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 NOT EXACTLY A TRAINING EXERCISE 
Making Practical Use of Your Bouvier
by Jan Rifkinson
excerpted from the Bouvier Mailing Lists

Dear BouvListers,

Over the last few days there's been a flurry of posts pertaining to training techniques for a variety of sports. Its made for splendid reading & as a result of all this talk I was encouraged to go back to working Truman & Sabrina.

As most Bouvs do, Truman & Sabrina like to help me do whatever it is I'm trying to do.  At times it gets crowded as in the bathroom when I am trying to use same or when I'm taking a shower & have to step over the hairy mats to find someplace to dry.

However when the activity is outside, their form of help generally means guarding me from the occasional chipmunk, passing truck or lazy crow but don't get me wrong, there are some constructive times. Truman helps carry groceries, gets the newspaper, etc. Sabrina has been on a sabbatical.

But today I was inspired to get back to work with the two of them & I thought I'd combine it in with my chores which included spreading a tarp covered pile of mulch before the first snow of the season which is expected tonight.  So the kids followed me around as I loaded mulch into wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow & spread it out. Truman & Sabrina took turns guarding me & checking out the the makeup of the mulch. When that was finished, I swept up & finally had to face the task of folding up this *huge* tarp. 

And this is where your collective inspiration moved me to work the Bouvs. 

I found one corner of the tarp & called Truman over & pointed to the corner. "Sit/stay" I commanded & Truman sat on the corner. I stretched the tarp out until I got to another corner. I motioned Sabrina to corner #2. "Sit/Stay" I signaled by hand (for all practical purposes, she's deaf) & voice. She complied. Then I began to stretch the tarp out flat. The Bouvs continued their sit/stay looking like mismatched book ends. Once the whole thing was laid out, I released both Bouvs & began to pull the two sides together, thus folding the tarp in half. It was a sloppy job @ best so Truman was again drafted to sit on his corner & Sabrina on hers. Another half fold brought the tarp down to a more manageable size.

I began my penultimate fold across, towards Truman. He sat stock still on his corner looking quite @ attention, waiting for his next command. "Move" I commanded, tarp in hand. Truman looked at me with that blank stare that only means he was conferring with his executive committee, but didn't move. "Move" I commanded again & Truman looked up @ the giant pine tree over his head. "OK, get up" I persisted. Finally after some further consideration, Truman picked himself up & sauntered off the tarp whereupon I matched corner to corner. The last fold required no Bouvier help.

This exercise made no impression on Sabrina. Truman looked like he had done a good day's work & this Bouv tale, though all true, qualifies as a shaggy dog story.  - Nov '00

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Email webmaster Jan Rifkinson


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