It is hard to understand a person dog partnership. I have been in two previous partnerships before I came to school this time. They have been wonderful. My second partnership with Elwood started off rockily, but grew into something special. It was so hard to decide to end it.
When I received Chance as my new dog, I was disappointed. He was black, not yellow. He had a rough coat and he was kind of stubby. I couldn’t get a handle on his personality. He did what I asked. I couldn’t fault him for anything except his walking speed. He seemed slow.
My instructor kept telling me he could walk faster. I would get occasional glimpses of his working speed and it was great, but he didn’t maintain it.
- We thought it might be the heat. He’s a black dog and it was over 93 degrees and humid.
- We thought it might be caution. He wanted to do everything right.
- We thought it might be that he was still getting used to me.
I got Chance WEdnesday morning. On the following Monday evening, I raised the question of Chance’s walking speed again with my instructor. She asked if I wanted a new dog. I said “Yes”.
The following morning we went out on the route with no one else. (I had been paired with another student.) It was a cool morning with low humidity. I couldn’t get Chance to pick up his pace.
We stopped and I was asked again if I wanted a new dog. I said “Yes” so we went back into the downtown training center and my instructor went to the computer to see if there was a suitable match available.
There was—Nick, a 25-inch tall, 74-pound, yellow, Labrador Retriever. Two interesting facts about Nick:
- He had been paired with another member of the class. This student got hurt and had to leave class. Nick was returned to the kennel for reassignment.
- Nick was born on December 24, 2014. Happily, it was time to name the dogs in an N litter. I don’t know what his sibblings’ names are. He is the only one of his litter in class.
I started to work with Nick that afternoon and I have been very satisfied with him. We are still getting to know each other.