Chapter 7 
(April 2015):

Kindergarden Graduation

It was the last week of my basic obedience class at our local doggie school. Trainer Horst announced that at the end of the lesson there would be a final test. Mummy suddenly felt sick. Chicken!  During the lesson anybody who had seen me pull like a maniac to play with the other dogs in the first sessions would not have believed their eyes as I calmly walked past the others in the circle and in the double slalom with 6 dogs passing each other back and forth. After 45 minutes – when my 6-month-old’s attention span is usually spent - Horst put up 4 poles to make a big square and rattled off a list of things we had to do for the test. When he asked who wanted to go first, Mummy scooted to the first pole, knowing that I would soon be sniffing the ground and pulling up the grass. We had to turn right round the second pole, sit on the way to the third, turn left there, do a 180° turn at the fourth, lie between the third and second (I did a frog lie to be cute) return to the start, round the pole and at the second pole Mummy told me to sit, took off my leash and walked away. I followed her, of course, because I was supposed to be heeling. Not? Oops! Back to „sit“, this time with a definite „STAY“. Then she called me to sit facing her, sent me around behind her to a heeling sit at her left side. Finished!  Horst’s judgement: „super good“. Mummy was sooooooooo relieved and proud of me.

The others did well, too, but I got the 2nd best verdict and the one better than me – poodle Leo - is at least a year older than I and already trained. Then Trainer Horst gathered us all together for a final pep talk and said that he had no worries about three of the group and pointed to the two poodles and me!  I was the youngest in the group of 8 and just barely old enough to take part 8 weeks ago.

I have been in a puppy class with Trainer Annika since the day I was 9 weeks old. Today Mummy told her about our success yesterday and near the end of my lesson with her Annika told Mummy, „She’s really doing very well.“  Then we turned a corner and I turned a page: I started sniffing and pulling, ignoring treats. Don’t want Mummy to get too confident; she might limit the cheese bits and liverwurst tube.

Mummy says she felt like a soccer mom, driving me 200 miles a week to my four classes. Well I passed the one with flying colors and we’re down to three classes (puppy agility, puppy behavior,  Rally Obedience) and 180 miles a week.  In two weeks we’ll be down to Rally Obedience and puppy agility, 96 miles a week. We’ll have to work on our own more. I can now sit-stay for a whole minute at 5 yards and go over the dogwalk with Mummy holding my harness.  I make good left and right turns, the German 180° turn around Mummy, sit, lie, up (=stand) do a twist while heeling and do circles round a basin with my front feet on it.  I do a curved tunnel and good contact zones. Enough? No, Mummy says we still have a lot to learn.

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