Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Canine Obedience Class

My Labrador Retrievers and I have returned to Canine Obedience class in a move that has taken great courage for yours truly.

The way it will work is that I will take each dog every-other week.  Last week, Blitz was the candidate because he is a yellow lab = calm, zen-like approach.  Except for the recalls in which he broke through all 6.

What is a recall?  All of the dogs and handlers line up at one end of the room.  Every-other handler leaves their dogs, and goes to the other end of the room.  Let's say 20 feet away.  Your dog is to sit and stay while you are at the other end of the room, and wait until it is your time to call your dog to come to you.  Blitz came at the first call, not at my call, leaving me to take the walk of shame, say "no" firmly (ok...I did stifle a laugh or two because he looked so guilty, which means his forehead wrinkled in that cute way of his), put the dog back in a sit, walk back to the handler position, and wait to be instructed to call my dog.  You call.  He comes bounding back to you, whereupon he is to sit directlyin front of you, stare lovingly into your face, and come into heel position at your left side, when you are instructed to have him do so.

It was waiting for his turn that was Blitz's downfall.

My gentle yellow lab is 85 lbs of Labrador affection.  10 years old and still looking good.

My enthusiastic black lab is 104 lbs of Tigger-like bounce.  6 years old.  Perennial teenager.

Oh boy.  Tonight is his night.

You see, Maverick likes to show off. He anticipates the turns during the heeling exercises.  He rushes ahead in the figure 8's.  And now, tonight, the recalls, after our two year hiatus, will be another exercise in courage and keeping on my feet for me.  Because, in all of his enthusiasm, Maverick will joyfully, grinning, with that big pink tongue of his hanging out of the side of his mouth, come to me when I call him alright.  And in all probablility (because he does it when we practice at home where there is no audience) he will launch himself at me, sit in front of me for the barest of moments, and then race to sit at heel position. 

The thing to remember is that the canine does not make mistakes.  It is the handler.  With any luck I will get photos tonight.

Wish me luck.  And steady feet.

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