Several months after posting her hopeless handler, I can now happily report that I consider myself Lila’s hopeful handler. Things are definitely looking up. Her behaviour is not perfect, but she does what she’s told more often than not.

We recently attended an obedience course at the Kintala Club. Training that relies on food not force. Designed to help you and your dog at the end of six weeks pass a ten-task test. And proudly strut away with an Ideal Dogs of Australia certificate (given Lila’s high spirits and selective hearing, the prospect of this had initially seemed remote).

In the video, you will observe our not very polished dress rehearsal (the last session before the dreaded test). We were practicing standard stuff as well as a few handy extras like calmly exiting a car, ignoring a bicycle whizzing past and “mealtime manners”. [read more below]

[wpvideo rOYeHtFl w=484]

Of the ten requisite tasks, this last gave us the most trouble. At home, I could put a bowl of food in front of Lila and expect her to “wait”, but in a setting where another dog might possibly get to the food first…well, let’s put it this way:  Lila wasn’t taking any chances. I figured if we flunked the test, this would be why.

But they say a bad dress rehearsal foretells a good performance and this held true. On test day, Lila performed brilliantly. With one hitch. And nothing to do with mealtime manners. Instead, she did something unprecedented: she whimpered while left on her own tied to a post.

Thankfully, she was given a second chance at the post and, even more thankfully, another dog barking distracted her from the urge to repeat the offense. We did indeed receive the certificate. And the assessor gave Lila a yummy yellow biscuit in case that wasn’t enough.

[If you have received this post by email, please click “dog downunder” or “ideal dog of australia” in order to view accompanying video in a web page.]