FATE STEPS IN
Let’s talk about coincidence. Some don’t believe in coincidence. I do. I also believe in fate. Today was a huge helping of both - like Thanksgiving helping size, served up just for me and before 7:00 AM.
Today at the dog park the girls were doing their typical early morning run with their partners in crime, Dillon and RJ. We hadn’t been there for more than 5 minutes, long enough for them to do their business, prance over to me to tell me about it and start one run, when Dillon zagged when he should have zigged and Dru zigged when she should have zagged.
Dillon, at the better angle just went under and continued through. Dru, not at the better angle, went ass over tea kettle, in a flailing tangle of legs, body, head and tail. This time I saw it happen and she looked like a bunch of stuffed toy dog parts spinning around in a dryer.
Seriously? I mean, seriously? We’ve been going to the park most days for over a year without any major incidents, then she has 2 in as many weeks. What the hell kind of sick cosmic joke is that?
I went running over; calculating where the closest vet open at 6 AM is and noting that there was only a minor greyhound scream of death. Well crap, it could be worse than last week. Less noise sometimes means more injuries.
She’s running towards me, tail tucked, head down, shoulders hunched. What is this whole body tremble about? It was still pretty dark so I lightly ran hands over her to see if there was any blood. Nothing sticky. OK that’s a good start. Time to pay a little more attention to her legs. Anything broken? Doesn’t appear to be. Whew. How the hell did she manage to come out of this one OK? Well mostly OK. Now she won’t leave my side, is freaked when the other dogs come near her and is skulking around the park. Well crap.
But fate stepped in today, in some new and wicked cool swat boots. As always, my friend Jamie from Seize the Leash was on the other side of the fence. About 10 minutes after the incident, while I was still petting Dru, she casually observed, “Now I think she is just looking for attention.”
“Hmmmm?” I’m thinking, she’s a bit loony (Jamie, not Dru, who at this point was still shaking and hovering, obviously traumatized.)
“Well at first she was freaked out, scared and hurt. Now I think she just wants the attention and you are giving it to her. Dogs don’t hold on to things like people do. You need to get the movie out of your head.”
Now here’s the thing. I’ve seen Jamie work absolute miracles with dogs. When-the-owner-is-about-to-give-up-on-the-dog-and-have-it-put-down-and-the-trainer-comes-to-the-rescue-Lifetime-story kind of miracles. But, this time, this time, it was MY dog and she was HURT, dammit.
Milking it. My ample ass.
OK pause… hmmmmm, could we be a bit wound up still? Isn’t Jamie the one with the expertise? Annnnddddd, breathing, breathing, calm.
“OK, what do I need to do?”
“Get her mind moving.”
“Huh?” Obviously mine was not at 6:15 AM.
“Get her mind moving, so move her, don’t let her just stay in that state.” I looked at Dru, she was still hunched like a caterpillar on the up-stroke.
“Move yourself. Walk her around.”
“On a lead?” – Me, all about the details. Thank goodness she’s patient – Jamie, that is.
So we started moving. Talk about the crazy parade. Breeze followed right in behind “Are we going now, huh, huh, huh?” Willow came in a nice second “When we walk like this we sometimes get snackies.” Then RJ and Dillon wiggled their way in "Hey, we're moving here." Dru started trailing the group, no lead necessary; still nervous, but moving.
I was like the kid in the car, each lap past the fence “How much longer?”
Until she is out of that state.”
“I obviously need to exercise more.”
We did laps forever, an interminable amount of time, we could have grown crops and harvested them in the time we were running. Well jogging. OK, OK walking fast. It was cold and my knees were loudly protesting during the entire 5 minutes.
Little break at the fence with Jamie and RJ’s Mom. What’s this? a huge massive fight between Willow and Dru. Raised up on back legs and everything. “What the hell was that?” None of us could figure it out, we didn’t see it start. Back to the jogging, obviously the state of mind hadn’t changed yet. The other dogs got bored with my snail pace laps and started doing some of their own running. Zinging past and pelting me with dirt on mini-sprints. Little show offs.
Another break. I saw Dru shake. She had to work her way into it, starting slow, pausing, building, then completing it at half-speed. After which, her posture changed. Just a little, but her tail wasn’t as tucked and her back as bowed. Jamie immediately caught it “She just shook off some of that energy. Get her moving again.”
More jogging coming up. A couple of laps in and Jamie gets my attention. “She’s looking to you to run.”
“I’m not going any faster than this, so tough titt...”
“No, she wants to run with the other dogs and is looking to you to see if it is OK.”
“What?” You know those little thoughts that just flash unbidden through your brain. This one had ‘crazy’ in it.
“You didn’t see it because you were looking away.”
“Well yes, I was ignoring her, not making a big deal out of her state.”
“Yes and that was good. Now she’s almost ready, she just needs you to tell her it is OK.”
What the hell, might as well give it a shot. At least then the running will stop.
I threw the ball for RJ and the pack went off after him. Then I saw it. Dru looked at them, turning her body in their direction and looked back at me. Whaaaat dude? Oh that’s right, I’m up. “Ummmm. Go get ‘em. Go on, Dru, run.” And wouldn’t you know, she did. She was a bit hesitant at first but she chased after them. She came back to check in with me. I again told her to go run and she did. Son of a gun.
Damn and bless that smiling face on the other side of the fence. I hate it when I’m not only wrong, but so far off the mark, I’m not even in the same country. This was one of those times. And I am absolutely thrilled I’m blessed with the friends I have, that they care as much as they do and are as patient as they are. RJs Mom stayed late to have the boys help with the rehab. And Jamie’s uncanny ability to read dog body language and communication strikes again. This time with my girls, not some other dog. OK, I’ll admit, and with me. Damn, she’s good. I can’t wait to try this at the other park this weekend. Thank you, Jamie.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Advanced Behavior Training
Come join us in an 8 week adventure. Be prepared to put basic skills to the test in the real world. This innovative class meets at various locations including parks, public shopping areas, hiking trails. stores and more. Everyone will learn how to transfer the skills they've learned in class to real world situations and increase their dog's reliability when faced with major distractions.
The class is 8 sessions, one session a week. One of these session will be a one-on-one with a trainer at your home (or other choice of venue) to assist you in handling those things that just cannot be addressed in a class situation. Next Advanced Behavior Training Class starts next Sunday morning - November 14th - at 9am at Brandi Fenton Park near the dog park areas.
Here are some of the highlights of the last Advanced Behavior Training Class. We had a lot of fun and the dogs learned to be social and have fun also. Sign Up Here