Tag Archives: Challenges

Substitute Teaching, Day 2

This was my second day of substitute teaching ever. Today was a full day of second graders. The kids were sweet, and very helpful. But they NEVER STOPPED TALKING! I was administering standardized testing for half of the morning. I asked them to stop talking. They didn’t. I firmly told them to stop talking and asked why I still heard talking. The volume reduced but there was still talking. I told sternly told them to stop talking and explained that this was individual testing, not group testing, and they were bothering their neighbors while they took the test. The talking momentarily stopped. Then I heard the following comments, each from a different individual: I know, I can’t hear when he’s talking. They shouldn’t be talking, they aren’t allowed to talk. I told him to be quiet. They know not to talk. Etc. So we had talking about not talking.

And then there was the “can I go to the bathroom?” and “can I go to the drinking fountain and get a drink?” I must have heard each of these about 20 times during the course of the day. Add to that, trying to figure out how to make the computer display on the classroom screen, and where all the various supplies were located. Whew!

The photo taken above was before I left for school this morning. The photo below is me after lunch. Did I mention I had cafeteria duty?

I hope that building up a tolerance to the younger kids constant talking and demands will happen quickly.

There are good times too. Like reading a book about the Titanic to the kids and seeing them sit with rapt attention to hear what happened next. And watching the joy on a face when they get the right answer.

What really makes it all worthwhile? The one little boy who ran up to me after he returned from art class in another room, gave me a hug and said he missed me.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Apparently Zekie was worried that he might lose his status as our problem child. He hasn’t been able to chew himself out of his “armored” crate, see below, so he tried a different tactic.

While he was incarcerated in his crate, for maybe two hours, he took his collar off and chewed it into 6 or 7 pieces. The piece above is the only one I saved because it has his tags on it. Maybe he was trying to say “you’re not the boss of me” by getting rid of the collar.

He also was extremely reactive to other dogs on our walk over the weekend. I’ve always said I don’t like dogs that are too easy. Be careful what you wish for.

A Week in the Life

I thought I would share with you a week in the life of a Zekie Bear. Or his other name, the Zekie Monster. He has been quite busy.

Zekie moves his crate. While he is in it. May you never have a dog with this talent. On Thursday he moved his crate until he got a hold of a heavy, fleece lined hoodie. He pulled it through the slats of his crate as far as he could and shredded it into many pieces. Long strips of fabric that were wedged so tightly that it took quite a bit of work to get it out. Zeke did this once before only with a thin blanket that had been laying on top of his crate. Mercifully he does not not eat the cloth but only shreds it to pieces.

Then there is the issue Zeke has with his food bowl. This is his new bowl. It is two weeks old. I think this one is going to have a shorter life span than the last one.

Zeke had quite a day on Sunday too. We went for a hike. He walked well on leash until we encountered another dog walker. Then he lunged, barked and snarled at the other dog who continued walking obediently with his master. Seemingly thinking, what’s his problem. After the hike we took all our dogs to visit grandma and her dog Paisley. Zeke loved Paisley and played nicely with her all afternoon.

Then we started the drive home. We were behind a truck that put off some strong diesel fumes. After it turned off, my husband put all the windows down a few inches to get some fresh air. All seemed well. Things are not always as they seem. I heard what sounded liked lots of pacing from the back seat. The pacing increased. I finally said, what is going on back there. The pawing noise suddenly became frantic so I turned around. Zeke had his head stuck in the window and had been calm but was starting to flail. I yelled, put the window down. Mercifully Zeke was immediately fine and no worse for wear. I kept an eye on him but he suffered no other effects. Three other dogs were in the car and had no incident. Only Zekie.

This is why I am currently not allowed to foster any dogs. Zekie is a full time job.

Zekie the Wonder Dog

Zekie the Wonder Dog strikes again. Proving once more that a smart dog is not always a good thing.

We have doors on our kitchen. They meet in the middle and are for protecting food from those of our animals that are sometimes less than well behaved. A number of our various cats and dogs can open these doors with a paw or a nose. So for some time we have also put a dining room chair in front of the door as a barricade. This has worked quite well.

Until, as my husband sometimes calls him, the Zeke Monster came along. Dinner was awaiting behind these doors and I needed to go outside for a minute. I came back and the chair was moved, the doors were ajar and I came upon Zeke finishing the top half of the bun and the melted cheese off of my salmon burger.

Not wanting it to be said that my dog is smarter than me, I have come up with a new system. In addition to the doors and chair, I have added a bungee cord to my methods.

This picture is from my first trial. Zeke did move the chair but was foiled by the bungee cord. So I win. For now…

Over Achiever

Zekie is becoming quite the poster child for intelligence gone wrong. He continues to prove himself to be highly intelligent. This is not a good thing.

His latest escapade took place a couple of days ago. We have swinging type doors on our kitchen so that we can close them and have food safe from the dogs and cats while it cools or we run outside, etc. Some of the animals are sneaky so we put a dining room chair in front of the doors if we expect to be gone for more than a minute.

Well Zeke managed to do something that none of the others had attempted, to date. While I was out of site for a minute, Zeke moved the chair, nosed open the doors, reached up on the counter top and ate the top bun and cheese off of my salmon burger.

Back to the drawing board! Apparently we need some kind of latch for the doors. Eye hook? Sliding latch? We better come up with something quickly.

I love this boy. He is my kind of dog.

Challenges with Zeke

I bought Zekie’s dog license today. He is on the books as mine!

This picture was taken back when he still had one fang. He broke the last one off on Valentines Day when we were away for five hours even though I had given him his Prozac and a Valium. I guess I will never be able to call him White Fang. That would require at least one fang.

I tried the Easy Walk harness on Zekie. It does help me have more control when he is lunging but it has had no effect on stopping the growling, barking and lunging at other walkers or joggers and cyclists.

On the last walk I tried a muzzle and also had limited success with changing his behavior. He does better walking with my husband. My husband can warn him ahead of time, “Zeke, be good.” And then Zeke will walk by people with only a slight growl under his breath. This is no answer for me though.

Next I will try going somewhere that we can see people walking from a distance. If he still reacts, we will have to move farther away until I can get him to sit and behave. Then I can give treats and praise. We will try moving closer on subsequent outings. And I will work on general obedience so Zeke will acknowledge me as being in charge, thereby lessening his need to threaten people.

I also purchased some morsels that have four different calming herbs in them. Hoping these will take the edge off. I have weaned Zeke off the Prozac. It didn’t seem to be helping much and he won’t be needing to transition to a new home so we didn’t see the point in keeping him on the meds. So no need to worry about herbal and prescription interactions.

Wish me luck, I think I’ll need it!

Foster Dog Zeke, One Week 

Zeke watching for daddy out the window

Zeke had been with us for a week last Friday. We decided to take him on a walk with our other dogs on the Hike and Bike Trail. Things started off well. He sat obediently at my feet on the floor of the car for the drive there. He waited patiently for me to attach his leash before getting out of the car. He pulled a little as we started our walk but nothing too bad, he was just excited. 

Then the “fun” started. As an approaching bicyclist passed us, Zeke lunged, barking fiercely and snarling. Luckily I have had another bicycle reactive dog so I intercepted him before harm was done. As we walked on I discovered that Zeke also had this same reaction to joggers as well as other oncoming walkers. We started getting dirty looks from others out enjoying the trail. Each time he reacted inappropriately I corrected him. Then I would call to the offended party “new foster dog” which seemed to appease them. I Increased the level of my corrections as needed. Finally I resorted to making Zeke sit each time someone went by. I never before encountered a dog that snarled and growled from a firmly held sit. 

Finally, after a time, his reactions lessened. I praised the daylights out of him for the briefest calmness. The calmness lasted for longer. By the time we were heading back to the car he was containing his response and I was praising like crazy. 

I imagine next time, Zeke will snarl and lunge at others on the trail again. But I also expect that he will improve more and more quickly. Zeke will eventually be a well behaved dog. That is what he wants to be, he just needs someone to show him how.