Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The rest of Monday- Day of second thoughts

Ok, after she ate the soap, we had breakfast and then loaded up on the bus and headed to St. James. A very nice little town, straight sidewalks and the people there seem very nice. Not sure though of how many people were actually residents of the town and how many were actually GDF employees, since I recognized quite a few people from the GDF campus there as people driving cars, riding bikes and so forth. Which is cool that they go through all that to make things as real as possible. :)

I did get a couple of shots of Rei with another pup on the van, and it was pretty cute since Rei put her leg over the other pup's leg.

So we unloaded from the van and took off down the sidewalk. We breezed through a good 7-8 blocks it seemed easily. We made it a good ways down the street. As soon as we turned around to come back, it was like Rei hit a brick wall. She was plodding, wouldn't hup up much at all and I seriously felt like I was dragging her. She had started it just before we got to the turn around point and Lisa asked me what I thought of her pace. I said it was pretty good, that it was ok that she slowed down a little bit as the kids walk slower than I do.

So we tried "hupping" her up, making kissing noises and the whole ball of wax. She just wasn't having any part of it. Which really worried me. Would I be able to keep up with the kids? Is this really the dog for me? There were a lot of questions going through my head. We got back to the foundation and settled in before break. I talked with a couple of people I know as handlers for thier thoughts and they all pretty much said the same thing, that a dog get's bored in surroundings they are really familiar with so she may just be plodding along because of it.

Lisa came to let me know it was time for break and I had her come in and talk with me. I told her that I had some concerns of Rei's pace and such, as well as I knew that Rei had been out before with another handler before me. I asked if Rei was being so slow and knew these areas, since she worked with the other handler in these areas, was she possibly doing this because of it? I asked too if it was possible to go to an area that she hadn't been before to see if she'd be more responsive there. She thought it was a good idea and asked that I not make a decision on Rei right then, to give her 2 days to work with us and then we'd revisit the conversation. I said that was fine. Honestly, I really want this to work out, so I was more than willing to give it a shot.

Then we went out for break and then headed down for lunch. Lisa sat with us at the table and asked me a couple of times if I was ok, as I was in pretty deep thought and rather quiet for what I normally am around the group we are in. Lisa told me that she'd talked to Valerie and Jodi to give them the heads up of our conversation and asked that we work with Rei through today and see how she did. I agreed that was fine.

After lunch, we all loaded up on the van and since about half of the dogs in the class have had some sort of medical issue, we drove over to the main GDF building and each of the trainers grabbed a dog and took them in to be checked by the vet. Rei was one of them to be checked, as since I've gotten her, she's had white, goopy stuff in the corners of her eyes all the time. It's reduced dramatically in the last couple of days, but just to make sure, we got her checked out. Apparently it was also very close to time for her annual shots, so they went ahead and did all of those and drew blood for the heartworm test so that I won't have to do those once I get home with her and not have to pay for it.

Once all the dogs were looked at, it was so late that it wasn't going to be worthwhile to drive the distance to Patchhogue. So the trainers decided to go back around to the back of the GDF property and do a group obedience session. Which quite honestly, was VERY oool and worked on things I wouldn't be able to do on my own.

They lined all 12 of us up along the curb and we all had to tell our dogs to sit and stay and make a long leash and go to the end of it and walk around and keep the dog in the stay. Then we went back to our dogs and had them do a down and stay and do the same- going to the end of the leash. Now this doesn't seem like much in level of difficulty, but when you put 12 dogs side by side and there's leaves blowing across the ground, sticks EVERYWHERE, and telling them to stay is quite a challenge! LOL! Rei did pretty well as did quite a few of the dogs. A couple had some practice sessions coming thier way, but we made it through. :)

We then did a down and stay and the recall. This is where you walk to the end of your leash and call your dog to you. Easy enough right? Ok, now we did the same but every other person recalled their dog, the others had to keep thier dog at the stay position. It was quite interesting for the 2 people who had dogs of the same name. LOL! Again, Rei did really well.

Then the real test came. We put our dogs at a sit and stay at our sides and the trainers walked by shaking leaves and throwing sticks down in front of our dogs, and again we were to maintain the sit stay position. Since a lot of the dogs went for the sticks that were tossed in front, we worked on that a good while and then Valerie went and got several food dishes with some food from the kennels that were very close by. Boy that was some serious distraction, being it was within an hour of feeding time too! YIKES!

So they laid the bowls down and we had to walk past the bowls, keeping the straight line to the curb of "crossing the street". Rei seriously drooled at the thought of a bowl of food being there for her. Each person walked thier dogs past and to the up curb and then made the left to cross a second "street" past another bowl to the up curb. I'll be frank, I was worried. This dog LOVES her food! LOL! But she did well, and it got easier with each bowl we passed, telling her to "Leave It!"

After this, we loaded up on the bus and they drove us around to the student quarters and we stayed in the gathering area. They then had us go by table down to the dining room and taught us how to seat our dogs at the tables with us. Then we were released one by one to go to our rooms and settle in for the evening.

At break time, we took the dogs out and Rei did her business fairly quickly, but I could tell she wasn't feeling well. she wasn't very responsive and was just downright grumpy. We all then took our dogs with us for dinner and it was really nice, and the dogs were all actually very calm and laid quietly under the tables during dinner.

After dinner, we had the grooming lecture, which we went down to the grooming room and Mark, the apprentice, showed us how to groom the dogs and so forth. Since Rei was being grumpy, she actually kind of nipped at me about brushing her back leg. I'm wondering though if it was probably where she got her shots earlier in the day and with the way things have been the last few days with her, if she'd just had enough.

After lecture, we had our last break and Lisa suggested that I take her to the room and let her chill for the night. Lisa also came by and said that when I came back to the room, that I should let her off the tie down to fully wind down. I went down to the tv room with Suzi and watched the first quarter and about 2/3ds of the second quarter of the Colt's/Titan's game and then came back up and let Rei off the tie down.

I talked with Mike for a good while and then it was time to call it a night, so put her back on the tie down and headed to bed.

No comments: