The real surprise

Bit of The Cars for you this Monday morning.  I spent all yesterday listening to David Lee Roth but his lycra and crazy eyes are a bit much even for me on a Monday morning. Talk about full frontal assault. Love you DLR, but you’re a crazy-pants kind of guy.

Feels like everything is speeding up as we edge into summer – those warm mornings are just fantastic. More please! Busy one last week as it’s the Easter holidays in the UK and with so many GCSE students with exams coming up, everyone’s trying to cram in a couple more.

I spent a goodly part of the week with Miss Lidy at Mornac. I confess I am mad about the girl. She’d be just perfect for schutzhund stuff, agility or competitive obedience, but … as a dog without papers and pedigree, she’s ‘worthless’. It makes me so mad. On her papers, she’s down as a Tervueren, which are the long-haired Belgian shepherds, and she’s patently not that. And she’s small for a mali. Either way, shepherd she is. I was reading about the effects of dopamine D4 receptor genes on Friday night (because that’s how I roll these days) which are implicated in impulsivity as well as other things. One of the studies was comparing the genes of four shepherd breeds with the European wolf, and it was quite marked that the Tervueren group had higher impulsivity and a more frequent appearance of certain genetic markers. Channelling it is the challenge. Other studies show the effects of different types of parenting on children who present the same behaviours and genetic markers – I can’t help but think what an amazing dog Lidy could have been if her first owner had got it right.

And as for a home? Perhaps someone who lives like I do, except with room in their life for one Lidy and nobody else. Mind you, with a dog like her, you’d not need any others. She is ALL dog, 24 hours a day. Interestingly though, even though she’s an impulsive kind of dog, I don’t find it aggressive or that she is hyperactive – and most of the studies explore impulsivity and its correlation to aggression and hyperactivity.

I submitted assignment 15 for my behaviour course last Friday – I’d earmarked it for a Monday submission, but in typical Emma fashion, I’d not finished and it ended up taking longer. This one was on senior dogs and grieving the loss of a dog, which perhaps accounts for why it took me so long. That Tobby grief is still raw. It’s two years to the day since I adopted him, and coming up on five months since he died. Life is not the same without a malinois.

Assignment 16 will be easier. It’s one about dog law in France – and that is something that always interests me. The hard thing will be narrowing myself down for the final dissertation. I’ve too many ideas to follow, and too many of them are interesting. Some of the stuff that interests me is working with families and their dogs, and my consultancy background offers ways of working in new ways. But then I’d kind of like to explore working with reactive dogs in more depth, or impulsive dogs… and have a science lab who can run DNA tests for me or analyse saliva samples….

After this… I don’t think I want to stop there. The centre who are leading the course are going to be offering an advanced diploma, but I feel like it’s time for a bit of a break and some more practical courses. As per usual, Heston is my willing test subject for a lot of the practical stuff.

Today, lunch with the ladies and then piles of GCSE students this evening… tomorrow, more GCSE and more in the evening… it feels like the next two months will pass very quickly before GCSE marking starts. To that end, I’m giving up on netflix for two months – I tend to watch an episode or two of something when I’m eating or listen to it when I’m on Facebook, but I think my internet time will be rather curtailed whilst I get everything else out of the way. How did we live before the internet? I don’t even know. I have vague memories of long evenings and a pile of library books, or evening A level courses, picking up a few extra students here and there for a bit more cash or going to the gym after work. Life is so different these days. I think it’ll do me good to have a break from the screen.

Anyway, have a good Monday, enjoy the sun if you have it, take time to stop and breathe once in a while!

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