Today began as all my days do. I woke up on my side of the bed, which I suffered through sharing with London ( yes, her. The needy one). London, Brea, and I were let outside to accomplish our morning constitutional. During mid-relief, the neurotic, vibrating squirrels, otherwise known as Easy and Kit, the English cocker Spaniels, were also let out.
Have you met these things? I mean, first, there was Mary, the cat that moved in. Then a grey terror named Pickles arrived, but nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to these ” new guiding team members.”   I personally believe my colleague is delusional, but what’s a dog to do?
Anyway, I finally got back into the house to enjoy my breakfast. I ordered a medium rare steak, three fried eggs, bacon, and potatoes but only received my allotted beef and rice kibble with a dollop of low-fat yogurt because my esteemed colleague is under the false impression that I need to lose a pound or two, but I digress.

After airing and breakfast, I usually retire to the office couch, where I resume my important duties of watching the comings and goings and providing needed security from that beedy-eyed Myscovey duck that hangs out in the yard.
But this did not happen today. No, because ” Tod, do you want to come and work with the labs? ”  mistakenly sounds like ” Tod, do you want to go for a ride in the truck?” Yes, you read that right, my beloved readers, and not just ” any” labs, the young ones! Not the guiding team of seasoned hunting veterans ( they are bearable); unbeknownst to me, I was heading off to work with the young gundogs in training.

As I took my place in the front passenger seat ( I take my responsibilities as The Navigator quite seriously, and one can not provide directional assistance from the backseat, well, at least you shouldn’t, but yet again, I digress), I watched as Daisy, Poppy, Koe, Turbo, Brisket, and Briar were loaded into the topper, my unease growing. I was somewhat appeased when we stopped ( I gave excellent directions to get there ) at McDonald’s and received a hashbrown for my troubles.
Eventually, we arrived at Conneaut Creek Outfitters, where, after I was greatly admired and complimented on my handsome and devilish good looks, we picked up Shelby ( another Labrador Retriever) and drove to the indoor arena at CCO, where my colleague trains once a week.

With the bumpers, treats, and dogs unloaded, we could begin our ” training lesson” for the day. Which, with all due credit to my colleague, was a well-thought-out lesson plan. Today, the young dogs were going to focus on steadiness / honoring other dogs’ retrieves, and for the youngest and eldest pups, a review of ” look” and maintaining eye contact.

I must admit that Daisy and Poppy’s handling skills are commendable ( for labs, of course ) and that on one exceptional sit whistle, Daisy completed a sliding stop that would make any Reining horse trainer proud. Turbo has a very soft mouth and does the quietest and most well-mannered delivery to hand I have ever seen. Koe made great strides in honoring quietly and waiting his turn for a mark.
But what was most noteworthy was the ” look” lessons with Briar and Brisket. Today, the goal was for the 12-week-olds to sit/place, and maintain eye contact with my colleague. This is an important lesson ( one that I am exceptional at ) because, if one is ” connected ” with their dog, one needs to be able to ” look ” to each other for information. For example, if you need your dog to take a right-hand cast, your dog needs to be able to look at you and wait for information. This lesson becomes paramount because ” Sit” transforms from a physical action to a mental connection of ” stopped movement, looking, and waiting for more information from your partner in the field.”
I am happy that both pups performed admirably, and my colleague walked a complete circle around each pup while praising and rewarding the ” sit” and maintaining eye contact.
I, of course, needed no such review because I am the embodiment of perfection, but it was enjoyable to have the labs honor my retrieves and see my stylish returns and attention to marking detail.

In conclusion, it was not as bad a day as I expected, and accompanying my colleague on more training days may be in my future if hashbrowns and cookies are involved.  I have enjoyed my time with you, but I have to go now as London has taken my spot on the couch, which won’t do.

I wish you all a warm and happy Sunday filled with tasty treats…