It's also ok because I just have a really awesome dog. Even though we didn't pass, she still did really well on the things she passed.
|So excited before the test. Don't judge me by the dog fur on the side of the front seat.|
She was perfect for accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, and appearance and grooming.
She sat and conquered our problem area from last time--down on command--and did a beautiful recall.
Reaction to another dog went ok the second try and really the first try wasn't bad; she just wanted to say hello and the dogs aren't allowed to cross in front of you, but there was no growling or barking or mohawking of her back fur.
Our first problem area was reaction to distractions, which was strange because Barley is usually fairly oblivious to the world around us when there aren't dogs and squirrels involved. She was fine with the clanking of metal objects, but responding to someone jogging by was the problem. (So, I hope her Aunt L is ready to help us practice at Thanksgiving and Christmas by jogging past us daily! Maybe it will be good running blog material to talk about the vicious Honey Badger Barley!) We see a lot of joggers at the Geneva State Park and a couple in our neighborhood, and Bar's never given them more than a passing glance. But today, she decided she wanted to bark at the jogger during our test. That is not acceptable. Then when we tried a second time with a different jogger, she didn't bark but she did try to approach the jogger. I felt a little bad--the first jogger was a pre-teen boy and even though Barley wasn't barking aggressively and was just being noisy, she scared him.
Supervised separation wasn't perfect, but I don't think we would have failed for it. She whimpered a bit, but I don't think it would have been considered more than "mild agitation" if everything else had gone well. I think that one is harder on me than it is on her--although I did get to pet a sweet golden retriever (my first dog breed love) while we were separated.
Most of the items that are just on the TDI test and not the Canine Good Citizen test were cake, though. She was not bothered at all by the medical equipment, the infirmities (I think I was more bothered by people hacking and wheezing than she was--damn hypochondria), and reaction to children. She didn't bat an eye at any of those things. She was even more perfect with the Say Hello item, which is approaching someone in a wheelchair to be pet. Even though the person in the wheel chair wasn't actually in need of a wheelchair, Barley acted as if she needed to be extra gentle. She is so good in these situations--just like she is with our neighbor with special needs (sorry if that's not the politically correct term--I can never keep up with what's in fashion now)--she approaches so slowly and calmly and sets her chin on the person's knee and lets them pet her and then after a few seconds of getting to know each other the crazy tail wagging begins. But she never jumps or acts like a crazy dog.
Our other huge problem area was Leave-It. I take full responsibility for this one. We haven't practiced nearly as much as we should have. I know she's food motivated, so it didn't surprise me at all when she saw the chicken and cheese on the floor and acted like she'd never seen a meal before. I was a little surprised that she didn't even pretend to pay attention to me when I said "Leave it" or "Watch," though. I thought after we passed two glazed donuts on the side of the road during yesterday's walk and all of the left over Grape Jamboree food a few weekends ago that we could make it through this one. But from now on, we're practicing inside with people food at least once a day until we pass. I really can't blame her for living to eat, though, when my whole life revolves around meal time.
Even though we didn't pass, it's still been a good day. We woke up early (for a Saturday) and walked two miles at the State Park. It was cloudy and preparing to rain--which happened while we were warming up in the yard at the training center--but it was a really nice morning. We had good interactions with other dogs and some good reinforcement of heeling, stays, and recalls. And we got a couple cute pictures (as far as pictures with my stupid phone can be called cute).
|Ears blowing in the wind in front of my favorite tree and picnic table in the park.|
|Watching the clouds roll in over the marina.|
This also means that Barley and I can afford to sign up for a new class at the training center again! So, I've emailed our trainer to see which class (agility, repeat of obedience, etc.) would be best to help Barley with the issues we had today.
So there are no regrets and no sadness over today's test results. When I got this dog almost two years ago, I never would have thought we'd do as well as we did today, so, to me, this is a training victory. We've come a long way and I can't wait to see where we end up together.