Howdy blogaroos. Reporting for blog duty, fresh off of two days of bootcamp. And holy macaroni, I’m learning LOTS.

Now in case you are envisioning that we just walk in circles for 75 minutes, I’m here to tell you we don’t. We do SO much more. You see, here’s a little secret…. There’s lots more to heelwork than just walking. Like attention- which is pretty important before you take your very first pawstep. And heelwork has to be FUN. Because really, who wants to march in attention unless you REALLY are in the Army. Or a marching band.

So the Warden and I are learning LOTS about keeping heelwork FUN.

Now Day 1, I was pretty not bad. I mean my head did have some moments of cranial explosion when I saw new dogs, and we were in a different training place. There are 6 dogs in our class – a Dachshund, a Cavalier, a Buhund, a Papillon, a Bouvier and me. But I still did OK. No temper tantrums – like a small Royal at the Jubilee- and I didn’t bite the Warden – which is my favorite thing to do when I get revved up.

Day 2. I started to get the attention concept. And boy oh boy – I was sure watching the Warden. Even when there were some pretty tough distractions. She was actually kinda surprised at how attentive I was.

So we’ll see how I do today. When bootcamp is over, the Warden is nominating our coach, Jane, for sainthood. Really. Look up the word patience in the dictionary, and her picture is there. I’m not joking. OK. I am about the dictionary part – but she really IS patient. And she has eyes like a hawk on steroids. She doesn’t miss a THING. And she’s clairvoyant. She knows EXACTLY where we might encounter challenges in an exercise. And she’s a conductor. Watching each of us as we do our part. And she gives us all feedback. Saint Jane the Magical Juggler. I’ll just call her SJ from now on.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have a new title. The Toyminator…. I’m waiting for the Certificate to come in….

So before Bootcamp began, the Warden went to the pet store to hunt and gather a variety of tasty treats. New stuff that I’m not used to. Not that it REALLY makes a difference- if it’s edible, I’m trainable.

Anyway, I thought the idea of new treats was good. Plus one never knows what ELSE they might find at the pet store….

As you know, the Boss and I get a frozen Kong EVERY morning while the Warden eats breakfast. Those things are pretty durable- the heavy duty black variety can last for several months in this house, before they actually DO wear out. Then they get replaced. So while the Warden was treat hunting, she noticed that these tough rubber Kong wannabes were on sale – 50% off. She examined them, read that they were designed for dogs way bigger than us PONs, and so she decided to buy two. She figured they would be a nice Kong alternative- which could also be stuffed and frozen.

She came home with my stash of bootcamp treats and the new “things”. She took off their packaging and proceeded to do her tri-nightly Kong stuffing. While she was busy washing and stuffing, a friend called – so they were chatting while The Warden was working.

All of a sudden, she stopped, and heard some unusual chewing. Funny how humans can detect certain sounds SO quickly. She asked her friend to wait a minute while she went to investigate.

Well. It seems SOMEONE stole one of the new rubber thingies off the counter – and gave it to me to test chew. OK – maybe that’s not EXACTLY how I got it, but bottom line, I was very busy testing its durability. Good thing I did – because it failed. Yup – in what the Warden estimated was 10 minutes, I was successful in removing much of the top of the thing. She shouted “no”, took the thing and quickly picked up bits of shredded rubber. Thank goodness I was so helpful.

The good news? The Warden took the thingies back to the store. She was hoping she could at least get a refund for the one that had not undergone the durability test. It just needed a new zip tie to reattach it to its cardboard packaging. She didn’t really expect a refund for the “used” model, but the people were very nice and refunded her for both! Score. More money for treats! Plus they can now warn people that the Chimpanzee Chews (not their REAL name) aren’t QUITE as durable for ALL dogs. Just call me the Toyminator.

OK. Gotta soon warm up before we head to bootcamp. I wonder if we get medals at the end? Or maybe just wine for the humans…

Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.

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