Tuesday, February 1, 2011


MAXMOM here...

Hello there everybody!

I'm sorry I've not blogged much in the past couple of days, but life has turned hectic at this end of the pond. All is well here: we are having beautiful weather and Toby's training is coming along very nicely indeed.

 Not only have we been religiously practicing Toby's obedience commands –
"sit","down", "stand", "come", "heel", "stay", "look" –
but we have also done a lot of work by visiting our local primary school.

As you might know, the principal has graciously allowed us access to the school and the opportunity of interacting with the teachers and the children.
(Perhaps in the weeks ahead I will find someone to help me take some photos of Toby and I at the school, but for the moment we'll have to be satisfied with my narrative. Unfortunately I can't handle a dog and take photos at the same time...yet! :))

There are only
112 days to go before the ‘Annie’ production
on the 25-28th May 2011,
so I have to make use of every day to work towards this goal.

We’ve had four visits to the school during this past week and Toby is adapting well. He's very relaxed during the entire time. Although our visits are only an hour long, I prefer not to extend it more than this. My goal is to give Toby only positive experiences and I don’t want to stress him out in any way.  He's still young and we need to pace his exposure.

 He absolutely adores these visits though and he presents his best behaviour. It’s quite a demanding environment with screaming children who can behave unpredictably, but he has taken to it like a Golden Retriever to water.

Today we visited two classrooms –
a Grade 1 class AND a Grade 2 class.
The teachers allowed me to give a little ‘talk’ to the children and I used the opportunity to introduce myself and to tell them about Toby, his breed and his training. On these visits I get Toby to do a few of his commands/tricks for the children, I answer their questions and give them an opportunity to interact with him.  Between the teachers and I we line volunteers up (plenty of them) and allow them to shake Toby's paw.  Toby LOVES offering his paw in greeting. The children are also most co-operative in assisting me to get Toby accustomed to their laughter, their clapping, their 'shouting' etc.  It's not often that children are asked to be 'loud' on purpose.

Much to the childrens' delight, Toby barked at them during one of the first clapping sessions, but he's settled down now and I've managed to convert this behaviour by asking the children if Toby can say 'thank you' to them.  I then ask him to 'talk' to them on command. The children dissolve into fits of giggles when we do this.

 All the time, during these sessions,  I’m rewarding Toby for his good behaviour. He is a quick learner.

So far, the school visits are going very well. I am really delighted that Toby has mastered his
I have even tested this command in front of the children within a classroom.  This is a target exercise where the dog has to set off (on his own) towards a mat and sit on the mat. He is doing this beautifully already. I am very satisfied with his progress and his temperament. We get to meet up with McKaynine Trainers again tomorrow to assess his progress and set more goals.

Amidst all this hard work, I make a point of allowing Toby some fun 'playtime' with me. 

When we get home after his school visits or any formalised training exercises, I make a point of building in some special time with him. He gets to swim, jump in the pool to fetch things, run around madly, play with Aunt Tam and generally just chill.

I then dry him off and groom him and he is free to do whatever he wants. Usually he chooses to continue following me around.

As part of his ‘treat’ the other day, we took the dogs for a walk to see the ducks at our local dam. All the dogs enjoyed the outing thoroughly.

May I please ask that you bear with me in the weeks ahead as my focus becomes more and more on Toby.  My blog posts are bound to be less regular too and I might not be able to comment on your blogs as much as I usually do. 

Thank you so much for understanding.  You guys are fabulous!
Sending lotsaluv to you all.


The Bumpass Hounds said...

Well Toby sure is progressing nicely. Can you possibly get us 15 tickets to the Annie production or else ya'll need to post extensive photo coverage or video soes we can see the GReat performance. Please send us some dam ducks, all we's got is lake ducks.

MySpecialDoggies said...

Hi Toby
You are such a GReat doggie - can we order some tickets too? If it's possible, can you also send us some nice summer weather - we're having an ice storm today & tomorrow - no chance for Neeli to play outside.

Nadine & Neeli
Angel doggie Apples (1994-2010)

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Great to see how well Toby is doing, but not surprising at all - he has a great trainer and he is one smart pup!!! Lots of luck for the weeks ahead - we know it will all be wonderful.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

We are so proud of Toby! He is such a cute and lovable little guy and VERY talented.

Bouncing Bertie said...

Hey Toby pal, please can I suggest you go a bit easy on all this obedience stuff? You sure are showing some of us other pups up! How about just sitting at the back of the class and larking around every now and then? Or stealing a crayon from one of the kids?
Just a suggestion....
Toodle pip!

Jake of Florida said...

We're very curious about that "talk" command. All we know is "quiet!" -- mom hasn't figured out how to get us to bark on command -- let alone stop on command!!!

Toby will be a star -- he already is!

Wirey love,

Jake and Just Harry

pilgrim said...

Maybe I should schedule my planned visit to my friend in JHB so that I can attend in person - wouldn't THAT be spectacular? Good luck with all the hard work - looks like you guys are having fun!

Love from Abbey & the clan xx

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

Toby is so gorgeous and how proud we are to know him..The children at school must be so enjoying his visits and I have no doubt at all that Toby will do well in the production.. Max will be watching with pride.. Hugs GJ xx

Rob said...

I want a swimming pool for my dog now I've seen that post! They love to follow you round don't they.

Molly the Airedale said...

Toby's training is coming along fabulously! How neat that he got to go to school!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Nubbin' Tails said...

You get to have the best time! All the time with your mom and little people. I bet there was petting involved!


Mr. Nubbin'

Clive said...

It's lovely to read how well Toby's training is going!

The very best of luck to you both in the weeks ahead!

take care
Clive and Murray

Golden Samantha said...

Wow! This is such amazing training for Toby, whether for a play, or for the span of his life! You are doing a wonderful job of getting him used to so many varied situations - I'm fascinated by how much he absorbs and learns! You are awesome!
Sammie's, Avalon's and Ozzie's Mom

Mrs. JP said...

You and Toby are naturals for this type of thing. I'm so proud of both of you. God sure sent you just the right dog. I bet he does love the school visits and attention from all the kids and MOM. He's thriving - I can see it.
All eyes were on those ducks!
Blessings to you all from the holler...

Pip said...

Way-to-go, Toby!
You and your mom sure are having an adventure together.

Suka said...

hey Toby,

What a pawsome update! I am so furry happy to hear how fabulous you are doing! The school visits sound like so much fun. I bet the children are a blast! That is so great that you are adapting so well to their screams and giggles!

Your "Annie" countdown is getting smaller. I bet you are really getting excited. Good luck!

Beautiful photos of you and the pups by the lake with the ducks.


LailaSmith01 said...

what a very interesting post...I enjoy reading it actually...Your so busy and having fun in every dog thingy that you will do...Keep it up...^_^

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Tweedles -- that's me said...

Toby is so smart and he is learning.!
So time consumung we know!
Our computer dial up is so slow lately- we have been having problems getting around!
The photos are just beautiful.
Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

The Thundering Herd said...

Toby - you are getting so big. We were comparing some of your puppy pictures and are stunned at how fast you have grown up.

Moose said...

Hi Maxmom & King Toff, Tam and Toby! Long time no visit! I have fallen behind on so many friends so it was nice to finally catch up a little! I cant believe how toby big has gotten- time flies!
Moose + Momma