in which Phoebe meets her teacher and learns to take food from people.
Phoebe started school today. She is the biggest dog in a class of very small dogs so if she sees farther than the other dogs, it is because she is surrounded by dwarfs. The other dogs are cute, nonagressive, and mostly well-behaved so it seems like a group that a shy dog like Phoebe will be able to handle.
The teacher spent most of the class just talking about her own dogs and her background as a trainer while the students got to know one another. Phoebe was a bit standoffish at first, but she warmed up to a toy poodle and the teacher’s pet – I mean that literally – a boxer. As the teacher spoke, she walked around the circle of dogs, handing treats to them until, by the time she was finished, she had their undivided attention.
In that time, she got a yipping dog to stop yipping, and a bouncy dog to sit. She also managed to get Phoebe to take the treats from her hand. I’ve been working on that since October and only last week did she do it and then only once. I had been concerned about this, but by the time we left, she was more than willing to take treats from my hand.
The first lesson was ‘watch-me.’ The object is to get the dog to look into your eyes without looking away for a minute and a half. I could get Phoebe to give me this undivided attention for about twenty seconds. She did it twice and then lost interest, but by then class was over. So that’s our homework: watch me.
Overall a good class. I got to preach the gospel of greyhounds to a group of curious people who’d never seen one before, and who were all quite taken with Phoebe’s appearance and calm, but friendly demeanor. Most importantly, we made a breakthrough in that she’ll take food from my hand now. Hopefully she’ll continue to shine.
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