Her eye’s better and we go back to the Trick class. She’s a different puppy tonight. She’s not afraid of the big noisy things with lights going by on the street nearby. She’s eager to get into the building – to the point that I have to back up five times to remind her about the loose leash. And she pees on cue before we go in. Last week she was MUCH too disconcerted to think about peeing.
I hold her on my lap while the big dogs play, but this time she thinks she’d be OK on the floor. There’s a honking big Golden and a young Dane – I think she’s better off on my lap. All the dogs come to visit her, though, and she enjoys greeting them. When they lose interest I put her down but keep her on leash. She watches for a bit, then turns and gives me eye contact, so we work on Watch a bit, with Sit and Down and Sore Paw and Princess Paw. She doesn’t have trouble with any of these.
The first trick of the night is the bow – she remembers it and is totally willing to give it to me – great, in the company of these dogs that she was afraid of last week. She does it on voice cue and on a hand signal, which is a swish out to the side with my right hand – a mini bow on my part.
I put down a carpet sample, and she shows me that she can do Go To Mat here as well, in spite of it being a strange place, strange circumstances, and a totally different Mat from the one we’ve been training on. Clever puppy!
Then each student is presented with a box of Kleenex. We’re to take a tissue out, hold it in our hands, and see if we can get the dog to target it, then to target it on the ground, then in the box, and finally work to see if we can get them to pull the tissue out of the box. I’m a little nervous – we haven’t worked on any retrieving since (last week?) when I screwed her up and she quit on me several times. We start with one tissue. Or, as a friend of mine said later, “Portuguese Water Dog Heaven!”. She started mouthing it and it was soon a soggy ball and we got a new one. I put it on the floor – she was picking it up. On top of that, it was difficult to spit out or drop, so I was able to take it from her several times. Then I started working on the tissue in the box. Oh dear, they’re in there pretty solid, I don’t know if my widdle bootsy will be able to get one…
Within a minute, she’s ripping out tissues – rip click treat rip click treat rip click treat – soon we’re surrounded by an immense and growing pile of loose tissues, she’s ripping them out of the box as fast as she can, and I’m laughing so hard I can’t breathe. I clean up the tissues and we work on retrieving a cute little basket instead.
We move on to the paw-over-the-nose routine. I put a bit of tape on her nose and get about a minute of enthusiastic pawing, after which she pretty much ignores it.