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Teaching behaviors #353318
08/08/20 06:19 PM
08/08/20 06:19 PM
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Eastern Oregon
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Zisso Offline OP
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First of all, if this is in the wrong place, please accept my apologies! And as always, it is a long read so if ya make it to the end, thank you in advance!

I am not sure if you all know, but Gypsy is a highly reactive girl. She does not like people, dogs, cats, birds in the yard, or even squirrels really. The squirrels are okay in the back yard because she can chase them as they run across the fence to their tree, but in the front yard they are not welcome. Any one of thing walking by the house is a threat in her eyes and must be barked at ferociously. On our walks, she would like to greet strangers by letting them pass, then turning to follow them, but I doubt they would appreciate her nose up their butts without their permission. So I manage her behavior very carefully.

In doing this, I have found the need to teach her different things at home. While playing fetch, I noticed she only comes about halfway back to me to wait for another ball to be thrown. So I added her 'touch' command to our game. She has to touch the ball in the ball launcher before I throw it. She also hovers over a ball as I try to pick it up. I tap her with the launcher and tell her 'back'. We use these commands on our walks also. When she tries to turn and greet strangers backsides, I tap her with my walking stick and redirect her attention to touch my hand, and when we step aside for people or dogs to pass by, I tap her gently with the walking stick and tell her back. She hops back a bit and sits politely until they are past us. If she pulls on the leash as we are walking, I tell her "About" and she comes around me and back to my side.

Gypsy requires a lot of exercise, physical and mental. I bought puzzle games for her and she mastered them quickly. I have wooden boxes that she has to walk on, over, lay on, step up on, etc to earn treats. We have easter eggs that I put treats in and hide in the yard, but that too was quickly mastered. With her reactivity, I cannot use tools that makes loud noises, or things that move. I tried to teach her to step into a cardboard box and that was an epic fail. She has to be crated when I mow, weed eat, use a mixer for a cake, etc. She does not like car rides so going on a trip is out.

Gypsy has a routine. We play, then eat, then walk or play again, with just about every portion of the day on a schedule. I tell her what time it is- for example 'I have to go to work', or let's take a nap, or I need a shower, or I need to go do 'x,y or z'. With each of these 'events' she goes to her crate to await my return. Our routine is almost too strict. But she knows it and behaves appropriately.

But I need fresh ideas. New things to teach her. She is smart ass a whip, but extremely reactive. She knows come, sit, down (her downs are blazing fast plops!) leave it, find it, sit pretty, hop, crawl, stay, quiet and probably more. She knows the names of some of her toys. Each new toy gets a name- her Scooby from Bark Box, and the Bus, her purple Roo, etc She enjoys her soccer ball and she has a stock tank for a pool. I do Not want to teach her to climb anything!

At the moment I am running out of training ideas!
She is almost 2.

Helllp!

Last edited by Zisso; 08/08/20 06:23 PM.

Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353326
08/09/20 09:07 PM
08/09/20 09:07 PM
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Ah Bev, it sounds to me like you are doing great.

I do have a question though, on your walks, after the signal is obeyed --- what's her reward? Does she get a fancy "walks" treat? I'm thinking that you are going to want to fade some things as you go along and maybe you've used a treat and have faded it.

On the excitement with equipment - Is this "it doesn't belong here!" excitement or "whoa listen to that!" excitement? If it is the former or "that scares me", I suppose you could do the "everybody's happy crazy dance" to the noise of the vacuum or mixer. Yeah, I wanna see the video of you dancin' with the mixer. Also to help with our excitement about being let outside never mind that we came in just a minute ago - I'm doing the old "incompatible activity command" aka "platz" & stay! less squeek = quicker door opening. This is the youngest dog who will turn 7 this fall so oh sure listen to my ideas....

It sounds like you are worried about teaching jumps but maybe an agility class where you skip the jumps? On the other hand, my dogs that have been taught to jump on command have yet to jump my yard fences. BTY 2 jumps a lot of stuff (yet still can botch the hurdle.) but no yard fence. ... But they're not the great Gypsy Breeze....

On the car rides -- I'd put on my ear protection and load her up. Yup. My dogs have all liked rides but several have been very vocal about it. I've had a truck pull up next to us in the parking lot - and decide not to stop there but to move because the first Barker Sisters were, well, barking. And then before that Bosco let me know we'd never be sneaking in or out in the middle of the night. And the first Barker Sisters would rock the truck back and forth with their barking. And the elder would bark at any moving thing when we were driving in town before reaching the freeway. Then there's the current duo - oh my. So in a way I know something of the decibel level you may be experiencing.

And remember, the brain magically engages around about 2 yo. ... [and read what I said above about my soon to be 7 yo...] ;(

Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353328
08/10/20 05:15 AM
08/10/20 05:15 AM
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Eastern Oregon
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Middle, the equipment is a bit of both. She is a lot better about the vacuum these days although this has been a work in progress from day one. The hand mixer, I believe, she is scared of- she doesn't understand it and it is loud. She did okay with the mower once, and the weed eater is not something I am willing to attempt. I would hate it if she got hurt.

The car rides is definitely something I need ear protection for and even then, it is something that doesn't quite cut it because she barks directly in my right ear. I block her from coming in to the front seat because she is not exactly lap dog size. LOL And it is my lap she wants in the car.

I cut out treats along the walks long ago. We do happy dances along the way when she behaves, and we do a lot of them, because she does behave. I never let another dog break her personal space- we step far off the path when we see them coming, she sits next to me, the other dog passes and we move on, with a happy dance and my version of a high pitched praise (I have a deeper voice due to years of smoking) but she gets the jest. On the other hand I cannot over do this happy good girl routine as that too excites her too much. Her excitable threshold is very low.

The jumping is the fencing I worry about. Now I doubt that she would go over fences because everywhere around her yard is a secondary fence of just 3' and they would probably scare her when they caved under her weight, but that could be disastrous too as if I had to try to help her she would be flailing about and cause both of us harm. We would both come out of that mess a bit traumatized! But yes, I do worry she would jump a fence if I taught her about jumping. And there are squirrels and a cat or two that she would go after just for fun. There are no classes close enough to us to brave a trip in the car to go try agility or anything of the sort. I wish there was! Even then, it could pose a real problem as she would again reach her threshold rather quickly with all the other dogs present. I really want to do barn hunts with her! She is keen on ANYTHING that moves, and her nose is a working machine. She can find her "hoppy' that is the size of a quarter in the back yard in seconds. ( The teeny tiny frog) I can only imagine how blazing fast she would find a rat! Another thing I would love to try her on is lure coursing! She would excel there too. We have played with a flirt pole before and she loves it. She loves toys. Balls, stuffed animals, stuffless toys, wubba's squeekies, just about anything. She loves to run. She likes water. I enjoy dock diving, and I think she would excel. BUT can I make the trip 5 hours away to participate in these things? Not with a vocal dog. I swear she has about burst my ear drums before. I have always wanted to take her out for a hike but making it there without being ready to throttle her is next to impossible.

No one can park near us or she sounds like she is a killer GSD. One time at DnB I parked up front and 2 guys were out looking at lawn mowers and talking. They didn't pay attention to our arrival, but the second she heard their voices she sounded off, made them jump, and I had to move the car. When the UPS guy delivered here one day, I didn't realize he was actually here when I opened the door, and she and Z both went beserk, and the UPS guy jumped a foot off the ground, then took two steps backward when he saw them at the door, dropped the package and took off. She has been a super vocal girl forever. I can't trim her nails or even touch her feet, and taking her to the vet nearly requires (probably does) require sedation just for a nail trim. People walking on a crosswalk in front of us with their dog, she acts like she wants to kill them all, barking her fool head off at the sight of them. She is THAT reactive. But if we are on a walk and I start talking with someone, they can walk with us as long as she is on one side and they are on the other side of me. I have thought of trying to hire someone to walk with us to get her used to having someone else involved with her life. Had the trainer I hired long ago worked out, some of these issues might be non issues now, but she was unreliable and wasted a lot of my time.

Gypsy will turn 2 is a couple of months, and I have a tiny bit of hope that she will begin to relax a little.

The touch thing with the ball launcher took literally no effort to teach her. I held it out, said touch and she just did it. Her reward for good behavior in any situation is her beloved ball. I try to take it with us on walks too (Orbee) and give that to her - till she drops it. She will not show any interest in the ball in the car.I could go on and on, but I am tired. Been having restless nights, and am worried about a cousin who had a horrific horse accident yesterday and is critical condition.

But pretty much travelling is out, so looking for new things to teach her at home and on walks.

Last edited by Zisso; 08/10/20 05:16 AM.

Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353329
08/10/20 06:01 AM
08/10/20 06:01 AM
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Well, could you set up something like weave poles & a tunnel in your back yard? Some sort of obstacle course & work that as a routine? Maybe a teeter or that elevated walk? [OK Bev, get out those tools...] So much of what I do involves a car ride...

I've got a lot of voles and sage rats that you're welcome to have her hunt.... Too bad we're not closer!

Hope someone with more practical solutions weighs in...

Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353330
08/10/20 03:37 PM
08/10/20 03:37 PM
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Middle, I have often thought how I wish we were closer! I know you would have her whipped into shape and less reactive in no time!

I actually have thought of making weave poles, then talk myself out of it and many other things because I don't want to teach her wrong in the event we ever do get to do the real thing. Like I could make up our own games...weaves, or I could set a couple bales of hay and maybe put a hamster in a ball in the back yard LOL Then again, I fear her reactivity would get the best of her. There is a teeny little frog living in the back yard and she nearly kills it every time she finds it. I am afraid she would break a hamster ball and eat the poor critter.

Now that I think about it, the number one thing I should be working on is CALM. Teach her how to control herself and her anxiety. (self control)

Thanks for the idea, Middle!


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353331
08/10/20 08:12 PM
08/10/20 08:12 PM
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Wisconsin
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Bev, I read about a calming product on someones FB page (can't remember who). but they dog sit for a dog who was in high drive bouncing off the walls, they give two different products and the dog is amazingly much calmer. They give the supplement listed below and something else daily.

I tired several different things with DeeDee, but Neilla's tummy didn't care for them. So I thought what the heck I would try this product.
VetriScience Laboratories- Composure, Calming Behavior Support Supplement for Dogs Dealing with Separation Stress, Noise, Thunder and Situational Anxiousness and Anxiety. Chews Available in 3 Flavors
https://Amazon Affiliate Link/gp/product/B07BJ9H5QS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Neilla has trouble with storms, but is doing better with storms and after 3 days (we were anticipating storms) she is less reactive to tractors out in the fields. So far that is what I have noticed. I wasn't sure that I wanted to give every day, I am hoping that she will understand she doesn't have to protect us and the property from everything.


Val da Tiger

Fuzzybutt the cat.
Neilla the Big White puppy.

RIP Cheyenne - AKA: Digger, CheyChey Girl, Cheyenne Large and In charge. 2/16/02 - 2/27/16
RIP Raya - AKA: Raz-a, Ray a Sunshine, RayBestos, the little one, Silly Girl. 9/21/05 - 6/27/14
RIP Lakota - AKA: Bubba, Big Boy, BooBoo (the other part of the Binky and BooBoo team). 1/19/03-9/19/2011
RIP DeeDee - AKA: DD Poo, Little Bit, Binky (part of the Binky and Booboo team) 6/23/02-6/20/11
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Wisc.Tiger_Val] #353334
08/11/20 05:43 AM
08/11/20 05:43 AM
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Zisso Offline OP
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Thank you Val!

I have often thought of using alternative methods to calm her down some, especially for her reactivity. I have given Melatonin on her wildest days/evenings to settle her down and help her relax, and she would eat the pills right out of my hand like a kid in a candy store, but has gotten a bit finicky about it. We rarely use it now, but it was a life saver for a while. I am definitely going to check out your link, and right now! I would love for the protection instinct to relax and for her to enjoy more of the world!

Thanks again!


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353349
08/12/20 02:37 PM
08/12/20 02:37 PM
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Zisso Offline OP
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Good morning my fellow GSD lovers!

Val, I have decided to give the calming product a go. It can't hurt. I will say, I have tried several others and had little success. Is there any way you can find out what else your friend used in combination with this one? I strongly believe that Gypsy would benefit from the aid to become a calmer dog, therefore more confident. I know by her behavior that a lot of it stems from fear.

For example: When she smells something new out on our walks, she stretches her neck out as far as she can to smell it always ready to jump back if it moves- and that movement can be caused by a slight breeze and she will jump back like she is about to die.

While she sounds ferocious barking at other critters, she has no idea really what they are- cat, squirrel, dog...all she know is they move, therefore they must be bad.

Anyway, I am ordering the calming aid you posted to see how it goes. And we will continue to work on new things to build her confidence as we always have.


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353351
08/12/20 11:54 PM
08/12/20 11:54 PM
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Wisconsin
Wisc.Tiger_Val Offline
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Bev, I had to dig to find the post. Lea Crichton posted it.

Calming Care (made by Purina) and
Composure Pro, by VetriScience Laboratories.


Val da Tiger

Fuzzybutt the cat.
Neilla the Big White puppy.

RIP Cheyenne - AKA: Digger, CheyChey Girl, Cheyenne Large and In charge. 2/16/02 - 2/27/16
RIP Raya - AKA: Raz-a, Ray a Sunshine, RayBestos, the little one, Silly Girl. 9/21/05 - 6/27/14
RIP Lakota - AKA: Bubba, Big Boy, BooBoo (the other part of the Binky and BooBoo team). 1/19/03-9/19/2011
RIP DeeDee - AKA: DD Poo, Little Bit, Binky (part of the Binky and Booboo team) 6/23/02-6/20/11
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353438
08/23/20 05:35 PM
08/23/20 05:35 PM
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Val, I have now tried the Vetri Science Calming chews alone and don't see any improvement. Plus they dry out as soon as the pack is opened. She eats them ok, but I feel like they were a waste of money. I am scared to invest in the Purina calming chews at this point. I gave G 3 calming chews and some Melatonin so I could attempt to trim her nails and it still required brute force to get the job done. I used lots of treats in the process, giving her high praise for each nail along with the treats. But wowzer! I mean she is about 80-85 lbs (haven't gotten to weigh her in some time) and she has the power of a big girl. Plus I have to muzzle her because she will use her mouth to remove my hands from her ever so sensitive feet. I got the sharp tips of her nails off and that is good enough for me. Then we filed jagged edges and used the same method as before. I am going to keep working with her on this to try to desensitize her funny big paws. I have a grinder I would prefer to use, but the slightest noise from them sets her off even worse.

Also I have decided to step up my game in more exercise- more frequent walks, more training exercises, etc. I will attempt to do this to get her tired enough to fight less and cooperate more.


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353439
08/23/20 06:14 PM
08/23/20 06:14 PM
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Toronto, ON
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We had something for the vet for Agis - it didn't seem to make a big difference for him. If you want (we don't have any left) I can find out what it was - for the life of me I cannot remember.


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353461
08/26/20 09:44 PM
08/26/20 09:44 PM
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Thanks for the offer Jenn....I have decided to go another way....

With that said, I have NEWS to share!

Today I reached out on our local FB page to see if anyone has a pasture or field we could play and work in. Gypsy needs some focus on OB, and room to really run off leash. Something new and exciting. Some place to explore, without being worried about people or critters.

I got an answer back pretty quick!

A lady has a place about TWO miles from here, that has a closed arena and she is willing to let us go there to work and play off leash! I feel so incredibly blessed for this opportunity! She said the arena is secure with no possibility for escaping, and she has in fact offered to let someone else she knows train his dogs there later this year. I think this might be perfect for us right now, as it will help Gypsy learn to ride in the car better, plus give us both something new to do. I can work on her recall, long downs, and have a hay day with her Chuck it. Heck, maybe I can talk her into trying barn hunts there! Or depending on what the other guy is training for, maybe I can pick his brain and get some outside help with Gypsy. Either way, this sounds like an incredible opportunity for Gypsy to have a new place to explore and learn there is more in the world than home and a ten block radius for walks. Plus, for the time being, I can feel equally safe, as I am always on guard, knowing how reactive she is, and having my own fears of potential dog fights etc. G's dislike for other dogs is fear based, but an aggressive fear. When she barks constantly at another dog with her hackles up, in my head, it is fighting words to another dog. I have never been able to get over it, mainly because I have witnessed too many nasty dog fights and the resulting damage. One more reason I want to try this is to see just how much this girl really needs for exercise.

In the original post, I was talking about having G come back and actually touch the next ball I was about to throw, and she caught on instantly. In the last couple of days, I have been raising the Chuck it up higher and telling her to touch it in the air. She caught on to this right away too...she has to jump up to touch the next toy. With an arena to work in, I can continue to add more challenges for her....maybe teach her to bounce off the wall before touching the ball....who knows! She catches on to everything soooo quick, so there is no limit to what she can do. And I will get an idea of how much exercise she really needs ....I a=have never once seen her so tired she laid down and slept for hours in any given day of her own accord.

I get to meet the property owner in a couple of days and check out the arena, and get the details of when we can go out and enjoy this chance at doing something new and exciting. I can't wait!!


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353462
08/26/20 11:01 PM
08/26/20 11:01 PM
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middleofnowhere Online content
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What good news! That will be so good for both of you.

Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353463
08/26/20 11:06 PM
08/26/20 11:06 PM
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Posts: 510
Toronto, ON
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That's fantastic - great opportunity! You'll have to take pics of how well she's doing!


Jenn
Neb, Xerxes, and Agis
Timothy and Cordelia (kitties)
RIP Luc
RIP Teagan
Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353464
08/27/20 03:33 PM
08/27/20 03:33 PM
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Mary Jane Offline
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Now that is good news-your neighborhood has some really great people.

Please keep us posted.

Re: Teaching behaviors [Re: Zisso] #353470
08/27/20 05:41 PM
08/27/20 05:41 PM
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Eastern Oregon
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Zisso Offline OP
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Oh I am so glad you finally got your hay hut delivered and placed! What great neighbors to come help move it about! Sounds like you got an awesome deal on seeds too! Hopefully the hay hut will make the winter much easier for you, and your seeds can bring good food to the table next year if you can keep all the varmints out!

GB is not thrilled today, as we did not walk. I had a rough night due to my back hurting, waking me as I turned in bed, and it was aching all morning. Stiff as all get out. The kink in my back is right between my shoulder blades. I have been sitting in the recliner all morning as opposed to the couch, for extra support. Aspirin didn't touch this, and after I ate, I broke down and took a muscle relaxer. That is the only reason I feel half way decent enough to even type this. But GB has had 2 games of fetch, which now are not just the chuck it balls, but also frisbees to chase. I can't wait to check out the arena, and get started so she can finally run off more energy and get some much needed additional OB.

Work is not entertaining any more. We have endured having an extra crew in to rearrange the store, which in turn has left us all wondering where things have been moved to. Hard to help a customer when we have been left in the dark. The new manager still has not gotten the hang of things, and is proving to be more trouble than help. Josie is beyond frustrated at this point and stressed out to the max. Luckily for her, she starts her vacation next week, however she is unsure at this point if she is coming back to work at the end of her vaca. She told me yesterday that she is scared of coming back to a complete wreck of a store. I do not know a single person working there who has anything good to say about this guy. So far, even the Pharmacist has said the new manager treats him like crap. Also, rumor has it that Corporate is going to automate our schedules and has said that we were never supposed to have had our days off together. I do recall that it was our previous managers policy that we get our days off together because she believed that we were more rested and therefore more productive when we came back the next week. New manager had a paper for each of us to fill out stating our hours of availability yesterday, and Josie recommended that we write down the hours/days we want with no exceptions. I have had Sunday through Wednesday from 5-9 for a looong time, and that's what I put down. I simply am not flexible. When I filled out the paper, Manager dude asked me about Saturdays as right now I am working them too. I explained I am only filling in until someone is hired at Josie's request. I also told him I am not willing to continue to work them for very much longer. My past experience says if I am not firm with management, they will take advantage. Manager dude mumbled something about hiring somebody to work 4 hours a week and just laughed under my breath, and told him he will have to figure it out. James, Carrie, Kaylene and I are all on the fence about staying or leaving, depending on the outcome of Josie's decision come the end of next week. Josie told me she os going to try to talk to her boss (regional manager) while she is on vaca and see what can be done, and her decision will depend on that. I think if she is told to hang in there and give it some time, then she comes back to a disaster, she will quit. If 5 of us leave at the same time, it will leave only 3 to run the store. Not to mention whatever happens in Pharmacy. I know if my schedule turns into a yoyo, I won't stay. I can do a yoyo schedule in a coffee shop where the stress is far different than this job. Long story short, new manager dude is a moron.

I need to get up and move around a little and stretch my back while it feels better. Need to mow today or tomorrow before it gets any higher. It's been a month. I have tree service coming next month to thin the big maple out front. Need to call Vision Clinic to see about getting new lenses.

I look forward to hearing how the hay hut set up is going as well as all of your other adventures. Want you to know, I am jealous that you get to go to thrift store. We have one that is boring as can be!


Bev~mom to:
Zisso-DOB 09/16/07
Gypsy Breeze-DOB 10/26/18

R.I.P. Kiki, Nadia, Pepe, and all my other loves from years gone by.
R.I.P. Zisso May 2, 2020
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