Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big dog now

The other day when we were at the mall, Dempsey attracted the attention of a couple of girls.

"OhMyGodLook!" squealed the younger girl. "It's a puppy!"

The older girl tried to seem more worldly and jaded. "That's not a puppy," she sneered. "That's a big dog."

The older girl was right. Dempsey has graduated from his "Working Wonders" class, and is officially a "Big Dog" now. He went to his first "Big Dogs" class last night.

We're a little nervous. Dempsey knows over 70 skills now, but they still need quite a bit of polishing. It was obvious seeing the older "big dogs" last night: retrieving heavy objects on the first try, flipping light switches without scratching the wall, turning corners crisply on walks -- all things Dempsey struggles with sometimes. Dempsey is above average, we like to think, but last night he wasn't. He has a lot of work to do before he can run with the big dogs!

I know I'm being hard on Dempsey, comparing him to the older dogs. So before we locked him in his bedroom to study more for "Big Dogs" class, we had a little party on his last night of "Working Wonders" to celebrate his graduation.

We had a class gift for our instructor, Nancy, who is retiring from her volunteer teaching to focus on her dog training business, OnCue Training. (Quick plug for Nancy: Whenever someone mistakes me for a professional trainer and asks if I can train an unruly Rottweiller, I laugh hysterically and then refer them to Nancy, who is a true professional.) (Full disclosure: Ok, this has only happened once. I'm not often mistaken for a professional anything.)

The class gift was a beautiful photomontage of all the puppies in class, put together by Sharon, an art and photo director who generously donated her time and talent. Everyone in class chipped in for the printing and framing.

But according to Dempsey, the best part of the party was the doggie cake. We didn't get many good pictures, but here's a boring video of Dempsey asking for seconds.

Enjoy the cake, Dempsey! We'll be working off those extra calories practicing a lot more loose leash walking.

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