Saturday, October 22, 2005

Day 93

It was so dark, wet and rainy this morning that I over slept. Managed to let all the dogs out between down pours and by 9 a.m. we rolled into the first lesson of the day. Thank goodness for the studio. Today was the first day of the indoor season where we faced juggling dogs and people most of the day. Little space, many bodies and a need for great care since some of the newer dogs can be more than just a little touchy about what they consider to be their "personal" space.

Diane, my assistant, and I split the first lesson with my doing the first half inside and her doing the second half outside. As luck would have it the rain stopped for exactly 30 minutes. Thirty minutes just when we needed them and so the outside work wasn't bad after all. Sanity is beginning to understand that the little bed in the hallway is where she is to stay during a consultation or beginning lesson. Downstairs in the studio she has really learned that the "go to bed" command means the bed at the end of the training floor. She is really good about going there and staying put. The biggest problem right now is that she has a tendency to go fast asleep and I have to wake her up and then wait for her to stretch, yawn and sort of shake all her parts together before she can help out.

While Diane and Molly (Diane's dog) worked with the first student outside, Sanity and I took the second student downstairs and started their lesson. This was a week three which meant Sanity needed to demonstrate how to start teaching the "place" command and the stand. I can see she really needs lots more work on place. I find it really interesting how she caught on to the "go to bed" command very fast and is much slower to grasp the general place command. It is one of those things I am grabbing to use as part of my lectures on making the training a part of everyday living.

In teaching the stand, I demonstrate each move from three different directions while directing my students to pay attention to a specific set of movements. Sanity is starting to get the idea and moves easier and easier as we turn. She handles all parts of the demo including the one minute stand quietly by my side part with much grace. I am finding I need to remind my students over and over again that she is only a pup and still not six months old. They just sort of gape at her in wonderment.

We finish up the lesson and move back upstairs to mind the office while Diane and Molly move downstairs to teach the next lesson. The next student arrives and since she is in a totally different program from all the morning students, she comes in to chat while I send Sanity outside to play with her dog.

The last of the morning students leave and we stop for a bite of lunch. Since we have a break in both training and the rain all the dogs get turned out. Then Sanity's sister Leda arrives and the yard suddenly seems full of Dobermans all bent on becoming the muddiest. YUCK!

After lunch the "Doberman only" class starts. Diane starts Tonia and Leda on some Dogga exercises to help them find a calm center. Personally, I think they ought to call it Doggy-Zen training, but hey what do I know? Meanwhile, at the other end of the studio Sanity watches as Chance gets a workout on the place command, moving from place board to negative space. Finally Sanity comes out to work on her retrieve from the ground. In spite of how well she handled what I thought were good distractions yesterday, today having two of her buddies watching was almost more than she could stand and getting two good retrieves from the floor was a major issue. By the time that was over so was our day.

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