Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day 87

Sanity watches a battery powdered mouse zip past during the moring of our second Workshop day.

Sunday in Easton, MD This was the day we taught the Open level material. That meant we needed to be able to demonstrate jumping, both long and high and the working retrieve. All I had was little Miss Sanity. She all but took my breath away with her work ethic. Mind you she handled the stuff being thrown at her as if it was no big deal. At the same time, you could just see that mind of hers going into overdrive as she pulled her ears up taller and taller and furrowed her brow in thought.

She came out and demonstrated the beginnings of a working retrieve.
Dumbbell touching lips. Sanity, in foreground in this picture, holds a sit/stay while I check progress of Workshop attendees.
Dumbbell one inch away. Dumbbell six inches away. Dumbbell one foot away. Dumbbell at arm's length. Sanity lets me show everyone how to use a thumbnail to help a stubborn dog release the dumbbell.
All of this in front of the audience with all sorts of distractions all around us. Next we started talking about the hold.

Out comes Sanity again. I place the dumbbell in her mouth and stand there talking about correct placement. All the while she is holding that dumbbell in her mouth, sitting super straight and looking ever so important. When faced with an older dog moving in on her she withstands the temptation to drop the dumbbell or leave her post.

Then we do dumbbell in mouth and moving one step. Next we do dumbbell in mouth and moving several steps. She slips up and drops it. I show how the correction is made, place the dumbbell back in her mouth and continue with the movement.

Finally, I find myself in the place of having to really push her. Fair? Unfair? I don't know and will never know since she was more than willing to go along with the program. I gave her the dumbbell, told her hold and walked her up to the jump. It was set up with only an eight inch board in it so all she had to do was step over it.

Donkey time. She is sure there is no way she can pick up her feet to step over the board and hold onto the dumbbell at the same time. I talk to her. Under normal circumstances I would have been whispering. But these weren't normal times, everyone had to hear me, so I was talking to her in a very loud voice. Somehow, she seemed to understand the need. Anyway, giving me a rather woeful look she picked up a front foot, put it on the opposite side of the jump and promptly dropped the dumbbell. I corrected her for dropping it, picked it up and put it back in her mouth and encouraged her to continue on her way over that board. She did.

Next I walked her briskly over the board without the dumbbell. On the third pass, I once again gave her the dumbbell to carry. She didn't walk over the board. Oh no, not her. No, instead of walking over the board while carrying the dumbbell, she JUMPED it. Must have cleared it by at least eight inches. Bounced up to me and sat to present the dumbbell to my hand. I love this pup.

The very last thing of note she managed after that was during the wrap-up at the end of the Workshop. She was totally wiped out and I had left her fast asleep in her bed. The bed was only a few feet from the wide open door. Meanwhile, I was on the other side of the warehouse with the entire audience between us. Since I was fielding questions in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear I know she could also hear me.

She woke up. I wasn't in my chair. I wasn't visible at all. She could hear my voice and so she did what any reasonable puppy would do under the circumstances. She got up and came looking for me. Someone in the back called up to me that she was up and on the search. I watch her for a minute before calling. She was going from one person to another, carefully checking them out and moving on. I called her. "Sanity, come." Her head snapped around, eyes searching, ears going in different directions and never holding still. I called again. With that second call she zeroed in on me and shot through the crowd straight to me. Never even so much as noticed other dogs reaching out, ducked all hands reaching out to all but slam into my legs. After that she just sort of hung around until it was time to go home. No, she wasn't on a leash. No, she wasn't wearing an ecollar. She was just wearing a plain old fashioned chain choke collar and using her mind and behaving like a responsible pup. She is so wonderful.

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