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Well, Hello Deer

Why, hello deer

You know, I’ve always kinda liked the humble little burgh where we live.  So much so, that apparently I’m willing to drive an hour to my job, which is located in a more upscale locale with a denser population. We’ve grown roots here in this town, we have. Family, friends and many of our interests are comfortably close by.

We chose this community to put the Favorite Kid through the local public school system, having moved from an even smaller town*. The schools here have boasted an Excellent rating for several years and now that I have a college grad for a kid I can lay claim that we made a pretty good choice coming out this way.

A couple things I miss out here, though. It would be lovely to have bookstore with a coffee shop to lounge about in.  And . . . well, actually that’s pretty much it. Oh wait, no.  A bookstore with a coffee shop and an outdoor patio.  Some flowers, a couple of throw pillows** . . . [sigh]

But when I tell The Husband about the upcoming training event for the CCI pups at a Cabela’s in Columbus, I realize that a big, honkin’ sporting good store might spark the interest of some folk as well.

Google Maps tells us to expect this to be an hour and a half drive to the new Cabela’s, the first of its name in Ohio, located within all the bustle of Polaris commerce. As we navigate through this fancy commercial area, we’re reminded of all the other shops and eateries missing from our simple burgh. Polaris shows herself to be a rapidly growing area. Similar to watching your buildings time lapse like in SimCity 4, there are new stores of all genres going up on every street and avenue. And just when you think you’re on a main road, it’s all nope, this is just a sub-street to a parking lot and you have to find another route across to get to where you want to be. Like a labyrinth, but one designed by a city planning engineer.

But no matter, we make it on time for an obligatory after-the-drive potty break for Euka and to join the other CCI puppy raisers outside Cabela’s entrance.  Walking towards the gathering group I realize, if memory serves, this is only the third time Euka has been in the presence of so many other CCI puppies in training.  We give her a moment to process this info across the canine neurons (play or work?) before we move into the training event in the store. 

I catch a shot of her with a ponderous look.  Such deep thoughts, one has to wonder what profundity is working through the noggin.

Don’t labyrinths have minotaurs?

This isn’t our first visit to a Cabela’s with a CCI puppy, so we had an inkling of an idea of what to expect inside with Euka.  Every dog is different, of course, so best to not get distracted from any signs that the puppy is feeling stressed. In dog language, a full on stare and stiff body exhibited by another dog is an aggressive challenge. So it could be that a full size taxidermied critter might bring on a fight or flight response in a puppy. Be aware, but don’t be stressed about it — the puppy will pick up on this too, we know.
Micron’s trip to a Cabela’s a couple of years ago in Virginia, back when he was a mere pup in training, was a non-eventful affair. No problems then with staring prong-horns or beady eyed catfish in the aquarium. Well, just that one worrisome moment when I thought the big guy might claim a stuffed jackrabbit as his very own fluffy bunny, but that passed without security getting involved.

Oh, c’mon, people. Even a dog can make a smore.

Euka doesn’t have the same stuffed animal fixation as the mighty Micron, so we move smoothly among the taxidermy art to practice Ups, Unders, Visits and such in this distracting environment.

On left is Euka demonstrating Up, a command that the CCI trainers will build on as they teach the dogs to turn on light switches.

Do note the boxes on the left display there.  Those are campfire smores kits. In a box. When I was a kid, we had to make our own smores from raw ingredients like stale graham crackers and sticks out of the yard, and not from some prefab stuff in a box. You kids today have it so easy.

Moving on, in the photo below Euka is demonstrating her Derp face as she performs the Under command.


At the fish tank, Euka shows no interest in the whatever those are finning around in there. No, our little tart is more interested in the cute guy on the left.

look at me look at me look at me

Next to the Dead Thing Mountain display, we have the pups do a Jump onto a cedar bench. I’m not in any hurry to work on this one. With that Tigger spring in her butt, Euka has no problem with Jump.  She can jump efficiently, even without a command. Like the time she jumped, all four paws now, onto my desk at work to get a better look at a favorite co-worker. Yep, this white girl can jump alright.

So we watch the other pups. Euka is in a Down observing one pup after the next.  Jump!  Good Dog! [photo op] Next . . .

Oh, this “Jump.” I thought you
meant the other one.

We go last, nearly everyone else has moved onto the next training challenge. Which, in hindsight, I’m grateful for. Because yep, shore nuff, Euka has completely forgotten this skill that she was, indeed just this very morning, so very proficient in.

Euka! I say. Jump!  Euka puts both front paws on the bench and turns to look at me.  She is smiling and wagging her tail like she just did the most amazing thing.

Well, I say. Good “Up”, Euka.  I swing her back into position and repeat the Jump command with the same sad ending. Alrighty, let’s try this again. Darn it, she knows this one.

You know how they say to determine that you’ve gotten a bit unhinged in the noggin parts?  You keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results***.

So yeah, fine. Just fine. Oh, for . . . just pick her up and put her butt up there, I tell The Husband.  I want a picture of her with the deer in the background.  I look at the digital image in the camera, deem it a pretty crappy shot yet somehow good enough because I’m getting stupid frustrated about this whole refusing to do the Jump thing.

Which is, of course, exactly why it’s so important to do these training outings.  No, not just to frustrate me. I can get that at home without the three hour round trip drive. Rather this is a good reminder of why we need to proof these puppies in unfamiliar and distracting environments.  Euka certainly knows her stuff at the places we frequent and it’s so very easy to set this as a pattern of behavior. But as she showed us at the cedar bench, we need to practice her commands in the new and different. Something we’ll now throw ourselves into with a renewed effort.

A thank you goes to Cabela’s and staff for being such gracious hosts and supporting the puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence.  We had a blast meeting y’all. And sorry about that Dead Thing Mountain comment. But it kinda is, right?

*Ok, it wasn’t even a town.  Our prior residence was a village, a farming community.  When we put the kid through kindergarten screening was when we decided it was time to bolt.  Get this . . . after testing my five year old, we were informed that because he couldn’t skip, he would be certainly be a poor reader.  These scholars were ready to slap a remedial label on the kid before he even stepped a sneakered foot into a classroom simply because I never bothered to teach the boy the essential life skill of skipping. They even handed me a paper how “research has shown us” this factoid of theirs. Yep, I actually still have that paper. And apparently from this little rant, the grudge as well.

**Young Frankenstein (1974)

***A quote attributed to Albert Einstein, but a disclaimer that I have not fact checked this. It does sound like something he would say though, right? And wasn’t he just a bit, um, eccentric too? So if you claim to be insane, are you really? How would you know? Oh, never mind.

About Donna Black-Sword

Lover of all things Dog.

2 responses »

  1. Good Job Euka! There's no Cabela's here in California.. but I took my last pup there when I traveled to Idaho and when I travel there this month my current pup will get to go there too! It's a cool place to train there. I blog too! It would be awesome if you could check out my blog.. I love reading yours. 🙂


  2. Hi Monica, we've been to a couple of Cabela's in our travels. Maybe three? This one in Columbus was very nice, well stocked and even had a café wafting tempting aromas throughout our shopping experience. But I was surprised that it was rather small in comparison to the others we visited, being only one floor and all. My guess is that real estate in that area is pretty pricey and this limited what Cabela's was willing to build there.

    I do love your puppy raising blog as well. Thanks for the link; we've got you in the blog roll on the right now.



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