by Rosie the Staffie, Collie, Terrier and other bits and pieces Cross.
One minute I am wandering about in the traffic, next thing I know I’m in a “Rescue Kennel”, whatever that is. After a couple of days I realised the dogs are in there to rescue a human. Once I knew the rules I was ready to choose my person. I managed to get myself into the last kennel in the block to make a good impression and settled down to pick the personality, energy and size of person I needed. After observing the other dogs who were barking, jumping up and down and racing round the pens at 90 miles an hour I decided on a different approach. I didn’t have to wait long before a likely candidate walked unsuspectingly by.
She looked suitable, seemed fairly calm but far too tidy and clean, obviously needed a bit of my energy and exuberance to take her out of her comfort zone. All in good time though, as I put my plan into action. As she came past I sat up beautifully, quiet and calm and just tilted my head on one side, looking as cute as possible. Of course she stopped to have a look and a word with me. Hook Line and Sinker. All I needed to do was reel her in.
It didn’t take me long to realise she had never owned a dog before. Result! I could teach her to do exactly what I wanted. The words “wrapped around” and “finger” spring to mind but in reality it was more like “lead around the legs, tree, lamppost, random stranger” when we went out. Surely she could tell I was not used to a lead, or in fact being out in public, so of course I was going to be excited and want to lick, bark, jump and generally explore everything and everybody, appropriately or not.
After a couple of weeks I was getting her round to my way of thinking. She didn’t bother with all that sparkly stuff round her neck, fingers and ears any more, or that paint on her face, she had a much more interesting smell of mud and vegetation and waterproof coats with lots of pockets for dog treats, poo bags and toys. Not really sure why she kept looking in the mirror saying “What have I done?” or “Pulled through a hedge backwards”. I usually just go and dig in the garden and then run round the cream carpet, takes her mind off herself in no time.
We have had some lovely walks together. She thought it would be a good idea to introduce me to the river for a swim. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to the mud along the bank. Neither of us realised it would be over the top of her shoes so I tried to help by running backwards and forwards pulling her on the lead until she was on her hands and knees. Much better position for licking her face to encourage her to crawl up the bank. Don’t know what she was squealing about, I had only been eating a bit of sheep poo!
Then we went to Blackjack Dog Training Club. That was a revelation. I actually began listening to my human (of course it was totally reinforced by garlic sausage). In fact I became so good at training them, if another human said “Sit”, “Down”, I did it immediately and eventually got some of them to treat me as well. It is always fun. Even my human thoroughly enjoys it.
I now do agility classes. I am as fast as lightening and know all the commands before my human gets them out of her mouth – not always in the way she wants them done but eventually we agree on a plan of action. I love Hetty and Adrian – they make it interesting and fun and I can show them how smart I really am. Just wish my human could catch up mentally and physically but she will get there. I love it all!
PS A word from the “human”. On a more serious note Rosie was my first dog and I was lost. BlackJack DTC has been paramount in helping me understand Rosie’s behaviour, build a strong bond with her and become a more confident dog handler. Hetty and Adrian are patient, promote positive reinforcement and help everyone to move forward at their own pace. It’s usually good fun for us all as well which makes a great experience for dogs and owners. Highly recommend it.