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I'm a children's author. Animals are a constant source of writing material for me. They are also my heart!

Humbled by Sammy

>> Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Animals have a way of humbling me and Sammy is no exception. Last night was his first night at obedience class. Sam was the biggest, loudest, strongest, most distracted dog there. So much for my"I've trained an 1800 pound horse and Sammy will be a piece of cake," philosophy. HA!
My first thought was, "Geeze, I wish I hadn't told the instructor (Amy) that my goal is to show Sammy in obedience classes in the future!"
My second thought was lost in Sammy pulling me across the room like a kite on a breezy day. I'm not kidding. The only good thing was that Sammy made me feel weightless. It was a quick successful diet for me.
Amy saved my dignity when she brought over a gentle leader. The hour in class began to get easier. A gentle leader is soon to become my new best and out of class!
Before I get distracted with the gentle leader, let me go on and tell you about the rest of the class! We did the traditional sit fairly easily when Sammy and I were in sinc (about 2% of the time). The part that was really important evaded us for the entire night.
WATCH ME is the basis of me getting Sammy's attention. All the boy had to do was look at me. I could click my clicker and give him a treat while saying WATCH ME at the same time. Do you think the boy would look at me?
Of course not.
He looked at the dog beside him. He looked at Amy. He looked at Chuck when he walked in. Sammy smelled my pockets. He tripped on his water dish. Sammy's mind wandered more in one hour than mine does on a normal day! Sammy might have looked at me once, but I missed it and didn't click in time. In short, I was humbled.
I'm pretty good with animals of all sizes and usually feel confident and skillful. Sammy knocked me down a notch or two...or twenty! It didn't help any when he got in the jeep and drooled down my neck.
Actually, truth be told, I enjoy challenges. If Sammy was too easy, his training wouldn't be nearly so exciting. Today is a new day. I think I'm going to start out by clicking myself for tenacity, then treating myself to extra cream in my coffee. Look out Sammy...the day is early and I'm on a mission!!
Annabelle and Maddie, you're on my agenda too!


Soggibottom June 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

You will have to find a saddle that fits him and have lots of mints and carrots in your pocket...
Thank you, I enjoyed being a fly on the wall in your class :-)
x x x

Jan Mader June 29, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

Now there's an idea!

Tweedles -- that's me June 29, 2010 at 9:07 PM  

I have a secret for you,,, there is a difference in "treats" and "just treats". I bet if you had some nice crispy bacon in your pocket, Sammy may not take his eyes off you!
Sailing across the room like a kite,,,now that would be a fun thing to see.
We can't wait to hear about the progress of the next class.
Another challenge maybe.

Soggibottom June 30, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

This looks like a three way conversation :-)

Hi Tweedles. x x x

We used to know a babe like Sammy, a very long time ago... I knew what his favorite food was.... sausages...... try cutting them up small, and putting them in your pocket. You will probably have the whole class to attention !

I never go further away than a day, always return... :-) X X X

katie, Maizey and Magnus July 1, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

Hi jan, thanks for visiting back at Lessons From and for 4 Legs!

Sammy is so funny, our pups certainly do have a way of teaching us how much we DON'T know!LOL I was curious if you had ben working on these things before class-it seems like such a high distraction situation I wonder that very many of our 4legged friends would be very successful unless they had a lot of practice before!

In our book though you both get A+ for success for just being there! and maybe you should try giving sammy a good swim-it might wear him out before class!LOL

Sandy July 1, 2010 at 11:19 PM  

Hope night 2 goes better for you, and especially hope he doesn't pull you more. That can't be good for your back.

Maybe the newness of class for him is now over and he'll do better. Got my fingers crossed for ya.

T July 9, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

Well geez, I have missed so much!!
Sammy is beautiful!! I love Newfs. I miss my Benny, my black newf passed away 5 years ago:(

Good luck with Sammy, he fell in the right hands!

Honeygo Beasley July 10, 2010 at 8:43 AM  

Hi, Jan ...

I agree with Tweedles. That's some good advice we got at puppy school a long time ago.

Chicken - real chicken - is my REAL treat!

- Chloe

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