Saturday, August 27, 2016

shape categorization is hard.

The whole house has been reading the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik, and they're quite consistently delightful: the world is one where the Napoleonic Wars are underway, but everyone has air forces made of dragons. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the size of the big dragons, though, which are sort of...mansion-sized.

I've been working with Leela on her ridiculous Cujo Mode she gets when she's on leash now. I'm glad we got a couple months' grace, and now the technique is to train her so the command Watch turns her attention to me--reinforced with chicken hot dog, which is a serious escalation in treat awesomeness--then when she alerts and starts heading toward Cujo Mode, I interrupt her as early as possible with Watch and hot dog slices, and eventually she makes the connections, and when she starts to alert, she looks at me instead. This has started happening, which makes walks less stressful.

I've been observing her responses to cats more carefully. She's essentially non-reactive to cats that are seated or lying down: sometimes curious, sometimes not, but low-energy regardless. We know that she's compelled to go grab hold of anything with a tail (I folded up a cardboard rat once to experiment with this). I finally noticed that she only gets amped up and tries to chase after a cat that is standing or walking. And she met a live pet rat once and found it pretty confusing. So the question is:

Does my dog's bred-for-work little brain think that cats up on all four feet are just really big rodents?

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