Summer is here, and puppy training season is in full swing. If you want to hang out with Jaz, you better call ahead and make a reservation, because this little pup has one full agenda! Last week, we had recall training on Monday and Thursday, handling training on Tuesday, and a rally obedience match on Sunday… with a play-date thrown in here and there plus ongoing bi-weekly grooming, Jaz is keeping us on our toes.
As you can tell, it is on! Since my schedule is pretty flexible during the summer, I am taking advantage of it by kicking this puppy’s butt into shape. Firstly, I’ve been grooming a lot due to our upcoming show at the end of the month (and possibly three more shows in August). Our breeder has been helping with the primping, and my skills are improving by leaps and bounds. I’m at the point where I’ve developed an eye for it and can now actually see what adjustments the breeder is making and why. I’m starting to feel more like the sculptor and less like the child whose arts and crafts project depicting a cat is mistaken for an elephant.
What ties in with the grooming are the handling classes I’ve been taking. For some reason I’ve made the decision to try showing Jaz myself (I know what you’re thinking… I must be delusional!). So every Tuesday, I’ve been walking circles, diagonals, triangles, and L-shapes, as well as lifting Jaz on and off a table and trying to get her to stand properly. Not and easy feat, I tell you! Not only do I have to keep Jaz’s attention, but I also have to make it fun without getting her overly excited, all the while getting her to walk, turn or stand a certain way. But besides paying attention to Jaz (which, trust me, is a full-time job in itself), I also have to pay attention to switching hands, breaking off pieces of bait, whipping out a squeaky toy at the right time, as well as watching the judge and the direction I’m going in (I’ve experienced a few close encounters and one near-collision!). Oh, and before the end of the month I have to know how to do all of the above while keeping a comb handy to keep Jaz’s wild facial hair in check. (Yup. Just another minor detail. Why on earth did I decide to do this again…?!?)
Since we couldn’t stop just there, we also entered Jaz in a bi-weekly summer program that focusses on recall. After all, it would be nice if she actually came when called. Especially since she is a terrier of the naughtiest kind, we need all the help we can get. Every Monday and Thursday we take her to a class where she tries to chase all the other dogs, steals their toys (to no avail; they’re all on long leashes at a safe distance!) and sometimes (well, more than sometimes… Jaz managed to average 4 out of 5 last night!) comes when called…
If you think that, after all the above, we’ll have had enough, think again! After the recall program wraps up and the shows are done, we are thinking of entering Jaz in rally obedience class. Rally obedience is competitive obedience where you’re asked to walk a certain course with the dog while completing small exercises such as “sit,” “down,” slalom, and 180 degree turns.
Jaz and her dad competed in their first rally obedience fun match last week. They were disqualified in the first run because, during the sit/down exercise (a “sit” followed by a “down”), instead of dropping from the “sit” position straight into the “down” position, Jaz took a few steps in between (it wasn’t her fault; daddy didn’t hold the treat close enough!). Luckily, the second run went much better. It was a close call, but due to the fact that they were 5 seconds faster than the other dog and handler they tied scores with, Jaz and Kornelis ended up taking home “high in class” – the price for the highest score!