Saturday, November 17, 2007

My kingdom for a remote

I am teaching Claren a new job. At least I am trying to teach her how to turn the TV in my bedroom off. Twice in the recent past I have turned on the TV, gotten into bed, then had the remote not work when I tried to turn the TV off.

This means I can either leave the TV on all night or go turn it off manually. The last time it happened, Thursday, I decided to leave it on because I was tired. But then I thought: "The TV is like 6 feet away, especially if you get out on the left side of bed; you can do it, lazy ass." Sometimes, I think my mind is just trying to kill me.

I had to get out on the left side of my bed anyway because Claren was next to me on the right, and I didn't want to disturb her. I am so puppy-whipped.

Getting off the bed was easy, and then I did the worm over to the TV, and by worm I mean a worm with no coordination. Then I just reversed till I was at the bed. Then came the really hard part: getting back in bed. There is nothing to grab and my feet were sliding out beneath me so my legs were no help. It was probably comical to watch, in a vaudeville kind of way. Finally, I got far enough on to grab the far side of the mattress and pull me in bed. But I was so amped up and out of breath.

So today I started teaching Claren to do it. I turned the TV on and ...

The first problem is that she does a bitchin' push command, but it is not very precise. It relies on big buttons, so when I told her to push, she slapped the TV itself, even though I put masking tape on the power button to make it stand out. I was a little worried she might knock the TV off its table so I had to take another tack.

I had her do an up, which is when she puts her front paws on a table, and tried to push her head down to push the button. The dog trainers told us we could do this to teach new commands. They called it molding. Claren wasn't having any of that. She resisted and then dropped her feet off the table when I kept on molding.

If molding wouldn't work, maybe peanut butter would, I thought. I put peanut butter on the button and had her do an up. Surely, she would let me guide her nose to peanut butter.

No, she acted as if I were setting her up: trying to get her to eat forbidden peanut butter. Now, she really resisted the molding.

Finally, I convinced her it was OK to eat the peanut butter, but she was daintily licking it, which didn't turn the TV off. And when I tried to push her nose into the button, she again had none of it.

It wasn't a complete failure. She did turn it off twice, which led to the biggest pain of the evening. I was cheering her success and giving her treats that I had in a cup. But I spilled the cup, of course.

I bent down to retrieve it, and whacked the hell out of my head 6n the TV table. I was sure I had opened up my forehead, but no it was just bruised, really bruised.

Maybe I should just replace the batteries in my remote.

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