Monday, November 13, 2006

Well we finally got to Croyden and even finally found our way to the correct class! Turns out we were placed in the most basic class and Sierra already knew pretty much everything except Stand which she kept confusing with (freestyle) Backing. Several folks seeing Sierra were quite interested in the clicker, which was a bit tricky as I felt I had to answer their questions but at the same time I was there in the role of student and didn't want to step on the instructors toes or appear to be taking over or 'preaching' clicker. Not to say I didn't want to say something when I watched a couple of the students try to get behaviours by luring or pushing their dogs into position while telling the dog "Sit! SIT. SIT!!!" and I was thinking, ohhhh.... that could be done so much quicker and clearer and less frusterating for dog and handler with a clicker! I also felt a bit bad for some of the students as they were truly just starting out whereas Sierra and I weren't. My dizzy redhead just needs a class where we she knows the behaviours pretty well so we can focus less on the skill sets being taught and more on getting her used to being calm and working in a highly distracting environment as I could tell she was all over the shop emotionally due to the stimulation! A couple of times two of the students remarked to the effect their dogs were hopeless and they just wanted to trade them in for one like mine. I kept saying, "Look, less than a year ago this was HER... you are just starting, your dog is just starting, you'll get there! (Hey you'll probably go beyond if you don't also have a toddler distracting you!) Just give it some time!" Not sure if they believed me or bought into the idea that Really Good Dogs are born Really Good or turn that way Presto-Bango because they're Really Smart when the truth is that it's just a smidge of training really, combined with the fact she's learned that the way to get what SHE wants is to do what I want. I love Sierra, she's a *good* dog, she's incredibly sweet and she'll work her heart out for me... but she's neither particularly naturally obedient, nor calm (rotflmao!) nor intelligent. She's actually the least drivey, least skilled in problem solving/assessment dog I've had... compared to some evil genius masterminds I might mention.

It also made me realize how far Sierra HAS come in a relatively short time. Up until Laurent was born, I was way more interested in agility and pretty much ignored obedience classes, just working on basic manners stuff and dabbling here and there at home with the rest. We got her CGC** but that is an incredibly easy certification. I only really worked with her on obedience stuff after L's birth and even that has been catch-as-catch-can! LOL She maintained attention even when a couple dogs came incredibly close and two stuck their noses virtually up her bum. Even 7-8 months ago she wouldn't have been able to maintain that, would have been bouncing on the end of her lead wanting to pllaayyyy with everyone, absolutely frentic, especially in such a majorly distracting environment! Croyden is a HUGE club! Not that she hasn't got a long way to go yet but it occured to me how far she's come!

I got a call later this evening from my instructor who basically said that while it'd be nice to keep me around as an example to the other students, she's going to advance me to another class because Sierra knows too much. It's still going to be basic enough that we can keep the main focus on working on distractions, fluency, latentcy etc rather than new skills but the instructor feels it should suit us more. So tomorrow I have to give the new instructor a ring to find out what has gone on in the past few classes and confirm our place there.

** Non doggy translation: CGC= Canine Good Citizen Award. To get this award, the dog must pass 10 tests: accept a friendly stranger, sit politely for petting, allow the examiner to groom/examine it, loose lead walk, walk through a crowd at a loose heel, sit & down on cue and stay in place while handler walks away before returning, do a recall, react calmly to a distraction and behave itself during a supervised seperation.

Also: big gripe - what the heck is up with tradesmen who think it's perfectly fine to miss an appointment, rock up 4-5 HOURS late without even bothering to give you a courtesy phone call and and in the latest case - cop an attitude when you're NOT THERE figuring they skipped out on you since they didn't even bother to call?!?!? Grr... and we are on a deadline too with the auction coming up!

Cuteness: Laurent had been calling Hope "Sisi" (Sierra's nickname) but has now come out with a new version for her: "Goo guu" which is Babybabble for GOOD GIRL!!! (Guess what Hope hears all the time....)

Yayness: Laurent's bday photos are done and now I just need to arrange for a time to pick them up! :-)


Kristie said...

I took a few photos of Aussies at the pet expo for you this weekend.. just need to upload LOL!

Cabrissi said...

Oh cool Kristie! Depending on who was there, you might actually have met my pups parents or relatives, as they're up north of you. :-)

Kristie said...

I did not even think to ask the breeders details as I could not remember Hope's pedigree LOL.

Were the breeder's of Hope at Pet Expo? THere were LOTS of Aussies there...

Cabrissi said...

Oh heavens, I don't expect you to remember her pedigree! It might not even help you anyways since her relatives would have different kennel names in some cases as her sire is co-owned by 3 breeders as he's an American import which can be a rather $$$$$ venture. All 3 have litters by him! Which doesn't include the people who own her half siblings from the Dream litter or her sire's brother and his pups etc etc. Chances are you DID see dogs related to her in one form and I have friends who'd probably recognize them if I don't. Aussies are still a rather small, new breed here and owners tend to be chatty! ;-)