Monday, July 28, 2014

A Separation of Chamberlains and Other Comings and Goings at the Palace

 It has not gone beyond my notice that the Palace has suffered to some not insignificant degree in the current economic instability of our Dukedom of Hagg.  This of course, is in large part due to the domestic policies set forth by the current King and Queen.  HisRoyalHeiny, King Hogan
of MO and All the various Dukedoms within it's vast territory, including the Land of Hagg,  has been forced by his Queen, Barbara of Argyle, to put in place policies that greatly benefit her heirs and relatives while leaving the rest of the Kingdom in a royal shamble, as it were.  The King is completely and utterly useless and wholly without power when faced by the ravishing beauty of his Bride, Queen B.  
King Hogan and Queen B

Using the 'trickle down' theory of economics, there is, therefore, bloody little left for the rest of us.  I make this statement only with regard to your understanding of Our sense of responsibility to our dear subjects;  that, of course, being you.  We took (under duress) drastic measure to dis-employ our Press Secretary (thus leaving this blog and ultimately the Good People of the Land of Hagg in utter silence for the past some weeks) and that responsibility, along with many other important duties, have been temporarily heaped upon the one person we found we could not carry on without.  Therefore, our Mopping Up Woman has kept her original duties and we have added to them that of Press Secretary, Royal Chef in charge of all state dinners, Guardian, Liaison to the much beloved (if not incompetent) Royal Highnesses, Diplomat in charge of foreign affairs, Librarian, Exercise Instructor, Physical Therapist, Body Guard and all round Companion to Our Royal Personages.  The strain of  implementing all of these responsibilities has left our dear Mopping Up Woman a wee bit crabby and tired and we daren't confront her for her lack of enthusiasm as Press Secretary lest she fall short with us and leave us much in a lurch.  With all this in mind, we were right glad when she announced that she would be making a public statement regarding the State of Our Dukedom.  We beg the Good People of Hagg, our Subjects, to take this news with compassion and understanding that the Mopping Up Woman is unaccustomed to Public speaking and will be telling the tale to the best of her meager ability.  We humbly beg your understanding in this most urgent matter, Good People and as soon as circumstances allow, rest assured, we will take on a new Press Secretary who is more qualified to string two words together and make a sentence than our dutiful and dear if not uneducated Mopping Up Woman.

These things we humbly implore.

~Nessie the Monster, Duchess of Hagg
~Lord Malcolm, Chamberlain
~Lady McKenzie, Chamberlain absentia

Dear People Good People of Hagg,  {in a sort of lower Cockney accent}

I, the Mopping Up Woman to their Royal Pains in the Arse  er, Majesties, have been given the duty (one among countless) to provide you with information regarding the Royal Duchess and her two spoiled worthless beloved Chamberlains.  Please excuse my penmanship as I seldom have access to quill and paper.........The ink splotches are inevitable.  "NOOOO, My Lord Malcolm!  IN-Evitable.  Not Edible!"  Bloody dog!

First, let me explain about that Duchess.....

You know, I've worked for her for some 11 1/2 years and I worked for the Duke before her demanding bossy cranky loving presence was known to the Duke.  When she came to the Palace, she was wild unruly uneducated beautiful and loving toward the Duke and all the staff of the Palace of Hagg.  WishBone, Duke of Hagg was 'smitten' in no time and elevated her to be his Duchess which, quite frankly, made a lot of work for me.  So I had to see to her education and eventually she did become quite the Lady of the Palace.  All the Good People have loved her lowe these many years and I, even I have grown very fond of her for she is a warm and loving woman with great wisdom for her advanced years.  Truth be told, that even though she claims to need me;  I need her more.  I realize that I would be owner of the Palace nothing without her......
WishBone, Duke of Hagg and his new Duchess, Nessie the Monster

Advanced in years though she is, she is beginning to suffer loss of control of her once beautiful body.  I believe that you must know that she has a disease called Degenerative Myelopathy--a breakdown of the sheath lining of the nerves in the spinal cord.  Her back legs have completely lost stability, though, with help, she can still stand. She is using her 'Hound Around' wheels now to stand and eat and to go to the Water Closet.  She balked at the wheels for as long as she could and still feels quite beside herself and appalled that she must use them now.  She is a very proud person and has proved to be quite the pain in the butt in her old age.  While learning how to use the cart, she simply would stand there and refuse to move for what seemed like hours.  I used tea and crumpets to lure her hither and thither and she certainly can use the durned thing because when she went on a recent tour of the outer regions of the Dukedom, she was scooting all over the place like nobody's business.  She is simply stubborn cranky proud.  Well, so she has to use it now for eating, drinking, walking -- she can still drag herself along thus explaining her adamant complaints when forced to use the wheels-- and using the er, ahem, facilities.  I must say that it was quite a celebration the first time she was able to uh, er, number 2 while still in the cart.  As it turns out, if she has to go badly enough and I ignore her long enough, she will go and take care of business.  I rue the day that she begins to get even worse.  Dogs loose control in their back legs first but the disease slowly moves up the spine and eventually they become completely paralyzed, even losing their bark voice.

Do to the obvious handicap of Duchess's current condition, Their Royal Heinies Logan and Barbie found it necessary to send one Chamberlains along with the Royal Driver (of course they have retained the driver even in these hard times) to the most northern region of the Kingdom.  There have been many rumors of an uprising in this region and many of the Kingdom's fine relatives are dying.  It was quite necessary to send someone to quell the violence and to visit with those who remain;  to cheer them and to make our Royal Presence known to them, thus giving them courage to continue on the good fight.  So Lady McKenzie was chosen to take this adventure and has been gone for at least 2 weeks.  She has done a good job to bring many mercies and much laughter to the upper portion of the Kingdom and word has gotten back that she has been seen swimming and boating and walking amongst the crowds of People pressing upon her. She has commissioned a local artist to erect a statue to our beloved Duchess and has overseen it's completion.
Nessie the Monster--a stone sculpture in Grand Rapids Zoo, MI.

She has shown much courage and has thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of the Uppers as they are called in the region of Michigan.  Some think she is getting a big fat head and thinking of herself as the Duchess rather than a lowly Chamberlain. I certainly think she takes advantage.

Lord Malcolm has truly enjoyed his time away from his hysterical sister.  I think he quite likes taking care of the Duchess and has shown much affection toward me even though I a no-but a Mopping Up Woman.  At first, he was quite lonely, I think, but has certainly come out of his shell and has been taking long (very long) walks every morning to visit the tenants who live small distances away from the Palace proper.  He enjoys talking with them and especially the donkeys, cows, horses and even the bulls.  They all love him so very much and are so excited to see his Royal Wiggle-Butt Presence that they run to the fences (yes, we have to use fences to keep them back and protect our Royal Idiot Chamberlain from such largess of muscle and attention.  No one knows which might be crazy and actually try to disembowel our Lord Chamberlain).  Lord Malcolm has also been sent on many mundane errands in order to keep the Palace in running order as he has also cut back on his staff.  Of course, that means that I am also doing all of His bloody work!  Recently, he met many people and other animals at the local PetsMart.  He totally entertained them with  his charm by playing a game of  "if you will bloody get out the Jeep, I'll reward you by letting you get back in".  So out and back in.  Out and back in.  Out and back in.  The People were watching and smiling and murmuring as we did this game for over 30 minutes in the parking lot.  Lord Malcolm felt that this put the Good People at ease and much more comfortable with his drooly cowardly nervous panicked awesome presence.  Soon (not bloody soon enough for me), they were all comfortable enough for His Lordship to enter the building.  Lord Malcolm has definitely gained much in confidence and courage and is more and more relying on his body guards (yes.  that's me too)-- having gained a beautiful trust between him and them--to protect him from danger.  Much has been accomplished in the last year and especially in the last 2 weeks while Lady Sister has been away.  I may be just the Mopping Up Woman to them Royal Butt Heids, but I'm a damned good 'un to keep around. They wouldn't be Royal or otherwise were it not for me.  Granted, they do pay me well and give me a corner of the bed to sleep on.  They are very demanding, especially now, of my time and effort and I ain't gettin' much younger myself, but I have to admit that I have grown to love them like my own and couldn't be able to carry on without their bloody whining and complaining and all of their coming in and going out all day.  They are rich enough, even in these times.  They should 'a put in a bloody revolving door, mind.  Aye?

A Nose Off 'twixt the Duchess and Lord Malcolm

Thank you for your patience in awaiting the latest news from the Palace and for reading this rambling.  We hope that you find it informative and well as entertaining.  Our main hope is that you become aware of the many health issues and training problems that plague our precious babies and that you use your new-found knowledge to do your best to prevent them, help them to overcome and learn better training techniques so that you and your beautiful Boxers can live a long, happy and peaceful life together.  All dogs, no matter their age, should be tested for DM.  It is a simple swab of the mouth that you can do at home.  You must breed responsibly.  In most cases, to me, that means don't breed at all.  Back yard breeding and Puppy Mill breeding should never happen.  There are too many dogs abandoned and turned over to shelters because of people who don't know what they are doing and who have not done their due diligence to research the qualities of a breed.  (I was just called the other day and someone told me they had no idea a Boxer puppy would have that much energy.  Did I know someone who could take this dog off their hands?) Do  not breed your pet just because you love them so much and want another one just like it.  The puppy is guaranteed not to be like your original pet.  They all have a different personality.  Choose from a shelter and save a life.  But if you DO breed, do the DNA tests first, and breed to the benefit the breed standard.  If you don't understand science, don't breed.  You may order your DM test and other tests from The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.  

I took the liberty of naming King Hogan and Queen Barbie who are friends of mine.  I used a picture of the back of their heads.  It is not MY picture but belongs to +Amber Watson.  The name of their town has been changed to protect the innocent.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Duchess and the "Hound-Around"

Degenerative Myelopathy:  Canine degenerative myelopathy, also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, is an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years and it is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, and boxer dog, though the disorder is strongly associated with a gene mutation in SOD1 that has been found in 43 breeds as of 2008, including the wire fox terrierChesapeake Bay retrieverRhodesian ridgeback, and Cardigan Welsh corgi.[1][2] Progressive weakness and incoordination of the rear limbs are often the first signs seen in affected dogs, with progression over time to complete paralysis. Myelin is an insulating sheath around neurons in the spinal cord. One proposed cause of degenerative myelopathy is that the immune system attacks this sheath, breaking it down. This results in a loss of communication between nerves in lower body of the animal and the brain.

See my blog post from last January on this subject

As most of you know by now, Nessie the Monster, Duchess of Hagg has this horrible disease.  The definition clearly states that at the time of this writing, there is no cure.  Since I posted last January, she has become increasingly weaker in her hind end and is now struggling to get up off the floor when laying down.  We have done everything we can to try and help her.  She has undergone hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physical therapy and has been subjected to an awful tasting powder on her food that was supposed to help and only made her throw up.
The Palace staff have carried her, and have tried using toenail grips (which didn't stay on her short toenails) have used booties and rubber socks, a sort of waterproof dog sock that is similar to a small balloon stretched over the paw.  These all worked to varying degrees.  The rubber socks seem to work really well to help her grip the slick floor inside and still protect her nails when she drags her feet outside; however, they fit so tight around the ankle that they have created sores that we have bandaged.  This is becoming harder and harder to deal with as the disease progresses and new challenges arise.  But our wee Nessie girl is a trooper and will not give up, so neither will we.

We bought her a wheelchair from Eddies Wheels.  It took us a while to adjust the cart just so on her -- I'm not too sure we have it just right yet.  It also took a while to teach her to want to use it.  She can still walk, albeit very wobbly, and we don't put her in it all the time, but when she gets tired, we do.  She has proven that she can use the cart to wheel herself up over the steps that go onto the porch and into the house.  She can maneuver around (or over) most obstacles without problems.  We have been able to go for walks to our road and back (some 2 football fields away).  She can go up and down the hills with no problems.   She just doesn't usually want to move when she's in the wheels without a lot of encouragement which comes in the way of clicker and treats.  However, she was the hit of a recent party held at the Palace.  She chased all the kids down in search of uneaten portions of mac-n-cheese. 

In the following video, Nessie has been practicing for about a month on walking with the chair.  I use lots of high energy encouragement, a clicker and treats to help motivate her.  Her tendency is still to simply stand there unless food is involved.  She has improved a tremendous amount in a short time and I think we will continue to see improvement as she becomes accustomed to the chair.  As long as she can, I am allowing her to walk without the wheels unless she gets too tired.  At some future point, she will no longer be able to use her back legs.  We will then put them in 'slings' and hold them up off the ground so that she can still propel herself about using the wheels and her front legs.  When the disease progresses to the point that she can no longer use her front legs, we will have to make that difficult decision to 
 give her relief from her misery.  I am not looking forward to that day.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals at the University of MO is doing research on DM.  For $65, you can send off for an IN HOME DNA TEST.  This very simple mouth swab is sent back to them and analyzed.  If your dog has the 2 required recessive genes for DM, you will know what to expect as they age and be better prepared for it.  If per chance, they have only one or none of the genes required, you are in the clear for showing symptoms.  ANYONE WHO BREEDS ANY DOG SHOULD HAVE THE DAM AND SIRE TESTED BEFORE BREEDING.  This will insure that you don't pass this dreadful disease on to another litter. If you have 1 of the 2 required genes in your dog;  DO NOT BREED IT!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

What Is Clicker Training? And Does it Work?

Clicker Training is the fastest, easiest and most clear communication you can have with your dog.
So many people, (oh yes!  including myself) get so frustrated with their dog because they know they are not clearly communicating.  The dog just doesn't get what I'm trying to teach it!
Using a clicker is the most positive experience you can have while getting through to your dog what it is you want him/her to do.
Many people, unfortunately, don't know much, if anything on how to use it.

I realize that I'm talking to all different levels here.  Clicker training is easy to master.  You have to have a clicker and a treat bag with you at all times.  The dog will do ANYTHING for you if you are prepared with this tiny little device and a few good treats.  If your dog is not food motivated, have his/her favorite toy in your hip pocket or use a game like fetch or chase as a reward.  What ever motivates your dog to perform the activity is what you use as a reward.

What does the 'click' do?  It marks the exact moment your dog began to do what it was you asked.  You say sit.  The dog bends it's hind legs to begin to sit.  It takes you a minute to get over there to say good boy and pat him on the head.  Then you have to go and get a treat out of the jar.  By the time the dog gets his treat, he knows he did something good, but he's already followed you to the cookie jar.  So he  thinks he's being treated for following you to the cookie jar.  If you had your clicker, you could click at that moment when the dog began to sit.  It still takes a second to receive the treat, but he knows exactly what he did to deserve it.  If you practice that over and over, pretty soon the dog is sitting without your asking.  He knows that gets a click.  He'll do anything to make that click sound happen.  The click is precise.  It marks the exact behavior you want.  And that exact behavior is movable.  You can start with a small thing, like "look", and end up with a finished product, which may be a dog approaches your dog, and your dog lays down with his back to him and looks at you.  The cue could be anything from "ignore" to "uh-oh".  The dog learns what that cue means and does it.

Since I'm talking with so many different levels of trainers and handlers, I'm going to try to keep this pretty simple.  To those who know all about clicker training;  I'll just say this one thing to you.  When you really have a problem that you can't resolve, such as aggressive behavior;  Don't forget your clicker and some high value treats!  Clicker training is not just for teaching sit, stay, come or down.  The key is to break the desired behavior down to the smallest steps.  For example, if you want to teach your dog to go in his kennel, but your dog won't even go near it, click treat for looking at the kennel.  When the dog has mastered looking at the kennel, up the anty and start to click treat for walking by the kennel.   Then up the anty again and click treat for walking over to the kennel.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  Just break down the activity to the most simple steps and work on one step at a time.  And remember.  The behavior is a movable target.  You may have started to click him for just looking at the kennel, but by the end, he doesn't get a click until he's in the kennel and laying down calmly.  (This training could take up to 2 months depending on the severity of your dog's aversion to the kennel)

Having said all this;  I've just completed a book that has re-opened my eyes to the clicker.  It is called Click to Calm by Emma Parsons.  Click (ha ha) on the picture below.

This book is wonderful, because she explains in detail how she ended up with a dog that was aggressive toward other dogs and how she tried everything that didn't work.  (Sounded just like she was talking about me and my Malcolm)  She puts in her book 'recipes' to follow for each step of the way.  You don't have to think, you simply have to do.  It is working, too, for Malcolm.  Nothing happens overnight, but I have his attention and I'm keeping it this time.  I highly recommend this book, even if your dog is not aggressive, because of the details she puts forth in the basics of sit, stay, come etc.  All the recipes are there.  You simply need to follow them.  It's like painting by number.  

Carry the clicker with you everywhere and you can 'catch' your dog doing a behavior that is natural to him/her, like spinning or jumping and you can eventually put a cue word with it and teach him to do that behavior on cue.  You don't have to teach each behavior, you can simply put their own behaviors on cue and have a dog that performs 'tricks'.  You both end up looking like you are super cool and your friends will think you are the best dog trainer ever!

It's positive.  You only click and treat for behavior you want.  There is no harsh correction or negative vibe coming from you.  Your bond will strengthen and your dog will understand you.  Clickers are amazing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lord Malcolm Dictates a Letter

29 January, 2014
A dictation taken by a house servant to 
the Good People of the Land of Hagg

My Dearest People of Hagg,

I write to you in a long awaited response to the malignment of my good name.  It has long been advertised by some that I am hard to please, hard to deal with on a personal level and hard to control.  I am here, today, to tell you my side of this untruthful (in my view) tale.  As the budgets for running the Palace are tight in our troubled times, I have let my Royal Secretary take a very long leave.  Therefore, I am dictating these words to the underling who cleans the Palace and sometimes helps out in the Royal Kitchens.  I fear she is not the best choice, but alas, I must speak out against the malicious lies that have arisen concerning my personage.

For low these many months and yea, even years;  you have been told that I do not get on well with others of my race.  To this, I say "Pish-taw"!  I have proven again and again that if I am put in a position of feeling safe and secure, (and especially if there is some deliciously yummy morsel available to me), I do not even look at others of my race, but ignore them completely!  I recently went on an excursion where I proved that over and over again.  A large unknown canine was brought over to sit so close to me that I could do anything I wished to him.  And I wished only to taste that yummy morsel of goodness that was offered.  Then a smaller version was brought in.  I showed no malice toward him either.  I even left that place and went to a big open store full of nice smelling and pleasant foods and other unknown canines.  I layed down on the cool floor and ignored them to the point that the Commoners, who happened to be there, noticed me and came to tell me how absolutely wonderful I was.   I tell you now, that I am not the monster some have made me out to be.

I also would like to say that I seem to be unfortunately blamed for causing trouble within the Palace walls.  I seem to be blamed for eating things I shouldn't.  Let me tell you, Good People;  if you found a half of a beautifully roasted leg of lamb on the floor, would you not pick it up?  I say you would!  As did I!  I see nothing out of the ordinary in that!  And when asked where I was going with it, I put it back on the floor for the cleaning lady to deal with it.

More so, when visitors come to view the Palace (as they often do--it is a grand place);  Some would have you believe that I foam at the mouth with insane growling and barking.  Nothing of the sort!  I am a perfect gentleman while milady McKenzie screams and jumps and pounces on top of me in some sort of frenzied panic.  Someone has to control her so that our guests can be greeted properly.  So I take that on myself and put an end to her ridiculous behavior.  I surely can not be blamed for that.

Just the other day, some old friends from our last Palace came by to visit.  I had known them before.  They were members of my Dog Club.  They arrived and took a grand tour.  During their visit, having known all of us in our younger days, they made these very comments, and I quote:
"Brenda, where are your dogs?  What has happened to them?  Look how good these dogs are being"!  
And turning to each other exclaimed, "Do your dogs act this well behaved when people come over"?
"No.  I have to put mine in a kennel or they attack".  
"So do I.  They go crazy"!
"Brenda, how'd you train this"?

Now, I ask you, does that sound like I am out of control?  I think not.  And I'm tired of hearing the malicious rumors continually being thrown out to you, concerning me.  I'm glad to have this opportunity to tell you thus. You must make up your own mind as to who is exaggerating the Truth.  I tell you now, it is not me!

Your Faithful and Handsome,
Lord Malcolm, Chamberlain

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Degenerative Myelopathy

A.K.A. Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy
 An incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years and it is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, and Boxer Dog, though the disorder is strongly associated with a gene mutation in SOD1 that has been found in 43 breeds as of 2008, including the wire fox terrier, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Cardigan Welsh corgi.[1][2] Progressive weakness and incoordination of the rear limbs are often the first signs seen in affected dogs, with progression over time to complete paralysis. Myelin is an insulating sheath around neurons in the spinal cord. One proposed cause of degenerative myelopathy is that the immune system attacks this sheath, breaking it down. This results in a loss of communication between nerves in lower body of the animal and the brain ~Wikipedia~
You can see that she has no strength in her hind end.
While it's not entirely clear that Nessie Monster has DM, she does display symptoms that are in keeping with the disease.  Today, I would like to discuss the little that I know about it and give you some resources to help you cope with the disease if you ever find your dog in need of medical treatment for it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Malcolm's Progress

Progress:  n. prog-res or, esp. British, proh-gres
1.  a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2. growth or development;  continuous improvement

Accoutrement: n.   uh-koo-ter-muh-nt 
1. personal clothing, accessories,etc.
2. the equipment, excluding weapons and clothing, of a soldier

With the new year comes renewed life, renewed energy and renewed determination.....

As many of our adoring public are aware, we have spent much time and effort in the past year to build anew, as it were, our beloved Palace of Hagg.  There were many consultations with designers, engineers, builders and cabinet makers and much traveling to and fro to oversee construction crews and to shop for the many accoutrements that would adorn the new Palace.  With all that work one can well imagine that there was little time for our usual Royal endeavors.  Our twice-weekly visits to our dog club had to stop abruptly and while we tried to maintain a training and workout regimen;   it became clear early on, that there was only so much time in a day.  While Lady McKenzie was able to enroll in an agility class for a time, she had to travel great distances and it tired her so much that she begged forgiveness from attending another class.  Needless to say, that our Lord Malcolm would have been expected to suffer the greatest loss in his education, as he has always been the Chamberlain in most need of discipline and developmental progress.  

Here are just 4 posts concerning him, none of which are about his digestive habits.  These are about his lofty attitude and are provided just in case you need a refresher or you are new to the Courtly life and need to catch up........

Lord Malcolm had developed a fear of unknown people, unknown places and unknown dogs. As it would be a very long story to go into all the whys and wherefores again, I suggest you dig through some of the past posts to find out all his issues.  Or, better, you can trust me when I say that he is not lacking in issues that affect his behavior in public.  So, he was always the chosen Chamberlain when it came to hanging out on the construction site during the building process.  Terrified?  Yes.  He trembled and shook and drooled and never approached a worker.  He was forced to stay at our Servant's side though as she talked with the people and watched what they were doing.  All the crews were given instructions not to speak with milord Malcolm.  They were not even allowed to look at him.  But he was there at her side at all times, during loud noises and during quiet times and during times of much conversation.  He was never in harms way as he came to find out.  And he eventually realized that no one cared if he were there or not.  In fact, they didn't even notice him.  So he relaxed more and more as the building process dragged on.  Lord Malcolm even turned events around a bit and actually made friends with many of the workers.

At some point, we were able to move in and the Chamberlains got busy helping the staff to unload and decorate the new Palace.  Still, training was neglected.  But now I realize that it is time to begin afresh, and with that in mind, I enrolled milord in a private lesson with an instructor the staff found on line.  They were determined to send Lord Malcolm to boarding school to be trained away from his environment, but I, being the Duchess (as old as I am, I am still in charge), decided that at least we should see what this instructor would teach and what her methods might be.  

So yesterday, I sent Lord Malcolm with my most trusted servant to a lesson.  What I heard upon his return was simply amazing.  

The teacher brought 2 dogs with her to the lesson, a Shepherd of some sort from Germany and a small Pincer or toy Greyhound.  Malcolm was allowed to get comfortable as he was quite nervous when he entered the building.  After a few moments, he decided he liked the instructor and they set to work.  Clickers and treats (freshly roasted chicken) were used as rewards.  The Shepherd came out first and Lord Malcolm completely ignored it.  It even came and sat right next to him.  Not one bit of reactivity.  So out came little dog.  Again, no reaction.  Little dog was practically sitting upon our Malcolm and he completely ignored it.   He did so well (as did my servant) that the instructor actually observed that my servant knew more about dogs that most (self called) trainers in the city.  She was told that never had a dog of such good behavior and a handler of such quality come in for a lesson.  Well.  I fear she wasn't seeing what we at the Palace know to be true..........
See how Malcolm has his body positioned?  He is stiff and tense and is further away from the worker-man as compared to the rest of us.  I, of course, was the first to greet him and make him welcome.  Lady McKenzie, as you can see is obsessed with her own enjoyment.
My servant was so full of herself after all those accolades and Malcolm's good behavior that she decided to stop at PetsMart on her way home.  A little nervousness from Malcolm, but nothing over-wrought.  He actually went in.  There were many people around and a few dogs.  Small dogs.  Malcolm laid down on the floor and watched them, but never made a move to lunge or to eat them in any way.  We are all very proud of him.  He walked the aisles and bought some needed items and left.

He then spent the next 4 hours at Best Buy searching for the best computer and tablet combination with my servant.  Again, slightly nervous at the new sounds and smells, but he calmed down very quickly and hung out with all the blue shirts for a very long time.  The most funny thing I heard he did, was to shake and sling a snot ball at the feet of some lady who was not amused in any way.  We all got a good laugh at that.

At the end of the day, Malcolm had had a marathon training session.  It must have been somewhat like Boot Camp for him.  We all marvel at his great attitude.  He did not make one mistake yesterday.  Not one.  He was a perfect dog and no corrections had to be made.  We couldn't be more proud of him.  His progress and training will, of course, continue and he will go on other escapades.  But the next private lesson will be for Lady McKenzie and we shall try and address her hyper-activity and barking (actually screaming) episodes.  It is my goal that before I am rendered an invalid, I should have m'Chamberlains well trained and ready to care for the Palace upon my eventual demise.  To be sure,  it may be they who kill me.

~Lady Nessie, the Monster,
  Duchess of Hagg