Sunday, February 20, 2005

Delight in Training

Ridge is howling.

Now, I know Labs aren't a howling breed. They don't alert like blood hounds or bassets. But Ridge is howling none-the-less.

Here's why: Baxter and Elsie went with Don to the hunt club for training. And Ridge knows it (somehow he just knows). Oh, to be sure, Ridge will get his turn when Elsie and Baxter return, but he doesn't know that--he just knows they've gone without him.

Ridge is further along in his training than the pups, so he goes on his own for 1:1 time with Don, a special treat, but Ridge doesn't understand. Poor guy. He's feeling left out. He wants to be with "Dad" just like the other two.

Don 's relationship with the "kids" differs from mine. He's really their Trainer (I just work with them on basic social skils and manners). Don works with them on the things for which they were bred. And they know it. Don never gets the Royal Thppppppt. They respect and love him. And I'm glad. I'm tickled for Don, and I'm delighted for the dogs. It warms my heart to see their bonds.

But it breaks my heart to hear Ridge howl in dismay. I can't console him. Nothing short of jumping in the car with Don will do. My presence and attention help. But it's not the same as Don's.

They'll be home soon. And Ridge will get his turn. And he'll stop howling.

But then the stereo howling will begin (two dogs instead of one). When Don drives away with Ridge, Baxter and Elsie will start, despite being tuckered out by running the hunt club's grounds. Oh, how they love their "dad."

Howling's okay in my book. I just smile and consider myself blessed to have such loving, bonded canines. And I know that the howling will give way to long, afternoon slumbers when Don returns. There's nothing like a romp in the woods to wear these guys out.

Maybe then I'll get a little peace.

'Til next time,

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