photo is a close-up of the elevator that you can see in the background of the first postcard. From the Goderich Port Authority website: “The first grain elevator at the Port was built in 1866 but was later destroyed by fire. The current elevators, constructed in the 1920s, are still in operation today.”

Point Farm Hotel, Goderich, Ont., Canada

point farm hotel goderich D Stewart postcards coll.point farm hotel card message D Stewart postcards coll.
Mr. C. H. Burwell, Tillsonburg, Ont.

Goderich, Sept. 1 1911. My Dear Charlie; Arrived here O.K. in time for dinner. Found the folks all well. The baby was real good coming up. I hope you found enough to eat. Am having a dandy time. Will I give your best respects to Miss Bell? Bye Bye, Minnie (write soon)

Minnie and Charley had no children at this time. But Minnie’s sister Evellyn had a daughter Mary Julia Hewson in July 1911. Maybe they travelled to Goderich together.  My mother told me who Miss Bell was, but unfortunately I can’t remember.  The Point Farm Hotel, also unfortunately, is gone. The area is now a Provincial Park. The hotel’s history is told by David Yates in the 2016/17 Goderich Visitors’ Guide (pp 57-58).

…at Tillsonburg and thinking much of you

Tillsonburg D Stewart postcards coll.Tillsonburg card message D Stewart postcards coll.
Mrs C H Burwell, Goderich, Ont. [postmarked Sep 2 1911]

My Dear Minnie – I rec’d your card and feel a lot better to know you are all right. I am getting along all right keeping bach with John. Yes, give my best respects to Miss Bell and the rest of the folks. Bye Bye, Charley xxxx X1 for Miss Bell

John, I think, was a friend of Grandpa’s. I gather, from this exchange of postcards, that Grandma left them to fend for themselves when she went away. But it seems that he and John had “found enough to eat.” Ha!

And that’s our tour of Goderich from 1911. See my Goderich, Prettiest Town for my memories of the town and Bluewater Beach from several decades later. I wrote it right after a devastating tornado hit the town in August 2011.

Corrie Street 11 Jun 2017

A Room of His Own

A room of his own, I bet that’s what Daniel wanted on Tuesday. It’s what I wanted for him! Last minute cramming for an exam that sinead brings tea and sandwichesafternoon. At the kitchen table, too close to the tea kettle.

Sinead making tea, then doing tea and sympathy. I know today is important, but you need to eat something. Maybe you should get some rest. You look stressed. Then why don’t you bugger off and let him study? That’s what was going through my mind. In that brief moment, Sinead demonstrated her potential to be a huge liability to Daniel. Nobody should need Ken’s words to see the truth of his prognosis.adam asks who wants tea

Thankfully, we moved on to other scenes, leaving that cramped little kitchen with Sinead hovering. And then they were back. Sinead gone, Daniel still trying to study. With Adam standing in the doorway watching him! Then commenting on his diligence and the importance of this exam. For Daniel’s chance at Oxford, for his adam-in-doorway-watches-danielacademic future, for his own self-worth. Yes, it is important, so get lost!

Now, we know that Adam just doesn’t care. He suspects Daniel as being responsible for pushing Ken down the stairs. But, aside from that, he just doesn’t care. Annoying Daniel is entertainment for him.

adam-bugs-danielI could only wonder why Daniel didn’t take his books and go to his bedroom, the only room of his own he has at the moment. By the end of those two brief scenes, I was as antsy as he was about his exam.

And yes, he blew it off. In the examination hall, staring at the paper in front of him. Other students busily writing their answers. He got up and walked out. Maybe he has many other weighty matters on his mind, like pushing his father down the stairs. I don’t know. Even if not, I could see why he just walked out. Just keep walking, Daniel.

daniel tries to concentrate, needs room of his ownI don’t know why he really is moving back to his old place, without Sinead. But I wouldn’t blame him if he’d made up the whole story about the landlord just to get away from his roomies. A room of his own – he can have that there.

Wilma the Cat

In honour of Wilma, cat colony princess, who died yesterday in St. Thomas ON. Reposted from St. Thomas Dog Blog, March 29, 2012.Wilma and other cats 2016

Wilma was a homeless cat who was instrumental in the creation of the Charity Cat Project. That initiative has provided food, shelter and neutering to innumerable feral and stray St. Thomas cats. Charity Cat and other rescue groups worked with St. Thomas City Council in establishing animal welfare programmes. Among these are low-cost pet neutering and maintenance of feral cat colonies. So, Wilma, thank you.

Wilma's broken front toothWilma had surgery to remove her damaged teeth and a hernia in her abdomen. She’s recovering nicely. She has domesticated herself and it seems she would love to live indoors. But in her present home, there are dogs who really wouldn’t do well with her presence inside. So a foster or, ideally, a permanent home for her would be wonderful. Contact ABCR or me if you have a place in your home or barn for a lovely cat.*

Turns out she was already spayed, so she had been lost or abandoned. I don’t know which, but there are a lot of Wilmas in our city. They need help. There are also a lot of truly feral cats who Wilma 2012 likely will never allow themselves to be tamed. They too need help.

It’s not just helping the cats. It’s helping people. Having feral cats around their houses distresses cat lovers. Cat haters certainly don’t like cats hanging around. And unneutered cats produce kittens, usually twice a year. So that one cat who’s taken up residence in your back yard is going to produce more, and those kittens will also reproduce. You start out with one stray moggie and, before you know it, you’re in Cat City.

TNR for feral cats

Trapping wild cats and having them fixed is a time-consuming and Drowsy Wilma sitting in suncostly business. I know, I’ve done it. And if you do remove those cats, in all likelihood, more will simply come and occupy the territory. That will happen whether you feed them or not. Homeless cats need somewhere to settle and your backyard might seem as good as anywhere to them. So better to keep those you know, and are neutered, than constantly have new ones moving in and establishing their claim.

St. Thomas needs a TNR programme – trap, neuter, return – for wild cats. Other cities have such programmes or services in place and we have just as many feral cats as anywhere else. Wilma’s person Wilma eating on porchcounted the cats in the gully near their house a month ago: 103 that she saw. That’s before this spring’s litters of kittens are born.

St. Thomas also needs a programme to subsidize spay and neuter costs for dogs and cats of people who cannot afford the full price. Again, many other cities have such subsidy programmes or low-cost clinics offered so many times a year.

It seems cheaper to just have the kittens or puppies than to have your pet neutered. It’s not; it just spreads the costs over a longer period of time – once or twice a year for as long as the animal lives. Neutering is cheaper for all of us just in costs to municipalities of caring for, or killing, unwanted pets.

Abcess on Wilma's gumsPeople have contributed to Wilma’s medical costs, but her rescuers are still footing over half the bill themselves. If you can help, please contact ABCR or me. And let’s start helping all the Wilmas by setting up a spay/neuter subsidy fund. We’ve seen over the past year, with STDOA’s Caring Pet Cupboard, that our community will help people feed their pets.  Now let’s move on to the big task: preventing unwanted puppies and kittens.

*Wilma stayed where she was, for which everyone she knew is thankful. She will be greatly missed by her people and her cats. You can see her legacy on the Charity Cat Facebook page. (See 10 comments on original post below.)

Corrie Street 4 Jun 2017

Satellite TV

mary returns to floristEver since she got the satellite tv she spends every evening flicking through the various foreign news channels with her eyes closed trying to guess the nationality of the news readers. I said mother! Mother! At least close the front windows. I mean, it’s not nice for the neighbours, is it, hearing the name of various Eastern European countries booming around the cul-de-sac of a night. I don’t know what them in number 5 think. They’ve only just moved here from Lithuania. It must be very disconcerting. Are these for today?

mary says mother watches tv with her eyes closedMary is back! And I am very happy to see her and Norris. It was such a treat on Thursday to hear them both on a loose rein with their storytelling. Their scenes, after their eventful trip to the Lakes District, were with Tracy and then with Amy as well. Both are good foils for the stories and the bickering of Mary and Norris.

tracy bemused by satellite tv storySome of the dialogue of the first Coronation Street episodes came, as Tony Warren said, straight off the bus. He would eavesdrop on others’ conversations and, if he heard something particularly good, he’d scribble down in a notebook. Later, it would get worked into his scripts.

i said mother motherMary’s story about her mother and the satellite television sounds to me like it came straight off the bus. It is also nice to have confirmation from Mary that her mother is indeed alive. Oh, I wish she would decide to come for a visit.

are these for todayLater in the episode, a mention of Blanche made me smile – and miss her. Norris, discussing his unfortunate encounter with geese, said he felt like Tippi Hedren in The Birds. Amy knew the movie, to Tracy’s surprise. Nana Blanche used to put it on for Amy when she had trouble sleeping. Bwahahaha!

Homeless Companions

From St. Thomas Dog Blog, Sept. 4, 2013. Reposted in honour of US Memorial Day and Harold Palmquist, a US veteran who is biking across the country with his dog to raise money for homeless vets and their pets.

homeless man and dog in phone booth RO_B_new_Bucharest_apartment-photo-Miehs-wikicommonsPlease God, I have never had to beg on the street and I’ve never been homeless.  I don’t know how I’d look after myself, let alone a dog or cat. But people do; they survive on the streets of even the coldest cities, and many do so with a pet.

I have had to carefully parcel out funds so that rent was paid and my cat and I had something to eat. A student promotion credit card was our lifesaver, if a month’s supply of money ran out before the days did. The cat and I ate some odd meals – whatever I could find in the limited food section of Woolworth’s. Grocery stores did not accept credit cards then. Fortunately for us, those times were not frequent.

Amazon link for A Street Cat Named Bob
Click to see on Amazon

For some people and their animals, it’s a more regular occurrence. Today, on CBC Radio’s The Current (sorry, story no longer available), the stories of some people perhaps marginalized by society but not by their companion animals. James Bowen, whose cat helped him out as a busker and now as an author. As he said, thanks to Bob the cat, he now pays income tax. A woman whose cat keeps her off crack. A woman in Edmonton who started a pet food bank, with donation bins in pet stores and a system for getting the food to those who need it. And a University of Colorado sociologist who has talked to homeless pet owners and written a book called My Dog Always Eats First.

Amazon link for My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless people and their animals
Click to see on Amazon

That book’s author, Dr. Leslie Irvine, talks about homelessness being a “master status” in our society. That means that it overrides all other statuses that a person holds. Those may be “ascribed” such as gender or ethnicity or “achieved” such as profession or educational level. Whether a holder of an advanced degree or a high school dropout, a person sleeping in a doorway is seen only as ‘homeless person’. And you’re not likely to even think to ask what else a panhandler is as you drop your change in his or her cup.

But there is another master status, I think, that people ascribe to themselves:  that of “pet owner”. As one, I will go over and talk to a “homeless person” if he or she is accompanied by pet. I see the animal and want to make contact with him or her, and therefore the person as well. This is not to suggest that homeless people should get pets in order to improve their chances on the street.

Accommodating people and their service or pet animals has caused real problems for many shelters trying to be inclusive. Dog fights, fleas, provision for people with allergies and abandonment of animals in the shelter are some that I remember from a radio documentary I heard a few years ago (sorry, can’t find a link).

Dog in animal shelter in Washington, Iowa, Nhandler WikicommonsBut for many of us, homeless and homed, our pets are solace and friendship, providing someone else for us to think about and care for. And every dog, cat or guinea pig living happily with their person on the street is one less unwanted animal needing rescue or dying from neglect.

Corrie Street 28 May 2017

To what end?

Ken says to what endWednesday, Ken asked the question I’ve been asking myself about his storyline. “But to what end? It doesn’t make sense.” Ken was commenting on why Tracy would have hit him over the head. I was commenting on the whole storyline since its early days.

Ok, I can see having each of his children a suspect for a time. But my credulity has been strained, as has my patience. Too many people getting dragged into it – to what end? The whole plot has become too busy. So many people, so much sneaking around. It doesn’t make sense.

Ken sees photo of deirdre is goneBringing Rob back? In order for that to explain that, a whole off-screen story had to be told. And why? To put Tracy and Amy in a convoluted, and unbelievable, story that involved a nice location shoot.

Tracy suspected Amy of being the one who had hurt Ken. At the end of the episode, Rob voiced something else I’d been saying to my tv. “I just did what you should have at the start. I asked her if she was the one who hurt Ken. She said no.” That was in answer to Tracy’s question of how he knew that Amy hadn’t done it. Yes, Tracy, it can be that easy! That Tracy would volunteer herself for prison and let her father believe she’d harm him? Without asking Amy for sure? Not easy to believe.

ken looks at stairwayKen’s story started as an exciting whodunit. A large cast of suspects, goody, let’s all be Hercule Poirot! But then the circles started spinning off into new circles. You need a playbook to remember everybody involved and everybody’s story. Now I don’t care who they arrest, just let it end.

Manchester Stand Strong

In real life, the Manchester bombing also raises the question “But to what end?” Twenty-two people were killed and many more injured as they left a concert. One of those killed was Martyn Hett, a Coronation Street, and Deirdre, “super-fan”.

Martyn Hett stuffed marrow videoHe has wonderful videos on YouTube. My favourite is his cooking lesson on making Deirdre’s Stuffed Marrow. Thank you for that, Martyn, and for the the “Audrey Roberts Noise”. My condolences to Martyn’s family and friends, and to all the victims of this tragedy. Like Ken said, “it doesn’t make sense.” And, as Manchester is saying, “stand strong.”

See my Aug. 2, 2015 post for stuffed marrow made by Robert Preston on the show and by Martyn Hett on YouTube.

Corrie Street 21 May 2017

Viewer advisory

I don’t think I’ve ever before seen CBC put a ‘viewer discretion’ advisory at the beginning of Coronation Street. They did Monday. And with reason. Bethany and Nathan. And Neil. All building up to the very end. The final shot.viewer advisory episode Bethany quietly cries

Bethany, quietly crying, looking at the closed bedroom door. The door not opening. Nathan not coming through to save her, to throw his “friend” out. So she quietly submits to Neil. Submits to rape.

At the same time, in the Rovers, Mary and Norris discuss methods of parenting past and present. Because Sarah has told them she’s worried about Bethany. Sarah texts her, but Bethany doesn’t hear Norris says what do I kow to Sarahher phone. It’s in the living room at Nathan’s, while she is in the bedroom with Neil.

Norris has argued for taking a firm hand with children, teaching discipline and right from wrong. Mary counters that the old style often was not so good for the children themselves. And she does know the bad consequences. Norris knows that she knows. He says to Sarah, “What do I know? I’ve never had any children.”Neil talks to Bethany

But if Norris, Mary or Sarah knew what was happening at that very moment with Bethany, I think they’d all agree on the merits of the stick in the carrot and stick approach to childrearing.

The long inexorable lead-up to Bethany in that bedroom, being raped, was worthy of a viewer advisory. Even worse was that she thought she was doing the right thing. She thought this was what an adult, a girlfriend, should do. As frightened and disgusted as she is, this must be okay in grown-up land – so Nathan has convinced her.Neil and Bethany on bed

Nathan and Mel are her benchmarks for what is cool adult behaviour. Sarah, Gary, the other adults in her family? They are old, they don’t understand. They think she’s a kid. But Nathan and Mel – they see her maturity, they don’t want to hold her back. At least that’s what she believes, what she wants.

Meanwhile, the other adults in Bethany’s life dither about how closed bedroom doorlightly to step on the eggshells. How to get her away from Nathan without alienating her. And while they fiddle, Bethany’s Rome burns.

Training at the Dog Park

This week in May 2010, we in the St. Thomas Dog Owners Association were doing a final spit and polish on our new Lions Club Dog Park.

The Lions Club Dog Park had its grand opening on the May 24th weekend – one day of rain, one day of beautiful sunshine. A pretty good time though, I thought.

Recall Training

I picked up some pointers on dog training from Anne MacDonald of K-9 Concepts Saturday afternoon. She gave a workshop on recall training, one of the hardest and most important things to teach.recall training by Anne MacDonald St. Thomas dog park

My two are pretty good about coming when called, if they feel like it. And that, of course, is the problem. If they don’t feel like coming when called, it’s because they’re doing something way more interesting like chasing a rabbit or, in Leo’s case, eating poop – things I don’t want them doing. So your objective is to make coming to you a better option for them, and make them believe you have the power to make them come even if they don’t to.

The ‘carrot’ part of this is lots of good treats. Don’t be stingy, Anne said. Give them lots of the really yummy treats for a good recall. Many people, she said, give just the same amount of treat for a sit, a shake paw or a recall. With the recall, because it’s so important, give more and make a huge fuss over them for doing it well. I make a big fuss, but I just give the same small amount of treat that I do for anything else.

I worry about them gaining weight from too much “junk food” so only give them a teensy bit of dried liver or whatever as a treat. But I hadn’t thought about it from their perspective – why should I interrupt this interesting thing I’m doing for the sliver of treat she’s got. So now, lots of treats, different kinds of treats, lots of hugs and fuss. We’ll see how it works.

Be a slot machine

Anne MacDonald at Lions Club Dog Park“Be a slot machine, not a vending machine,” Anne said about training. Sometimes they get a lot, sometimes they get a little, sometimes they get nothing – they never know for sure. So like people sitting for hours feeding coins into a slot machine, hoping against hope that it will give the big payoff, a dog will be more inclined to keep coming back in hopes of hitting a mother lode of treats.*

But don’t do it every time. If the dog knows you’re going to give a treat every time, after the first time you don’t, the dog might treat you like a broken vending machine. If it doesn’t produce, you don’t go back to it. When Leo knows I’ve run out of treats (which he seems to have a sixth sense about), he thinks about whether he’s going to come back or not. If he feels like it, he might but not with as much alacrity as when he knows there’s a treat waiting. If he doesn’t feel like it, well, he doesn’t until he’s ready.

The long leash

When they don’t feel like coming back, that’s when you need the “I am all-powerful” tool. Anne uses a long lead, a soft rope much longer than a regular leash. Just let the dog drag it (obviously not in brush areas where the dog can get caught up). Give the recall command, if dog doesn’t react, say it again and step on the leash. Don’t go to the dog, pull the leash back to you.

Keep the treats in your pocket, not your hand. But act fast when the dog comes back. “Good dog”, pats and hugs and quickquick into your pocket and treat to dog. That reinforces the connection between the dog’s action and the reward, but lessens the chance of the treat being a bribe instead of a reward. That’s where my training with Leo fell down. He saw the treat in my hand often enough that he started looking for it before he’d decide whether or not to do what I asked. With him, it’s not even a case of bribery, it’s more like negotiation. With Charlie too, it’s negotiation. If he knows I’ve got treats he really likes, he’s more likely to do what I ask. If he doesn’t like them, he just sniffs the treat and walks on past. So for recall especially, have ones they like a lot.

Competitiveness

Sometimes they get into competition to see who can get to me faster. Anne says you can use that competitiveness in training, and reward only the winner. The dog who does it right gets the treats and the big fuss. The other gets nothing. I have a hard time doing that, the other one looks so pitiful that I end up giving him a treat Charlie doing recalland pat too. She says be tough so they see that if they don’t do the work, they don’t get the prize.

So I learned a lot, mainly how much I’ve let “pretty good” be good enough for me. As a result of my back-sliding, my very willing-to-learn poodle is only about halfway to well-trained and my smart but obstinate terrier pays attention and then does what he wants. Both of them like playing “the training game” as they see it. And both have learned a lot since we’ve had them. Now I’m going to do my part to help them learn more. Thank you, Anne, for some helpful tips and reminders.

First posted May 25, 2010 on the St. Thomas Dog Blog.

* On CBC’s The Current, Mon. May 15/17, Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked, said about social media likes: “This idea that a reward is just within reach but it’s never guaranteed. Paradoxically when you guarantee someone a reward, they get bored and they stop doing something quite quickly, whereas when you build in just a small dose of uncertainty… is very hard for humans to resist.”