It is the night before puppy Gracie arrives, and before I flood you with pictures and stories, I need to catch you up on one of Bodhi’s accomplishments. Bodhi graduated his first beginners obedience class last Sunday.
He knew a lot of the material before the class started, but his biggest problem is that he doesn’t remember a thing when he gets distracted, and then he starts bouncing around and hits his head on things. Not good. And what better place to practice dealing with distractions than in a room full of dogs.
Bodhi had the basics down – the sit, down, stay stuff, but he learned some new things too, and cemented his abilities with some of what he already knew. On the last class day there were contests for the dogs, and Bodhi won the one for the longest down-stay. Even with quacking duck toys and other evil distractions, Bodhi stayed put and won himself a nice biscuit.
One of the highlights of the class was an agility tunnel. The instructor uses the tunnels near the end of the class to test and encourage trust of the dog for his or her person. Gracie, our puppy to be, actually went through first…she’s very smart and fearless. The instructor wanted to do the dogs in the order in which she thought they would be successful, so dogs doing the tunnel would show other dogs how to do the tunnel. The funniest part is that Bodhi was the last to go, and he did it with no problem at all, while some of the earlier dogs really struggled. Maybe being blind is an asset in this case. He wasn’t worried about what he couldn’t see.
And Bodhi was special and got two graduation certificates. The one above, and another one where the photographer gave him eyes. We like this one best, however. Bodhi, just as he is.
Bodhi had a blast with the class. He doesn’t really care about training all that much, though he will do it. Still you can see that it doesn’t really get his juices flowing. But he loves going places, and he loved being at class each week. Some of you may remember that we tried this same class two years ago when we first got Bodhi, and he was so amazed that he was out in the world doing anything, after four years of what seems to have been crushing boredom in his first home, that he couldn’t concentrate for even a second. We stopped after the second or third class; Bodhi just needed to have a life for awhile and be a dog. It was fun to be back, and to be able to participate fully this time. Gracie is signed up for the same class in mid-September, so we’ll get to do it all again really soon. And I suspect her juices will really get flowing with the training.
Gracie was actually at the last two classes and hung out with us throughout them so she and Bodhi have had a little time together. She reaches up for his snout, and he’s so tolerant. He just turns his head and walks away, but I’m hoping he will also offer her a few corrections along the way so she learns not to poke him in the face. She’s going to have to learn that he can’t see her either and stay out of the way. Lots for all of us to learn. This may be the last night we get any significant sleep, all of us, but then sleep is over-rated, right?