Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day Four of Basic Two

One of the teachers today told me that Parker should fly through the Therapy Dog evaluation. Since that’s one of the reasons I wanted a Poodle, that was what I wanted to hear. Of course, in order to pass the test, he has to have a clean fecal, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Class today was fine. I probably should have taken him for a long walk before class, because he was awfully excited about being there and didn’t heel all that well. But this isn’t an obedience class, so that’s no big deal. He didn’t pull or act up. Just too joyful for quiet heeling. When we put the dogs in kennels and left them to hold another dog, whose owners then went outside, he went right in without a fuss. He was one of the few not to bark, although he kept his eye on me the whole time and greeted me with a happily wagging tail when I went back for him. Then I handed him off to another person and went outside. When I came back (two minutes later), the woman holding him said he sat the entire time without fuss.

He let all the teachers come up to him and pet him and took chicken from each of them, although he refused the tasty meatloaf one of them offered.

All in all, a good day.

Before I make it sound too much like he’s a perfect dog, he’s learned how to jump onto the bed from a stand and he proved it this morning while I was trying to make it. Didn’t seem to understand why I wasn’t pleased with him. Mike wonders how long it will take him to realize he can jump the fence around the backyard, which is only four feet high. I suspect it will just take the right incentive. Like me being on the other side.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Three of Basic Two

We didn’t have class last week, so this is day three, although week four. You’d think that, with an extra week to practice, we would be much improved. But not if you know me.

We arrived at the tail end of the puppy class (I do adore watching the puppies), and started with a floor covered with agility equipment. A pause table, a couple of very low jumps, a pause table, a wheelchair, a vacuum, and two barbershop poles lying on the ground. I have no idea what the last was about. In spite of his first experience with the pause table, when his newly shaved and slippery feet caused him to slide off, Parker went right up to the table, hopped on and gave me a sit without my asking. He climbed the stairs like a pro and again sat, this time looking at the pause table, where another dog was lying down. So he hopped off the steps, went to the pause table, climbed up and lay down. Good boy! Although I guess it would be better if he waited to see what I wanted him to do. The wheelchair and vacuum got sniffed, the jumps jumped and we walked through the barbershop poles.

The class officially started with some heeling work. Parker was a bit too enthusiastic (hey! I had chicken!), going out in front, but a few turns got him lined up again. As long as we weren’t too close to any other dogs, he sat reasonably straight.

Then half the class put their dogs in crates, came back and took our dogs from us and the rest of us went into a bathroom. It’s hard to describe the look, but if Parker’s ears could be said to droop, that’s what they did. He didn’t whine, jump or pull, but he had a horribly abandoned look about him. I watched his reflection in the bathroom mirror and he was heeling nicely with the stranger, but his tail was tightly tucked under his legs. After two minutes we were allowed back. I walked up to him without looking at him and he kept still by the stranger, not whining or jumping. When I took back the leash I asked for a hug, and he put those big front paws around my waist and leaned his head up against my chest.

Then it was Parker’s turn to go into a crate. Man, he didn’t like that, but he allowed it. Again, for the two minutes I was with another dog, he didn’t whine or bark. But he about knocked over the crate with his wagging tail when I went back to get him.

We did some in and outs around a circle. His focus was pretty good as long as the other dogs didn’t get too close. And he allowed most of the others to reach out and pat his head, although, for some unknown reason, he kept circling behind me for one of them, the last to try. Maybe he was just tired of it.

So all in all, a good day. And, as usual, he’s collapsed at my feet now and will probably remain so for the rest of the day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I suck as a trainer

I just did another training session with Parker. Having attended another rally class yesterday (without Parker who was getting beautiful at the groomer’s) it was so-o-o-o clear that he has a long way to go before we can hope to do rally together.

So, spurred on, I armed myself with some chicken (he’ll work hard for chicken), I took him into the bedroom to work. He followed happily, tail up and tongue out (“Oh boy! Chicken”) and, as soon as we got into the room, he threw himself into a down. Now I’m well aware of how many posts I’ve put up, despairing that he would never learn the down, but now that’s all he thinks to do. I say, “Sit!” He does a down. I say, “Come!” He does a down. I say, “Watch me!” He does a down.

So I’m confused about how many different things to do in one session. Since, really, he only wants to do one thing.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Mike decided to work from home this afternoon, so he took off from work and came home by way of dog school to watch. He hadn't done that yet. So, of course, Parker chose today to put on his goofy. When I asked him to sit, he'd give me a down. When I asked for a down, I got a sit. A very crooked sit. He interpreted heel to mean get out in front of me and walk -- or bounce -- backward. Or to flip over to my right side. As a consequence, whenever he did it right, I'd treat him. So after class, Mike's comment was, "You treat him way too often. You're teaching him to be a squirrel."


Mostly in class we worked on the sorts of things that we will have to do to pass the Canine Good Citizen Test and a bit on the therapy dog evaluation. So real obedience stuff wasn’t high on the list, and Parker did rather well. He continues to be a gentleman, and while he’s not fond of my leaving him or other people getting too close, he doesn’t jump or pull, whine or bark. We walked through other people and dogs walking and he paid pretty close attention to me, although he kept a close eye on what was happening around us. He wouldn’t go up to a person in a walker or a wheelchair, but I think it was more because there was a person there, rather than that there was a wheelchair. He was on a down stay when one of the teachers suddenly dropped a metal bowl on the floor, and he didn’t startle or budge. And he did let others pet him, although it was clear that it wasn’t his first choice.

So I’m pleased with him. I’m just not all that pleased with Mike.