Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Step Forward.....and Three Steps Back

She Keeps Tryin' to Train Us
But We Just Want
to Do Fun Stuff!
and Besides;
We Only Work for Food!

My Mom, God rest her soul, had a lot of sayings.  She was from Scotland and I guess they have a saying for every situation that can come up in life.  They also have a song for every situation, but that would go with a different story.  One of her sayings was crystal clear to me today.  "Every time I take one good step forward, I seem to slip three steps back!"  I recently read a really funny blog about a dog trainer who is training 'Devil Dog', shortened to DD.  He must live on a farm in the country.  His blog was quite hilarious as I found myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes as I was reading it.  It was on Victoria Stilwell's 'Positively' blog.  I can't find the post I'm referring to though.  They don't have a good archive section.  Anyway, this guy works every day training DD on the usual basics and especially on a recall.  He was proud of how well this pup was doing.  Then one day, -- it was raining of course, -- he was out with all his dogs checking on the farm animals and DD got out, chased all the cattle and sheep, tore something up that was really needed, all the while the guy was trying to chase DD down, calling 'COME' and cursing to no avail when he slipped in sheep doo and fell in the mud and hit his head and passed out.  Of course, when he came to, DD was sitting (proudly) in the back seat of the pick up with all the other dogs and a lot of mud and doo doo while the guy, very much in pain and covered in goo and doo was hobbling into the truck to try and get home.  The reason I was laughing so hard, (And I don't do the story justice.  I wish I could find a link to it for you) was because this is exactly how I feel when training my yea-hoos.  No matter how hard you train, or how good you are at training, sometimes dogs will just be dogs.  And the lesson is, training lasts a lifetime.  In my case, I hope it's the dogs' lifetime and not mine.  I feel my life getting shorter every day and I really think I've met my match with these two.  They may be the death of me.

So the sad Tail (get it? should be tale; he he) I have for you today is in two parts.  Part I began yesterday afternoon.....

I had been running like crazy all day.  My Jeep wasn't riding as smoothly as it should and I stopped by Sam's Offroad for them the check it out.  It turns out I needed tie rod ends and drag links whatever those are.  Anyway, this stop made me be in a rush to pick up Malcolm for his agility class.  As I was rushing home, my Designer called and needed to pick up some things from me. " OK.  But make it fast.  I'll be home in 20 mins.  You be there and I have to leave again in another 15 to be at school on time".  I got home just in time to put the dogs on a leash so the guy could get through my door without being knocked down or licked to death.  He came in and the dogs settled down quickly and we took care of some quick business.  When I turned around to look at the dogs, they were both laying on the rug in the family room.  No problem.  Ten minutes later, the guy was gone and I went to put McKenzie in her kennel and take Malcolm to class.  No.  Of course that's not how it went.  McKenzie didn't have her $45 soft braided leather leash on.  Malcolm did.  Where's McKenzie's leash?  CRAAAAP! (Roll the r and that's Scottish for got it!).  The clasp is still attached to her collar.  The leash is not here.  Not under any furniture.  Not in any room.  Not here.  What does that mean?  OH.  YES.  You guessed it.  SOMEONE ATE IT!  So now, late to class, I throw them both in the back of the Jeep and call the Vet's office on the way.  They have to call me back after they find out what the Doc wants me to do so I'm at class wondering which of my dogs is going to die tonight.  Dr. Carley called back and gave the advise that until they show a symptom, assume nothing is wrong.  "Do agility?????"  Yup.  But when someone starts to poop it out, DON'T PULL.  Bring them in to the office at that point. 
So, OK.  We made it through the night without further a-doo. (pardon the pun)

Part II began today as I let them out this morning one at a time and went with them to watch them do their duty.  No problems.  No issues.  No leather.  They both scarfed down their breakfast....all is well in the Palace O' Hagg.  Just in case, though, I took them both with me to Sam's Offroad where we all spent the morning hanging with the mechanics and Jeepsters while they put those parts on my Jeep.  They were a bit over playful at first but finally settled down and took a good snooze on the floor matte in the shop.  But still, no issues or problems have arisen.  So home again, they played in the back for quite a while as I caught up on household duties.  Then we were off to school for McKenzie's class.  Yes.  I took them both.  I want to keep my eyes on them for signs of trouble.  Really, Malcolm just can't keep eating things and having surgeries every month.

So, I didn't have a leash for Kenz but I found her old one in the boot of my Jeep and used that.  I had forgotten that the clasp sometimes came undone if she shakes just the right way.  Oh, yeah.  That's why I bought the new expensive leash to begin with.  ......  I was getting them both out of the Jeep and we had only 3 steps to go to the relative safety of the school.  >!@*#/<  We didn't make it.  The Houdini Dog got off the leash and that was it.  I remained calm in 5 o'clock traffic and waved at cars to slow down and pointed at loose dog while calling my calmest and best "HERE".  Oh she came.  But not close.  I didn't have any food.  So she ran bigger and bigger circles.  Me calling.....her coming, but staying just far enough away.  Damn.  I need food.  Now I'm frantically waving at passers-by so they won't hit my precious and beautiful little FREAK dog who can't focus on anything but play.  I drop my purse, open the school door and call someone with free hands to hold Malcolm or put him in a kennel or lock him in a room somewhere, and I leave. I grab my purse again and jump in the Jeep as I see McKenzie fly out into traffic and whiz at high speed up toward the railroad tracks and the super highway and ultimate death.   Thanks be to God!  As soon as I pulled out of the parking lot and raced in her direction, I saw a young couple pulled over with my dog.  Let me tell you.  The angels were with us today and they protected her.  I thanked them profusely with tears in my eyes and they explained that they also have a Boxer who does the same thing.  Just think!  God put those people right there at just that moment.  They saved her life.  And they did it because she's a Boxer.  I was so overwhelmed that when I got back, safe and sound, the tears just rolled down.  The really beautiful part was when one  of the trainers asked....wait for it.....'Don't you have an emergency recall?'  My answer?  'Apparently not'. 

And just for the record....yes.  I work recalls every day.  And she was coming back.  She just wouldn't do it completely, without food.  We're not exactly there yet.  Thanks to some very fine people, we have another day to work on it.

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