by Laura Sylvester
8am: “Elliot you wanna say good morning to Orbit?”. “Good Morning to Orbit”. Okay so I prompted him, but he said it with a big smile.
2pm: So far today Orbit has played with his new Cattapehwah from Bookwyn; did some obedience practice with me (I think we did better today, but there was also no one watching me), cuddled up on the couch with Elliot and played fetch with Rick -- well fetch Rick style that is... Rick hits the balls with a golf club and Orbit fetches them, but we quickly found out Orbit’s favorite game is to chase the golf club.
6pm: Our afternoon training went great, we left the comfort of our backyard, house and neighborhood block and all went for a walk to the park. Orbit practiced a down stay as I chased Elliot around the park, laughing together and tickling him. Rick had to correct Orbit and bring him back to his stay spot twice but after that Orbit stayed for 15 minutes! There was a family with two toddlers at the park and Orbit had to ignore them too - - and they kept coming up to him wanting to pet him -- what a good boy! We learned a lot today and I can tell you that I did much better!! But, the biggest lesson today was to have fun with the training - make it fun for Orbit and fun for us -- a life lesson indeed!
The best part of the day came when we were about to leave the park, I asked Elise if we could let the toddlers pet Orbit and she said it was up to us. Then she said “why don’t you use it as a socialization opportunity and have Elliot show them his dog?” I thought to myself, ‘Elliot’s not ready for that, the socialization piece will come later.’ But then I remembered a past lesson learned: when given the opportunity Elliot almost always rises to meet a challenge, especially if we BELIEVE he can do it, Elliot and I knew we had to try. I asked Elliot if he wanted to show “the babies” his dog and he said nothing. For Elliot that means he’s considering it. We put Orbit on his leash and Elliot took the handle, we walked over to the toddlers and I told them they could pet the dog. Elliot stood right next to Orbit while the toddlers got kisses from Orbit. Their Mom said “thank you” to Elliot and I told Elliot he could say “your welcome”, although by now Elliot’s back was turned he said “your welcome” and we waved good-bye.
Once again, I am reminded that we should never underestimate our kids, (and in this case also never underestimate a trained dog) because if we believe they can -- they will amaze us every time!