Saturday, August 20, 2005

Day 30

Saturday. Always a hard, busy day and today was no exception. Because of the under staffing, boarders in need of exercise and the pressure to get all the morning tasks done before 8 a.m., our day was in full swing by 6 a.m. Sanity hustled herself right outside and very quickly took care of all her morning toilet activities, grabbed a drink of water and without even being told headed right back in the house and to the breakfast room off the kitchen. That is where all the dog meals are prepared and that is where she now knows to go and sit politely waiting for FOOD. This morning, like each morning since Wednesday(8/17) she will get a pill and some ointment applied before being sent to her crate to eat her breakfast.

The spot of fungus or whatever it is on the side of her muzzle appears to be responding to the medication and ointment so I remain hopeful that once cleared up, she will have some defenses again getting it again. I am pretty sure it is something that lives in the soil here. With all the serious excavation work she has been doing it is no wonder she finally managed to stick her nose into something she shouldn't.

8 a.m. and the Bulldog arrived for a lesson. Sanity was most definitely up to demo'ing the beginning of the down and the showed off her sit/stay all in the interest of helping out. Last on the list of new things was the figure 8 followed by the finish. Both were new for Sanity and both she managed to pull off as if she had already been doing them for months. The Bulldog was not so graceful or clever.

9 a.m. was a lecture lesson with no need for any demo'ing so Sanity practiced building her skills in patience. Bench chained to the end of the glider she in a moment of boredom made the mistake of chewing on the arm. ZZZZZZZ...The arm bit her. No more arm chewing on that glider.

10 a.m. and time to help teach come with great abandon from long distances at high speed, how to sit and just exactly what that position on the left side is called. Her thoughts about how slow and scared the Beagle was were pretty funny. However, I have been sworn to silence on the subject.

11 a.m. brings litter sister Leda for a lesson. There is about a 3 minute wild hello as the two greet each other, then Sanity settles down by my side, curls up and goes to sleep. Leda is crushed and looks around hoping to see someone else to engage in play. It doesn't happen since everyone is busy with something. After a time Leda finally takes the hint and settles down by her owner's left side. A second Dobe, one who is about 10 months old joins the group and he too has some difficulty settling down. All the while Sanity is busy catching a quick nap and showing the other two just how and what needs to be done. They both eventually get the message.

We plan out the day's lesson. A lesson that will become the foundation for the coming week's homework. Because Sanity and Leda are so young the goal is not so much to "train" them as it is to teach them how to learn, guiding and molding in behaviors that will serve them well in the months and years to come.

It turns out that both Leda and Chance are not up to level on several of the previously introduced exercises, so the decision is made to give some things an additional week's worth of practice before moving on. One thing can not be put off any longer and that is the down. Leda and Chance are both needing the lesson in subordination that is taught by placing the dog in a down position.

Sanity, with much grace and poise folded easily and gently into a down. Best believe my thank you was from the depth of my soul, since by this point in the morning my knees and back are really hating every single move I have to make. So Sanity is already covering up for my stiff, creaky joints. Then came Leda. No way was she having any of it. Put an arm over her shoulders and reach for her front legs and she squirted out the other side. After the third try, I could see that things were starting to spiral down into the black hole. This being the case, rather than let things get any worse I stepped in and had some pretty strong words to say to Leda. Once it became clear that acting like a jackass was not a welcome behavior the down became easy for her as well.

Sanity watched both Leda and Chance practice and then it was her turn again. This time after she let me place her in the down position she decided to roll over on her side and do a "dead dog". I love it. Best believe I was quick to name it and praise since I have all sorts of plans for the dead dog position.

After each pup had done several repeats a short rest was called and then we worked on the sit/stay. Both Leda and Chance need lots more work at the close distances before they move on. Another rest and it was time to play show dog. Off come the training collars, on go the show collars and out come the treats. Today we practiced gaiting in a straight line, complete with courtesy turn before the "judge" and a free stack at the return. Sanity was a little puzzled by my strange way of moving and though at first it meant she should leap and bound about. After a couple of trys she got things sorted out and started to really prance. Free stacking is coming along really well. Leda needs more work, but she is coming along as well.

I think at this point it is important to note that not one single session lasts more than a total of 10 minutes and during that time both pups or all three pups are taking turns working. At this age, short is best.

All lessons over all the dogs were free to play or dig, or chase or sleep. Sanity lasted in the play/chase game for a short time and 1 p.m. just up and went inside to bed. With Sanity gone the other decided to leave as well. Thus ended the busy part of our Saturday.

The rest of the afternoon was spent napping in a bed in the living room, followed by dinner and right now she is resting under the desk while it write this. Soon it will be off to bed for the both of us.

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