Video coming! and why smug doesn’t pay

I just wanted to say that I have video from the last several sessions of training, and as soon as I get it rendered in a smaller format and compiled from two computers, I’ll post. 🙂

Today’s humiliating learning experience…. Our phone was out, so a worker came to fix it. The phone box isn’t far from Laev’s kennel, where she was spending a few hours (I couldn’t leave her loose in the yard with him and the open gate, and she didn’t deserve to be kenneled inside, so she was doing laps in the kennel). Predictably, she barked at him. “Hey! Weird stranger touching our stuff! Hey!”

I walked around the corner. “Thank you, Laev. Good girl. He’s allowed to be here.”

Oh, hi, Mom. You’re here? You’re on this one? No problem. I think I’ll trot along my fence, then.

I went back inside, feeling a little proud of her and of my training. (First mistake — never get smug.)

A few minutes later, I put a treat in a Kong and left in it Laev’s crate, thinking I’d bring her in from the kennel for a nap in the warmer house. I went outside as the serviceman was walking outside the kennel. Laev ignored him and sat for me to open the gate. I glanced toward the retreating serviceman and decided he was at a safe, non-distracting distance, and I opened it. Laev hopped out and started for the house door as usual. But she glanced over her shoulder at the serviceman.

Something deep in my brain panicked. “Oh, no! She’s not paying attention to me!” I don’t know why I even reacted; the worst that would have happened was that she would have jumped on him for attention, as I’m confident I could have called her back before she got to the open gate. And I *could* have simply said her name or taken a step toward the house myself; she was only looking. But I reacted unconsciously and leaned suddenly forward for Laev.

She caught my body movement and whipped around, ready for play. Wiggling with glee, she lunged upward and gave me an enormous hug, as many paws on my body as she could manage. I grabbed her — again, reacting without thinking — and she flailed with excitement. “We’re wrestling! We’re wrestling!”

So when the serviceman looked up, he saw a Doberman wrapped around my torso, thrashing and smearing mud. Good one.

I stepped back, disengaged, asked Laev to sit, and released her into the house. Sheesh. You’d think this wouldn’t be so difficult for me.

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About Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Laura was born at a very young age and started playing with animals immediately after. She never grew out of it, and it looks to be incurable. She is the author of the bestselling FIRED UP, FRANTIC, AND FREAKED OUT. She owns Canines In Action, Inc. in Indianapolis, speaks at workshops and seminars, and is also a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member.
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