Friday, September 24, 2010

Front and Center!

There's not much prettier than a dog who races to get to you! How adorable is it when I call a furry client and he runs over twenty-five feet in what looks like three bounds and he sits almost on my toes, looking way up at my eyes? "Yes, miss. You rang? Are we going to do something fun now? Got cheese? Let's do that again!" One of the most important cues to teach, of course, and one of my favorites when the pup does it with such glee.

A client and I played hide-and-seek in her yard this week. She sat and stayed while I hid. I called and she found me in one second flat. What more could anyone want from a dog?

There are lots of ways to get that reliable recall--but most important? Be inviting! Be interesting! Be unpredictable!

Good human, good! :-)

You know who loved hide-and-seek more than almost anything? Tucker. Still missing you every minute, little man.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Training After Loss

As many of you know, we recently lost our fifteen-year-old dog, Tucker, to liver cancer. It came from nowhere and hit hard (he had full tests done in January after he ate a cat toy and there was no cancer then).

He was my heart--and for so long. It took me two years to get over the loss of his brother, Kelsey, and I don't expect this grief will go away much sooner. He was Perfect in Every Way. He never did anything wrong in his life. Truly. He chewed on kitchen molding once as a four-month-old puppy. That is IT. Hard act for nutty Tommy the Cheech to follow.

We're all managing to keep distracted, which seems to be the only way to survive.

What shocks me is how fine I am training other people's dogs. With the exception of a short session meeting three rescue dogs, I canceled all my training appointments for a week. Now I'm back with my furry clients and loving every minute as usual. I would have expected to have strong reactions to being around other dogs, but it's business as usual.

They're not Tucker. They're all individuals, too, and full of love and joy and friskiness.

It's a great life. Though it was better with Tucker in it.

Good-bye, dearest, sweetest, gentlest, most patient friend. No one ever loved a dog the way I loved you.