Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dexter In School

So I said I was going to write about Dexter going to school...I'm very behind.

The first class was what I would describe as complete chaos. Put 12 people who don't know how to control dogs in a room with 12 uncontrolled dogs and that is the recipe for loud chaos. Dexter pretty much sat in awe of the whole situation. Occasionally he would look up at me with this, "what the hell are we doing here" kind of look and try to get in my lap. After seeing how Vince, one of the trainers, responded to another dog and its owner, I wasn't about to let Dexter get in my lap for the fear of being smacked on the nose– me, not Dexter. (OK, slight exaggeration.)

The trainers clearly know what they are doing and how dangerous a room full of uncontrolled dogs can be. Every person that came through the door with their dog charging into the facility was screamed at to get their dog on a short lead. The dog next to Rick was smacked hard on the nose and then jerked up by his leash, to which he yelped both times (because it was a big, overgrown, misbehaving baby), all of which shocked its owner (her face was priceless). The little ankle biters down a few seats from me wouldn't stop barking so they got allum powder in their noses. It was a room full of love!

After everyone settled down, we listened to a long talk about dogs, breeds (where I learned Dexter, a beagle, is just a "cute nose with fur"), behaviors, personalities, how dogs communicate etc etc. All very very helpful and interesting. Greg and I have been doing nearly everything completely wrong. Then we started with walking in circles around the room. We had the dog sit next to us, lining up their shoulder to our leg, said "Dexter, heal" and then proceeded around in a chaotic circle. This is where we learned "get up, get back, get in, get out" with coinciding jerks on the training collar. Dex didn't care for it after a while and kept jumping up on me. Overall, it was exhausting but positive!

The next class we walked in circles again, and this time we changed directions while walking! Who knew that dogs don't like to change directions! Utter chaos once again. Dexter freaked out at one point, doing the "get this damn collar off of me!!!!" dance. He decided to try to take it out on the dogs around him, giving me an excuse to exercise my best deep NO DOG! correction. Once he understood, it got better. We also did sit-stays and down-stays. During the stays, Jo Ann, the instructor, would come by bouncing a ball. Hilarious! I was laughing at Dexter pretty hard at this part because he was so completely tired and sat there with his hind legs all floppy and huge wide eyes looking around at everything, completely overwhelmed. He gets lots of complements from the instructors for his behavior, but I think he's pulling one over on them. Again, an exhausting class, but I can tell progress is being made for sure!!

There is motivation to work outside of class– not only so that Dex remembers, but also so I don't have the worst dog in class. I need to work with him at home (haven't yet this week) and teach Greg some more commands. I really think we'll have a good beagle...and then it's on to the hairy barking Schnauz!

1 comment:

Butch said...

Hang in there Dexter.