Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Third Time Charming

On Thursday, I played hookie from work (in case my employers are reading this, by "hookie," I mean I took a vacation day) so that B and I could do to an ARLP education program. This program was different for our usual in a few ways. For one, I was teaching - something I try my very hardest to avoid. Second, it was a group for teenagers and would last an hour. Most of ARLP's programs are done for the K-8 group in about a twenty minute time frame. Lastly, there was another dog there.

Okay, so the other dog was Mikey, but Mikey can be plenty distracting when he wants to be.

Luckily, our friend Nicole was there to handle the little man while I concentrated on managing Rubi and talking to the students. I had B settle on her mat while I talked to the group about the history of the pit bull, dog behavior, training, and whatever else fell into my brain and spewed out my mouth (I've been told that the lecture portion was pretty good, so it would seem that my insecurity is showing). B got up a few times, but since there were kids intentionally trying to get her to do just that, I don't consider it a failure. She did go back to the mat each time I asked her, and given the circumstances, I'm pretty pleased with how few times she did break her down.

After rambling on for a bit, we let the kids meet the Mikey and Rubi. This dissolved into just hanging out while everyone asked whatever questions they had, the kids practiced "training" Rubi, and cameras were pulled out to commemorate the occasion. Mikey, meanwhile, had decided that I was paying entirely too much attention to everyone who was not him, and whined whenever I went out of leash range. So I hung out with him and Nicole and "supervised" Rubi and the kids.

I don't often get a chance to just observe Rubi, and I have to say, I was pretty pleased with what I saw. Whenever the kids started getting frustrated, I would come over and help them figure out whichever trick they were trying to get. When B started getting overstimulated, I would call her over for a few minutes of relaxing matwork. Overall, though, I didn't really have to interfere. The kids were wonderfully patient and followed directions well, and Rubi was wonderfully attentive and tried to follows the directions as she understood them. She didn't seem overly bothered that I wasn't right next to her, and even better, at no point did she try to jump on anyone and steal their treats.

It makes me happy for B that she's now both able to follow instructions from pretty much anyone. When I got her, she lived in her own little world where she didn't have to do anything anyone told her unless they used force. Now, not only does she take direction from pretty much anyone, she does it with her manners and impulse control intact. Sometimes progress is sneaky, and you don't know that you've made the journey until you've already reached the destination.

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