April 20, 2005

Disobedience Class

So tonight was my first night taking Digory to obedience class by myself. Oh. My. God. It was quite an experience.

It started with my trying to get things ready to go. Once I got Scout in her crate Digory went ballistic wanting his crate and his cookie too. Then he realized we were going out together and went bonkers. I could not figure out how to put on his seatbelt harness (good Lord, this is the most complicated thing I've ever seen!) and we were running late so I decided to just take him unfettered. Mistake.

He wouldn't sit still in the car, of course. He was nervous as hell and all worked up. And of course the only car we have right now is the Miata so we were in cramped quarters. The electric windows are on the middle console. He kept sticking his paws on it while he was trying to help me drive. The first 10 times it was funny. The second 10 times it was only amusing. The third 10 times it drove me crazy. The fourth 10 times I was seriously concerned about blowing out the little motor that runs those things.

After much difficulty (it's very hard to shift when a 33 pound dog is standing on the space where the next gear should be), we finally arrived at our class. Digory was just out of control. And then the worst part--I am not strong enough to control him. Literally, he would pull me around. I had the leash wrapped around my hands and now have leash burn on them from all of his pulling. It made it very difficult to do some of the activities--especially the ones where you "hold the leash in one hand with treats in it, and put treats in your other hand." Excuse me, but how many hands is that? And I couldn't control him with 1 hand on the leash. It was suggested to me (more than once) to invest in a Gentle Leader. Yeah, I think we'll be making a trip to PetSmart or something tomorrow. We have to do something.

They didn't believe me when I told them that Digory won't, under any circumstances, lie down. Scout won't either. Maybe he's picked that up from her? Anyway, the second trainer (the trainer-in-training) was a little condescending as he explained v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y how I should lure him into a down. I was like wanna show me? Here's some treats--knock yourself out. He came out of it a little humbled when he realized that he couldn't get Dig to do it either. And then the real trainer came and guess what? She couldn't either. Well, I guess Digory is nothing if not consistent.

Have we mentioned the other beagle in the class with the insufferable parents? Well the guy didn't come, he was the real ass, but the woman did. Their beagle (who is Scout-sized) apparently comes to the facility for day care and they proudly brag about their advanced training techniques all the time . So while Digory is not doing a simple down, Kayley is doing a sit, down, roll over thing. Whatever.

You know one thing I hate about dog training is people who don't control their dogs in between activities. We'll be practicing something, then we'll all sit down and listen to the next explanation. While I have Digory on a very short leash and am constantly luring him into a sit-stay, there's this woman with a Puggle (half beagle, half pug--not as cute as you might think) who is TWO SEATS AWAY and letting her dog run to the end of her leash and try to attack Digory. .

By the way, do you like my new smilies?

Anyway, so we make it through a couple more activities where Digory is basically pulling me around and we're not getting much done. Then we had this contest with the come command. Digory doesn't respond to a come, but is well attuned to a "What's this?!" which means there's some kind of food involved in his final destination. The first dog did well. Digory was second and he tied the first dog. Then I was too busy bribing him to quit barking (by basically shoving treats down his throat continuously), but I had to watch Kayley the beagle. First her owner is all confident and is like "I'm going to go all the way!" (instead of 3/4 of the way that the rest of us did). So this big giant show-off is all hoity toity about it, and guess what? Kayley did worse than every other dog in the class! She did even worse than Jack the 6 month old Husky who never does anything right.

After Kayley's momentous failure (it took her 4 tries to complete the task) I exchanged glances and a smile with the owner of Lola, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. anyway, following that we had one other activity that was really dumb in my opinion. I understand the skill they were trying to teach, but their method of doing so was just pointless for a dog like Digory. Plus it involved having everyone throw treats on the ground and then pulling their dogs away from them so they couldn't eat them. Well guess what Digory spent his time doing? That's right, pulling me around on his leash while he Hoovered the whole yard. The trainer was like "don't let him do that!" and I was like give me a break lady. I'm at a point where if I just may turn around and take my out of control dog home with me, if I can muscle him into the car at all.

Anyway, it was very frustrating. I definitely cannot control him on my own and will need to get a Gentle Leader or something to stop this dog from pulling me around. I'm glad he's not any bigger!

Posted by Shelby at April 20, 2005 12:59 AM

Book me a flight to California. We'll train Digory just fine without any asinine commenters in the peanut gallery. Though if he does pull you that much, I would recommend a gentle leader. However, instead of the head harness, there is a new one that we saw somewhere that works with the two front legs that just seems gentler and more designed for beagles.
Love your new smilies by the way. I'm jealous of the eye roll. That's my constant face.

Posted by: staz at April 20, 2005 06:32 AM
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