Congratulations Graduates!

Cue the music. Pomp and Circumstance is in order. We have some graduates to celebrate! After long hours of hard work and concentration these graduates deserve a round of applause. I’m not talking about my son who is crossing the Wake Forest University stage for his diploma on the morning of May 20, nor I am I referring to my high schooler who graduates in 51 days. The special honorees for this morning are Koda and Summer!

Yesterday, their trainer awarded them their official graduation diplomas. They have successfully become graduates of the Holiday Barn training program. They both double-majored in on-leash and off-leash obedience. This was no easy feat, let me repeat, this IS no easy feat. Like any proud mom, I actually feel like I graduated as well. The truth is that this diploma ceremony was a bit delayed as the homework portion of their studies (i.e. practicing all the training with me at home) was not always consistent. So we were kind of like college students who needed an extra year to get their degree, but nevertheless, achieved the diplomas!

Behind every strong student are strong teachers and trainers. That is definitely true in our case. She is patient, organized and great at clear explanations. Plus she carries tasty treats in her hip pouch and gives lots of praise. At first I felt like she was a magician or had some super power the way she got Koda and Summer to behave so well (and so differently from their wild side at home).  Then I started thinking it was the location: obedient dogs at school, free spirited dogs at home. Until we merged the two. The first in-home training session took the puppies by surprise, “What is she doing here?” 

I wish I could say that all of the training transferred easily from the time we spent with the trainer present to the time she was not with us, but that would be lying. The simple fact is that if you do not put in the time of practice sessions, the commands get fuzzy. It reminds me of piano lessons or flossing, if you don’t keep up with it you’re going to start at the wrong key at your recital (which happened to me) or you’re going to get cavities. Plain and simple, practice! The absolute best part that I realized just this week is that practicing all the commands of sit, come, stay, free, climb, etc… exercises their minds and they get exhausted. After our lessons they are tuckered out and nap.

I am proud of the pups this morning. But now we need to take these diplomas and degrees we have earned in on leash and off leash obedience training out into the world (or the neighborhood). The work does not end here. At least I now know how smart and capable they are at following my lead and being sweet well-mannered dogs. This is all I wanted for them!

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