Friday, October 17, 2008

Graduated . . . Sort Of.

Hoover, who is outside on the porch banging the empty food bowls around because I heard a crunch earlier and found him perched under the dining room table chewing on a strip of oak from the heater's air-intake grate in the dining room, graduated from Intermediate Training Class last night. We were late to class because we got stuck behind the Fremont Bridge, which did not open on the ½ hour but rather five minutes later, and then stayed open for 10 minutes, and so everyone (the other three dogs, that is) had done the graduation course already by the time we arrived. I hadn't seen the course last week because I was on the phone with Dell, but Hoover had seen it and so we made it through pretty well. It went something like this: A sit-stay on one end of the room, I walk across the room and release him and have him come. He does something called a finish which ends with him sitting by my side. He then heels through a right-angled course of about a dozen orange cones, does an automatic sit at the end, goes to his rug, heels up and over a 2X12 bridge, sit-stays and then releases through a hoop, then does a stand-stay, then a down-stay, then I go back to my seat and release him and he comes to me, all off-leash. This actually does sound like quite a bit of stuff—however, since he's entirely food-motivated, it's pretty easy, with a treat in hand, to get him to do pretty much anything. What gets tedious is getting him to do pretty much anything without a treat in hand. Anyway, we made it through the course successfully, the dogs were all released from their leashes to play, and Hoover immediately went over to the counter where the "Big Cookie Certificates" were, put his paws up and helped himself to his cookie.


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