Sunday, December 8, 2013
BRINGING UP PRESTO! We're Baaack!
It's been 115 days since my last post to this blog. Blame it on the computer. "Tecnical problems beyond my control." (Like broken sits.) The tiniest things can wreak the most havoc. You know that little vertical line that flashes where you're going to begin to type? (It must have a name, but I haven't the foggiest.) That little line refused to appear. We tried everything, to no avail. A couple of friends who know lots more about computers than I do tried. Zilch. The hills were alive with the sound of cusswords. * * * When the blog went on the fritz, at first I ho-hummed it. Probably nobody cared, anyhow. As you grind out something like this, you begin to wonder. Is there anyone out there? Or is it like the tree falling in the forest and nobody hears it? But as time passed I began to receive emails. For instance, late last week I heard from Shannon Rodgers Daspit in Des Moines, Iowa. She closed with ". . . please keep blogging, sharing, writing . . . it inspires and helps more than you'll ever know." Wow! That'll put wind beneath your wings. A day later "Aussie girl" posted a comment beneath the item I had shared on August 15,115 days ago. In part she said, "Discovered this blog recently and am waiting for more posts." Thank you Aussie girl, whoever and wherever you are. Late last January, on a day when you could float a catamaran in the ring (Yeah, here in the desert.) a prominent judge told me, "I have a puppy and I'm following your blog and using the same methods you're using with Presto!" Gee, I wonder how they're doing? So there is life out there in cyberspace. And the comments are much appreciated. OK, here we go again. * * * When last we connected here in this blogosphere, Presto! was 15 months old and I was thanking my lucky stars, and his, that he had turned on a dime and come when I called him off of a huge, intact male pit bull. At that point, his light bulb really hadn't come on. Oh, I was doing all the right things and Presto! was responding, sort of by rote. But I've found that there comes a point, actually an identifiable day, when suddenly the dog gets it. I could take you back a few weeks and tell you the precise day when that happened. Bingo! Suddenly Presto! had learned how to learn. And the tenor of our practice sessions changed dramatically. The most exciting feature of our training sessions now is the pure joy that 19-month-old Presto! exudes as he works with me. Example: scent articles. Presto! goes ripping out to the pile as fast as he can run. And as he goes, he gives a sharp growl. He attacks the pile, working at warp speed, comes back and presents the article by jumping on my chest. Many years ago my first border collie, Bebop, was also a lightning fast worker at the pile (accurate, too; in his career he got 340 correct articles in a row). Once we were showing in San Bernardino, California. There was a woman at ringside representing the Canadian Kennel Club. She told us she was observing American obedience as part of a study to possibly amend the Canadian regulations. The lady was standing with Barbara as Bebop and I did our thing in the Utility B ring. Later Barbara told me the woman shook her head and said, "I've never seen a dog work the pile that fast." Well, Presto! makes Bebop look like a tortoise. I love that enthuisiasm, it portends wonderful things for the future. But there's fast and then there's ridiculous. Lately I've been putting a flexi on Presto! as we practice scent articles. I think too much haste might make for waste. Better to slow him down a bit. But the unbridled joy with which he tackles everything we do is wonderful. Willard