Grooming With GracePosted: June 17, 2009
In this Year Of The Dog Training, I’ve had a most unexpected pleasure. Over the years I’ve attended a fair number of Puppy Kindergarten classes, including some offered now and again ‘up here’ in the mountains. Those ‘up here’ were always a crap shoot. Only once did the instructor have more than rudimentary knowledge. Still, even those classes weren’t a waste. I don’t necessarily need instruction. I need floor time. Delighted to find training classes up here, early this spring I enrolled Margo and Anna’s trio of girls – Norma, Rita and Lana – in Puppy Socialization. Even the time frame worked perfect for my overly scheduled life. I also enrolled Edie in Family Dog. After all, it’s the Year Of The Dog Training.
What I found with Ana and Training With Grace was a treasure. A true treasure. Her knowledge and application of training principles are like none other I’ve experienced. Well, maybe once. But I had to drive to the border of New Mexico for an all-day private clicker training lesson. Not really practical in day-to-day life. Ana incorporates all the stuff. Turid Rugaas’ ground-breaking work with calming signals. Patricia McConnell’s work, including Both Ends of the Leash. And on and on. She attends workshops throughout the country. The classes Ana offers around the Denver area have practical application – like preparing your dog for dog parks – to competitive application – particularly agility. In Puppy Socialization she teaches people to read canine body language, among other things. It’s great fun and even I’m learning something each class…which just goes to show…an old dog can learn new tricks!
Ana uses two of her three dogs as assistants in Puppy Socialization. Meg, a charming black Labrador Retriever. And Grace. Training With Grace. Ana found her abandoned, tied to a fence in New York City some years ago. During puppy group playtime, Ana releases Grace and Meg to mill with the group. Like the old school teachers that had no tolerance for inappropriate behavior, Grace is ever vigilant about the puppies’ manners. I’m proud to say she’s never corrected any of my puppies…apparently the school marms in my kennel have done their job well! It is fascinating to watch Grace do her job.
Honored when she inquired, yesterday I got to groom Grace, Meg and Argos. It was big deal really. For me and for Ana. Argos had an unfortunate experience or three with groomers and/or grooming situations. Ana was concerned about leaving him; her dogs trust her to keep them safe. I explained my procedures and the equipment used. For whatever reason, although it makes her uncomfortable to leave her dogs (believe me, I know the feeling!), she trusted me enough to do so.
Waiting in my inbox this morning was the above photo and a thank you note. Ana wants to do a feature on me and my grooming shop for her newsletter.