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This Day in My History

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2000: Moon Flowers
 Useless Flowers and Strange Rituals
2002:  From the Sublime to the Ridiculous and Back Again
2003:  Now All I Need is World Peace


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25 December 2004

As anybody who reads this journal regularly (and pays attention) knows, I generally post tomorrow's entry around 4 p.m. today.  I'm not sure how I got into that routine, but it's been a fairly established pattern for a long time now.  Hence, I am writing this on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and so it will not cover Christmas eve festivities or Christmas day festivities.

But it will wish all who are celebrating Christmas on the 25th a very merry one.

But there is not a lot of celebrating going on as I write this.  The living room has been straightened, more or less.  The dessert for the dinner we are attending tonight has been made (I made the bundt cake again!), and in a couple of hours I will go off to work at the Community Meals, the meal that the Davis Co-op holds for anybody in town who needs a meal or who is without anyone else during the holidays.  I will work for about two and a half hours and then meet Walt at Marta's parents' house for dinner (and presumably more kazoo christmas carols).

So what is there to write about today?

Sheila, of course!

Dave the Dog Trainer sent his assistant, Sarah yesterday and once again, Sheila proved herself to be the poster child for their method of training.  Yesterday it was "down-stay" and "come."

For the "down-stay" we went out into the backyard and after one or two false starts, Sheila obeyed like a champ.  Kimba loved it because Sarah was training Sheila to stay in the down stay until she received her verbal command to get up, whether there were treats just out of reach or toys being thrown, or people calling to her.  Whenever she threw treats for Sheila, Kimba would waddle over and eat them, with Sheila not breaking position.

When that was going well, with Sheila not only obeying for Sarah, but for me as well, we moved on to the down-stay in the house.  Sarah had me ring the doorbell and knock on the door while she worked with Sheila, who very quickly learned that "down-stay" meant ALL the time, no matter what was going on.

Then we moved on to "come."  For this we went out in front, with Sheila on a long lead.   She was thrilled to be out in front.  Every time she gets out in front, for anything, she tries very hard to get into the car--she sorely misses the dog park.  But we let her wander around and then gave her the "come" command and she came every time, without even having to be pulled.

She picked things up so rapidly that Sarah ran out of "second visit" things to do and was out of here in an hour.  They are making a fortune on this.  Sheila is so adaptable that all it takes is a couple of times and she gets it.

This morning I took her out in the back yard for a practice session.

"Down!" I ordered, giving the hand signal.

"Yeah?  Who's gonna make me?" Sheila seemed to be saying as she sat there resolutely refusing to budge.

I yanked the leash and pulled her down.  The minute I let the leash go, she popped right back up again.

"NO!" I said sharply, jerking the leash again, as I'd been told.

Sheila stared at me.

"Down!" I repeated.  

Sheila started her "groveling," as Sarah called it.  She'll go down, but ON my foot and on her back, like a toddler trying to look cute to avoid being scolded.

Well, at least she was down.

"Stay," I said, giving her the hand signal.

She got up and started to follow me.

I grabbed the leash, as I'd been taught, to take her back to where we started.

She planted her feet firmly and refused to budge.

I dragged her back to the starting point.

"Down!" I told her.

She sat and looked at me, defiantly.

She knows I'm no Dave the Dog trainer, and I'm no Sarah, but we did eventually come to an agreement about going down and staying.  I don't kid myself that I've won.  I think she just got tired of playing the game.  And I know that there is no way she'd ever do this off leash.

Maybe she's not such a poster child for training after all.

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