Wednesday, May 4, 2011
My Schnauzer Flunked Out Of School!
The resident Schnauzer has been in school for the past 8 weeks, working very hard to learn all of her lessons. This is her third semester - puppy class, beginner class and now novice class. Novice class has proven to be much more difficult that the other two. The demands were pretty stringent, both on the pup and her handler (me). Hold the leash THIS way, move your feet THIS way when you turn. Begin walking off the LEFT foot when heeling, and the RIGHT foot when leaving the dog. I thought I was back in grade school.
But the bowser loved going to class, and seemed to get a lot out of it, not the least of which was seeing tons of other dogs. The entire semester led up to the big final exam, which consisted of proper heeling, a figure eight, leaving the dog and walking several yards away and calling her, and she comes immediately and sits prettily. Also the dog in a sitting position, leaving her, walking away while she sits for one minute. And last, the dog in a down position, walking away while she lays down for 3 minutes. Whew. It's safe to say I dreaded this thing for an entire week, because the rover has an attention span of a gnat and for her to pass everything was a real shot in the dark.
The big night arrived, and the canine was wild as usual. But to my amazement, she breezed through every single test. Until the last one - the 3 minute down. I had no worries, this one she handled on a weekly basis - I would consider this her best area. For some reason, she had the ability to lay there and just look around for 4 or 5 minutes - 3 minutes was nothing! Week after week she would nail the 3 minute down.
Of course, she has a mind of her own. And her mind decided that on this night she would not down for even a minute. The kindly judges allowed her to try again. And again. And again. To no avail. She would down, I would walk away, and when I turned to face her, she would pull herself up and leisurely stroll toward me.
No matter how well she did on the other areas, she could not pass the course if she completely failed in an area. So we took the walk of shame out the door, while the English Setter, the big bulldog-type thing and the Doberman Pinscher received their diplomas and box of dog yummies.
The red-faced pooch and I have decided that this failure was actually a good thing - a character builder and a defining moment in the life of a dog. NOT!
Maybe my grade-school dropout and I will venture to the dog park on Saturday. She will be lurching ahead of me, nose to the ground, walking around on her hind legs and generally annoying all of the other dogs, and I will, as usual, just smile at the absolute best little dog in the world....