Harper Lee from A to Z: O is for OBEDIENT

O1 thek9harperlee

I am a very obedient girl. I ought to be. I’ve been attending training classes since I was six months old . . . that’s more than four and a half years of school. I started with the beginner class, completed the intermediate class, and graduated from the advanced class. Then some of the humans in our group decided that they wanted to continue with training. To be honest with you, we dogs really had all the commands mastered, but I guess the humans decided that they could use a little more work. Anyway, I’ve been doing what my human mommy likes to call “post-graduate work” ever since.

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Here’s a class picture from about two years ago. That’s me on the left with my classmates (from left to right) Lexi, Hazel, and Raven. Don’t we look like an obedient group? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. At the beginning of the class, our trainer teaches whatever new command we’re working on to all of the dogs. That takes about five minutes. Piece of cake. Then, for the next 55 minutes, our trainer works with the humans in hopes that they too can learn the command, which has led me to this conclusion: Humans tend to be slightly less obedient than dogs.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. See you tomorrow!

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Harper Lee from A to Z: L is for LEAVE IT!

L thek9harperlee

Of all the obedience commands, I think “Leave it!” is my absolute favorite. I am super good at “Leave it!” Perhaps that’s because I hear “Leave it!” so often. When I go for walks, I just love to stop and smell things. My humans are not as interested in stopping and smelling things, so I hear “Leave it!” and we keep moving. When my humans put food on the coffee table, I sometimes get a bit of a wandering eye . . . not to mention nose and mouth. Once again, those two little words–“Leave it!”–put an end to any chance of a little taste that I might have had. But the best time of all to hear “Leave it!” is during obedience training and class . . . because “Leave it!” is always followed by these two beautiful words: “Take it!”

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. See you tomorrow!

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Rainy Day Fun

Rain Fun 1 thek9harperlee

Yesterday started out extremely hot and oppressively humid. Imagine being on the face of the sun. Now imagine being there wrapped in heavy, wet towels. That’s kind of what my morning walk felt like. Then in the late afternoon, the wind started to blow like crazy, the sky got very dark, and the rains came. My mommy could not have been happier. I know many of you have had too much rain lately, but not us. The garden needed a little watering by Mother Nature, and Mommy needed a little break from hose duty. It was time to find some fun activities for a rainy afternoon.

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Mommy and I started the fun with our fourth session of obedience boot camp. I know what you’re thinking–obedience boot camp doesn’t sound fun at all–but I have to tell you that I am having a fabulous time and I’m progressing exceptionally well. Here I am doing Leave It. That’s Elephant, Parrot, and Lion and check out the pumpkin-and-blueberry-flavored treats on my feet. Pretty impressive, don’t you think? Leave It is one of my favorite commands. I hear it all the time on my walks.

Rain Fun 3 thek9harperlee

After obedience boot camp, my mommy thought that we needed to do another rainy day activity. I thought that taking a nice, long nap sounded like the perfect rainy day fun; but Mommy seems to think that it’s important to stimulate my mind, so a nap was completely out of the question for the moment. Earlier in the day, she had read a blog post by Human Rescues Dog called “Dog Toys You Can Make Tonight.” One of the ideas was called Treats in a Bottle. You take an empty water or milk bottle (plastic, of course), put treats inside, and let your dog figure out how to get the treats out of the bottle. My mommy broke just a few of my favorite treats into little pieces and put them into an empty water bottle. As you can see, Mommy’s a little tight with the treats. She says it’s because she wants me to maintain my girlish figure. Whatever.

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I cannot begin to tell you how much fun I had trying to get those treats out of that plastic water bottle. I rolled it around. I picked it up. I made funny inquisitive-puppy faces that I hadn’t made in a very long time. I even did an odd little puppy-like bark that even startled me. It was as if the Treats in a Bottle toy had shaved four years off of me.

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And then the light bulb went off: If I raised the bottom and tipped the mouth of the bottle, those yummy treats would spill out. Brilliant! Thank you so much Human Rescues Dog for filling my rainy afternoon with fun, fun, fun!


Obedience Boot Camp

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I don’t know about you (well, I do have a pretty good idea), but I kind of let myself go during the long Independence Day weekend. I probably ate a few too many treats (admit it, you ate some things you shouldn’t have eaten, too) and I allowed my schedule to fly out the window (I’ll bet you slept a little late and snuck in a nap or two). That might explain why, on my first post-holiday walk Monday morning, my mommy reached this conclusion: I lacked discipline and focus, and it was time for a little obedience boot camp. Uh oh.

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Boot camp started the minute we returned from our walk. I normally eat my breakfast just as soon as I wake up (after I come back inside from my first morning patrol of the backyard perimeter). During the long weekend, however, I decided that I far preferred brunch to breakfast. Well, when Mommy and I returned from my Monday morning walk, she gently guided me to my breakfast, kissed my head, and whispered these sweet words to me: “If you don’t eat your breakfast right now, Miss Harper Lee, I’m going to pick this bowl up and you won’t have anything to eat until dinner.” That’s when it was very clear to me that the drill sergeant had invaded my mommy’s body and we were in full boot camp mode.

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I ate all of my breakfast immediately . . . every last drop . . . see?

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Fortunately for me, my mommy had a few things to do during the day, so I managed to work in some nap time. It’s a good thing I did, because the drill sergeant my mommy had plans for my afternoon.

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We went outside and did Sit Stay with Distance, Distractions, and Duration. My mommy tried her very, very best to get me on this one, but somehow I managed to resist Pink Pig, Frisbee, Gator, Hedgehog, and a Boudreaux’s Bonz Chicken Gumbo treat . . . not to mention all of the interesting things that were happening in and around my yard.

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Next we did Down Stay with Distance, Distractions, and Duration. Did you notice that my mommy somehow snuck in a little banana-flavored treat? Banana is one of my favorite things. My mommy is tricky, but I did it.

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Then it was time for the big test: Come. Not just any Come, but Come Right to Me Right Now without Stopping to Look at or Pick Up Pink Pig, Frisbee, Gator, Hedgehog, the Chicken Gumbo treat, or the banana-flavored treat. Well, obviously I struggled a bit with this one . . .

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. . . but I did it. Do you see that? It’s all still back there. As you might be able to tell from my tongue, it was very hot and very humid outside, and then it started to sprinkle just a bit, and that’s when my mommy stopped being a drill sergeant and said to me, “Miss Lee, it’s really miserable out here, and you’ve done very well. Let’s go inside where it’s cool and get some rest.” I cannot begin to tell you the relief I felt when I realized the drill sergeant was gone and Mommy was back . . . but I have a feeling that obedience boot camp will continue through this week.