White Dog looked from me to Zsofia. We had just returned from Day 2 of school. Zso had finished telling the White Dog Army about the incredible amount of hard work that goes into her hour of classwork. "Awesome!" was WD's response. "You are a movie star," YoYoMa teased.
We ARE fortunate and delighted to discover that we are the only students in this class. As a result we get the undivided attention of one of the best trainers in the Southwest, Sara Thompson, who is in town just to teach three courses.
An incredible plus, for us, is that since we are her only students, we have been given carte blanche to structure the course to our needs. Additionally Sara is intrigued with the challenge my wheelchair adds to things like loose leash walking and recalls.
Today after Zso warmed up with some basic commands and a few recalls, our trainer suggested that I, in my chair, take the Baby for a walk. The goal was to make walking next to the rolling vehicle comfortable and safe. We worked on staying on one side...not getting ahead...not crossing over...sitting right next to my side when we stopped. By the end Zsofia was able to travel the length of the practice room swing across to the opposite side of the room and stop on command in a sit. She even walked past the distractor dog, inches from him in fact, without giving him a glance. She was amply rewarded for that. Sara has asked permission to film the work we do with the wheelchair in the hopes of incorporating training skills for those pet guardians with disabilities--not service or therapy dog training but everyday dog and human skills. Our girl did well.
White Dog gasped at Zsofia's final bit of news. Sachi has been invited by Sara to be tomorrow's guest "distraction." The trainer asked what the one thing at home was that kept Zsofia from staying focused. Steve and I both answered her littlest brother. When they are playing or wrestling, it is hard for Zso to disengage to follow commands. So tomorrow we will "develop some strategies to redirect."
Of course, Sara has not yet met our stubborn Little Ankle-Biting Man.