Thursday, March 09, 2006

Day 231

The red Doberman boy was here this morning for his first lesson on the ecollar. It just seemed like the perfect time to start her on another one of her duties. I just had the feeling she was ready and it turned out I was right. She acted as the loose dog in the park, which pretty much means she was lose in the training yard, running hither and yond as a distraction. She isn't ready to do this job with just any and every dog, but for a first time I was very pleased with her work. Little minx, I'm sure she knew she was pleasing me, because she sure did prance.

Tyler just keeps on trying to be a Doberman. His determination is helping to set in concrete the feeling I have always had that the larger Poodles were simple funny looking Dobermans. I am also fairly certain he is drawing some of his staunchness from the knowledge that a certain young Doberman will be there watching his back. So he too, has become a part of the overall training of Sanity.

It's strange how the entire thing seems to be playing itself out. Way back when, 1985+, I had a Doberman who took a young Papillion under her wing and was the guide through months of training. That young Papillion went on to become the first Papillion to work as an Assistance Dog. He held that position for almost 10 years, doing all sort of amazing things along the way. When he had to retire because of age and illness, I found myself training a Sheltie as his replacement. Wrap took this rather shy and retiring Sheltie girl under her wing. After months of training she went on to do a good job as the replacement Assistance Dog. Now along comes Tyler at about the same point in Sanity's training. Sure enough, Sanity has taken Tyler under her wing. I have resigned myself to the reality that both dogs are meant to be, since there is no way I could have forced, tricked or cajoled any of these dogs to behave the way they have chosen.

In class we did articles and Sanity was actually almost over eager to do them. I had a hard time getting her to hold a stay long enough for me to be able to give her the scent and send her. She did 1 and then 4 o'clock without a single hitch. Well, that is totally true. She did come back with the correct article one time and proceed to throw it at me. Of course, I dropped it and she had to pick it up again.

The really funny thing happened when we were working on flat retrieves. The room was set up with baby gates dividing it in half. I was had a team working on each side of the baby gates, just as an interesting diversion from what we normally do. When it came time for Sanity to do the retrieve on the flat, her opposite was Lightning. Diane and I both threw our dumbbells.

Sanity, not waiting for my command shot through an opening at our end and grabbed Lightning's dumbbell. Not to be outdone, at the other end Lightning upon seeing what Sanity had done, proceeded to do the same thing with her dumbbell. The entire class burst into laughter. The mistake got sorted out and when we repeated the exercise, both dogs shot out, grabbed their own dumbbells and shot back. No worrying about the guy rushing passed on the other side of the fence, no cutting over to steal from the other guy. Just a straight, clean, fast retrieve. Nice.

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