This week, regression, progress

Regression and progress? You bet!

First, I observed last week, on Facebook after I posted, that the puppy class trainer is one of those “We don’t use the word ‘dominant’ in this class” people. Dominance theory/wolf pack theory has been scientifically disproved. Which just goes to show that anything can be misinterpreted, including the words “dominant”, “leadership”, “pack”, etc. etc. But enough of that. I have my own opinions on that. Anyway, we don’t use the rod “dominant” but “a bit of a bully” is OK? Seems to me that “dominant” would perhaps have been more accurate. Just sayin’.

Starting backwards and working back, I guess. Puppy class, we finally, finally, got teaching “Leave it”, which is, IMO, kind of important. I actually like the way we did that, as in, “Your dog should never get the thing which you’re telling/teaching him to leave alone”. So she doesn’t like the cookie on the nose thing, and “Wait” might be more appropriate for a “You don’t get that thing until I tell you”. Whereas, “Leave it” would be for gross, dangerous, or just off limits things that you don’t want pup getting the idea he may get eventually. I think the lightbulb is starting to go off on this for her, but we’re just starting with it. It involves two treats: one that the dog has to eventually ignore, and another to reward for ignoring. I wonder if it makes a difference if the treats are the same thing or not? I think I may experiment with that.

One thing, OK, another thing, we really need to work on is riding in the car. Hilda seems to be a bit anxious about it. She gets in OK, or doesn’t fuss about being put in. But as we start to move, she is very restless. She whines and won’t stay still, wanting to climb up into my lap, or else somewhere at any rate, which is sometimes my lap. I’m really not sure how to get her more comfortable with this, apart from just doing it…I mean…I can’t exactly just take her for a car ride, or do it the usual way with brief exposures and going up and down the driveway and all that whenever I like, can I? But this is kind of an important thing for eventually.

We’ve got a pretty reliable sit and a nearly as reliable down now, which is fantastic. She’s even coming back more often when I call her if I drop her leash. The formal “Come”, dog at my left and sitting, is coming along slowly but surely, and walking on a loose leash is coming along even more slowly. Once I get her good at walking on a loose leash, I can start to see about walking her with Leno, a thing which has, so far, been kind of a disastrophe.

The regression? That’s a thing which Melanie I think wanted to kill me over. Last week, I had to run an errand, so I put the Beast in the crate upstairs, where she sleeps. It was morning, she had chew toys but not the food ball, I don’t think, because she had eaten not very long before. (Anyway, that only seems to help for a little bit.) Long story interesting, i was gone about two hours. And apparently, Hilda made her displeasure known by barking. Loudly. Constantly. For the whole two hours. With only brief, as in a couple minutes, breaks occasionally. However, she apparently stopped when I was about five minutes from home. Some would say this is proof positive of the psychic connection between humans and their critters. I leave that bit of speculation to you. Later in the week though, I had another thing to do, and this appeared to have been less of an issue again.

BTW, for those keeping score, according to the scale at home, that is, weighing me by myself and then e carrying Hilda, she weighs about 33 pounds. Sharon’s Freida is a couple pounds heavier. But she’s growing steadily, looks like she gains five pounds every couple weeks. Fortunately, this will slow down. Some day. She’s definitely going to be bigger than Leno though, she’s catching up to him in height already.

More This Week, Stuff We’reWorking On…

This week has been kind of a bitch, with apologies to Hilda and others, but none of it has really been Hilda’s goings-on, believe it or not. With Hilda, things have been going pretty well. A few accidents in the house, mostly from excitement or playing too hard, but definite improvement in that area.

I forgot to mention that we’ve also been working on taking treats more gently. As in, yes, you get a treat, no that treat is not my fingers, which I’d like to keep, thanks. That’s all good now, and rarely does she forget anymore. My fingers are happy about that.

I met the new vet this week, and she says Hilda’s looking good. She’s 28 pounds, and, of course, still growing. Heck, I think she’s catching up to Leno in height. One more limes vaccination and we’re done for a little while until spaying time.

She’s walking on leash without so much pulling, especially on the back ramp. She hasn’t quite generalized this, however, but I now know that yes, she is capable of walking on a loose leash. We’re also working on a more formal “Come”, where she sits at my left side when called. Different from the more informal “Here!”, which means just sort of come over near me somewhere. A bit like the difference between “Stay” (Rest) and “Wait”, which is the thing we talked about in puppy class, along with going through the tunnel, thus working on recall and going through hula hoops and things. Oh, and we also worked on “Go to your mat”. Well, talked about it, and showed practical applications.

I’m thinking that Hilda must learn things but then not do them unless she sees a point to them. Hard to explain why I think this, but it’s like, “Oh…you want me to do what? Why? What’s the point? Where is the practical application in this, if i do this strange thing you’re asking of me?” Could be all wrong, of course.

I also learned that Hilda is “a bit of a bully”. (OK…so the instructor said that, yet also that she isn’t a rotten dog, after I called her a rotten dog once in jest, because I say all my dogs are rotten and none of them take it personally.) This is because she apparently was going after the dog in class who is the shyest/most fearful or nervous. Well, she just never learned to not do that. Well…OK…I guess so, since all her littermates are all pretty confident and self-assured. I really don’t think she means to be a bully, and maybe I sound like the kid who steals your lunch money’s parent now. Don’t think so though. But yes, we definitely need to tone her lunging and jumping down some, and I’ve got no argument there. I mean, there are the cats, who I’m sure will some day like to not have their ears chewed on.

Lots to work on. Besides all that other stuff, there’s riding in the car. She’s whiny and restless. Of course, she doesn’t like to sit still for long under the best of circumstances, but she thankfully hasn’t been carsick or anything like that, and she doesn’t shy away from riding in the car. Still, another thing, and a thing that won’t be as easy to tackle really.

Anyway, of course there’s lots to do, but it all at least seems eventually manageable. She isn’t quite as obsessive about the cats, for example. So, yeah, things are coming along, a thing for which I am very grateful.

A New Week, Progress, Thoughts

There’s not a whole lot to talk about in regard to training really. We’re going to start working on walking without pulling on the leash. As puppy class teacher says, a tedious process, but Hilda’s a quick study. Well, I really think that she learns like this. She won’t get something, quite. For a while. Then one day, it clicks.

With the crate and house accidents, there’s been a lot of improvement, though more tweaking is needed on my part. She actually had a #2 on Wednesday, but that was all on me, as usual. It was an off day with an off schedule. I’m not sure what to think of the Beast’s tidiness. She cleans up after herself. Whichever kind of elimination happens. It’s kind of gross. I’d never heard of pups licking up their own urine before, but this one does, if she does it in her crate and I don’t catch it. (Schlurp…schlurp…uh oh, I think she just went…) But there have been far fewer this week than last. I think there will be fewer yet once she decides not to hold onto her bladder. See, I think she’s going outside, starting to park, the second she gets a “Yes, good girl!”, she stops. Even if she’s not finished, but the pressure’s at least off, to her mind, and hey, she’s agood girl and gets a treat! Woohoo!!!! OK, so I’m thinking I need to hold off on the praise until after she gets up on her own, in spite of what all the experts say about “Catch her while she’s going and mark that”. We’ll see, but I think that’s what’s going on with that, anyway.

Poor Hilda wants to make friends with Melanie so badly. But she’s too exuberant, Melanie gets nervous, and no connection happens. We almost had a kind of disaster when Hilda got too close, with too much excitement, and pulled on an IV tube stuck in Melanie’s medport. Could have been a really really huge problem, but it fortunately was not. Other than that, it’s just been lots of jumping, friendly (though nervous making) mouthing…she’s really very friendly and just wants to make friends with everyone. She doesn’t really know quite how to do it on human terms though, so we need to work on that.

Also, yep, I guess she’s decided I belong to her. As in this excerpt from “Dogs Against Darkness”:

“Will she growl and bite? Is that what you mean?”
“Heavens no. It isn’t that she will dislike you. She will
just be indifferent. She won’t be interested in guiding you
because you don’t mean a thing in her young life. Win her
affection and then you will win her.”
It sounded like a large order to Morris. “How long will
that take?”
“That depends on you. But remember this always. She isn’t
your dog. She doesn’t belong to you. You belong to her!”

Friday night, I made a sort of late run to the Circle K (where strange things are afoot, of course). The radio scanner was on, and on the way, I was chatting with a friend of mine in San Antonio on the ham radio. Melanie told me that Hilda was pretty quiet most of the time, except when she heard me. Then she set up a racket. I don’t know. Hey, how’d he get in that box? Where is he anyway?

I’m just amazed at how big she’s getting, and how she’s growing up and learning. I’d really better be on my toes and stay a step ahead of her, else I’m going to be in some kind of trouble.

This Week, And Second Puppy Class

We had our second puppy class. My expectations are to get basic things in hand, and I think that those expectations will e met. Even so, I’m a little bothered. I’m thinking maybe our trainer isn’t really an out of the box thinker. It’s OK, some people aren’t. I am one of them in some respects, so it isn’t really an indictment or condemnation or something like that, it’s just a thing.

During part of class, she tells me that she’s been looking into service dogs, and they aren’t really started on formal service dog task training until they’re 18-24 months old. OK, I know this is traditionally the case, or really, usually guide dog school starts around 14-15 months a lot of the time. How would I not know this? I’ve had three program trained guide dogs…did they just fall out of the sky? Did I just get three dogs and no background? And, I might want to get some professional help, and she doesn’t know how I’d train the dog to go around obstacles. Good thing I don’t expect to have to do this right now. Seriously, I have a lot of time to work on this. I don’t happen to agree that I need a professional guide dog trainer to help me, since I know a bunch of smart people who have done this before I have. Meaning to cast no aspersions on professional guide dog trainers (Hi Christie!) I don’t think I’ll get too stuck and if I do, I know I have a lot of help to get un-stuck. I don’t believe I need some professional to hold my hand, once I get a start on communicating properly with my dog. But that this trainer thinks I might need professional help indicates one of two things to my mind:

1) I’m not a very good student. While I think this is a possibility, I don’t think it’s a great possibility. Maybe I’m thicker than I think I am, but I think I’ll do all right.

2) The trainer isn’t really sure how to work with me, and thinks maybe I’m going to be limited in what/how far I can go in working with my dog. This seems to me to be a bit more likely. I’m not sure how to best address this, and anyway, it’s a six week class at a pretty low price, relatively speaking, so I reckon I’ll get the most I can out of it and go on.

I’m honestly not sure why this is a worry at this point anyway, since Hilda is only three months old for goodness sake. Gotta walk before you can run, gotta crawl before you can walk.

When I brought up our steps backward in housebreaking, the trainer said “Maybe take her out more often”, and reward when she goes in appropriate places. OK, I can get that. I think she just thinks that places to go that aren’t appropriate *are* appropriate. School proves that she can hold it. I gave her a chance to go after class, in the grass near the place that classes are held, and she didn’t go. When we got home, however, she did. Enough that I actually heard it. Anyway, I mentioned that the trick was knowing exactly when she went. (Sometimes it’s very quick.) Well…maybe I can get someone to go out with me and tell me exactly when she’s going. OK…who? She suggested alena. Great idea, except Alena would probably tell me, except well after she’d finished. So this is just something I’ll have to keep plugging away at. It’s a process.

We’re working on sits and downs with stay. We’ve been doing this a bit already. I was amused…Hilda would go down for me with a lure, and she didn’t want to at first for the trainer.

With the hand touches, I mentioned she’d do them once I had her attention. Well, says trainer, that’s the point, you use that to get their attention. Yeah, I get it. That’s the ultimate goal. But what about when she’s paying attention to something else? I understand the ultimate goal, and we’re working toward that. Not there yet.

Next week, we’ll work on “Come” and loose leash walking. She uses a tunnel to help with come. These are a couple things that will be helpful.

Sometimes, I wonder what made me think i could do this thing. Except, maybe I’m crazy, but I still think I can.

Puppy class!

Well, pretty good puppy class, with lots of handouts. This trainer is an Ian Dunbar fan, which, I’ve read at least one of his books, and he talks sense. One kind of interesting thing is that she’s not a fan of the clicker, preferring instead to use a verbal marker. Ironically, her reason for not liking the clicker is the same reason often given for why people do like the clicker, that is, “I find that people don’t click at the right time, and reinforce the wrong things”. I just don’t like them because they’re so bleeding’ loud! Seriously, dogs have good hearing, why do we need such loud clickers?

Anyway, first session, the third member of class wasn’t able to come, so just two of us. We did lots of intro lecture stuff, and practiced teaching a hand touch and rewarding for letting us interrupt their play.

In other news, Hilda can actually sit for a good 5-10 seconds waiting for the release to eat. I barely need to just remind her with a brief “wait” or touch on her chest to remind her. I haven’t had to pick up the bowl at all the past couple feedings.

Steps Backwards?

Puppy class on Friday. I think I’ll be glad to start that. Since Melanie’s gotten home, I’ve been as busy as ever though. Which also means that I haven’t had a lot of time to do a lot of training with the Beast. Seriously, it’s felt like I’m always doing something with a dog. Usually involving taking one or another of them out to park. Of course, that’s not entirely true. I wish I could let her have some freedom in the house, but I can’t. In part because of the housebreaking. In part because of the propensity for indiscriminately picking up and possibly chewing anything and everything. Picking up the oxygen tubing and giving it a good chomp would probably be a bad thing. Especially if I don’t notice. I’ll feel a lot better about it once I can start getting a good recall on her. At least with the bell, I can keep track of where she is, except of course when she got away from me this evening when I was getting her into the crate to do something with dinner. She took a merry run around the downstairs, and eventually came back on her own. The coming back on her own was a good thing.

Today was a busy day for me, not so much for Hilda. Tomorrow will probably be the same.

Today, I had to take Fiona to the vet. Fiona was a spaz at the vet. Panting, squirming, trying to be everywhere at once. I think there was some anxiety going. (On a side note, I think she’s not entirely happy about Hilda. Lots of growling and snapping, and I don’t think it’s always playful. I do keep them separated as much as possible for that reason, but Fiona also barks as if she wants to play with the other two, except maybe she doesn’t want to when she has the opportunity.)

Anyway, I put her in the crate. I wanted to take her out one more time before I left, but of course, the cab came for us right away, as opposed to later. However, as I took her out only a half hour or so before, I figured it’d be OK. I put Leno in with her, hoping that would help. instead, they both set up barking! Oops. And she peed. And licked it. And walked in it. (I think she laid in it yesterday after I gave her a bath…I can’t think of another reason the whole side of her was all wet after she dried out.) She repeated this performance a couple other times, even though I’d taken her out only a short time before, each time. I had to go to the store and came back to a similar mess. And another time later. And again this evening. When I took her outside each time, she still had more, too, so I think it was a physical rather than a mental or training problem. On a different note, she’s never, apart from the first or second day, defecated in the house. And she’s gone through the night every night after the first week or so, knock on wood.

Speaking of the bath, yep…I gave her one yesterday. She was a little squirmy, there was a tiny bit of whining, she made a halfhearted attempt to get out of the bathtub, but over all, no real problems with that.

I’m also getting less pulling on the leash when we walk to go out to park. I’m looking forward to trying another walk around the block.

Her leash definitely has puppy teeth at it. She hasn’t chewed through it yesterday, but it’s definitely been chewed from the couple times I accidentally left it on her while confined. I’m going to send off for a couple more of these, just in case.

With Melanie having new attendants, and nurses, and therapists, and all sorts of people in and out, Hilda has met a bunch of people. She’s been very friendly to all of them. She is a jumper though. But she’s showed no anxiety with new people. Oh…and she definitely barks at the vacuum cleaner. Don’t think it’s a fear bark, because it sounds like the bark she barks at the cats.

A Couple Observations

Just couple of observations. There really isn’t a whole lot that’s terribly new.

I wonder if teething has started yet? She likes to chew on her toys of course, but she doesn’t like softer rubber puppy things so much as she likes the sterilized bones, Nylabones, and things like that that area bit harder. The funny thing is though, she has a pretty soft mouth, all things considered. She hasn’t actually destroyed anything, apart from getting open a couple of stuffed dog toys that then got thrown away, and that was a while ago. In fact, her leash got in her crate with her while I was napping, and I can see a part that got chewed on a little, but the damage is very minimal, nothing to really compromise the leash much if at all. She picked up an SD card that somehow fell off the desk, and no problem, it was intact (I got it very quickly). She likes to pick things up and carry them. She’s picked up one of Alena’s shoes a couple times, on her way out to park, and dropped them somewhere on the ramp. Same with slippers. She got a sock once or twice that she wanted to play tug with. The good thing is that she’s not obsessive about things, and I’ve been able to get things away from her easily enough and without complaint.

She does another interesting thing, too. Most of the time, she noses the bell at the door, tor anyway, she rings it, even if just barely. Sometimes, maybe half the time though, she goes one better. She’ll jump at the doorknob. She’ll jump then at the handle to the screen door, and she can almost make it. I reckon she has some idea of how the door opens and wants to open it herself.

Seems to me between these two things, we might be able to do some service dog tasks for fun. I definitely wanted to work on a fetch anyway for when I drop stuff, but that she’s interested in opening doors as well is kind of neat.

Waiting to eat is also coming along really well. Now, I only have to start the exercise over just a couple times, and even so, no more noise.

We’ve also determined that it isn’t being left alone that bothers her when I leave. It’s *me* leaving that bothers her. Melanie, Alena, Melanie’s aid, and all the critters (and I) were downstairs yesterday, and I had to go to the drugstore. So I put the Hildabeast in her crate. When I walked out the front door, she put up her usual protests. So I moved her to the upstairs crate. That one’s a plastic crate, and I think she might feel more comfortable there, because I gather she put up less fuss for less time, because when I got back, she was still pretty quiet.

In addition, I believe that when we went for haircuts and grocery shopping on Wednesday, she was able to hold her bladder the whole time.

We’ve had several attendants come in for Melanie, and a couple of them claimed to be afraid of dogs. Hilda acted the same with all of them, which is to say, excited, jumping (another thing to work on), unfailingly friendly.

Puppy classes start on Friday. I’m kind of excited about that.

Growing, Changing, And Noisy Meal Times

Wow. A month. I’ve had her a month, although a short month, because February. It’s amazing how much Hilda has grown in just a month, and how much she’s changed. She makes less noise for less time in the crate now, and she’s mostly decided that I’m not a chew toy. When she decides to pay attention to me, she’ll sit, at least some of the time. She’s mostly got that parking happens outside, and all the accidents have been full bladder or too much excitement and an emptying bladder. I’m starting to catch on, meaning that I’m pretty much catching her right after she’s done the deed. And, usually, it isn’t much she’s let loose either. i call this a win. No puppy poopy in the house since the second day either. Definite win. I wonder idly, however, if puppy poopy is usually softer than adult dog poopy. Hilda’s is, though it’s still able to be picked up, but yeah, pretty soft. One friend opines that GSD’s have softer stools than labbies, a thing on which I have no opinion.

I’ve had a lot of this and that to do this week, and today was the first pretty nice day that I could go out for a walk around the block with Hilda. I don’t know if it wore her out or not (I suspect not), but it sure wore me out! Pretty exciting stuff for a puppy…she was over here, and over there, and behind me, and circling behind me, and getting kicked in the nose from being right behind one foot or another, and hey, what’s that over there, and jumping. We’ll get the hang of this sooner or later.

Mealtimes. Oh, mealtimes. My goal is to have her sit for a second or two waiting for a release phrase before she eats. I’ve been having her sit, and then immediately giving the release as soon as the bowl hits the ground. This week, mealtimes are getting a little harder. Now, I want her to sit, and stay seated for even just half a second before the release. The first time I introduced this, she barked and yowled like someone pulled her leg off. And I thought, mealtimes are going to be noisy for a while. We’ve got things down to a little whine, only four days later, and she’s actually sitting with a minimum of restraint. I started with having the bowl up, then when she sat, I held her back as I put the bowl down. If she jumped and carried on, we started over. Eventually, once I got a sit, and relative quiet, I’d let her go. I think she’ll have this down shortly.

Vet check at 12 weeks has her at 19 pounds, 8 oz. She’s getting tall! The teary eyes are probably just from dirt, since puppies get into pretty much everything, and the vet sees nothing to worry about. That left ear is starting to stand up straighter again most of the time. I’m also noticing that her fur is starting to change, being coarser down her back and tail, and longer on her chest and the backs of her hind legs. She’s still got a lot of downy soft puppy coat too, but I can definitely see that that will be on the way out. Also, maybe I’m crazy, but her head is changing shape, too. Earlier, it was more round…hard to explain. Now it’s getting longer from back to front, more like what I usually expect for a GSD head.

I’ve also discovered that, while you can definitely handle her feet as much as you like, the clippers make her a little nervous. And she wants to try to take the brush in her mouth. However, a bully stick (yes, I know what those are) makes everything better. You can brush or clip or what have you as long as she’s got one of those to chew on. If that will help with positive associations, well, all right then.

Puppy kindergarten starts on April 10.

And that’s about all I’ve got to say about that.

The Last Few Days

There really isn’t a lot to say about the last few days. Progress will probably be incremental, rather than in leaps and bounds. Still, progress is progress.

Not at all incremental is how Hilda is growing. Stepping on the scale with her Saturday tells me she’s something around 18 pounds. And probably needs her food intake increased again. Which we’ve done. As predicted, her coat seems to be lightening, according to Alena anyhow. She still has soft puppy fur. And, since Thursday, her left ear is drooping at the end again a little, but that’s coming back up, too. We’ve also noticed watery eyes, so we’ll ask the vet about that on Friday when she gets her 12-week shots and they see a stool sample.

Thursday, we had visitors. Heidi, who has another of Sharon’s dogs, came over with her family to help with annoying paperwork and to play with pups. They even brought pizza. They did a nice job of wearing out the pup, too.

Hilda is definitely not attempting to chew on me or her leash as much these days. She also seems to be a little more tuned in and attentive to me. Also more willing to sleep, or rest, in the crate, and more quietly most of the time. I think most of her complaints are to do with “I don’t want to take a nap!” And “Hey, where you going?!” And of course, the ever present “Ooh! Cat!!!! Want!!!!”

Sunday, I had an activity with Alena, which meant I was going to be gone longer than the usual or recommended time. All together, we were gone for over five hours, so I opened up the big crate and stuck some newspaper in it. Yeah, all that junk mail is handy. She was sure to express to the newspaper her displeasure at being penned up, as we found lots of shredded newspaper thrown out of the crate. Fortunately, however, we also found soiled newspaper where we expected to find it, so all was well. I think taking her around the block helped to tire her out for that, at least, I hope so, because it sure tired me out! She of course wanted to go here and there and check out dogs she heard behind doors. She jumped. She stepped in front of me, and consequently got stepped on more than once, but she’s no worse for it. We’ve definitely got a long way to go before walking with Leno will be fun and easy. We did, however, make it the whole way around, if not exactly gracefully.

By the way. Long-lasting bully sticks? Don’t believe a word of it. Leno finished one in five minutes or less. Hilda took a bit longer, but still made short work of it. Fiona got one today, and she was not well pleased when I took it away after about 10 minutes. These things must be like doggie crack, because all the dogs just love them. I find this vaguely disturbing, considering what they’re made out of. There’s probably a subtext in there somewhere which I don’t really care to examine.

No Fear, And…The More Things Change…

I swear she grew overnight. Seriously, Hilda’s collar, which has her name and my cell number on it, was maybe a little big for her, but not so much as to not use it. It’s less big this morning than it was yesterday evening, I swear it’s true. Also, Alena tells me she’s more brown than black. I should get another picture to compare between today (well, OK, tomorrow) and earlier pics. Sharon did say her coat would lighten before darkening again. It’s kind of interesting really. It’s especially interesting to see such drastic changes so quickly.

Still getting the hang of this puppy park break schedule thing. That would be both of us, but more me than her of course. Still, it’s better, and when there’s peeing on the carpet, it’s not a flood or anything like that. I think we’re both getting the hang of this thing.

I think I might have found something that gets her attention. At least, it does today. Tomorrow? Who knows? But Leno has several of these plush ducks that quack. There’s a little box in there that, when pressed juust right, quacks. No doubt it runs on some tiny battery that will die eventually. Anyway, besides the ducks, I got a frog that croaks, and I pulled that out. When it croaked, Hilda came to see what it was. I’ll reserve that for helping to get her attention to teach her to come to me. Which sounds like a brilliant plan today, but will maybe not work tomorrow. I also wonder at what point she’ll decide that it’s a lot more fun to disembowel such toys.

We also confirm that Hilda is, in fact, fearless. While she did bark at the vacuum, with the same bark as she used to call out the cats, she took a treat that I sat on it, and, while she did back away from it a little when I turned it on, she also approached it shortly after. Then later, when I had it going in front of the crate, I let hereto of the crate, and she casually walked over to the toy basket, grabbed a bone, and started chewing on it while I vacuumed the floor just a couple feet from her. I’m not sure how much more clearly she could have said, “Nope, couldn’t care less about that thing” than that.