Poodles of the Serengeti
operant dog training using a clicker

(under construction)
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 Poodles of the Serengeti

March 2001

My best friend Marilynn and I like to exercise our dogs and ourselves at  the same time.  We both live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, not too far from each other. Marilynn has 6 dogs:
Lucky, a lab/shepherdy black mix, born about 1992;
Pandora, a black standard poodle, born 1995;
Duke, greyhound/ Lab/Dalmatian, born February 1998, who actually belongs to Marilynn's daughter Danielle;
Cricket, a white Toy Poodle (TP), born 1997;
Stormin' Norman, a black Standard Poodle, born about 1998; back home for good after a short hiatus in Indiana
Cairo, a big red hound mix, born about March 2000
She has a lot to exercise!
I have 3 dogs:
Quimera Rocket in Her Pocket, Pandora's black daughter, RocketDog;
Pilar (Sartin's Laughter and Lace), cream SP born June 1998; The Queen of All She Surveys;
 Jazzi, the smallest standard poodle in the world, cream, born 1996

 Dori, white rescued dog, born Jan 1995,  the Mama Dog, unexpectedly decided to find herself a new home after three years with us!

Pearl, standard schnauzer rescue, has also found a new home.  With great regret, I allowed her to go to a young man who had been admiring her sister.  He recently suffered great personal tragedy and needed someone to help him heal.  Pearl took one look at him and enthusiastically offered herself as therapist and best buddy.  The little hussy, as it turns out, really, really likes men!  :)  She and her young man adopted each other with scarcely a last look backward at me.  I wish them well.  I know she will enjoy her new life with him -- and especially appreciate a home who will clip her instead of all that annoying handstripping!

We used to try  to go out at least once a week to run the dogs so they can "take the edge off," as well as get in a decent hike for ourselves but since Marilynn moved to a rural area about 40 miles south of Santa Fe, and I moved about 25 miles south on another road, we can only get together about once a month.  Northern New Mexico is similar in some respects to parts of Africa.  We have mountains, deserts and savannah-like prairies.  Marilynn is pushing 50 and I achieved the big 5-0 in July 2000.  Both of us have suffered our share of road rash on life's highway -- she has a bad back and I have some arthritis in my hips and two injured knees; but we both  are basically "healthy peasant stock."  So hiking is a good idea; but hiking up our mountains is not very much fun.  We prefer relatively flat wide open spaces, where we also have the advantage of actually seeing the dogs most of the time, even from a half mile off.

A cartoonist named Gary Larson is popular here in the US.  He creates  weird cartoons with odd visuals and odder content.  One of his cartoons features a typical African savannah landscape, with isolated trees, low brush, and a giraffe or two.  Sprinkled amongst the sparse greenery are several poodles in show coat (sort of), looking remarkably like a pride of lions after a kill -- loafing, stuffed, wandering about. He called it "Poodles of the Serengeti."

Our herd of "wild dogs" chases rabbits and birds over the bunchgrass rolling terrain, launching off chunks of gray and black obsidian lava to pounce on each other.  They  play respectful games of tag with the feral horse herds, and hang out under isolated clumps of scrubby pinon and juniper trees that cattle have sculptured with itchy backs into bizarre topiary.  Each new dog learns from the others how to avoid cactus (or chew it out of their paws without getting a mouthful of spines!), how to dash from tree to tree to flop in the shade while we slow humans plod along under the blazing sun, and to find water from quite a way off.  Marilynn and I do the "loafing" and "stuffed" parts -- our herd does their imitation of the Poodles of the Serengeti, with a couple of honorary poodles thrown in!

And that's how the Poodles of the (New Mexican) Serengeti got their name.

THE FAMILY DOG offers classes in clicker training a gentle, effective way to train your dog.  Click on the link below for more information about classes.

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Dog Stuff

Pilar The Family Dog
Rocket Clicker Training
Jaz Other Doggy Links
Our Other Dogs
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Other Interests
My dogs are important to me, but I try to maintain a life outside the dog yard!
Environment Crafts and Stuff
Books New Mexico
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Cool/Weird/Interesting Links
This is a collection of sites I found interesting for more than one visit.

http://www.abilnet.com/norclub/INTC-NTCI/StationaryEtc01.html -- greeting cards for dog lovers
http://www.sfnewmexican.com/-- our local newspaper
http://www.africam.mweb.co.za/ -- watch doings in the African bush in realtime!
http://www.sfo.com/~rherried/welcom.htm -- Energy Net homepage
http://www.theonion.com/ -- this is one weird site; not for easily offended
http://www.thistothat.com/ -- ever need to glue metal to pottery?  Shows what works!

This page last updated  March 2001.