I love how animals always know the most opportune time to knock you down off your ego pedestal. When I was a teenager I taught one of my horses (or rather he tolerated me doing it) to ride without a bridle. I though I was hot shit one day and was riding him out in one of the turnouts. He got wound up and took off, bucked me off. I landed hard on my tailbone. I swear that took a year to heal… definitely took me down a few pegs.
Just last week when I thought I was Controlling Forest Unleashed like a pro, he brought me back to reality.
Had him and Diego out at the soccer field for a quick lunchtime training session. (Error 1–thinking I can manage both dogs at once, outside of the house. I can barely do it at home.) I took them on a quick walk/sniff to burn off some steam pre-training as they had been at home alone for the morning. (Error 2–don’t let them start off paying attention and then let them recess into evermore distraction-land. Sun, grass, bugs, bushes after being cooped up all AM. It was all too much.) I had a decent amount of confidence as last time we went to the field, Forest was great. So I let him off the long lead to do some single jump drills. He was fine to start with, but quickly got bored/distracted as half of my attention was paid to Diego trying to get him to stay on his mat. (Error number 3–not reading the situation quickly.) Needless to say, Forest thought the other world was far more interesting than my half-attention and dumb drills, so he took himself on a walk. I chased him down and got him to stop by throwing a handful of treats at his head from ten feet away. Not my finest dog training moment, but it worked.
We then quickly packed it up and went to the office where I dropped Forest off at Doggie Day Care across the street. Diego sleeps quietly on his bed while we are at work, so he gets to hang out. Forest sits in my office, growling and barking at me working until I can’t stand it any more and give in to his annoyances. And last week, his little routine bought him 3 days in a row of DDC. He was not happy about it. I put him in the Dog Play area. He promptly ran to the corner and jumped out—over the 3+ foot partition. I picked him up, and put him back in figuring I would win this test of the wills. Turns out his will is much stronger than mine. After SIXTEEN jump-overs, I gave up. I had the DDC lady step in so I could leave.
I felt like a failure that day for sure. But as always lessons learned as well… Pay attention, dont assume, and that maybe I am not always the smarter or more resilient one in the partnership.
On a high note, we have been doing some weaves at home in 5 minute sessions and he has been getting really consistent with his entries, even when I angle them somewhat. That is a victory, so I will take it.
And this is what I thought was a nice little piece I found over at Time.com on Westminster. Subtly catty or not? I can’t decide.