Diva vom Das Wendl-Rudel
born 30 March 2001
Diva has graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Here she is in harness for her graduation photo. She looks so happy, like she has life figured out.
|V – Diego von der Felsenmühle SchH 3 KKL1 (expired)|
*Marc vom Herkulesblick SchH3 IP3 FH
*Peggy von der Felsenmühle SchH3 IP3 FH1
*Grischa vom Schwarzen Milan SchH 3 (SG-BSP) FH
Diva was born in March of 2001 and came to live in Montana to be a schutzhund dog. We already have a wonderful Kona puppy in the club, so I had high hopes for my new pup.
A beautiful dark sable, Diva was very sweet and people-oriented and completely environmentally stable. She had exceptional food drive and would do anything for the promise of food. I took her to puppy agility class and she practically taught herself the weave poles, trying different things to see what would get her the treat. As she grew older, she became intensely obstacle focused, and keeping up with her was like working a border collie! 🙂
Unfortunately, on the schutzhund field she was one of those kind of dogs who would just rather be friends with the helper. She’d bite the moving tug, but it was out of wanting to please “if this is what you want me to do, I’ll do it” than any desire to do the work.
So last summer at a SchH seminar in Utah, I was chatting with Darla Welty who suggested that maybe Diva would like to be a guide dog. I agonized over what to do — should I keep her as just an agility dog? I don’t know that the life of a guide dogs is really all that great, but OTOH, it is a noble calling and she would be a true working dog. Auspiciously, Nancy Roberts let me know she was meeting a Guide Dogs for the Blind evaluator down in Pocatello, Idaho, and would I like to bring Diva down? So at the beginning of September Diva and I drove down to meet them.
Of course, the Guide Dog people were somewhat concerned that Diva had been exposed to SchH. I convinced them that had she any serious protective instinct, I’d be keeping her! Fortunately, the evaluator had a malinois and had done some Ring training in the past, so wasn’t too biased.
The first thing they did was walk Diva around a busy Walmart parking lot to see her reaction to cars. Unbelieveably, they said they washed out many dogs right at the beginning because of fear reactions in the parking lot. Then they took her into the Walmart where she was very relaxed, unconcerned about the banging shopping carts, crowds, noises, running kids and slick floors. She greeted everyone calmly with a wagging tail.
I said goodbye to her in the parking lot, and Diva went down to Portland, Oregon for training.
Guide Dogs sent me a weekly update of her training. It all sounded great. She was calm and confident on commuter trains, moving sidewalks and escalators, pulled into her harness confidently and was wonderful with people. They gave high praise to her working drive. She did have to work on being “overly social” with other dogs and walking past homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks, although she was fine when they were standing up.
Diva graduated Saturday, the 9th of March! She will now live in Edmonton with her new owner, a 40-something year old man with a wife and two kids (she’ll be happy to have kids back in her life). He had already bought her a winter coat and booties before coming down to Portland
I am so proud of Diva, and wish her a full, happy life.
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