Patti Soldavini

Off Leash Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 05/24/2012 at 7:53 pm

“Tired yet?”

Two years ago, when I brought this insanely exuberant puppy home, if you had told me that one day she would indeed learn to sit, stay, down stay, come and stay with me, I probably would have cocked my head and looked at you as though you were speaking in tongues. It seemed inconceivable. Olive seemed to epitomize ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The only thing she could focus on for more than one seemingly eternal nanosecond was a bird. Everything else in her life was a momentary distraction. And there were indications of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The digging and digging and digging and digging and digging. I felt like I had just purchased a backhoe, not a dog. I will frankly admit, and I have before, that in the first few months I had her, I had fleeting feelings of insecurity and intrusive thoughts that maybe I wouldn’t be able to handle this dog. After all, I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore and keeping up with weimaraners is not for the faint of heart. It’s made me understand why there are so many rescues. They are beautiful, graceful athletic-looking dogs, but if you do not allow this breed to get the exercise it needs, it’s like living with Curious George and his demented twin on speed. But I’m no quitter. Besides, Olive was also supernaturally intelligent, laugh-out-loud goofy and extremely loving. I ensured that she got plenty of exercise each day and I socialized her to near exhaustion. We’d go to neighborhood street fairs and parades crowded with people, strollers and sticky-handed toddlers; to soccer games and parks bursting with hyperactive children and colorful frisbees. Even to my friend’s pool and the local pet stores where she was constantly fawned over. I was committed to ensuring that she learned to be friendly, confident and obedient even if it made me mental. During most of this time, Olive also attended obedience training classes. And last night, my incredibly amazing pooch completed her off leash training class. Now the real work begins. I have to make the behaviors a consistent part of her life everyday. The progress she made by last night’s class was very rewarding. Especially since last week’s class was a train wreck. Once she learned she could get away from me because I have only two legs, not four and I’m about 25 times older than her, it was hard to get her back on track. Shelley, her trainer, had to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with Olive and for the last 15 minutes of class, She kept getting her leash “popped,” and kept looking in my direction until she wised up and obeyed Shelley’s commands. It was not pretty to watch. But it worked. I am truly amazed at how attuned Shelley is to dogs’ behaviors. It’s like watching two people assuredly conversing in a foreign language and I stand by like the idiot American abroad who understands nothing more of the native language than “Can you please tell me where the ladies room is?” I also admire Shelley’s unfathomable well of patience with both the dogs and their owners. It is all extraordinary to me. Both Olive and I are very thankful and feel incredibly lucky to have found Shelley.

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  1. Lol. My girl, Alex, was hyperactive, to put it mildly, when she was a puppy. I did not know if I was coming or going with her, but with a lot of patience, training, love, and excercise she finally started to slow down when she got to be around 9 years old. Yes, I only had to wait 9 years for that to happen:) Great post.

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