The great thing about having an instructor who works many jobs and has working dogs in and out of his property all the time is that sometimes, they come to class.
"Your job," he said as we arrived for our second practical lesson, "is to spoil this puppy. Pat her, feed her treats -- nothing you do with this dog is wrong, today."
'This puppy' was a beautiful little English springer spaniel, 11 weeks old. She had a brown head, white speckled body, and seemed to be all legs. When I first arrived, she was obviously timid, so I let her be. I knew we'd all be swarming into the grounds soon, and that seemed quite enough for her to get used to.
Now, I didn't set out to teach her anything, honest. (Those who know my teacherly tendencies, stop laughing. I mean it.) But at some point in the day I was handed a tennis ball, and Ava's taught me what puppies like. I'm starting to think, though, that spaniels just can't resist moving things.
My instructor had spotted me playing with the puppy throughout the day. As class wrapped up, he said, "Okay, class dismissed... oh, before we go, let's see what Melon's taught my dog."