We enrolled Dusty in several dog classes to help us gain skills in our discipline techniques and in our training styles. Very soon Dusty knew that “school” meant that he would be going to a place where he could be in the company of other dogs and expand his repertoire of tricks. We also began experimenting at home with our own ideas of what we would like him to learn.
We discovered that if he repeated a response to a new instruction over and over again, in the course of 20 minutes he would master it. Dusty truly enjoys a challenge but he also senses our excitement and pride when he shows his mastery of a new subject. Sometimes he surprises us by reminding us that he knows a trick that would be perfectly suited to the moment.
Like today when we came inside following an inspection of the yard to see if the morning’s frost had overstayed its “bet you didn’t think I’d stop by” appearance. I certainly didn’t feel pleased with the signs of the cool-fingered-frost-fellow lingering amongst my September garden. I came inside sighing, stomping and shaking my head with frustration. But before I could slip off my sneakers, Dusty hopped up on his hind legs, paws swiping up towards me. He spun himself around, backing up, stretching his paws higher and higher, twirling in circle after circle.
In that moment when I bent down to touch my open hands to his extended paws I forgot about that fickle-frosty-friend, and I remembered how to dance, delightfully with Dusty! I had taught him to respond to my command, “Are you ready, let’s dance!” But this time, he reminded me with his, “Paws up Mom! Just dance!”