I mentioned yesterday that today I was going to brag all about Maggie and here it comes! I was a bad blogger and didn’t talk much about when Maggie graduated from her first Obedience course. I can’t honestly remember what all was going on but I know I was busy and I just kind of forgot about it. Bad Morgan!
Tuesday was Maggie’s graduation night from Intermediate Obedience and I couldn’t have been more proud. She has come so incredibly far since I got her and it is amazing to me that she is even the same dog. Without a doubt, I owe a HUGE portion of this progress to Michelle at Doggie Dayz (where Maggie’s classes are). Michelle was right there to call me out when I did something stupid (like repeat a command rather than making Maggie follow through) or to tell me to relax when I got anxious. I think I actually probably got more out of the classes than Maggie did.
Maggie quickly became good at “heel” and has always been a pro at “sit”. Within a couple of classes she knew that if I stopped walking, she had to sit, without me evening needing to give her the command. “Down” was a tough one for Maggie though. Michelle explained that it is a very submissive and vulnerable position which can be tough for an already nervous dog. With practice, time, and a marked increase in Maggie’s confidence, she got better and better. Now when Maggie doesn’t want to go “down” it’s because she is being hard-headed and I have to have more will power than her. Have you ever tried to out will power a pit bull? It’s no easy feat. I suppose that’s part of why I love the breed though.
Fast forward to our last class on Tuesday and Maggie is walking around, surrounded by other dogs, and only focusing on me. For the majority of class, she didn’t even have her leash on! There was a particularly handsome black lab that Maggie couldn’t resist giving kisses to (they were playing together before class and she developed a serious crush) and she did wander over to him a couple of times for a quick smooch, but I was able to quickly get her focused back on me. There was also an incident with a very vocal Schnauzer where Maggie felt the need to rush over and insert herself in the situation but after putting the leash back on for a few minutes and gathering ourselves, we were ready to go leashless again.
Maggie learned all sorts of other things in class but what I am so proud of, and frankly amazed by, was our ability to maintain focus on each other with only my words, eye contact, and some delicious treats. The first time Michelle instructed us to drop our leashes I literally refused. I was certain Maggie would bolt off and possibly get herself in trouble. Michelle had to come over and physically take the leash out of my hand. I love her for doing it though because she had the faith in Maggie that I should have had. At that moment I relaxed and stopped imagining worst case scenarios and instead allowed myself to see Maggie the way Michelle did. As soon as I started having faith in Maggie, she not only lived up to, but exceeded my expectations.
Honestly, we were probably the least advanced in the class but I will take the blame for that. Maggie and I do not practice nearly enough. We should be practicing multiple times a day but in reality days often go by where we don’t even practice at all. I know, I know, bad dog mom! And Michelle, if you are reading this, don’t be too harsh–it’s usually because I am busy driving all over this part of the state trying to save other dogs. Despite the fact that we were shown up by the rest of the class, I am still extremely proud of Maggie’s progress.
In addition to Maggie’s amazing progress with obedience training, I need to spend some time bragging about how excellent she is with Bea. She loves that little puppy. I’ve mentioned it before, but Maggie plays rough. I was concerned she wouldn’t understand that Bea is just a baby and would end up hurting her accidentally. Not the case at all. Truly, it is amazing to watch them play together. Maggie let’s Bea roll her around, pounce at her with ferocious puppy snarls, and gnaw on her face. She is endlessly patient with her. Even though Maggie will shoot me an exasperated glance every now and then, I know she actually loves having a playmate. When Bea is busy snuggling, Maggie will gaze lovingly at her, waiting for her to be ready to play again. Buddy and Tag are very “eh” about having a puppy in the house. They tolerate her but aren’t too interested in actually playing with her. Im reality, Maggie and Bea are actually much closer in age than Maggie and my dogs are, which might be part of why they make such a great duo. I can’t stop saying it, I am just so proud and amazed and even more in love with Maggie because of Bea.
I know that was long and mushy but I am just so proud of Maggie. She has come so far in the time that I’ve had her. I am truly amazed that she has not been adopted by someone yet. She’s basically the perfect package! My Marvelous Maggie Moo. Have you had a dog (foster or permanent) that you are particularly proud of? I’d love to hear about him or her!