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As of today, I’ve been with Jasmine for two weeks. She’s still obnoxious, but she’s…different…than when I first brought her home.

First of all, she hasn’t jumped on anyone for the last week, she hasn’t tried to eat my other dogs, and she knows her name! This is unbelievable progress. She still gnaws on human appendages, but it’s nowhere near as often as her first week home. We’re going to work on that next.

We’re starting to communicate better especially after our doggie training class this morning which was absolutely phenomenal. Like, where do I pay for classes? I want this guy to take all my money n-o-o-o-w.

Over the past few months, I’ve talked to a plethora of dog trainers. I’ve also paid to sit through a bunch of group courses and doggie evaluations. Honestly, I hadn’t been very impressed with anyone up until today.

Today, the guy I met with didn’t charge me a dime. He invited me to bring Jasmine and sit through his protection course from 10-12. That caught me off guard because usually people want something. But nope. He expected nothing from me which was really refreshing, so naturally I wanted to meet this stranger in a park during non-busy hours of the day.

It’s funny because even while I looked at other doggie courses, I always gravitated toward this trainer because he is a veteran who’s knowledgeable about both sport and world applications. I do not want Jasmine to be one or the other because I strongly believe that both disciplines combined offer unique well-rounded skills.

The class met at a local park, and there were about seven dogs total (including Jasmine). Dog owners had tents set up, chairs, distractions, food—you name it! With the weather being nice, this location was a nice change from working in a warehouse with dozens of rowdy critters.

Jasmine and I watched.

She was totally bored during the obedience portion of the class. The dogs heeled and sat, laid down and stayed. I’m pretty sure I heard her snoring when she wasn’t trying to eat dirt. This didn’t surprise me at all since her obedience SUCKS.

After the obedience segment, the decoy came out ready to be bitten by these dogs (just a guy wearing a bite sleeve). Jasmine was wide awake for this. I had never heard her bark until today. It was controlled, and she didn’t pull on me. I was astonished. She was in her element today, and I was pleasantly surprised with her temperament and drive around this bite sleeve. Usually she just sunbathes on the balcony and eats tulips like a deer. I had never seen her like this before. She was…protective.

The dogs practiced on this bite sleeve one by one (pictured below) and Jasmine just sat next to me barking like a fiend. The trainer told me to let her bark, so I did. I’m not sure if I was the one being trained, or Jasmine…because she seemed to be doing ju-u-ust fine watching these other dogs.

After everyone had their shot, Jasmine was taken out (oh God). I didn’t expect the trainer to want to work with Jasmine, but everyone was taking a break and he wanted to see what she knew. I was petrified she would be crazy or run off or something. I trust her when she’s with me at home, but I had never seen someone else handle her. So I was more nervous for myself than her.

We basically played tug with her. The trainer showed me the basics of what I should do at home to build more strength in her tug…apparently, she was kinda lethargic…he he…my bad. I had taken her for a 10-mile hike this morning and popped her a few calming chews before heading to the park. I didn’t want her to be anxious! But I didn’t tell the trainer that.

I’ll let her unleash her full furry when we start obedience classes on May 18th.

After a few minutes, we discovered she understands German. Very well, actually. I have been using both English and German commands with her lately, and she is familiar with both, but this…this was an entirely different level of focus. She’s rusty, but my girl did it! She freaking did it. I wanted to cry! I was so proud of her. I was particularly impressed that she let go of the tug toy on command without fail.

It was reassuring knowing that the work I have been doing with her these last two weeks has helped. Now, her and I can communicate, and we are officially on the same page thanks to this doggie class.

FINALLY.

I’m so grateful for that.

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