Duke taken 10/2009
Some moments are so distinctive they are difficult to put into words and if there’s no photo/video of the actual moment it’s even more of a challenge. I had a two such moments in the past week.
Cool morning air is such a rarity these days so when it was still nice at 7am and Sagan the Elder dog wanted to be left alone in the garage Duke and I went for it. I tucked Sagan in, fresh water and some snuggly love then took that Duke dog and went out back.
Ohhh that Duke and I started working together and it was – oh my gosh – just amazing. Shaping his behavior, building on what he was providing. It was thrilling, just thrilling. He’s a blast. The way he works the yard and does his “run out” to scan/work the yard is really coming along but then the way he immediately responded to his “call back” was nothing short of spectacular. It wasn’t the response to his call back but the self control and ability to stop the intensity and focus of his work. It was a trip to see that. That was a choice he wouldn’t have been able to make 1 year ago.
Another day this past week we were out after a cooling rainshower. This time I went for a string of “exercises” I’ve been working on with Duke. Most of these exercises need refining to one degree or another. Going out there and asking him to pull these together wasn’t exactly wise but sometimes things just happen. The string of exercises kinda goes like this (if you’re interested):
Duke Sits. (by my side)
I toss ball/object – it goes flying but dog waits by my side. can’t move.
Mark. (spot object with eyes where it hit the ground)
Get it. (ball of fire to retrieve object)
Duke Come. (spin on dime and return with object)
Down. (drop into down while in the middle of the recall. stop and drop where I tell you)
Duke Come. (sitting in front)
Give. (give the object back. don’t drop it on the ground. No exceptions. It’s hard for him right now.)
While he’s not refined with his skills he sure did make me proud. He did everything I asked to one degree or antoher and didn’t even drop the ball when he returned to my feet.
I thought to myself: “Look how much he’s been learning.” And I remember thinking how special this all was. It was really just a moment between me and my dog alone, but you know, it’s was also me out there training my dog and even now, as I jot this down, I continue to feel, well exuberant!
As for Sagan, he continues to get his out time, his ball time, his play time alone with me. He’s elder but when it’s just the two of us he loves to show off his exhilaration. Mostly though, mostly he likes to hang out in the garage in the morning. He doesn’t want to deal with Duke at all.
The Young and the Resting, *karendianne. who hopes you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into another aspect of Life at LeeHaven.
(ps: Thanks to Wanda of Exuberant Color
for inspiring the name of my post!)