Back to work
After the October trial, I decided not to enter Fannie in any agility competition for the time being, or at least until January or February. I’m not “that strong”. Our performances were far from stellar, mostly because of distractions and my nervousness. Our first day wasn’t that bad, and I even squeezed in a threadle in one of the courses with her! (Fannie gets threadles) Unfortunately, I’d rather forget about the second day. 😦 Again, I ignored Fannie’s preferences of one day trials, and paid for it greatly.
A fellow agility club member asked me if I wanted to be her team partner for “Teams”. I accepted, warning her that my dogs and I are certainly not ready for a Masters level event. She insisted she didn’t mind. Well, Jasmine wasn’t a happy camper, since I was stressed, but Fannie wasn’t that bad… considering…
Finally, this convinced me to seek professional help, and I asked a friend if she wanted to give us private agility lessons. So far, we have only met three times, but I feel as if I’m back in agility mode, and more aware of what’s going on in the sport. Yes, I admit it doesn’t take much to boost my confidence. A good teacher who holds my hand is sometimes all I need.
Jasmine and I are back in the “therapy groove”, if only on a part-time basis. We have no planned weekly visits. We mostly replace other teams who can’t make it for my workplace’s program “Paws’n Books” and/or we participate in one-time special events.
A few weeks ago, the team who is responsible for the baby storytime at work asked me to share my knowledge of babies and dogs. I’ll amend that to “limited knowledge”. 😉 The group meets on a weekly basis, and along with stories, songs, lap dances, we have guest speakers. So far, we’ve had someone talking about breast cancer, essential oils, literacy, car seat safety, and.. well… dogs… I mainly talked about how to make sure your baby doesn’t look threatening to your dog. I also explained what to look for to determine if a dog is calm, stressed, or scared. Yes, I did talk about those horrible pictures on social media where we see babies being allowed to be pushywith dogs or doing things that can only lead to dangerous results.
All, in all, I’m very, very proud of Jasmine’s work. She stayed calm and collected the whole time we were there. She was crowded by the 3-5 group who came to say “hi!”. She was pat-patted by the babies.
Squeezed Hugged by a four year old. Needless to say, Jasmine was a superstar! YES! I SAID IT!! A SUPERSTAR!!!! Let it be known that she is not a superstah. No, a superSTAR! (English may be my second language, but I hate it when adults “baby talk” words. I hated it when I was a child. I hate it as an adult.
I can already hear the comments… I critisize others letting their dogs being pushed to the point of losing their cool, while I let the same thing happen to Jasmine. First, Jasmine is a therapy dog. She’s tested, and doesn’t show signs of stress or reactiveness with babies. Second, if I see a baby, toddler, or a child doing something that might stress her, I control the situation. Third, for every hug, pat, grab, tail pull (there were none), Jasmine was rewarded with food treats. Therefore, she associates children with good things happening. As you can see from the pictures, she looks far from stressed. Alrighty, I step down from my soapbox now.
As an FYI, here is a link to one of the handouts if you’re interested. The artist is Lili Chin, and her work is excellent and most importantly… cute!
Finally, here is the picture of the superSTAR!
Today, the beautiful gentle husky who should have done the Paws’n Books couldn’t make it, so it was Jasmine to the rescue! 😀 We had about 7 visits, and one of them was a fluffy tail obsessed baby. No fluffy tails were pulled, let me reassure you.
No child came to read to Jasmine. Instead, a mother asked me questions about how to train her dog the basic skills, such as sit, down, and heel. Basically, she wanted her dog to have manners. Her daughter kept Jasmine in a state of constant bliss by petting her while we chatted. I was happy to learn that she and her dog were already entered in a beginner’s obedience class in town for January 2016, and simply wanted to learn more about it. I hope I helped.
Jasmine being kept in a state of constant bliss.