Monday, April 14, 2008


Five weeks ago, I went to Plant City, Florida to leave my young dog with this guy. If you go to the link you'll discover he's a multiple world champion competitor/dog trainer in my chosen dog sport.

One of my very favorite things about this sport, is how easy it is to "get to" the people you admire. Say, you or your child wants to be a professional baseball player. Can you just pick up the phone and call Barry Bonds, or Mark Maguire or Derek Jeter and say "hey can I come train/work with you?"

No? Well in my sport, you can, and I did. Just like that. Picked up the phone, said I wanted to come and bang. I was in. What's not to love about that?

So, I took Mojo to the seminar back in January, because even a novice handler like myself was seeing that at 10 months, Mojo was going to be a dog of the wholelotta variety. I worried that I was perhaps, in over my head.

If I tried to compare Mojo to my old, faithful (and first working german shepherd) Apache, I'd tell you they are night and day. Apache lives and loves 'the game', the dog will attempt to turn anything he can, a walk, a trip out to the mailbox, taking the trash out, into a game of some kind. He'll pick up bricks, logs, plastic bottles, and try to draw me into a game of fetch. He loves everyone and everything. He's weathered countless babysitting/visiting dogs, and somewhere around 2 dozen foster dogs traipsing through his home after Hurricane Katrina, he went to work with me when I worked in veterinary medicine, he was a blood donor, and a 'practice' dog for new techs learning to find pulses, veins, and muscles. He did every bit of it without complaint. He loves the sticky hands of the children in my neighborhood, and greets everyone with ears back and tail wagging, especially if he thinks you might be talked into a game of fetch. He is the very best sort of fellow.

Mojo, while no less affectionate or social, is a much more serious dog. He will be more of the stereotypical german shepherd dog. He is/will be more aloof with visitors and much more "my dog" not that he won't be nice, he just won't really care about other people. In work, Apache always looked for my approval, Mojo, on the other hand, barely knows that I'm still there when we're working. He is all business. It is not better or worse, really, it is just different. And different means, I will be learning a lot from this dog. He will make me a better dog trainer and he will likely make a fool of me on more than one occasion. There is nothing like dog sport to keep you humble.

I talked with Ivan last week, and after I processed everything he told me, I have reached the conclusion that I cannot wait.

I leave on Thursday, and will spend the weekend working with Ivan and my dog, and then I'll return home with my dog.

Over the last 5 weeks, I got my running program back on track, dropped 15 pounds, spent time with new friends (horseback riding - yay!), did yard work and organized closets.

It was time well spent, but now, I really do just want my dog back.

The schedule for training sessions will be one early, and then a long break during the hottest part of the day, and then an evening session. The hotel is nice, and I hope to spend some of that long break in the sun by the pool with a book a good friend (who was foolish enough to agree to come along). A mini vacation interrupted by dog training, and I won't even pretend that isn't my idea of perfect.


kenju said...

I hope you have a safe trip, that the training goes well for both you and Mojo, and that you return soon!

Her Roo-ness said...

i. can't. wait.
your shoes... can't wait. they likely haven't been allowed outside by themselves for 5 weeks.
give him a kiss and tell him Auntie says, 'welcome home, smoochie.' He'll roll his eyes at 'smoochie.'
and 15 pounds. holy shit, jen.

tiff said...

Really - holy shit Jen! !5 pounds in 5 weeks? RLY? Wow.

Sounds like life is going great guns for ya - well done!

rennratt said...


That is a lot accomlished in five short weeks!

Congratulations on ALL of it - especially getting your dog back.

Tracy Lynn said...

Go, Jen, go Jen, it's your birthday, go Jen. :-)

My brother had a German Shepard named Kasha, and she was ever vigilant, herding the kids when they were small, and keeping the vacuum cleaner in line.

She once attacked a paramedic who burst into the house. I loved that dog.

db grin said...

Wow, that's busy stuff! I love the idea of horseback riding, but not so much the actual wrapping my crotch around a horse. Nothanks.

Who would train with Barry Bonds? Here's how camp would go. "Kid, your check cleared, so here we go. You fill the syringe like this, then you stick it in da butt. Yep, that's right. Now go run some laps and hit the shower."

Congrats on the accomplishizing! Esp. on the 15 lbs, I wonder if there's a way to do that without all the running...

Brianf said...

Wow! There must be something in the air because I too have dropped 15 lbs. in the last month or so.
I hope you have a great vacation / dog training.

utenzi said...

I know it's nit-picking but wouldn't Ivan be the equivalent of Barry Bond's manager not Barry himself? Not that the manager would be easy to get on the phone either...

handy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
db grin said...

Ooh, now the only thing I want to see is the deleted comment.

Another post please?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.