Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Ray of Sunshine

What a great morning! I'm so proud of Sydney. This morning as she was working for her breakfast, she learned some new "stuff" that she thinks is very very cool. first, she was getting bored with stand, down, back. So, we added "park" (hey, I named her Syd, so SIT doesn't really work for us), "ready" (making eye contact), the beginnings of "front" and "spin." Oh does she love to spin, usually it's more like a bucking bronco flinging around in a circle, and it normally ends in a stamping of the feet in a play bow. But no nasty looks at Savannah (I put her behind the baby gate this time after my major failure yesterday). She did lose attention for a brief moment when her cat walked into the kitchen. Poor Syd is so lonesome without her playmates she just couldn't help herself from snuffling and wagging at the cat. But like a good girl, when I called her back to me, she regained attention very quickly. No matter how the rest of the day goes today, this morning was a giant step forward, and regardless of her insecurities, this dog is so sharp and eager to learn. As our chiropractic vet told me once, I just have to figure out how to make MY agenda Syd's agenda.

This evening was even better. Syd was sharp, focused, and very interested in working for her supper. We even added a "sit pretty" just for fun. At this point, I'm sure Syd will be learning all manner of cute, fun, and completely useless behaviors just because she can, and just to keep her from getting bored. In fact, I think tonight we might even add a box to the mix, and see what she can learn to do! There was no stress from her even though old Savannah was lurking behind the baby gate, giving me the soulful eyes of a Weimaraner who has not eaten in weeks, even though she just finished slurping down her supper not 10 minutes before.

Syd went to conformation class tonight, and that did not go really well, but it wasn't a total disaster. We went last week, and just a few dogs showed up, so it was pretty quiet and relaxed. Tonight, there were several dogs there, and Syd was pretty stressed. For the most part she behaved, but her eyes were red and she was very distracted and uneasy. A cute Harrier puppy tried to initiate play, and Syd got pretty upset, barking but running to the far end of her leash. I only made her stay for about 15 minutes, and made sure that we left on a good note. Hopefully we can chalk this up to a good stress test, and helps us to gauge what Syd is ready for.

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