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  • Julie Muller

Drama School For Dogs (and their humans!)

Jarvis, a more mature Black Labrador rests in the yard after his Sheep Safe class
A hot Jarvis takes a rest from training

Sadly, we missed the third week of my Sheep Safe course because Julie had to work, so I was really keen to get back to it.

This week the class was led by Pamela because Sue had Covid and also her collie, Farthing, was poorly – what a horrid week for her!

However, we dogs were all raring to go and Pamela had quite a packed programme of activities for us to do.

She started off by recapping all of the things that we had done so far but she also introduced some fun but competitive games - like seeing how many times we could sit down in a minute. Jarvis managed 11, I did 15 but Pixel was the star – he sat down 25 times – wow!!

We were all keen to show Pam how good we were at catching balls and treats and lying or sitting down at a distance away from our humans. I find this so hard to do because I just want to get back to Julie, but I am getting better all of the time.

We played another game called What’s this? Our humans had to pretend that they had the biggest juiciest most delicious bone in the whole world and, of course, we believed them and came running to investigate every time – the treats were always yummy. It was such fun and I got so excited that Pamela had to hold my lead to make me settle.

Next, we practised our stays. We all lined up against the wall and sat facing our humans who told us to stay and then they did all sorts of odd things to distract us. We knew that to get the treat we had to ignore this strange behaviour. Julie even did a silly dance, but I wouldn’t budge.

But then Pamela made it much harder – she went into the field in front of us and made the sheep move around. Jarvis ignored them completely. I was fine until Pixel decided that these sheep were just too much fun to ignore, and he ran towards them. It seemed a good game so, I chased after him and then we were both in the doghouse!! Mind you – the sheep had the last laugh because in my exuberance to join Pixel, I caught my bottom on the electric fencing. It gave me such a jolt that I found it very hard to concentrate afterwards. I just sat with my tail between my legs and felt sorry for myself.

Our next task was quite a strange one – Our humans had to pretend to look in a shop window whilst Pamela tried to lure us away and our humans had to try to get us back using whatever means they had. At first, I quite liked being stolen by Pamela – she’s really nice but I do love being with Julie.

Our final game was the Leave game. My most favourite thing in the whole world is my ball. I just love to run after it and bring it back. However, during this game I was not allowed to retrieve it straightaway. I had to leave it alone and wait for Julie to tell me to fetch it and I found this very hard indeed.

As for Jarvis and Pixel – they found it quite hard too, but they both have very different favourite things . Jarvis adores his food and will do anything for a treat, so it is really hard for him to leave his food alone. The only way to teach him to ‘leave it’ is to offer him something even more delicious.

Pixel, on the other hand simply loves toys and playing. His humans brought along one of his all-time favourites – a large green plastic sphere with holes in it. This proved very useful in distracting him from, and leaving ,other objects. But I think it will be very hard for him to leave the sphere, itself, alone.

I was sad when the lesson came to an end but at least I got the chance to walk back to the car with my buddies.

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