June 17, 2010

The Update on Lara

For those of you who have been following the blog on Lara, it has been a long time since we updated her news, not due to lack of activity I may add.  So where to start? Lara has become a highly active girl and we have been busy teaching her to chase a ball so we can keep the edge of her. She has been restricted for the last few weeks to our ½ acre back yard until we have a recall on cue.  On two occasions I had her in the training pasture with the other dogs and without a thought she jumped over the gate and went off to the pond. This did create a small panic as she is hard to catch, spooks very easily and not yet fully ‘mini donkey’ friendly.

We also have a small duck gate in our training pasture so our pet ducks can wander in and out from the pond pasture via the training pasture and into our yard. Gizmo our little 9 pound terrier mix also uses this gate when she wants to follow Rick on his farm rounds. I was a little surprised to watch Lara, who is 27 pounds, crawl through it one day and take her Lara 500 route around our pond.

We have had several training breakthroughs with Lara, she will now sit and down on cue, in about 3 nano seconds with three full body spins in between. When you call her name she will reliably run toward you, and around you at full speed and we have finally got a really nice ball drive installed so exercising her is easy. She comes in and out easily at a normal pace and no longer hides in the garden. We can trim her nails, brush and bath her and she actively solicits affection. Everything she does is at top speed, 50% through drive and excitement and 50% because she is in a constant state of ‘trust and verify’ and bark and verify again.

Lara is a delightful dog; in fact she is more than delightful. She is adorable. I don’t believe she will ever be a highly confident dog and her socialization to new surroundings, noises and objects is going to be an ongoing project. She is however comically entertaining, cautiously affectionate and deserving of a very special home. We are very pleased with her progress, she has a long way to go but we now feel good about the road we are on. Small steps and lots of milestones and tons of patience we will get there.