Delilah and I started our Intermediate Dog Handler Class this past Tuesday.
Never having been there before and not sure of what to expect we arrived a few minutes early. It worked out great since Delilah didn’t get a chance to tinkle before we left the house.
The class is held at the Community Center, which appears to be a recycled school. Our class was in what I would consider to be a gym. The instructions said, drive around back and enter through the double gray doors.
I scoped out the situation and timed our entry so we weren’t walking in with any other dogs. I never know if Delilah will react or not. I choose a spot away from the door and settled down on the inner wall.
If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time you will know one of my
many pet peeves is clueless dog people. Sure enough, safely settled on the far side of the room, in bops an older woman with her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel through the interior doors.
I’m almost certain I heard the words, this isn’t good come out of my mouth.
Thankfully the instructor was right on top of the situation and quickly moved the woman to the other side of the room.
We began by working on wait, using both the hand signal and the verbal cue which we combined with front. The front command was the release of the wait, and we were told to give the command, hold a treat out in front of us and then pull it into our belly button. This brought the dog to a sit position right in front of you.
It worked like a charm. Delilah was amazing working on this command.
Once we had worked on those two commands for a bit, the instructor said we’re going to learn the leave it command.
I think I’ll use your dog, she said as she looked at me.
I know I snickered.
She started with a treat in her hand and placed her hand on the floor, “Leave it” she told Delilah.
Delilah licked the instructor’s hand.
“Ignore the licking” she said, as Delilah began to paw at her hands, “Ignore the pawing” she said.
Delilah rolled over onto her side showing her tummy and pawed with one paw.
The instructor turned her head and said, “Don’t smile or laugh when they do this.”
Finally Delilah sat up and looked the instructor in the eyes.
“Yes!” She was treated from the opposite hand.
Apparently when using the leave it command you are never to give the dog the treat you are asking them to leave.
Good to know.
The whole process took a good minute if not more. I didn’t have my camera because it was the first night and I wasn’t sure how the instructor would feel about pictures. (But I’ll be sure to ask next week.)
She worked Delilah a couple of times like this and then took her out into the middle of the room and dropped a bunch of treats, “Leave it.”
Delilah almost went for them, but then changed her mind and instead looked up at the instructor.
If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it!
Once I started working her, it took her a minute or so but once she figured it out, she was staring me straight in the eyes and her look said, I get it.
When she looks at me like that, I feel like we are a team working towards a common goal.
She worked great the entire class and was perfectly fine until we left and the lady I parked next to came out with her dog. She lost her mind and started barking and snarling.
I wonder if they have a class for guarding?
I’ll leave you with a picture I took tonight when we were working on our wait/front command in the field. I’m not brave enough to take her off leash but every time I gave her that front command on our walk, she came back to me!