Thursday, May 1, 2008

Part 2

A couple of people have already been after me to update the blog, so I am feeling a bit of pressure to perform this week. Naturally, this time class didn’t provide much ink for my pen (shout out to Jenn for that great turn of phrase, which I have shamelessly lifted). However, I will do my best to bring you up to speed.

We begin class with a discussion of treats, and Captain Hilarious quickly becomes Jet’s new BFF when Jet realizes that he is the keeper of the freeze dried chicken, liver, and lung snacks. Captain H. admits that he has sampled some of the canine snacks himself. Induced by offers of cash from his friends, he has tried liver flavoured Kong stuffing, rollover snacks, and doggie biscuits. (Any of you who attended W.O.S.S. with me will be having flashbacks to Cam and chemistry class...) However, every man has his standards, and even Captain H. will not try the freeze dried lung. The smell alone is enough to turn the most ardent carnivore into a vegetarian. Of course Jet thinks it’s ambrosial.

So, tonight we actually start to do some work with the dogs. Since this appears to be the remedial class, we begin with “sit”. Fortunately, Jetty doesn’t disappoint and performs a very good sit. Not really a surprise since he has just discovered that freeze dried meats exist, and are nearby.

I have to give credit to our wonderful breeder, Cheryl, for introducing clicker training to Jet at birth. She set the stage for what is undoubtedly going to be his only moment of stardom during puppy classes. Everyone was sent home with clickers last week and told to begin to mark good behaviours with a click and a treat. Seems simple, but some of the other dogs just weren’t getting it; and one of the poor miniatures was terrified of the noise. Jet was held up as an example of how effective clickers can be. He was lying down, quietly gnawing at the cement floor, ignoring everything except the imaginary thing he was trying to dig up. The second Captain H. clicked, Jetty’s head spun around and he sat right up at attention, looking directly at his new BFF. Even though Cheryl did all the heavy lifting with that training, I was so proud.

Continuing along the beginner theme, we move on to walking. A discussion of leashes reveals that - you guessed it - we have the wrong one. Now we have to drop money on a 6 footer as well as a gross of meaty treats; these classes are a goldmine. I think we should start having Graham’s paycheque direct deposited here instead of the bank. Anyway, Captain H. gives us a rundown of all the available leashes, and does a very funny infomercial type introduction of the extend-a-leash, brought to you by the Devil. Clearly, not a fan. We spend the rest of the lesson learning how to walk the puppies up on our non-extend-a-leash leashes.

I have to give Captain H. credit. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people and offer advice to help them to train their dogs. Especially since it has come to light that his dog isn’t the best behaved doggie in the world. By law he must be muzzled whenever he is out of the house. This has led to oral issues - you know, chewing. Lots and lots of chewing. Furniture, clothes, shoes, cds, anything he can get his teeth on. Apparently this week has been particularly trying. So, a big muzzle-tov to Captain Hilarious for having the chutzpah to get up every day and tell us how to train our dogs, even though he has doggie issues of his own.

Next week we are going to learn “fetch”, “bring”, and “drop it”. Sure wish we had learned “drop it” this week. After class Jetty discovered an industrial-sized dust bunny. You know those nice friendly dust bunnies that live under your sofa? Well, this wasn’t one of them. It was a mean, nasty, super-sized dust bunny that could only grow in the presence of many, many dogs. And I had to pull it out of his mouth. With my bare hand. Shudder. Thank God for Purell.