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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Graduation Night!

Tonight was Treasure's graduation from basic 1 obedience class!  We didn't really teach anything new, but we showed off all we had worked so hard to achieve.  Everyone in the class did so well!  We were issued a challenge for graduation night to see how many of us could get our dog to come from two feet away to target our hand with their nose.  We hadn't really been working on hand targeting because it's hard to run up to touch something you can't see. 

But because it was graduation night, and because it was a challenge, I volunteered us to go first!  I walked three feet behind Treasure and squatted down with my hand held out towards her.  My secret weapon?  The roast beef tucked between my fingers.  She quickly turned herself around and came toward me, eventually finding my hand.  Voila!  Instant hand targeting! 

All cheating aside, Treasure was able to show off all of her new skills.  Sit, down, come when called, sit for a polite greeting, walking on a leash.  We had been making progress on stays at home, but that seemed to go out the window tonight.  I think part of it was that I had roast beef tonight and she kept trying to get up to look around for more roast beef!  She does love to eat!  So I helped her to be successful with some very short stays. 

We all played baseball.  A sit at home plate to get us started, then a down at first, a sit stay for five seconds at second base (she did stay for the whole five seconds!), then on to third for a polite sit for greeting, and a recall towards home plate.  Our baseball game took a bit longer than the others, but we got a home run!

Then Treasure showed off her trick.  We had been working very hard on it.  I had her spin first in one direction and then the other.  She is better at spinning to the right because when I brought her home and she would start into a spinning frenzy, it was always to the right.  So I didn't have to help her too much in that direction.  I just tapped her hip on that side and she turned in a circle.  In the other direction, I had to lure her around still.  I was surprised that I had to lure her as much as I did on that side, but it is a new place for that skill.  We've really only practiced it at home until now. 

Then we all got our graduation certificates and the dogs got to pick a new toy!  I put Treasure down in the middle of the toys, wondering if she would pick one.  She still does not play with too many toys on her own, but I thought I'd give it a try.  If Brinks is playing with her and has a toy, she will often grab at the toy and may even bark at it if she finds it laying around.  But the only toy I have seen her play with by herself is the de-stuffed shell of a smiling sunshine.  Treasure smelled the pile of toys around her but seemed to quickly lose interest.  So I chose the same smiling sunshine toy for her to take home ... but this one still has its stuffing! 

I must say a very special thank you to our instructor, who welcomed Treasure into her class with open arms.  It is all too common to find that people are a bit hesitant or overwhelmed when faced with something or someone that may be different than what they're used to.  I thank her for believing in what Treasure can do and giving her the chance to shine!  Congratulations, Treasure! 

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