Monday, June 3, 2013

Even Search Dogs have Homework



You probably think that my whole life is about searching, playing on rubble piles, getting to tug with the people I find, and having so much fun at training.  I know it sounds that way, but it is not like that all the time. There is this word, “obedience,” and another word, “control,” that are important. Here is what they mean…I must follow directions, do what I am told, and not just be in business for myself.

Here are some examples of how these words apply to my everyday life.  Instead of running like a crazy dog when it is time to go outside, or load up in the car, I must “heel” or walk on Angie’s left side, slowly.  Even if I am so hungry and really want to get my dinner, if Angie tells me, “Sammie, down, stay,” I have to do that.  She puts my food in the bowl, and I must wait to eat until she tells me, “get it.”

It can be especially hard for me to be under control when we are at Disaster City at the dog playground where there is a tunnel, a teeter-totter, and my all-time favorite, a ladder.  Just the other day, I got in trouble because I was told to walk the teeter-totter.  Well, the ladder was so close, and I love to climb it and walk across the high plank.  I know it was wrong, but I jumped off the teeter-totter and ran to the ladder.  By the time Angie called me back, I was all the way to the top.

She did not let me walk down the ladder.  Instead, she came over to the ladder and lifted me off, and of course, made me heel over to the teeter-totter. I did it this time, and then she let me go climb.  Times like these are very tough for me.  I am the same way about the tunnel.  I want to go through it, and turn around and go back the way I came.  It is almost as much fun as the ladder.

Here is something else we practice at home.  Angie tells me, “down” and “stay” and then she leaves me all by myself, and I cannot move.  Well, I can move my head or tail just a little, but I cannot get up.  And when she comes back, I must wait until she tells me “sit” to move.  Sometimes we practice this with Sprinkles, Sasha, and Snap.  Even if a squirrel runs by, we must stay in a line.

All of this is so I stay safe, and do a good job as Angie’s partner.  Still, it is really hard work!

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