Dogs Don’t Like Perfectionism Either!

This piece by Nancy Tanner on how impatience ruins dog training is brilliant: When I am asked what is the biggest problem I see in dog training today, it is the same problem I saw fourteen years ago, and thirty years ago, it is the misunderstanding of time. It takes time to learn how to be a teacher to another species. It takes time to learn how to learn from another species. It takes time to build understanding. It takes time to learn how to observe and how to apply what you observe. It takes time to build a relationship with trust. It's not just dog training! Ask teachers of any craft or skill what their #1 challenge is with students, and the answer will inevitably be, "getting them to slow down." While (speaking generally) you want to do your work at a steady clip and not get bogged down on any one detail, you also don't want to rush through the important details--and they can take way longer to get right than many of us think (or want). Even now, after decades of serious writing, I'm … [Read more...]

Homage to Rosie and Cinnamon

One of the events that most moved me over the past year was the tragic and joyful life and death of Rosie the Chihuahua. Rosie was the victim of a backyard breeder/hoarder who made money selling puppies, including from fashionable “designer” breeds. In their quest to create “teacups,” “merles,” and other designer dogs, many such breeders wind up with deformed and chronically ill dogs in their litters, and Rose was one of those. Along with her shockingly deformed muzzle, she also suffered from mange-induced fur loss, immune suppression, scoliosis, and fused leg bones. (Some of these conditions were from lack of care rather than genetics.) Looking at her picture, you can't even recognize her as a chihuahua. Rosie grew up in a crowded, chaotic house with more than 40 dogs, where, despite her serious health problems, she never once saw a veterinarian. Who knows what successes of intelligence, insight, perseverance, resourcefulness, and plain old toughness she had to accrue just to survive? Eventually, Rosie … [Read more...]

By Popular Demand: Billy on Parquet

He's not so easy to photograph as he's a wiggler. Also, he's not the most facially expressive of dogs--it's all in the eyes and body language. But here's a pic. Oh, and we've had him two months and 0 "accidents" in the house. OLD DOGS RULE. … [Read more...]

Do You Suffer from Procatination?

          It's so deeply unfair to the cat... More procatination here. And here! … [Read more...]

Fun Article on Why You DON’T need to Watch Breaking Bad, etc.

A funny piece with a serious message: don't use your precious time chasing fads. But if you wanted to watch every episode of the Guardian's Top 50 TV series of all time, that would take up another 2,080 of your precious hours. Add in two new series a year – every year – that you simply have to watch, and that's a further 4,000 hours. Then add in The Great British Bake Off and, in all, that's around 6,130 hours of television you simply have to see. That's nearly 7% of your available life Watching every film on the BFI's list of The Greatest Films of All Time will take you 217 hours (with an extra half-hour if you want to watch the hilarious "blooper reel" at the end of Citizen Kane). You will also have to watch at least one new film a month that Charlotte at work keeps banging on about, and one foreign-language film a month because Peter Bradshaw has called it "a stunning new benchmark for Latvian cinema". That takes your total for films you simply have to see up to 2,233 hours. If there's a fad you're … [Read more...]

Why the Middles of Projects are Tough (Part 3): Middles Have Middles!

I previously wrote about how the middles of projects are tough: *They're the place where the work seems to get much tougher right at the same moment that your enthusiasm starts to ebb. *They're a much bigger part of the project than most people realize. (Around 80%!) However, there's another problem with middles: they have middles! Yes, you can have a middle-of-a-middle. Here's how it works: Many endeavors begin with a “honeymoon period” where the work is fresh and new, the possibilities seem endless, and you're filled with energy and enthusiasm. That's the beginning of the project. Alas, like all honeymoons, it too soon comes to an end. Reality sets in, and inevitably disappoints. The work doesn't come together as easily as you had at first imagined, and you become aware that what you write may never live up to your pristine early vision. Your motivation wanes, but you resolve to soldier on. And then, you hit a point where everything seems particularly bleak. I call that the “anti-honeymoon,” … [Read more...]

Six Things You Should Never Say to a Photographer (Or, if You’re a Photographer, Never Say to Yourself!)

by Soraya Rudofsky and Hillary Rettig It's never easy to be a creator, or creative professional, but in the age of ubiquitous camera-phones, photographers have it particularly rough. Photographers, how often have you heard someone say one of these: 1. “Photography's easy, because the camera does all the work.” 2. “Photography's not a real art like painting or sculpting where you need to build your skills. For photography you just need a good eye.” 3. "You take such great pictures--you must have a great camera." 4. “Could you take the pictures at our next family reunion?" (Alt: "Please bring your camera to my five-year-old's birthday party that I invited you and your child to attend.") 5. “It must be easy to run a photography business.” 6. “You don't have a degree, so you're not really a professional.” These misconceptions are all around us, and they can do a number on our self-esteem as artists and professionals. They reflect not just a naivete about the realities of photography and photo … [Read more...]

On the Other Hand, This Little Duck Seems Plenty Empowered

Starting tomorrow, we'll resume our normal non-duck-centric programming. … [Read more...]

Have a Puppy. Have Two.

            Sometimes, after a hard day of writing about perfectionism, all you want is a couple of puppies. … [Read more...]

Tuesday Dog: Slickered

              from Cute Overload … [Read more...]

Monday Dog: A Sweetie Who Knows His Worth

[Read more...]

Daily Dog: More Dogs Allowed in Hospitals to Comfort Ill

A lovely development. When my dad was in a nursing home, we used to bring our basset Elvis to visit him. It took us forever to get to my dad's room because *everyone* wanted to say hello to Elvis. And Elvis, a typical friendly basset, had to stop and say hello to everyone. I can still picture his tail waving even while we were still out in the parking lot, in joyful anticipation. Some of the people who were withdrawn seemed to come out of their shells when Elvis stopped by. I had another friend who was sick and in an assisted living. His dog was the only one who could get him to eat! For every bite the puppy got, my friend had to eat one. … [Read more...]

Daily Dog: Gus has a Strategy

              from dog-shaming, of course … [Read more...]