Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Dealing with darkness and dogs

It was inconcievable to me before moving to the northern hemisphere, that daylight could actually be a lacking commodity. I mean, you just don't think about it in Australia. Its day or its night that's it.
But here it seems to be more complicated. With the sun not peeking over the horizon until almost 8am and disappearing rapidly again at 4pm, my old standards of what defines day and what night (i.e. light or dark) have gone out the window. I'm sitting here, in the middle of the afternoon and it's NIGHT. How on earth can I convince my body and brain that I need to go and work for a few more hours before the day is over, when every natural instinct is saying "time to curl up with a book, a cup of tea and get ready to put out the light". Combine that with a dog that doesn't care if its pitch black and -2 degrees, its time for his run in the park and evenings are becoming an almost surreal event. I honestly don't know if I'm coming into work or leaving it, and many's the day when I've felt like I've worked the whole night through and its only been 8 hours.
My latest attempt to exercise the dog without having to wander through unlit parks in pitch black (and which I considered a personal stroke of genius) is to make him run around after a little red laser pointer. This brilliant technique worked for about 10 minutes until he turned around and looked at me and spotted the little red light emiting pointer in my hand. Sometimes I actually quite like the fact he's a smart little bugger, but now whenever I try and get him to chase it again he just looks at me like "you're doing that, I know, and if you want me to do something stoopid then you're gonna have to be a little cleverer 'cause I worked THAT one out already".
So now to pass the time standing on a dark field, I'm trying to train him to respond to a flashlight. So far its working really well. If I flash the light twice he ignores me, if I make little circles with it near my feet he ignores me and if I put it under my chin and moan at him he ignores me. So I think we're doing really well in developing a consistent response to signalling.

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