Woof Woof Wednesday
A Precious Reaction To Service Dog Training
St. Francis of Assisi – Blessing of the Pets
Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures!
Monday, October 26, 2015
Monday began the same as every other Monday since my PreciousGirl has come into our lives. This pup and I have shared a constant dialogue full of many conversations, discussions, and flat out arguments where I am still unsure who won.
Precious: Momma, momma, momma, c’mon, Momma; you and the Daddy have to get up right right now.
The Daddy: Really, Girl?? Is it that urgent? There’s just no need for all that fussing, Momma’s coming take you out. Now, hush…
Precious: But Daddy, Daddy, but Daddy; if I don’t go right right now I gonna have accident before I get to the good good spot. I don’t like to piddle piddle until I’m in the good good spot.
I get her on her lead and stumble out the door behind her as the Daddy is getting into the shower. I’ve enjoyed this time with her since we first had her. It’s funny in the morning as she sniffs and searches, with ear twitches and slow steps until she is just at the edge of the tree line behind our place. I feel fortunate that she either feels private about her bathroom needs or wouldn’t like stepping in poop herself. She really tries to make sure and messy business is taken care of near the trees where no one walks.
We do a lot of “talking” on these little walks in the morning. Maybe it’s a form of meditation for me as I will talk about whether I slept well, what kinds of nightmares I might have had, and our plans for the day ahead. It’s a short walk, 7-10 minutes at most, but it’s a moment between me and my dog that has become valuable for clearing the sleepy fog out of my head before beginning my daily routine of getting the Daddy ready for work.
Precious: C’mon, Momma I wanna walk here, no here, oh wait, I need to go by the big tree for now.
Me: Ok, Precious hurry up this morning, Momma’s tired and we have a long day ahead.
Precious: What, wait, waaaiiit, Momma, I thought today was MY DAY!!! Yeah yeah yeah, Momma; ‘member, Momma you said I start special special classes today because I’m so Precious.
Me: C’mon and go, Precious. Make some potty for me. It’s not time to play. You DO understand that your sole purpose for being on this plane of existence as PreciousGirl is MY comfort and joy, not dragging me around the yard for all this dawdling and silliness. Go. Make. Some. Potty.
Precious: But but, Momma, but, Momma you did say today be MY DAY. All about me, Momma, ’member how you promised. I ‘member you PROMISED. Oh, wait, wait, Momma, don’t look at me, ok. Ok, Momma don’t look while I go.
And so it went. From morning to afternoon, and into her training class, the WHOLE DAY was for Precious.
Time for Training
There is a lot of truth to the saying that dogs are like children and misbehave more for their Peoples than for anyone else in the world. Precious was the absolute best girl in training class, a genuine star pupil. Of course, I give great credit to the patience of her trainer, Melissa Frye, Training Director for Cross Protection K9 Services. She has demonstrated great patience with me as well as Precious at every encounter. Especially this last one.
You know that feeling, when you’re already late for a 6:30 class and text to let them know, but it turns out the class started at 6 and you’re catching the tail end. Yeah, that feeling. Which led to Precious being the star pupil because Melissa was more than willing to stay a little late and give us some extended time with her alone.
Melissa has shown great patience with me, as anxious and chaotic CrazyAlphabetDisorderLady at every encounter. We begin with my own special panic attack on the phone with her sister as the contact I was first given to find trainers for Precious. She was as courteous and tolerant of my issues at Responsible Dog Ownership Day hosted by Greater Panama City Dog Fanciers Association September 19.
Although I experienced a lot of anxiety; that event was PreciousGirl’s first real stellar moment in the spotlight and an eye opener to me. Melissa was the only connection I knew as I entered this event. What seemed to be a large number of people caused and initial panic as I asked everyone who looked involved with the process if they were Melissa.
Her first moments with Precious that morning amongst a slew of people moving around, getting booths organized, and wrangling unruly pets on leashes really sealed the deal on choosing her as our trainer. She quietly got Precious’ attention with a hand signal and used sign language and a “Sit” so quiet, I’m only adding it here because she said she had actually said it when I asked her about training us with the sign language she had just used with Precious.
Being unprepared for just absolutely how beautiful and Precious, and attention getting PreciousGirl would be, along with her natural friendliness on Responsible Dog Ownership Day I had to deal with lots of anxiety and looking for different places to hide and sit with my dog; as everyone who got a glimpse of her needed to stop and pet and tell me how adorable she was and that They. Wanted. To. Take. Her. Home.
Anxiety drove me to leave the event early, but I left feeling confident in Melissa’s services as a trainer and patience with me as a client.
Melissa, gracious as always, was very patient and showed us the ropes, even though it kept her late. We had a great day then and during this evening’s class Precious showed her worth and intelligence. We learned a couple commands in between Precious’ diva moments in the mirror. PreciousGirl’s new commands and her stellar behavior at class left interesting conversation on the way home from class.
Me: Who’s the smartest girl in the world.
Precious: Me, me, me, I the smartest PreciousGirl. Did you see Momma, Momma did you see me run around and play with the Precious in the mirror. She looked like a PreciousGirl. I know, I know, I know because you show me the Precious Girl every time you take a picture.
Me: And you were the bestest behaved PreciousGirl there, weren’t you. I just wanna know why you can’t be bestest behaved every day at home like that.
Precious: But, but, but it’s too hard behavin’ at home, Momma. You had all my good, good, good treats and it smells like doggies there, so easy peasy to behave there. Home is hard hard hard to behave ‘cause I wanna chew ev’thing & jump on ev’body and show them how Precious the PreciousGirl is.
Practicing these commands brings about some Precious conversation.
Precious: Treats, treats, are you at the Treat Cabinet, Momma. Imma sit right now because Treats mean Sit.
Me: Good girl, we gonna practice
Precious: But, but, but Momma all I gotta do is Sit & look Precious. See, see, see how precious I am.
Me: C’mon now do it like Ms. Melissa taught us.
Hoping the class keeps her interested and behaving once she gets more comfortable in the environment and around the other dogs. There is a marked difference in her behavior on her lead as compared to how she behaves when she is allowed to run free. I see the leash will be part of her “uniform” soon. Hoping for the best behaved Service Dog in the world out in public and on her leash working but my fun fun fun puppy at home when we don’t have to worry about work or other people.