Saturday, July 07, 2007

Aftermath for a star

Today was Marvin's second-to-the-last manners class. He's still doing very well, although he's brought his interest in heights to class. Last week he realized he could jump up on the chairs behind us lining the wall. Today he did more of the same, this time jumping up, then walking along the row of chairs, back and forth. "Marvin, off"-click-treat time and time again. Despite this diversion, he still walks nicely on a loose leash, even practicing a figure-8 around other dogs while remaining focused on me. While the other dogs circled us, we practiced "watch me" and his attention didn't falter. A beagle knows salmon treats are of a much higher value than any distraction another dog can offer.

There was also playtime today where the dogs could go through tunnels, climb stairs and a ramp, and hop in and out of an empty plastic pool. Marvin handled all of this with gusto. I remember when Diesel was introduced to these things in manners class he was much more apprehensive. What makes Marvin brave and bold also makes him a bit more of a challenge around the house. What makes Diesel more cautious also makes him more calm. We relish their differences.

One thing that must be mentioned is that Marvin has impressed our instructor, Linda, so much that she's not convinced he's a beagle. This is a compliment of rather large proportions. From her past beagle experience, she hasn't seen many retain their focus in class. Marvin, and Diesel both for that matter, make excellent eye contact and tend to remain focused. It must be my choice of tasty treats. :)

With so much going on in class we're both rather exhausted by the time we get home. He earned his blue star by walking nicely on a loose leash and for going in his crate
on his own at bedtime the last two nights without us having to ask.

Good boy.

Funny face

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bedtime surprise

Last night after Mark and the dog-fellows returned from their before-bed walk and following nightly snack of a Greenie® with PB, I went to tuck Marvin into the crate in the bedroom for sleep. He doesn't particularly like going into his crate but, once in, he curls up immediately and lets out a big contented sigh.

This time I had to give him a little extra push to convince him to go in, and even so he wouldn't go in far. I carefully tucked his tail inside, shut the door, and climbed into bed myself. I heard the contented sigh and knew all was well.

About ten minutes later I heard Mark calling for Diesel. When he couldn't find him he came into the bedroom to ask me if he was in there. I told him no, I just tucked Marvin into the crate. Not convinced, Mark turned on a light and there we saw it … two beagles in one crate, Diesel curled up in a dog-ball in the back and Marvin as a dog-ball in front. Obviously Diesel snuck into the crate and, since I tucked Marvin in in the dark, Diesel went unnoticed. They greeted our surprise with tailwags but didn't stir otherwise. It was a tight squeeze but we left well enough alone and kept them as they were.

At 3:15 this morning I was woken by a quiet growling sound. I figured it was Diesel wanting out so he could sprawl as he does in his prized donut bed in the living room. Marvin, being the sound sleeper he his, didn't stir as Diesel crawled over him.

Until last night, they had shared the mat in the hallway but never curled up in bed together. I'm thinking it wasn't part of their plan.
I guess I'll have to pay more attention tonight.