Thursday, May 20, 2010

CGC Class #4

Last night, my ideas of what Zachary is "good" and "bad" at were turned upside down. That's not to say that he was inexplicably bad at what he had been good at, and good at what he was bad at (not that we haven't been there before) but rather that, given the right/wrong circumstances, he can be good at what he's bad at and bad at what he's good at.

Perhaps I should explain.

Last night was Canine Good Citizen (CGC) class #4, and feeling rather puckish, our instructor (Wendy) decided we should work on sits and downs. Big deal, right? I mean, Zachary can sit and down, no problem. That's one of the few areas of the CGC test I have zero worries about...

... but tonight, there was wrinkle. Tonight we needed to do them on the mats the dogs sit on during class. That is, Zachary had to do a sit and down on each of the three other dog's mats. For "fun", Wendy threw in a few cones as well, carefully stationed near known "hot spots" for scents.

(did I mention that Wendy was feeling puckish?)

Zachary, a 2 year old intact boy, is still young enough that scents - particularly dog scents - are very hard for him to ignore, and I figured he would go down in flames right from the start. And he did. Well, not in flames, but his nose sure went down right from the start.

"Zachary, Sit." (snuffle, snuffle) "Zachary!" (snuffle snuffle) "ZACHARY!"

Huh? Oh. Right. Sit!

And my (mostly) obedient pup plopped his rump down on the mat and stared up at me lovingly, obviously feeling quite proud of himself for having remembered what Sit meant.

"Good Boy" (sigh)

The rest of the mats and cones actually went fairly smoothly. I will admit to making an animated fool out of myself to get his attention at times, but once gotten, he did (mostly) listen. All in all, he wasn't half bad.

Next on the list was loose leash walking, something Zachary is not particular good at, especially when wearing his handsome quick-release martingale collar (as needed for the test) as opposed to his usual harness. Tonight, as one student put it, we got to do "barrel racing". Three student-and-dog pairs formed points of a large triangle. The fourth pair circled around each of the others. I'm not exactly sure why, but Zachary did pretty good at this one, both as the "horse" and as the "barrel".

The second time we had to do it without using the leash at all (still on, but not used). Once again, I pulled the fool in me out of the box and Zachary was either so embarrassed, amused, (or worried?) that he stayed close. Cool!

His long distance stays were rock solid, and he didn't go down from a sit!

The dreaded Supervised Separation turned into a fizzle, as Zachary calmly sat with his minder while I at first hid behind a curtain, then actually walked out The Gate and hid behind my car.

"No worries, Mom," he seemed to say, as he sat there confidently with nary a whimper. Perhaps the fact the days are long enough that it is no longer dark during class made a difference?

Once again, Wendy moved mountains to get Friendly Strangers in our midst, and this time they brought a distraction with them - the most adorable 10 week old Vizla puppy you'll ever meet. I guess the deal was the Friendly Strangers would be, well, Friendly Strangers, if the students would help socialize the puppy.

Gee, having to play and cuddle an adorable puppy? Those Friendly Strangers were really driving a hard bargain!    :)

For kicks, Wendy decided the Reaction to a Another Dog (two people, with dogs, approaching each other on a sidewalk, stopping to shake hands (dogs staying at owner's sides) and then everyone continuing on their way) should be Reaction to a Puppy.

(did I mention that Wendy was feeling puckish?)

I am proud to say that he was incredibly well behaved, generally stayed where he was supposed to, didn't cause any problems, and was the star of the evening...

... the puppy, that is. Zachary was horrible. Zachary was totally transfixed by the puppy, totally incapable of doing anything other than ogle the puppy, and practically dragged me across the yard to meet the puppy.

After several dozen failed attempts at loose leashing toward the puppy, we finally, sort of, got within six feet or so of the puppy (without pulling) and Wendy labeled it a "success".

Zachary's reward? The puppy.

There's my boy, standing there, looking down at this squirming bundle, who is now jumping up on his hinds legs and pawing at Zachary's face (ears, shoulders,...) and nibbling on his ears.

Awwwww....

(did I mention the puppy was adorable?)

I have no idea why Zachary was so interested in the puppy. He didn't seem to want to play with the puppy, he just wanted to sniff a little and then stand there like some sort of puppy jungle gym. Puppy on his ears, puppy on his tail, puppy crawling under him... and Zachary seemingly in his happy place.

The last bit was sitting for the friendly stranger and being pet by the friendly stranger, and other than the time Wendy walked over holding the puppy...

(did I mention that Wendy was feeling puckish?)

... Zachary was a rock.

I guess that pretty well covers the evening. In summation, Zachary is still way distracted by scents but seems to be getting better, his stays are lovely, loose leash walking is still a work in progress but improving, he loves puppies, is getting much better at sit/pet by strangers, and on this particular night he handled the Supervised Separation just fine.

2 comments:

Wendy Krehbiel said...

Had to look up the definition of "puckish", but the word does fit the crime :)

By the time we get to the test it will seem easy compared to what I've put you through!

BZ Training said...

Ok - added a link to the definition of "puckish". :)

I heard it in a Christmas episode of "Bones", and it's stuck in my head ever since!