Archive for February, 2013

About five years ago we took a training class with the Beagle. Part of the class dealt with heeling, but nothing the trainer suggested or trained managed to raise that Beagle nose from the floor. She tried several methods and several treats, evening bringing out one she referred to as “puppy crack.” It was freeze dried liver. She was sure it was smelly enough to entice that beagle nose off the floor. The Beagle promptly accept her challenge and showed her just what she thought of that by continuing to sniff the floor. The trainer at that time threw up her hands and said, “You’ll never get that dog to heel.”

Forward five years, one Labrador and a different trainer later. While I’ve not taken the Beagle to class with this trainer, she has given me a great deal of support and confidence. She’s made me consider that perhaps I could train a dog to be responsive and well behaved and even earn a few titles along the way. I’ve had so much fun with the Labrador some of it spilled over on to the Beagle, and this weekend we went to a Show N Go where the Beagle did two Rally Novice runs. And guess what? That Beagle can heel! Oh it wasn’t perfect. There were things we’ve yet to work on, like the moving side step, but you should have seen that heeling! Tail wagging, head up Beagle prancing! Beagles can too heel! Thank you to those special people in my life who not only made me realize I can do this, but showed me that beagles can do this!

At the same Show N Go I took the Labrador to do a Rally Advanced run through. Rally Advance terrifies me. It’s off leash. Now yes I’ve done one Agility trial, which is off leash, and I train in Agility where I take the leash off for the runs, but this was different. I had no idea how she’d react. I was terrified she wouldn’t stay at my side. I warned them that this was our first attempt. That I wasn’t sure what would happen. Everyone was very kind and very supportive. I had an issue when I first took the leash off, and handed it to the ring steward. In Agility when I take it off I toss it, or put it around my neck. The only time I’ve handed off the leash before is when the Labrador is still attached to it, so she followed the leash. Shouldn’t have been a surprise. So that’s something to work on, but once I got her back, sitting in heel position and was given the command to move forward — we rocked that course!

I was amazed! I was so pleased. The “judge” at the end when I stopped for her comments said, “I didn’t make a single mark on the page!” Of course now they all think we should enter the show at the end of the month. I need another night to think about it.


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