A little history. In September, Labor Day weekend to be precise, we got a dog. A 2 month old lab mix rescue puppy. Because all teachers get untrained, unhousebroken baby dogs right when their professional shit is about to hit the professional fan not to mention the offspring of said teachers returning to school themselves and all the attendant drama and “to do” lists that accompany said return. Doh.
The dog was cute, mellow, cuddly.
For about fifteen minutes.
Then she started stealing food, eating stuffed animals, dragging ashes out of the fireplace (whiskey. tango. foxtrot?) biting ankles, running into the neighbor’s yard, and generally wreaking havoc on our already havoc-y enough thank you very much existence.
Both my husband and I grew up with dogs, and we’d each had our own dogs before we were married, so we figured we could put our heads together and train this one.
We plan. God laughs.
We were starting (we’re slow) to come around to the realization that we needed a more, uh, formal dog training plan than just squirting the damn creature with a water bottle every time she bugged us and teaching her to sit, and then she did us a solid by breaking her leg. And by “did us a solid” I mean “cost us 4 grand and very nearly our marriage because keeping a lab mix puppy in tight confinement for eight weeks is the dog owning equivalent of pushing a boulder up hill. Forever. A la Sisyphus. If Sisyphus had a wife standing behind him shrieking, ‘Will somebody shut that $%^&##ing dog UP?!!’”
So the dog is no longer confined (or sedated, damn and blast) and her bionic leg seems to be in working order. True story: we recently bought a car and traded in TWGH’s old one; the dog’s leg is worth 8 times what my husband’s car was worth. And it’s not even her whole leg. Just the foreleg.
Commence obedience school.
The first night, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves (“Hi, I’m Kristin, and I am a failure as a pet owner”) and identify the things we hate about our dogs issues we have been experiencing with our dog and say at least one FANTASTIC thing about our dog. When it was my turn I went on for about forty five minutes about the problems we’ve been having and then class was over. No, not really. There were fifteen minutes left. And then I said, “She was really easy to housebreak and has never had an accident.”
And the dog promptly stood up and took a massive pee on the floor.
Let’s just say that that was pretty much the high point of that first class.
I took a pill and We went back tonight for class #2. Because the first class wasn’t humiliating enough, this time the dog made sure to escape her collar three times and run for the door, actually, it’s more accurate to say try to run THROUGH the door, until four employees of The Dog Training Academy for People Who Come Back for More Shame could trap her. Also – failed sitting, but only for me. When the dog whisperer waved a liversnap in front of the mutt’s nose, she sat as though she’d been practicing for the new Broadway hit “Dogs Sit on Command.” Also – bit me when I tried to go through the “settling your dog” exercise. Also – stole the leash of an enormous Mastiff and tried to drag the 200 pound dog around the room. Also – peed on the floor again.
You know, I don’t brag about my kids much because, first of all you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how awesome they are, and second, it’s not really fair to you, is it? To have to hear all about my perfect children and then feel bad about your own? In all seriousness, while they may be hooligans the moment they step through my front door, I tend to hear a lot of compliments about my kids’ behavior out there in the world. And, of course, I’m quite proud of them, and I try not to take their manners and sociability for granted.
I’m assuming that obedience school is the universe’s way of striking a balance.
Just in case you don’t fully appreciate how mortifying this dog training thing is with my ill-behaved, barking bansheedog, let me give you one more piece of information.
On dog obedience school nights? I walk around with hot dogs in my pockets.
It was nice there for a while, having dignity. I’m sure that someday, maybe when I am finally able to fully wash the smell of cut up pork Ballpark franks from my fingers, I’ll get around to missing it.