Friday was our sixth and final puppy socialization and training class. As usual I used the socialization section to practice Grace’s recall. I am delighted to say that she comes like a bullet every time I shout ‘Grace here!’
Grace isn’t overly enthusiastic about playing with the other puppies and certainly doesn’t like anyone being rough, or ‘getting in her face’. Fortunately, I can call her away before things get tricky. Just like Chandi, she doesn’t want confrontation, but if a pup keeps on once she’s said ‘no’, she will make her point…
During the last few minutes of puppy playtime, the noise and energy in the room was approaching fever-pitch. Grace was getting a little over-tired by this point. Over the racket of barking puppies I yelled for her to come to me. I watched in amusement as Grace, on hearing me call, extracted herself from underneath Belle, a gorgeous English Setter, scanned the room to see where I was and get her bearings, then proceeded to put into practice some advanced slalom techniques around two other puppies. On the home straight, there was just one final obstacle to negotiate. Hurdling the fluffy white Shih Tzu, Grace skidded to a halt in front of me, and I rewarded her with a gentle game of tug.
The rest of the training class that evening was designed as a series of races pitching one dog against another until the winner of each was found. The games ranged from seeing who’s dog could sit the fastest; who did the fastest recall; and who could get their dog to sit, stand and lie down in the quickest time.
I confess to being very competitive. I can’t help it. Before the games commenced, I took Grace back to our ‘corner’ , insisted she have a drink of water and gave her neck and shoulders a massage. Solemnly shaking hands, Grace agreed to do her best.
For the recall, we were up against a a Welsh collie. We both left our respective pups with the trainer and went to the other end of the hall. I did a little dance down the hall as I jigged backwards away from Grace. I was aware that everyone in the room was looking at me and wondering what the heck I was doing. I was simply making sure Grace was definitely keen to get to me.
‘Three, two, one’ said the trainer. I frightened myself as I heard my voice shriek for Grace to come to me. I think I probably made everyone else in the room jump, although I had warned them I was a little competitive…Grace went from zero to about sixty miles an hour in a fraction of a second as she hurtled towards me and won the race. Yay!
We would have also won the race to do sit, stand and lie down if Grace hadn’t have thrown in a bow for good measure instead of lying down. It was all good natured though and I was delighted with Grace’s control despite the excitement and the other dogs. She had as much fun as I did and was definitely my partner in crime!
At home we have continued to work on some new moves. Here are a couple of videos charting Grace’s progress over the last couple of days:
In this first one, I am amazed and delighted that Grace is trying to hold the cane with both paws – yet another of Chandi’s signature moves that she made famous. This was next on my list of things to try to teach Grace after she had mastered holding the cane with each foot in turn. She had already thought of it though and was trying it out…!
Here we are working more on crossing front feet:
Skipping is becoming more fluent and confident with Grace needing less hand signals – here we are in slow motion (complete with me falling backwards – thank goodness the sofa was there!):
Putting a couple of our latest moves together – not bad for a first attempt!