Monday, April 7, 2014

Art and Dog Training - Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

My Paintings at the Alumni Exhibit

This has been a busy week of yard work…for the first time in a very long time I got sore muscles from working in the yard….that is exciting! It was great to be out in the sun and clearing the back “40” to make a garden. Last year by the time we returned from Baja the Kudzu had won over the backyard. This year I am clearing out all the old vines before it has a chance to take hold and creating a veggie garden. We get full sun there which will be perfect if we don’t have too much rain this summer like we had last summer. After three delightful days of working in the yard I took a break and with a friend went to the Piedmont College Alumni Show to see my paintings and what other fellow artist are doing these days. It is a very eclectic show. My paintings stood out as the most colorful.  A little nostalgia to the day, I went to grad school at Piedmont when I first came to Georgia to help with my mother who had Alzheimer’s. So, my time at the art school has very mixed emotional memories. I do have the distinction of being the first to graduate from their then new Masters in Art Ed. Program, ( I could transfer grad school credits from California so I gained a semester on my fellow students). It was fun to see that in the new art building they now have a studio from Art Ed. After checking out the art we had a delightful lunch in a little near by Mexican Restaurant that I have not been to in years.  
Daisy waiting for class to begin
So, can you teach an old dog new tricks? Well Daisy isn’t really too old, she is three, but me well that is another story. Daisy and I went to beginner dog training Saturday and the trainer said the dog would be exhausted by the end of class, will Daisy was still all full of happy energy, me not so much. It was a lot of work to listen and do everything that we were being told to do…took a good deal of focus which I am still finding hard to do since my surgery. We have 5 more weeks to go and I’m sure by the end we will become the star of the class or at least we can think we are. LOL, there are only two other doggies in class and Daisy is the oldest and already the best behaved. When we got Daisy I thought how wonderful it was to get an older dog that we won’t have to do any training….wrong. If she ever had any she lost it in the months at the shelter. So, we are at square one more or less like a puppy to learn good manners. Though she did catch on pretty quickly during class, now it well be up to me to do the on going practice, just have to remember what to do. Luckily for me they gave us a folder with printed class notes or I would already be at a loss. I always thought of myself as smart, but training a dog is learning another language…”dog speak”. Like I said to the trainer, Daisy didn’t seem to know English. She just looks at you with big eyes and you know she doesn’t have a clue what you are saying. The trainer said, that’s right they don’t know English. So really dog training is all about communication skills, well darn, can’t I just paint her a picture. Seriously, I’m glad to have the help of a trainer and my Saturdays are going to be busy for the next 5 weeks. After class Daisy enjoyed a fast run at the dog park chasing another dog around in big circles, great fun to watch. I enjoyed the relaxing park bunch time with a couple other dog owners, a perfect way to enjoy the sun and the lakeside view. 

By the lake near the dog park


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