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A cartoon and a training session

Tim Glass, author of Just This Side of Heaven sent me a link to a cartoon depicting what it can be like being an author with a dog at a book signing. I told him not to take it personally if people want to meet one of his lovely Beagles with more enthusiasm than they do him. Apart from the fact that dogs are usually cuter than their accompanying people, they are just more approachable too. You don't feel at all self conscious when greeting a dog, even a celebrity one.

As I mentioned during Crufts, I always leave celebrities in peace in the press room, but I couldn't resist asking to meet canine celebrity Endal.

On a completely different subject, Jenny and I took part in a session today where trainee dog trainers were being assessed. Obviously, Buddy and Star took part too. This was really interesting, as usually the instructor in the room is the source of authority, and suddenly that person was being scrutinised by two assessors, which made me really try hard to do it all right, so as not to mess up their chances. Our session was about clicker training, and there was a range of dogs from eleven months old, up to six years, and the youngest handler was a little girl of seven. The dogs had also had very different amounts of previous training. This made for a challenging class, but the trainer in question coped very well, and it did give her a chance to demonstrate versatility and different training approaches.

Buddy was his usual enthusiastic self, and she showed me a brilliant technique we haven't tried before of getting him to target my hand to get him to walk well at my side. I'll be working on that as an alternative to our usual "close" command as that could be more versatile, and possibly useful in heelwork-to-music, which I'd like to do more of. Star was an unknown quantity, but she was very focused on Jenny, and although she rejected several of the treats on offer with her best expression of disdain, she did everything asked of her with calm and confidence. She's so different from the dogs I've known so far (Lab, GSD) and never ceases to surprise me. Food doesn't motivate her, but do you know what does? - being allowed to lick Jenny's chin. It takes all sorts.

Take care,

Julie x

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