A weeknote full of biology homework and doggish education

A weeknote full of biology homework and doggish education
Pippin and I working on long-leash walking skills over the frozen pond at Lafontaine Park.

My one Biology course at UQÀM is eating up an unexpectedly large portion of my days, since the prof's lecture style is not what I would call pedagogical. It takes forever to reread through the textbook (and look for quality ressources online) to get through my homework every week. Conveniently, all through January, the online platform I am obliged to use to read my textbook kept going offline for "maintenance" in the hours I had put aside to study. After three days in a row of not being able to access the textbook (which I paid over 100 CAD for!) I finally accepted that I was going to need a physical copy of the textbook. One good thing is that the 1500-page brick came in the mail a lot faster than expected (I'd been warned it could take a fortnight to arrive). The brick also arrived with a second activation code for 5th edition Campbell through ERPI (the online platform) but it's non-transferable. 🙃 Academic publishing is a horrible joke, and I hate that twice as much was paid to the publishing company because of this.

→ Lire le billet en français

In an ideal world I'd be pirating all my textbooks because, frankly, publishing companies are evil.[1] But student codes of conduct have gotten a fair bit stricter compared to my first rodeo at uni. In retrospect, I should have just tried to find a cheap second-hand copy of a 4th edition Campbell, since the difference between 5th and 4th edition is inconsequential. But initially, the prof had warned us that he expected us all to have our textbook with us in every class, so I registered for the online platform thing so that I wasn't having to lug a brick to class. Soupir!

Pippin sitting next to my copy of the book Force-free Gundog Training by Jo Laurens.

On top of my mental acrobatics through protein structures and nucleic acids, I've spent a good chunk of the last week digesting Pippin and Leif's and my experiences with Ivy League Dogs throughout January. On Saturday, we celebrated our 11th week with Pip (tempus fugit!), who is starting to become noticeably more confortable in a busy and dense environment like ours is on the Plateau. I've finally sent off our application to the hunting club that I'm hoping to become a member of, just north of the city. Next steps: gotta get Red Cross certified and my hunting license!

I'm thinking a lot on how to smoothly introduce Pippin and I to the earliest basics of hunting training with the tools available to me in the city. I ordered a copy of Force-Free Gundogs by Jo Laurens which arrived a few days ago, and I've already devoured most of it. Also with Jo Laurens, I'm taking her Remote Stop.[2] online course, because I think Pippin is definitely ready for it. Today I also assisted another seminar by Djurpedagogen [3] called "Triggers to Cues" which was really interesting — though (at least I think) some of it directly contradicts some basic gundog training outlined in Laurens' book. I think it's because the aims are different: Laurens' is trying to help produce excellent and competitive gundogs, Djurpedagogen is trying to give human handlers skills to enjoy off-leash walks. Right now, I'm not too worried about the contradictions — somewhere in all this research I'm doing, we'll find something that works really well for Pippin, our little hunting dog who is also a companion animal.

I've got tea, a notebook, and the dog's sleeping soundly at my feed: all I need to assist Djurpedagogen's "Triggers to Cues."

On the topic of all this training and learning, yesterday I had to put Pippin's emergency recall to the test in a dangerous situation for the first time. While I was talking to a friend on a very busy sidewalk, Pip got really spooked by a strange man and took off, somehow slipping out of his harness like Houndini. I don't even know how I stayed calm, I was so scared I honestly felt like I was going to faint, but using Pip's name, his recall cue, and some swiss cheese, I got him to come back to me. A real miracle because honestly, Pip still struggles to focus on me when the street's bustling. I'm never again leaving the house without cheese!

All in all, winter's advancing as it does. I've got a big week of ballet to look forward to: my pointe shoes (which were ordered in August) have finally arrived from Toronto [4] and I'm really excited to get back to pointework after an unfortunately long pause. Just have to get off my butt and actually sew them before class tomorrow night. Next Saturday, I also have an afternoon dance workshop on jumps and pirouettes with a former teacher of mine that I'm really looking forward to. All this ice lately has kept me from skiing, but nothing heals my wintery little heart like some studio time.

Bookwise, I just finished Stephen King's The Colorado Kid. It was a really fast read, and I actually really liked the ending (do you enjoy listening to the song, or do you look forward to the end of the song?) even if I sometimes felt like I was reading the kind of exercise that often came up during my university Creative Writing workshops. I think I'm starting to sometimes see the scaffolds of modern American literary style, since that's what North American Creative Writing programmes are built upon. I don't know what I'll read next, I feel like I'm still working my way through several nonfiction books, so I might wait until I've finished one or two of those before moving on to something new.

There we go: my weeknotes for the first week of February. I forget how to stop blog posts so I'll wish you all a fond farewell and end here.

  1. The Death Of Ownership: Educational Publishing Giant Pearson To Do Away With Print Textbooks (That Can Be Resold) ↩︎

  2. If all goes well, I'm also hoping to take her Clicker Retrieve and Steady online courses in March or April, but I'm trying to take things slow to not get overwhelmed. ↩︎

  3. My review of her course Happy Leash can be found here. ↩︎

  4. Thank you Shoe Room! 🩰 ↩︎

The comments section is open below. You can also throw a coin to your blogger, check out the guestbook before leaving, and come find me on the fediverse.