Under New Management

I’m having one of those 1 am moments where I’m trying to sleep, deftly placed inbetween the trajectories of a ceiling fan, window fan and one of those big floor based cyber fans to be cool enough to sleep and the cacophony of wind makes me feel like I’m sleeping on an oceanside beach without the discomfort of sand in the wrong places but alas, I can’t sleep. All three dogs, splayed yet again like pancakes on the floor, are snoring away.

I’m lying here thinking about my current home improvement project — the back hall. It’s a small space off the kitchen, with a small landing, a curving wooden set of steps against 2 brick walls leading to another door (with a doggie doorway cut out of it) into the driveway, garage and large enclosed backyard.

There are multiple steps to this current project but the one that has me stumped is how to manage the dogs when I get to the painting of the wooden steps. I’m lying here thinking about how long it will take to dry before I can let the herd of three clang in and out, usually leaving their requisite shedding hairs that I sweep up several times every day in the heart of the house — my dining room office, kitchen and living room but also periodically in this back hall.

And I think about all the puppies I’ve seen lately and I think about the delivery of my 3 hour intense single session in teaching people how to teach dogs to do what they want to do and have the dogs want to use them using a combination of the full understanding of concepts like distraction, distance, durations, socialization, structure, training and management. And I thought about the recent family with 2 young sons, the younger one, 5, a little spitfire of a pistol who clearly liked to get his parents attention by rousing the black lab puppy they have had about 4 weeks and screaming that he was being eaten alive, or at least his new tennis shoes were!

And when I asked the parents what they wanted the puppy to do when the child was around and they started to try to tell me what they didn’t want and I said, “no no no, I want to know what you do want” and then proceeded to teach them how to get it. They were stunned by the simplicity and power of the solution.

And now I figured out how I’m going to manage the crew when I get to the painting of the steps. I hope it works out because a later summer project is the panting of the wooden kitchen floor, a much more daunting project. I’ll update when ready!