Obedience...from the dog's perspective
If your owner doesn't already take you to obedience classes, get your "dog appeal" working or one of those things that might make your owner think you might be better if you were more obedient. If you haven't been to an obedience class, you haven't lived!
Your owner comes to learn to be a "handler". The first thing your handler learns is that if you run away, it doesn't matter what you do as long as you come back eventually and sit down by him. You mustn't be punished because if you are punished, you won't come back--see? Remember this and you can get away with murder. Always go back to your handler when you are ready, sit by his side and look up innocently--just watch his blood pressure rise!
The test, as the handlers think they should be done, will bore you to death, but with your own variations, you can play forever and score your own way!
1. Heel on lead - a bit of a grind. Hang your head and walk as slowly as you can; then spring forward with all your weight. (If your handler falls flat on his face, you score 25 points).
2. Heel free - anything goes, AND SO DO YOU. Usually at least one dog will run with you; you will be able to run faster so you will never be caught. In your own good time return to your handler and sit at his side with maddening precision and smile at him. (You score 5 points for each minute of freedom).
3. Recall - Handler walks off. Let him go - but when he turns and shouts at you, assume rock deafness, and show him how perfectly you can stay. See if there is anything worth investigating, go investigate it. On no account sit in front of your handler because he will only make you heel. Assume the heel position right away and look at him with indifference. (25 points if handler loses his voice.)
4. Retrieve the dumbbell - Watch handler throw dumbbell. On no account fetch it back, because he will only throw it away again. If he wants the stupid piece of wood, let him fetch it himself - you will be helping to train him not to throw away things he really wants. (Variation - run out to the dumbbell with enthusiasm, sniff it, smile at the handler and return smartly to base without it. Repeat as often as handler wishes. You score 5 points every
time handler gets dumbbell.)
5. Sit - on no account really sit! They always try to train you on wet and cold ground. The "Doberman Squat" would be good to do. You can stay one inch away from the ground at the back end. From this position you can spring away to your fastest speed with no hesitation. (See hints on Heel free) You get 5 points for each successful squat.
6. Down - here you have to lie down. With practice you can travel yards on your stomach to reach other competitors. If they move, pretend you think the exercise is over and leave, too. If you can remain out of the handler's sight for 5 minutes, you score 30 points.
(Conclusion: Without warning, do any exercise you choose perfectly! This will leave your handler thinking that the earlier mistakes were his fault, and he will take you to training week after week. Happy scoring!)
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Dot in Northern Illinois