As you know from reading Tab and Coreena's blogs, class yesterday was very tough. Yes, once again I'm the one that started nearly everybody crying /wink/ Let me explain that a bit.
I'm not generally a real emotional person, generally. However, I've been exhausted (no matter how much I sleep) and feeling not so hot (not like cold or anything.... it's connected to one of my health issues) and so when I woke up in a "mood" yesterday I knew it was going to be a rough day. I got over it though and got Eola groomed, washed her jacket and got ready for the day. Once we headed out it was apparent Max was also in a "mood" and that didn't help my mood at all either, I was anxious and stressed and just generally in a frazzled state. Eola did good on the car ride, she pretty well slept on the floorboard the entire way which was nice!
Once we got there though I could already feel the emotion I had. I got Eola's GL on her (didn't want to fight with her that day) and in we went. Mary was already there with Eclipse but he was snoozing so that was fine. It was hard seeing him like he always was with me though and then be struggling to get the puppy I'm now in control of to settle and chill out while waiting for everyone else to show up. I won't go into what all we did at class but when working on a "nudge" with the target on a stick to slowly get the dogs targeting the target and Not our hands I was frazzled. We worked on it while Joy was working with Elly quite a bit and Eola was doing reasonably well. Once she asked us to show her, though, Eola was done. She was laying there, not wanting to get up and I was frustrated. I was holding the target too low (bad depth perception, today I held it too high /wink/) and so to re-direct her I switched the stick to my other hand. When she nudged it correctly I gave her food out of that hand (I know, I know, Bad!) because in my frazzled state I had forgotten to switch it to the other hand and forgot my bait bag was still on my pocket /sigh/
Then we worked on out of sight stays (which we were suppossed to work on before... um... I missed something! /grin/). The first time I did it with Eola I put her in a stay and walked around the corner. She popped of the sit position so I came back and told her to sit. She had been backing away to sit which I didn't want because then I wouldn't have enough leash (literally) so I held the leash closer and it pulled up the GL.... So I walked around the corner again, Eola was peering around the corner where I was although she couldn't see me and held her stay correctly, so I went and rewarded her. Joy then asked me to release her and ask her to sit again, which I did and then walked around the corner after telling her to stay. When I came back and released her Joy told me she had me do that again because I'd pulled up on the GL before giving her a chance to respond to the command, however the tension on the GL was due to her backing up, not due to me "correcting" her for not responding fast enough. However, I didn't have presence of mind to say that then so she assumed that it was because I was on the spot which is a Very logical conclusion /grin/ Nobody's fault, just the way things played out, it's a training class for us and the dogs afterall /grin/ More so us than the dogs in fact!
Anyway, I was emotional then. Then we worked on another behaviour and Eclipse was showing how a new dynamic and relationship has affected him. So that got emotional as well as it had to be corrected Then or would escalate. That was hard for me.... That would by like watching "your" six month old puppy go into formal training and show a behaviour that you've Never seen out of them. It's shocking and heart wrenching. Did I not do enough to prepare him for the swap? Is the swap too much stress on the little man? Things such as that run through your mind, well, mine at least. But then there's the additional thoughts that a simple puppy sitting like GDB does would show just as many, if not more behaviours that need corrected, expose the puppies to more environments, get more "personality profiles" on the dogs and such. After two weeks, you have a pretty good feel for a pup and it's abilities, well, I do at least /wink/
We have some things we need to think about...
If we don't stay with JLAD due to the strain of the swap (it's essentially a turn-in every six months... urgh! A turn-in where you have to see a beloved pup every other week and in theory never give the dog eye contact, a command, a pet, a hug ever again. With most you get to love on the dog at graduation for quite awhile) it's back to the drawing board... Urgh! I hate switching schools! The strain of the swap is just soo much! I'll also put my personal opinion of the swap in more detail on the private blog. It's too much on me, although I think I could handle it, Alex is not handling it well at all. It's his very first experience with the world of puppy raising. He misses Eclipse terribly and while we're slowly forming a bond with Eola it's nothing like the one we had with Eclipse... she's a different dog. Alex understands clearly how sending a dog to formal training or to a client is different because you feel closure, you feel like you've done all you can do with the dog, they've out grown you in their road to becoming a working dog. With a six month old, you have none of that. You watched a pup for four months, taught him some commands but didn't have time to get him real solid on anything, don't feel as if you've "accomplished" anything and those are hard feelings to come to terms with.
We'll definitely be finishing out the class with Joy (don't want to leave her with at least two extra puppies in her house when we agreed to raise) but who knows what may be ahead for us /grin/
Now it's time to go help a friend with their new 5 month old lab/golden cross pet puppy.
Have a good one! (Eola pictures coming!)
Ally & Alex w/ Eola, Teddy & Kira