but Claudia (very nicely) said that Ryder wasn’t yet ready for the big time. I thought Ryder was ready, but erred on the side of wait, because Claudia knows dogs and knows people and knows when dogs are and aren’t ready to get good citizen certification.
I did volunteer. I helped set up, and I sat on the sidelines and watched the dogs that were supposedly ready, take the equivalent of the doggie SATs. The test was deceptive. It appeared easy, but actually was difficult. Dogs, under the guidance of their handlers, must do a variety of “good citizen” type things, such as walk through a crowd: crowd has one person who drops a board (in this case me), a person pushing a walker, and others milling about. Dog must sit, heel, stay, stand still for grooming, sit while stopping to greet another person with a another dog, etc. There’s one more thing, I will mention it in a minute.
Six dogs took the test. I believe that all but one passed. The evaluator was fair, upbeat, positive. She put the very nervous owners at ease from the beginning. The first person to take the test was Vicky Parks, who owns Bettles, a German Shepherd search and rescue dog. No surprise, Bettles did extremely well, as Vicky later said, she’s been around a lot of dogs and people, so the distractions didn’t faze her. And she did well with the separation portion of the test – dogs must remain with another person for three minutes, while the owner goes into hiding. I see Vicky as being the model for the rest of us – in order to get national certification, our dogs must pass this test. Gulp.
Afterwards, Pete, Ryder, and I headed over to the Menard Sports Center, where regular Search and Rescue practice was being held. It was late when we got there – just a few people remained. Vikki and Stacey gave Pete me an assist with Ryder’s training. We did four problems of varying length. Ryder had to find Pete two times and Vikki two times. She stayed on track three times. Once she veered off track to take in something more interesting than Pete’s scent, then she immediately got back on track. This was the first day in which I thought that Ryder had any potential for this kind of thing. As for me, I have potential too. I kept quiet while she was on the search – I’d previously been told that I was being too distracting.
Next, back at home at 4:30 p.m. There was still plenty of daylight. I did chores, then got Tinni and the dogs out. Ryder and Rainbow had a collective brilliant dog moment. I was out on the trail when Tinni raised his head high and planted his feet. Rainbow and Ryder then took off. I next saw a pug mix bounding down the trail, in my direction, its owner was not far behind. He was yelling “come, come, bad dog, come!” Rainbow and Ryder, who were clearly put off by this man’s yelling, ran up behind me. We continued on down the trail, happily. I (of course) praised my dogs highly for coming.
Lastly, I got Hrimmi, Signy, and Raudi out at 6:30 p.m. Pete rode Signy. It was a wonderful ride; Raudi, behind Signy, behaved very nicely. As we moseyed along, I recalled that just a month ago, it had been dark at this time. Now, for the next six months, it will remain light until this time. Daylight savings time, it’s really nonsensical. It’s like cutting fabric off one end of an apron and sewing it onto the other end. But, I like the fact that it gets sewn on the upper portion of the garment.
Next: 69. 3/10/14: Major Tom Where Are You?