Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Better Idiot

A few quick definitions before we start:
id*i*ot (noun) : "a foolish or stupid person"
stu*pid (adjective) : "acting in an unintelligent or careless manner"

One of the things I enjoy most about Homeschooling is the complete control I have over what I choose to teach my dogs and when, with the goals I selected at the start of the year forming the major milestones I need to keep within my sights.

With Sue Ailsby's Training Levels, AKC's Canine Good Citizen test items, and the additional Canine Curriculum subjects I have created as my maps and travel guides, you would think this journey would be idiot proof...

... and you would be wrong...

... or perhaps I'm just a better idiot (see definitions above).

Take, for example, the "clever" idea I had to have "Circle Around Me" as the Trick of the Month for May. Given that Lacrosse was still going strong and Zachary was going to be cramming for Canine Good Citizen, I decided to pick something easy, and what could be easier than having your dog walk around you? A few cookies, a bit of luring (shhhh - don't tell the luring-phobic) and I'm done. You would think I could have the basics in a few minutes and the final product in just a few days work...

... and you would be wrong.

You see, Zachary is still working on Finish and has yet to have a cue added to the motions. (For those who might not know, a Finish is when the dog moves from being in front and facing you, to being beside you, in heel position, facing the same way you are.)

Now Circle Around Me has the dog starting in front, facing me, then moving all the way around me, and ending up facing me again.

Keep in mind that Zachary has a huge desire to please, and, when confused, is prone to running through his (long) list of similar (or not) things learned in hopes that one of them will be a match to what I'm looking for - sort of the Spaghetti on the Wall approach.

Need I say more?

Thankfully, it only took a few seconds of standing there, cookies in hand, staring into Zachary's eager eyes, to realize the enormity of my mistake.

(hint: visions of me trying to get a nice at-my-side sit for Finish while Zachary is running circles around me went zipping through my head.)

Sooo... there will be no Circle Around Me trick this month. For This Week I've tossed Cookie the Nose back on the list again, as Zachary never really got that one down. Hopefully, I will put more thought into the decisions I make next month than I did this time around (see definitions at the top of this post.)

"With great power, comes great responsibility", said Uncle Ben in Spiderman, and he is right. I have the power to decide what I'm going to teach my dogs and when, but I also have the responsibility to make sure my Lesson Plan is well thought out and isn't going to cause confusion.

This month, I failed.

Let's hope I manage to do better in the future.

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