To Have Command Obey’d

Wednesday before last, Spriggan and I missed our training class.  I had been sick for almost a week by then, and in addition to wanting to do nothing but sleep for the rest of eternity, I was losing my voice.  I didn’t get the upper register back until about a week ago Monday, and lemme tell ya, it’s tough to really convey a proper “Good GIRL!” when you sound like James Earl Jones.

hkoooohhhh... hkuhhhhh

“Join me, and I will complete your training.”

At least, the illness was my excuse for not practicing with Spriggan.

So, by the time we got to training class this past Wednesday, two weeks of no training later, I was certain that I would be embarrassed beyond belief because my dog had forgotten everything she ever learned ever.

But, Spriggan is nothing if not surprising.

Before class began, I tried a few things to prepare myself as to just how mortified I was going to be.  I asked her to “Heel”, and she trotted along at my left side, sitting down when I stopped.

I tried again, sure that this was a misinterpretation of what was actually happening:

Me:  Spriggan, heel!

Spriggan:  (trots beside me, looking up at me)

Me:  Quickly!

Spriggan:  (speeds up to keep pace with me)

Me:  Slowly…

Spriggan:  (slows down, but does not stop and sit every two feet, instead moving right by my ankle)

Me:  (stops moving)

Spriggan:  (sits neatly by my left ankle, staring up at me)

Me:  (head explodes)

We tried Sit, Stay, Down, Wait, and a “puppy pushup”, which is a series of Sit/Down commands in rapid succession.  When she passed something or someone she wanted to smell or jump on, I said “Leave It!” and she came back to me.  When she found a doggie biscuit in the training ring, I told her to “Drop It!” and she immediately put it down and returned to my side.

I was pretty sure that someone had replaced my dog with  better-behaved version.

"How droll!"

… or maybe just one with better research skills.

I tested her heeling skills in front of some of her classmates, in part to corroborate that I was not imagining what was happening.  She did everything I asked, just as before.

When we got into class, we were working on the command On Your Bed in which, eventually, I should be able to say “On your bed!” and she’ll lie down on her bed and Wait.  We were partnered up (I lucked out with a dog/owner combo that I like very much), and we were supposed to practice Wait and Stay on their beds, and then call them to Come past our partner dog; the idea being that they should come all the way to their owners regardless of the distraction of fun playmates.  I did not have high hopes for her Wait and Stay commands, as we’d never really worked those up very far.

She had a lot of fun diving into the borrowed bed, but she stopped short of trying to destroy it, and she wasn’t utterly distracted; I was able to get her attention to practice Wait and Stay.

…which she did like an expert who’d been practicing nothing else her whole life.

“Your head a-splode.”

The first time I called her past Gomez (our partner dog), she trotted right up to me like I’m the most interesting thing in her world.

You may not understand the gravity of this, if you haven’t spent much time with Spriggan, but she is very independently-minded, like many dachshunds, and doesn’t usually give a fig for what I want.

Seriously, not even one.

That glorious night, though… I got all the figs.

Every fig in the world.

I love this dog.