Monday, October 10, 2005

Day 81

Grey and definitely not warm as far as I am concerned. Plus I think I am trying to come down with that blasted cold my son brought home. UGH. Had a consultation to do this morning and all our work has had to move back inside. No more outdoor office until next year, sigh. This also means I have now started the training on inside work. Sanity really had a rather difficult time grasping the idea that for this consultation she was going to have to remain out in the hallway in a little bed.

One of my most unfavorate things to deal with are parents who bring very young children along for consultations they know will be lasting 90 minutes or more. This was one of those, so I figured that if I had to suffer through the misbehavior of a child of less than 5 the least they could do in return is let me do a "meet and greet" between the child and Sanity. How?

I put the child on a "stand/stay" and then heeled Sanity into the room. We stopped about three feet from her and I had Sanity do a sit/stay. Then I invited the child to come up and first say hello and finally to pet. It didn't go so well. Nope, in fact what happened was...

It went GREAT! Sanity stayed very, very still and gently sniffed the little girl's hand and then held like a statue while being petted. Finally she could stand it no longer and ever so gently, using only the tip of her tongue, she kissed the child on the ear. I couldn't have ask for a better beginning to how to behave around small children. While I don't want a dog of mine licking or "kissing" people, the tiny little lick Sanity did was something I am willing to let slid because I know from previous experiences it will go away by the time she has passed her first birthday.

Then there was their dog, a 5.5 pound long hair Chihuahua who was by far the smallest dog Sanity has seen so far. For that meet and greet I had her do a down stay and I handled the Chihuahua. I find it totally fascinating that a dog like that can be just screaming bad behaviors in a steady Tourette's Syndrome sort of manner and once the leash transfers from owner's hand to mind all the undesirable behaviors simply cease to exist. This was what happened here. The Chihuahua went from barking and lunging to silence and a very timid approach. Sanity was rock steady and let the little one sniff, touch and poke at her. Only when this peanut named Peanut was relaxed did she finally sniff in return. At that point I let her get up from her down/stay and instead of exploding out of it like she does on occasion she calmly sat up, then slowly stood up and best of all she did it in a way that didn't scare the Chihuahua. So what had started out to be an awful consultation turned into a banner learning experience for at least 3 souls. I would like to think that the owner and Mother of the child was the fourth.

Next was the Newfoundland lesson. No big deal. We squeezed in a couple of arm's length reaches first in Leo's face and then in the general direction of Callie's face. Smooth as smooth can be. Actually the test with Callie was more a test to make sure Callie is continuing to move away from her original dog aggressive behavior than it was to challenge Sanity's willingness to go for the dumbbell. Both dogs passed the challenge with flying colors. Pretty cool.

After that I didn't need Sanity for any more lessons so she went off to hang with some of her buddies and finally went inside to take a long nap. Then it was dinner time and very quickly after that time for the Monday evening Workshop. I snatched a few minutes before everyone went down to the studio to get in several arm's length reaches. Chose to do them in the tight confines of my tiny office with two other people and three other dogs jammed in. If you have never been here you have no idea just how tight that set up was. Sort of like trying to put 10 hummingbirds on a postage stamp tight. Sanity pretty much was lunging for the dumbbell. Not bad.

My plan called for her to join the other dogs for stays and to work on her hold. When it came time for the stays she was fast asleep on the dog couch and not to be wakened. However, by the time the class was coming to an end she had come back from her "power nap" and we actually got to work on carry with other people and dogs around. She managed to carry the dumbbell about 25 feet and didn't even come close to dropping it. I called that exactly what I was looking for and with a little bit of applause said, "exercise finished and class dismissed." Thus, ended another day.

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