My dog could tell date and time … honestly!

 Everything I Ever Learned About Dog Training I Learned from Barbara Woodhouse!   🐾

a young Barbara Woodhouse

We have all heard of heroic dogs who have rescued their service men and women in battle … so courageous

How about Seeing Eye dogs that protect their blind owners?
Or dogs that can alert their owners of oncoming seizures or life-threatening diabetic changes.
But have you ever heard of a dog who can tell day and time? … literally!
Our first dog was Fats. His breeders, the Parillos in South Carolina, called him Fats when he was whelped because he was the plumpest puppy in the litter, and he stayed that way. We bought him when he was 12 weeks old, and he was quite a chubby  pop, but we we fell in love with him right away, and not because he was the cheapest puppy! Honestly, he was just the most adorable and lovable. 

Lou with Fats at the beach. Fats was too old to maintain a proper heel at Lou’s side. But this is my favorite photo of the two of them together.

When Fats was almost 11 months old, I began to obedience-train him, Barbara Woodhouse style.  She was the most famous dog trainer at the time, memorable for her strong British accent, her stocky features, and her phrase, “walkies!” 
In 198O, my eyes were glued to her TV show … and on Fats as I taught him to walk on the “heel” command, shoulder to my thigh and his eyes on mine .. so exciting!
By coincidence my neighbor heard that a trainer around the corner was beginning an obedience class every Friday morning at 9:00.. It was summer, and I was vacationing from school … perfect timing!
Ironically, her name was Barbara, too. So, Fats and I attended Auntie Barb’s obedience class every Friday for 2 months! Such fun!
Then came a Friday in August when Auntie Barb had to cancel … such a disappointment!
I slept in. At 9, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when Fats came prancing in. I patted his head and went about my business. It happened again … and again! How very odd! I followed him to the sliding door! Now he was woofing in excitement.
Barking like this was rather strange behavior for Fats. One bark at the door meant it was time to potty …perplexing!
I slid the door open, and he ran down the porch steps. Back up again, back down, back up … confusing.
This time I followed him down the porch steps on the fourth time. He sat down facing me and did what I called the Woodhouse twirl, Barbara’s unique jump and twirl to the left side … the dog, not me, into a perfect forward sit, eyes on me, ready to heel … truly remarkable!

Fats knew it was Friday, nine a.m., and he was reminding me that it was time for obedience training. Wagging excitedly! … this time, it was both of us 😊
My dog could tell date and time … honestly! 

Drawing by Elaine Troisi, pretend artist

Training Notes: obedience training should be fun for trainer and the dog. If not, something is being done incorrectly. The training is about the trainer’s confidence and the love the dog has for the trainer. Obviously, Fats loved to train because he loved his owner, as could be seen by his prancing feet, his eyes on mine, and his wagging tail. No treats are needed, just positive, loving words. Everything I ever learned about dog training, I learned from Barbara Woodhouse!!   🐾

I’m listening!

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