Calypso and I have one more class before the teacher deems us ready to graduate or counsels us on participating in another session. I have learned to sit and stay, heel, go left, go right, and sit and wait. Calypso, on the other hand, is having a little more difficulty accomplishing the commands for more than a few moments. Her attention span rivals my attention span – about 5 seconds.
Calypso is very head strong and independent. She wants to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it, and how she wants to do it. Does this sound at all familiar? As in – children? I have realized that raising dogs is quite similar to raising children. The same techniques work in both situations.
This week we practiced sit and stay. Calypso and I sat (she sat, I stood – not the other way around) by the front door of Pet Smart. She was not there to greet people, although I am pretty sure that is what she thought. She is learning not to be distracted and to listen to my commands. We still have a lot of work to do. Calypso was clearly under the impression that everyone who walked by was there to visit with her. She did not like having to ignore them.
We also walked up and down the aisles learning left and right. There is one section of the store where Calypso will sit and stay for as long as I will let her – the birdcage. She loves birds. And, with all the activity, she is never bored. Her head swings from side to side as she watches the little colorful birds fly around their cage. She gets a dreamy look on her face – and that is not good. “Me thinks she’s dreamin’ of a snack.”
I have to admit that both dogs are wonderful travelers. Pet Smart is an hour away and they sleep most of the way. I open up the back door of the suburban and they hop in – okay – sometimes they hop into the car. At other times, I have no choice but to haul their lard butts up with a good shove to get them in. Once in, they stay there. They will sit and look out the back window if a car is following us. When they get bored, they lay down until I have to stop. And, right on cue two heads with ears standing on end pop up and look around. It is also funny to look in the mirror and see two dogs looking back at you over the seat. When we enter the city, all of the colors and action fascinate Calypso and she likes to watch the world go by.
It is amazing how they have learned in such a short time, the track from the car to the store’s front doors. They are barely out of the car before they are running (or trying to) pulling me behind them.
I have been practicing walking each dog on the leash separately so I can work on different commands. This means one stays in the outside kennel while the other gets to walk. I began doing this because whichever dog is not on the leash picks at the other dog. This morning, I decided to let them have the distraction so we could work on distractions. That was an adventure.
Calypso was pretty good while I had Ryka on the leash, but when I switched them, Ryka did herself proud in the distraction department. She used to sit in the yard with her bone and just watch, but she has learned that she is free and Calypso is not and she has learned to take advantage of the situation. Ryka was running circles around us and then she would walk right in front of Calypso. Calypso does not not like being second dog so this did not go over to well, but it was a good lesson. As if that wasn’t enough, Ryka left for a second and came back with Calypso’s blue ball. At this point, I was trying not to laugh. Just as you would expect one child to taunt another with their toy, Ryka was taunting Calypso with her ball. Ryka likes her bone; Calypso is possessive of her ball.
Just as Calypso was lunging for the ball, I remembered we had learned a new command – leave it. I used it without thinking and Calypso left the ball alone. I was stunned. She listened! Yeah, Calypso! Obedience class has not been for naught. I consider it a success! (Even if we don’t graduate.)