Baby Thor

Baby Thor

Training Thor

In January 2010, Thor, a 5-month-old weimaraner, came crashing into my life.

Here, I will outline the steps taken to train him to be a well-mannered dog,

to do agility, and to perform some service dog tasks.

At five months, he is pretty wild.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Dream

In my dream, I have three dogs.  Thor, of course.  And 16-year-old Vada.  No Glitterbug; instead Morgan, an ancient mixed breed who, in reality, lives with my son and his girlfriend.  In the dream, Vada and Morgan are walking down my HP ramp to get to the backyard.  Thor keeps barging under the railings to disrupt the old dogs' progress.  He keeps knocking them down.  I see this as a metaphor for my own frailty and how much Thor enjoys knocking into ME. 

In addition, I am sad at the thought that Vada will not be with me much longer.  She has been a challenging dog to own and train...overactive and dog aggressive.  Much of her training was filled with mistakes of the day...I had yet to discover positive training when I was working with her.  Despite that, we did earn the AKC's Canine Good Citizen certificate and Companion Dog (CD) Obedience title.  Vada retired after leaving the ring during a show 'n' go to attack a GSD working articles in the next ring.  Neither the judge nor I saw it coming.  I was practicing with Vada in the Open class on an exercise called Retrieve Over High Jump.  With Vada seated at my side, I threw the dumbbell out over the high jump.  Then I sent Vada to get it.  She cleared the jump easily and went straight to the dumbbell.  But, instead of picking it up, Vada turned almost 180 degrees to get to the shepherd.  With dozens of people surrounding the two fighting dogs, I couldn't get close to Vada and had to watch and wait.  It was horrible.  In the end, neither dog was hurt.  Neither dog even had saliva on their coat.  But it was scary to everyone.  And people tried to demand that Vada and I be immediately banned from the grounds.

The judge was wonderful.  She found a long line and had me bring Vada back into the ring.  She had us perform the broad jump exercise which Vada did beautifully.  But it had been an awful day.  I cried for most of the three hours that it took to drive home.  Vada and I attended a few classes after that, with my friends all insisting that this could be fixed and that I shouldn't give up.  But in the end, I did quit.  I wasn't willing to risk that some day Vada would hurt another dog and there might be cries for her destruction.  So Vada became my backyard dog.  We played combined obedience/agility games just for fun, and she loved it.  She became more relaxed than she had ever been.  It was a good way for her to live out her life.

Now, as Vada as moving toward death, I cannot bear to think of losing her.  And, at the same time, I am struggling to fall in love with Thor.  He deserves to be loved as much as I've loved Vada.  But I am not there yet.  I have yet to fall in love again.

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