Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Dog Obedience Class

Yesterday we went to our first of six dog obedience classes. The first meeting we did not bring Willow. We were told not to. It was for humans only. The instructor wanted to tell us what she plans to accomplished and what we should buy, etc. She didn’t want any “cat calls” from dog-students that first time.

She knows her stuff. She seems to know the insides working of a dog’s mind well and what buttons to press. I think we will gain a lot by this class.

The instructor emphasized to be on time. In fact, to make sure we were on time she upped the reporting time to 6:45. That way, we will be in our seats at 7:00 when the meeting really starts.

She also told us of different places nearby to park. Naturally, we were there at 6:05 and had our pick of where to park. We picked the first place in her places to park, in the visitors’ parking lot of the Atlanta Humane Society. When we parked a man walked up and asked could he help us. We told him we were there for dog obedience classes and he politely told us we couldn’t park there, we would have to park on down. So, we moved. Sitting by ourselves in a big empty parking lot we read the letter again. It told us we could park the first place we parked, and after it overflowed we could park where we were now sitting. The man didn’t know what he was talking about.

We drove back up to the first parking lot and parked there. The heck with “you can’t park here.”

At the meeting by 7:00 it was going according to the instructor’s plan. It looked like we were all seated. It was mostly husband and wives, a few singles, and one young teenager with his mother. I counted near 25 at one point and more came aftereards. She started.

About 10 minutes into her lecture in barged a lady. The rules didn’t apply to her. Also, she had a comment to say about everything the instructor said and felt the need to comment when someone asked a question. She took off her shoes and propped her feet on the chair in front of her, by a husband and wife team. She had bright shiny red toenails.

I wonder how the lady with the painted red nails would do if she was thrown in a pit with a member of the Bad News Kennels?

One of the things I learned at this class: Dogs, instinctual, believe in a hierarchical social structure. They believe in pecking order. They believe I get to eat before they do. But they also expect me to plot out our course and “bring home the bacon”, so to speak. They need a boss to keep them organized and tell them what to do.

I break out into a sweat just thinking of such a responsibility. Willow is looking at me for guidance? Shit! I wonder if I can fake it?

I think our instructor had some acting experience. At times she took on the role of a dog and thought out loud (for our benefit) and had a huge invisible master she was heeding to – she played the role good. Most of the people laughed. I felt like standing up and clapping.

Here are some conflicting statistics with no conclusion, just an observation: The dog classes are held just about in the heart of Atlanta, probably less than 1.5 miles to the center of pulse of Atlanta. Atlanta is over well 50% Afro-American. What percent of Afro-Americans came to the dog obedience class? 0%.

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Blogger MichaelBains said...

I'm still thinking I'm going to pay for my former step-girl to take her Labradore-Pit Bull mix to Obedience classes. M' kiddo is the tiniest li'l 13 yo you could imagine, and Dakota, her "puppy" is eNORmous and strong as an ox; or a pit bull.

Still, Boo already is quite definitely the pooch's boss. It's a very good start, but one I'm betting she'll appreciate the help with making sure it stays that way.

Hope you and the Missus and Willow have fun in class!

6:53 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I have known a lot of dogs who need obedience classes, Eddie, and some of their owners need it worse than the dogs!!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

how tEd,
I hope Willow has a wonderful time teaching you how to obey!

8:13 AM  
Blogger ET said...

That is more kind than I can imagine.

I know what you mean, the gang across the street could use a little obedience school - I just don't know what kind of treat to feed them if they do good... raw beef? a beer? Well, that won't be a problem because they won't do good.

Willow is having a hard time getting me to obey. Sometimes she just shakes her head, like there is no use, I'm not going to learn anything new.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

I've heard that you can't teach an old dog any new tricks. My dog is old, though and she learns new tricks all the time, so stick with it Ed..YOU CAN DO IT!

4:21 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I don't know about dogs, but it is hard for an old human to do new tricks.
In this case, I am referring to "tricks" as hustling one's own body for money as in, "She does tricks in NY, near 42nd Street."

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the instructor is Mailey, I can tell you first hand that she is awesome. She worked with me and my dog Jake one-on-one and he is a stellar dog. Very polite and well-behaved. And he clearly respects that I'm in charge (I think he's relieved by that). Anyway, enjoy the training - you'll have fun (and you will be rewarded for it!)

2:32 PM  

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