We’re spending this Thanksgiving down in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Here, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my Dad, our oldest son, Doug, and our daughter Hayley and two grandchildren, Alaina and Scott. Dutch, who will celebrate his first birthday this weekend, is enjoying the view over the lake, watching the water fowl. Thankfully, he doesn’t jump in off the dock, because we have some pretty large alligators out there!
We’ve been using this opportunity to hone his fus’ing skills under distraction of all the small dogs that seem to dominate this Sawgrass CC community. I purchased the Cardio Canine Hands-Free Dog Leash system, which enables me to secure Dutch’s leash to this padded hip belt. This wide belt has multiple accessories & clips. I use the water bottle pocket to store the yellow ball on a short rope, which I frequently pull out to stimulate his drive and maintain his focus. Since my hands are free, yet the leash is completely slack (since he’s anchored to my belt), he feels that he is working off-leash, while I have the security of knowing that he’s secured. I’ve discovered over time that Dutch’s strong drive, properly channeled, is his greatest asset. That yellow ball is even more enticing than that yappy little fuzz-ball running wildly around its owner. I love working with Dutch – and he loves it, too! With his upturned face, watching me for every cue, and his body, tense with anticipation, working with Dutch is like the difference between driving a Ferrari vs. a Honda Civic (sorry Civic owners!). Although I’m not a “professional,” I’ve learned so much through the experiences you’ve all shared here on Long Dangerous Tails. You are my inspiration, all of you. Thank you for helping me to see all the potential in my darling Dutch. While he may never reach those levels, he will always be our beloved family pet, our sentinel, our guardian, our fun-loving Wonder Dog – always at our side. Happy Birthday, Dutch!