Schools have a “100th day of school” celebration, and towns have festivals to celebrate every 100 years, so I felt compelled to write something fantastical for my 100th blog post. However, the only thing on my brain at the moment is the fact that I am pretty sure I am going to fail puppy training class.
Luna and I had our first lesson on Friday. The original plan was for me and the girls to participate together, but unfortunately The Hare was sick and couldn’t attend. The Tortoise stayed with her until DW could get home. I had to leave – I didn’t want to make a bad impression on my first day, you know. It’s hard enough being one of the smallest in your class, I certainly didn’t want poor Luna to feel self-conscious by walking in after class started.
There were already two large black dogs present when we arrived. One appeared to be some sort of boxer mix, belonging to a rather sweet young newly married couple. Most likely their trial run at parenthood. The other one was a black lab, about a year old already, in charge of a mom and her young son. He was darting and dancing around his captives, trying to escape. I decided to sit on the farthest seat possible from both dogs.
“Oh! Your dog is so cute,” crooned the young married woman, with a sharp side glance at her husband.
Luna sat demurely on my lap, observing. With an air of princess hautiness, she puffed out her chest, cocking her head at every noise and unfamiliar movement. I must say, I was beaming with pride. We obviously were going to be a class favorite.
As the class started to fill up with more students, it became acutely clear that Luna was at a height and girth disadvantage. I started sizing up our competition with a little trepidation. Luna remained statuesque.
“Mam…mam…could you please move to the other side of the room. We have two more small dogs coming and I think it would be best to keep you together. Away from the big dogs.”
“Sure, of course.” I smiled sweetly wondering if next time I should bring a treat for the instructor’s dog, or an apple for the teacher.
Just a few minutes after I had moved, a family of five came trotting in with two eight week old puppies. One was a pure bred Shih Tzu and the other a Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix only weighing 1.2 lbs. It was hard to believe that any puppy would make Luna look gigantic. There were several “oohhs and awwwss” over the teeny Shorkie. Customers from around the store started to gawk outside the classroom windows, pointing to the freakishly small dog. We were being upstaged, so I obviously was going to need to turn up the charm.
Our first task was to introduce ourselves and say one thing that we would like to change about our dog. That was going to be tough, since there really isn’t anything I would change. Afterall, she is only four months old and all of her puppy behaviour is to be expected. I started to become a little uncomfortable listening to each family introduce themselves. Apparently, I had signed up for the “puppy problem” class and not the “puppy training” class.
“I would change the fact that she pees and poops in her crate when we are gone.”
“I would change the fact that she jumps and growls on everyone that comes to the door.”
“I would change the fact that he has destroyed all of my wood furniture with his chewing.”
“I would change the fact that he lunges at strangers when they get too close to me.”
And of course, the last one was sitting right next to me. A small Jack Russell Terrier that kept eyeing my sweet Luna. I started to take note of all emergency exits and objects light enough to be thrown at this terror of a terrier if an attack presented itself.
Then it was my turn. I struggled to find something, anything that wouldn’t make me stand out and unintentionally cause an overwhelming amount of jealousy. But nothing came to mind.
“Um…my name is Emily, and this is 4 month old Luna.”
“You were supposed to say something you didn’t like.”
“Yes, I know, but there isn’t anything.”
The instructor’s eyes started to slant and sink into her thick skull, brows turned in, nose crinkled. I couldn’t help but notice the little bit of peach fuzz over her upper lip, making her look a little masculine with her ultra-short haircut. She was big too – I definitely wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley somewhere.
“Nothing? You want to try that answer again?”
I sank into my seat a little. Luna continued to sit quietly in my lap, unnerved. “Well, maybe I would change the fact that she doesn’t bark to let me know she has to go out? She just goes to the front door and sits and waits for someone to take her out.”
Good answer, good answer.
“Hmph..then that means you aren’t crate training. ” And then the instructor proceeded to give a lecture about the importance of crate training, tethering your dog to you at all times when not in a crate and of course never leaving food and water out during the day, except during schedule times.
After about 45 minutes of her lecturing, Luna decided she was done sitting quietly. I must admit, my restlessness was ready to show itself as well. I had crossed and uncrossed my legs several times, started daydreaming about what I was going to do on the first day of school. A pedicure, yes, a pedicure would be the first thing on my list once I waved goodbye to the bus. And then lunch outside, over wine and cheese, something very “un” kid friendly.
The Shih Tzu puppy next to us had finally woken up and was squeaking. Luna started dancing around my lap, tail wagging, trying to get his attention. Then she started pawing at the air, flagging him to look up. When that didn’t work she gave two sharp, quick yaps. I suddenly remembered we were actually sitting in a cramped, stinky, and very dog hair laden room and not enjoying the scenic city-scape of my little downtown area in the middle of the day.
The instructor stopped talking and handed me a water bottle.
“You must spray her with water every time she barks in public so that she knows that behavior is unacceptable.”
What? Yeah, no…that doesn’t work for me. Maybe if she hadn’t droned on for almost an hour and let these dogs move a little, there would be less tension. Up until that moment Luna hadn’t made a peep, in spite of all the other, bigger, louder dogs shoveling around trying to start a riot. I didn’t spray her – defiantly and the teacher took notice. She smiled that “you are really going to regret this” kind of smile and continued her lecture.
1. Your dog needs to be tethered to you at all times – Luna has free range.
2.Your dog needs to sleep in a crate – Luna sleeps in my bed.
3. No public barking and absolutely no rough playing that might encourage nipping – DW provokes and encourages both
4.Food and water needs to be scheduled – Luna’s bowls are always left out.
I think I have ruined Luna’s chances of getting a good grade. Perhaps we can ask for a pass/fail.