Friday, May 16, 2008

Glad I did my homework, really glad

My German Shepherd, Humdinger, and I have been training with Dee for under a year so far. At a session toward the beginning of our training Dee taught us an "emergency whistle recall". Call the dogsname, toot the whistle and treat treat treat when they come. Make sure they are going to come when you toot. Have very good treats and give lots of them. Repeat often.

Humdinger and I did the homework. I worked in the hallway of my home, not a big distance but he always came to the toot. He even gets excited to see the whistle now, good treats - woof!

I did not do whistle training every day, maybe twice a week.
On a recent weekend day I was outside playing with Humdinger and his mother, Fudgie. My husband came out and handed me the phone, "Hi Aunt Mart". I sat on the house steps and watched Fudgie and Humdinger playing in the yard. Humdinger went to the woods edge to go to the bathroom, he has good bathroom manners- no poo in my grassy yard. I became engrossed with my conversation for a few minutes. When I ended the phone call I looked up. Fudgie was there, no Humdinger. Looked in the woods, no Humdinger. Gone, vanished, vamoosed. I ran to the woods edge where I last saw him and listened for his footfall in the leaves-nothing.

I ran to the house, grabbed the whistle, ran to the woods edge where I last saw Humdinger. With a calm and confident voice I bellowed, "Humdinger, COME!" and gave a violent TOOT.

I listened. From off in the distance I heard the galloping of big footed Humdinger coming my way. Ears flopping and tail wagging Humdinger came right to my feet, panting and smiling from his scent tracking adventure.

Oh my goodness, I was saying, "thank you Dee, thank you Dee" as we returned to the house. Humdinger enjoyed a fresh salmon chunk, broken into little bits, "good Hummy come, good Hummy come".

I keep up the whistle training now. Thanks Dee, it really works!

Susan Brucker and Humdinger

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