Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Husband Obedience...the dog flunked, but my husband has never acted better!

January 5, 2010

Husband Obedience

Recently we took our family pet to dog obedience school. The bowwow flunked, but my husband has been exhibiting a marked improvement in his behavior. We practically had to bribe the dog trainers to even let our hound, Sammy, finish the course, he was so distracting.
I think that same teacher now has a money-back/no guarantee policy, but that’s probably just a coincidence.
When enrolling Sammy in one of those non-aggressive training programs the instructor assured us he would teach the owners as much as he teaches the dog. (We didn’t realize how prophetic this would be.)
The Pooch Trainer made some very valuable and interesting suggestions – for dogs other than Sammy.
He suggested squirting lemon juice in a barking dog’s open yap, talking firmly to them when they were naughty and discouraging the behavior right to his face. No, no, do not eat the kitty. That is inappropriate behavior, Duke.”
Many people in the class had serious issues they had brought with them to discuss. Things like, “When I talk to the dog he ignores me,” or “I would like the dog to bring my paper to me first in the morning, but he keeps bringing me my slippers first,” or “I want to play Frisbee with Zelda, but she likes to play regular ball better.”
Our kingdom for one, or a combination, of those problems. We felt like we had brought our juvenile delinquent dog to the equivalent of a doggie coming out party.
Sammy listened to none of these instructions. In stead he spent all of his time trying to eat his fellow furry students.
Things were so bad that one day the instructor pulled my husband aside and said, “Listen, I don’t usually recommend this kind of thing but – buy a pinch collar!” We were mortified, but we persevered. After all, we had plunked down our greenbacks up front.
My husband valiantly struggled to help Sammy get the overall picture of why they were there. Somehow the dog figured he was at the park to race and race he did, every day, leash flying, ears laid back on his head, master frantically running behind him yelling, “Stop, bad dog. Stop, bad dog. Sammy, this is unacceptable behavior.”
At first I’m sure the instructor felt that we were the worst dog parents in the world because of our lack of control over our large, loping, four-legged “son.” (Actually, maybe he thought Sammy was the victim of a broken dog parent home because I only attended twice, I was so embarrassed by the weekly dog and man show.)
During the course of the last few weeks of instruction I decided I should be more supportive of my husband who, by this time, was ready to adopt out the dog (and himself), and so I attended the final two weeks of tutelage.
My husband, being the master of understatement, had not presented the situation as it was. Things were much worse than what he had described.
While all of the other dogs and masters were happily prancing around in a circle, my husband tugged on Sammy’s leash with every ounce of strength he possessed. (He was down to about eight ounces by then.)
Finally, my husband, Mr. Mellow, snapped. He had had enough. He had been humiliated, ignored and victimized by this dog and he was fed up. I watched in amazement as he yanked that Pit Bull/Labrador mix all the way up to his hind legs (the dog’s) and said in a very calm and measured tone between gritted teeth, “KNOCK IT OFF!” You could hear a bone drop.
The incident was greeted with silence by canines and homo sapiens alike. The parading circle of fun came to a screeching halt and all eyes were on my spouse. It was a moment of power that I will not soon forget.
Suddenly, Sammy caught sight of a cat, all hell broke loose and the moment was gone. The balance of power had tipped back to the dog’s side.
It was obvious that this confrontation hadn’t changed the pup’s behavior one iota, but I did notice that my husband had earned a new level of respect from the other dog owners.

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