Sunday, November 25, 2007

Advanced Obedience and CD's

Sailor here.

Mom and I went to obedience class today and guess what? I’ve graduated to the highest level! Mom says she will start preparing me to go back in the show ring. I used to be a show dog and loved running around the ring looking beautiful and hearing oooh’s and aaaah’s from the ringside. Mom says that this time around, I will be in the Obedience Ring heeling, sitting, staying and recalling. She says she will put a Compact Disk on me. I find this very confusing, but like most things that confuse me, they make sense after a while.

“Will I get treats?” I asked, remembering the show rings of my youth.

“Yes,” Mom said, “you will get lots of treats after we’re through.”

“Will there be a judge?” I queried.

“Yes, but the judge will only watch us,” Mom said, “No praising this time.”

Hmmph. I’d rather be ooohed and aaahed over.

I love judges. They pet me and smile at my beauty. My favorite judge was a Canadian named Mrs. Take-Them-Around who gave me points and everybody clapped and my handler was SO excited that I got extra treats when we went back to our crate area. This was a long time ago when I was a puppy. I am looking forward to getting back into the show ring with Mom. Mom says that our dog school is the path to revisiting the show ring.

Our obedience classes are led by the alpha, Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside. Mom says her job is to train Mom to train me. I find this interesting but a little sad. If Mom is doing a good job, and obviously she is because look how well I am doing, why doesn’t she gets treats, too? I feel bad for Mom. She goes treatless in class. Mom says that part of being a grown up is learning the joys of delayed gratification and she has her treat after we arrive home.

Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside has a helper dog named Rebel who is very sweet and loving and flat-coated and black. He jumps. He retrieves. He also does everything right and tries so hard to please Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside that he wiggles all over. And, lucky dog, when he does things right, he gets CHEESE. I envy him the cheese. I get Red Barn or Rollover, though, so I can’t feel TOO bad about this. In fact, I love all the treats at dog school. They are different from the others I am given at home during the week when Mom and I do backyard training and driveway obedience.

Rebel and I said Hello today and sniffed noses. The very first thing he told me was that he was a dedicated Omega in the overall scheme of life and that he would not challenge me in any way. I understood and stood up straighter and put my tail in the air to show him I understood. I could tell he wanted to lick my lips but Mom started off in the other direction and I had to follow. I hope Rebel and I will get the chance to play sometime. He’s really a nice dog.

Mrs. Dogs-On-The-Inside also has a magic voice. She talks like a regular person but also can throw her voice into a black box that sits by the gazebo. The voice that comes out of the box is really loud, and I always try to hurry past it when we are heeling because it hurts my ears. I don’t like loud sounds. Mom makes me stay at her side with my ear at her hip, though, during these times, and I have to obey.

This voice box throws Mom off, too. Sometimes, Mom will look to the box instead of Mrs. Dogs-On-the-Inside when our alpha demonstrates. Mom has a difficult time locating the alpha one because while our instructor walks around among our group, her voice box doesn’t. It does the longest sit-stays imaginable, and never moves during the entire class time no matter how many of us almost trip over it or tell it to go away. I am lucky. I only have to do a three-minute sit-stay. The voice box sit stays for over the whole time.

I am looking forward to next week. The weather has cooled, winter is in the air, my new class at dog school is faster moving and not so boring, and I am ready to go for that CD!

P.S. Mom wants to explain that CD actually stands for Companion Dog, the designation of the first, or Novice, level in the three levels of Obedience titles earned under American Kennel Association rules. The other two levels are CDX, Companion Dog Excellent, otherwise known as Open, which entails jumping broadly and retrieving dumbbells over jumps. The highest level is the UD title which stands for Utility Dog and involves more dumbbells and gloves and is very difficult to learn. There is also a UDX, Utility Dog Excellent, title that is so mind boggling as to have me completely paw-tied and unable to fully explain in writing.

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