Thursday, November 17, 2005

Day 119

This morning I tested Sanity with the 6 foot retrieve again. Dogs in the way. Dogs trying to push her out of the way. Dumbbell on top of a stool. Dumbbell part way hidden behind the leg of a stool. Not a single hitch in her response. Great!

Then because of holiday plans, my nail day had to be changed from the normal Friday morning to Thursday afternoon. This meant that instead of taking an afternoon nap, we were off to the nail salon. I thought it would be the perfect time to do one final test before moving on to more difficult things. SOB! She didn't pass the test. All she could see was her rug and I guess nap time and she was having nothing to do with anything else. So we shall try again in a couple of weeks.

The interesting thing that did happen was that Sanity went from the house to the car and from the car to the shop and then to her rug all without the use of a leash. I confess, the lack of a leash from the car to the shop was a mental blip on my part. I didn't even realize I had forgotten to put the darn thing on her until we were in the shop. Since she failed the retrieve test, you can best bet she was on leash when we left. I just keep on reminding myself that haste makes waste and in this case hasty training means wasted time having to backtrack and fix holes left in the training foundation. (Side note: she fell so fast asleep that she was actually snoring.)

I guess I have now seen it all. In the shop was another woman with a dog. This was not a service dog or a service dog in training or even a dog in training. This was a dog playing the part of being a baby. Dressed in clothes and being pushed around in a stroller was a medium sized Yorkie. I couldn't believe my eyes. All the hair dressers were making over this "THING". Passing it from hand to hand, holding it, cuddling it and cooing over it. I suppose Wrap and I and now Sanity and I must be a real disappointment to all of them.

The owner of this "thing" was horrified that there was a DOBERMAN loose in the shop. Except no one was interested in what she had to say, including Sanity who slept through the entire thing. As for me, well I got my knuckles cracked twice to remind me to keep my mouth shut and look the other way. Seems I was staring complete with my mouth hanging open at the spectacle. It is no wonder dog owners are in trouble, when dogs are being treated as if they were humans.

This being Thursday meant evening class. Another great place to test how we are doing with the retrieve. But first she had to break her down/stay not once but three different times. Who knows why? She is normally rock solid with the down/stay and shaky on the sit. So maybe I have been practicing the sit/stay too much this past week? Maybe. Balance is so hard to maintain. Now on to the retrieve test.

The other two dogs in the picture are interesting. The little Australian Terrier is 8 years old and just now learning to retrieve. He is doing a great job. The mixed breed is 2 years old and learning to retrieve so as to have much better control over his impulse to bite first and ask questions later, as well as pick fights with other dogs. Now he bites the dumbbell and carries a ball around in his mouth when he is around other dogs. It is definitely working. All you have to do is keep the mouth busy and it stays out of trouble.

And then there is Sanity, remember she is 6 months old. Sanity didn't pass the test BUT she did do something that really pleases me. When faced with the three dumbbells so close together like the three were, she had to carefully sniff the other two before picking up the correct one and returning with it. Needless to say, I did not correct her for her interest in scent. That will most certainly be the next thing on the training agenda, just as soon as the basic retrieve is in place. Since we have two weeks before the next class and the next test, who knows? Maybe she will pass next time.


  1. I have been reading your blog from start to finish. Really enjoying it.

    And, ACK on the yorkie. Why do people insist that dogs be treated as humans and most importantly, babies! You train your children, train your blasted dog!!!

  2. Sorry if I'm being dense, but what was the test that Sanity failed?

  3. She didn't go out at once on a single command, fetch the correct dumbbell and bring it back to me.