Before we get too ahead of ourselves ….

My original plan was to post about Ziva’s wonderful progress last week, graduating from Basic Obedience 1 and also getting a certificate for completing the Intro to Nosework class. And I’ll still get to that, but not before letting you know I was just reminded that, at somewhere around 18 months old, she still has a lot of puppy left in her. So when I was vacuuming, and she was being sooooooo good, I probably should have been suspicious. I thought she was just lying in her bed waiting for me to finish the hallway. But no, she had grabbed a baseball cap that I had found on the floor of the hall closet. In my mission to finish vacuuming I tossed the cap next to me when I found it, rather than putting it back on the shelf where it belonged. And at some point Queen Z came up beside me, took the cap, and proceeded to give it an “extra” distressed look:

A yellow baseball cap that has been chewed on the billIt’s been a while since she chewed anything, so I guess I had this coming. (I still need to catch you up on “What Ziva Ate While Her Moms Were in Scotland,” but that’s an entirely separate  post!)

So yes, it’s stops and starts. But mostly starts. And with the starts come milestones like this one:

Ziva lying down behind her Obedience certificateAnd this one:

Ziva's certificate if Achievement for completing Nosework classJust the fact that Ziva could be in a room full of strange dogs long enough to complete these classes still amazes me. She still has her moments, of course. During the final Obedience class we somehow ended up being positioned between the two most restless dogs in the class, and Ziva struggled at times to ignore them. But working as a team, we got through it. And if you can read the tagline on these certificates, it reads “Obedience through relationship.” What I have learned in the past 8 months is not just how to train my dog but how to read my dog. So, at the beginning of the class, when I realized who we had on either side of us, I certainly had a moment of “oh no!” But the difference between now and 8 months ago is that I felt confident that I could anticipate a problem before it happened. And when Ziva started to pay too much attention to one of these dogs, I took her a couple of steps away and redirected her and had her lie down back in the original spot. And at this point, that is all she needs. But we have to work together on this. I have to anticipate, and she has to obey.

In a week we start Basic Obedience 2. I cannot wait!

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