Thursday, August 28, 2008

Car Tags, Bratty Puppy, and Gustav

I decided to try renewing our car tags in my hometown, this time around. This was the first time they've had that option available. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot, but everyone else must've been in different parts of the complex. Maybe I was just exceptionally lucky, but I walked in (around 9:30 this morning) and didn't even have a chance to think about taking a number and sitting down in the waiting area. Instead, I was greeted by so many "open" windows that I wasn't sure which one to go to! I know where I'll be going, from now on. (g)

(On the other hand. . . What a waste of our taxes to keep that many people there-- six? seven? or was it eight?-- if it's usually that slow!)

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Trixie has lately seemed an odd mixture of sweet little puppy and mean little brat. She knows how to make you feel welcome-- especially when she hasn't seen you for a while-- with a bouncy run, a wagging tail, and every other sign of joyful eagerness. As for the bratty part, it's mostly biting (even when you're trying to clean up after her-- something I find particularly insulting) and then yapping and posturing ("Oh yeah? We'll just see about that! You can't tell me what to do!"-- only in dog language (g)) when she's told to stop.

I guess they're all this way, when they're little. At least I hope so. . . I really, really hope she behaves better than this when she's older!

Warning: I'm about to muse (boringly) on dog behavior. Feel free to skip down to the next row of stars. (g)

Thinking about puppy behavior has made me wonder how much an owner determines his/her dog's (or cat's) behavior. (I guess it's just a twist on the old nature vs. nurture debate. Nothing new.) Do we gravitate toward animals with certain personalities, or do we somehow influence them and mold their behaviors (unintentionally, I mean-- not talking about obedience training here)?

I don't think we chose any of our dogs based on their behavior. We chose Molly because she was the only one in the litter with the color and gender we wanted. And with both Daisy and Trixie, I don't think we could really tell what kind of personality they'd have when we chose them. I know that some experts advise that you look for certain behaviors or tendencies when choosing a pet, but I'm skeptical. It seems to be mostly the luck of the draw, even if you're making a careful choice.

. . . Was the laid back Skipper ever a biter, like Trixie? I don't remember Daisy ever biting this much, but maybe I've just forgotten. Am I somehow influencing Trixie to bite? Maybe by playing relatively rough games with her, like keep-away and tug-of-war? Molly definitely was a biter as a puppy. She grew out of it. However, I still don't trust Molly as much as I trusted Daisy to not ever bite me "by accident" (or instinctive response to something unpleasant, like accidentally pulling hair during grooming). . . How much of a dog's behavior boils down to breed-- how much to breeding-- and how much to individual personality?

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The grocery store seemed a bit busier than usual. Maybe it was just my imagination. People weren't quite pulling everything off the shelves or fighting over the last pack of batteries. (g)* But-- some sizes of batteries had been sold out, and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with Tropical Storm Gustav.

It's still too early to tell where it's likely to go, but I can't help but notice that the latest GFDL model takes it right over us. (And I do mean right over us.)

Of course, the other models steer it further west, and the official forecast is also centered further from us. Still, something to keep an eye on for the next day or two. . .

*(I haven't ever seen anyone actually fighting over something in a shop, but I have been to the store before a storm only to find that certain aisles-- canned goods, for instance-- are almost bare. Can't remember if that was before Ivan or one of the other storms. . .)

ETA: Since I wrote the above, they've posted an updated set of models, and the GFDL is tending more westwardly, too. I don't wish a storm on anyone else, but I still hope it doesn't come here. That little edge in the atmosphere at the store brought back some unpleasant memories of sitting on the bathroom floor, half expecting the front door to blow in or the roof to lift off the house. I'm not eager to repeat that experience.