Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 2007
Drove to Wickenburg last night for a speech to the Dude Ranch Association. Big crowd, maybe 250, at the Desert Caballeros Guest Ranch. Tough room, split into a T, with people out of my sight, and the PA wasn't strong enough, so I had to jump out into the center of the room and yell. In spite of this, speech went fine. I talked about "Adapting to Change," and as Sue Lambert, our Regional Sales Director told me afterwards, "You lived up to the speech, adapting to the conditions in the room." Ha. Too true. Got home late, got up at six and whipped out a Jeff Milton painting. Very nice. Bob McCubbin sent over, via Fed Ex, a never before published image of Billy Stiles. Got it this afternoon and shoe horned it into the piece. Meghan is editing it even as I type this. Magazine is going out the door in a half hour. Going to be tight. May have to upload CG tonight.

The Best of 3,000
Remember when I got going on the slack-jaw look, last year? Some of those images really worked. Here's two pages worth, including the final, "Slack-Jaw Gone Amuck," with Hitler, Lance Armstrong, The Mona Lisa and a Cub Scout all sporting the open mouth look:

Here's an all red approach with an expressive dude at left which Kathy kind of liked, followed by a set scene study for the Top Secret Project. Nice, dusty effects.

Here's a mountain study done out the kitchen window towards Continental Mountain, and a series of character studies including Napoleon Dynamite (sporting the slack-jaw of course)

Chicken Killer Advice
"Regarding your blog entry on the chickens and the killer dogs: You need to take the opportunity of the kills they do in front of you to verbally berate the dogs after they do such a thing. Dogs want human approval BADLY and really do listen if you will talk to them as if they were an errant child (albeit a bit more forcefully with volume and intonation). I had 2 big chicken killer dogs, one a lab who by nature is a retriever and bird dog, so the kill and retrieve instinct was very strong. With both of them I was able to break them from even considering more kills of my free range birds.

"How did I do it? I berated them the 2 times they did it (separately as they were different ages and actually the younger one only needed one berating and then he never killed again). I did it because I was there to witness and it seemed like the right thing to do. From then on I made a point to go out with them daily and walk the yard with them specifically so I could reinforce my displeasure about their killer attitudes. When they would even look at the chickens, I would begin with the stern voice telling them to knock it off. Doing the "UH, UH, UH!!!" correction type of prompt as well. It only took a few sessions of that reinforcement for them to drop the killer attitudes.

"Really. It was that simple. Sure my neighbors may have thought I was nuts the way I was talking to my dog but who cares? It did require the commitment to reinforce it and I kept watch for about a year after the first incidents and verbally reminded them by lowering my voice and saying stuff like "don't even think about it!" when they even glanced in that direction. The lab was about 3 when we got chickens and the AussieXRott was about 6 months old when he figured out the flock might be easy pickings so it can work for older dogs too. These guys lived to 8 and 12 and had lots of exposure to the birds over those years without relapsing into their killer ways My flock (of about 12 birds) were on my Cave Creek property free range with just a coop to go to voluntarily at night and they were never bothered by my dogs again.

"The neighbors' dogs, on the other hand, would break out of their yards and then climb over my farm fence to kill them and the coyotes, great horned owls and hawks took a few too. But it was the bobcat who finished off my birds on a big scale and I don't have the heart to have more out there as easy pickings for the predators. Yes, I could coop them up but once you've had freerange, it's no fun to lock them up. Nothing says "home" like pet yard chickens, even when they crap on the porch during the hot summer :)

"Good luck with yours and with the chicken killer anti-kill training."

—Lee G.

"A neighbor of mine has chickens and two dogs who peacefully co-exist. Every morning when he comes out to feed the chickens and let them roam for the day (they are in an enclosed 'building' at night) the dogs are with him and pay no more attention than if the chickens weren't there. Must be a 'Bell dog' thing."
—Mary Fiore

Onion Headline de Jour
Christian Science Pharmacist Refuses To Fill Any Prescription

"The absolute worst thing about being the boss is that you can't bitch about the boss."
—Charlie Waters

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