Tag Archives: obedience

11/1/14 Guest Blogger, Mom: “Your Dog Does Not Respect You”

Dear Friends,

Today, Jamie and I went out to a Flea Market that we will call “The Swap”. Everybody in the family got a little something. When we were on the way out, we saw a stand with dog collars and treats, so we stopped to purchase some goodies for Maggie. Jamie got a great pic of her with her new collar on. I think the hot pink goes very well with her coloration.

newcollar

After I purchased the items, the owner of the booth and I struck up a conversation. It turns out that she knows the people who run Maggie’s dog school and the “Alpha Male”.  I had inquired about a different type of prong collar that Laurel had shown me in my home, and I was taken aback when the woman told me that “that product does not exist”. I didn’t want to argue that I had seen the prong collar I was inquiring about, and I dropped it.

I had mentioned to this lady that I was still having an issue with Maggie jumping. She told me, “I don’t mean to be rude, but…” (that’s never a good start) and then proceeded to tell me that if “you are still having issues with your dog after all that training, then the problem is you. Your dog does not respect you. She thinks, ‘Oh, I can do this because she’s not going to do anything about it’.  And if you want her to stop jumping on people, you need to put your fists together like this (puts fists together) and club her right in the head. Put her to the floor and she’ll start to respect you.”

I was horrified at this idea. Jamie and I quickly said our goodbyes and left.

It bothered me all the way home. When Jim came back from work, I discussed the conversation with him. He told me that he didn’t believe that Maggie did not respect me. He also said that we treat Maggie as part of the family, and like to play with her, and sure if I clubbed her in the head and put her to the floor then she might get more obedient, but our play time would stop.

I don’t believe that Maggie doesn’t respect me, and I know that Maggie loves me with all her heart. I am sure that, compared to professional trainers like the Alpha Male, I’m a big ol’ softie. All I know is that when I am sick or when I am down or when I am sad, my dog is at my side with a wag of her tail and a kiss for me, any time of day or night. And I guess if that means if she’s a tad bit jumpy, I’ll live with that.  Laurel and I are working with Maggie on not going nuts when I’m answering the doorbell, and we are using positive reinforcement, not brute force. I’d much rather give a pat and a treat then a punch or a kick. Just the idea of clocking Maggie one on the skull with my fist makes me shudder.

In that regard, Maggie had quite a nice first Halloween (you will recall she was at Boot Camp last year). She spent some time in the crate when we had company and when the doorbell first rang, but later came out and was a real lady with everyone.

We had a bit of snow, which was Nature’s “Trick” so I have lots of “Treats” left over. What a bummer! But Maggie showed a good deal of restraint when the trick-or-treaters came to the door. She would bark, and wag her tail, then retreated and “sat”. What was funny was, she expected a treat herself after every ring of the bell (“guarding the house”)! So she got into the holiday spirit.

I think Maggie has made great strides and Jim mentioned her good behavior yesterday as well during our conversation together.

Thank you for all your love and support of Maggie. We love her very, very much.

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Your friend,

Elizabeth

11/15/13 My Arrival at Bootcamp

(October, 2013)  After a particularly satisfying day of flashmobbing, sleeping on the human bed, begging for table scraps, and knocking over furniture, Mom and Jamie loaded me up in Zeus and off we went!  I was happy to be going for a ride.  I liked the little car.

The night air was thick with mist and soon we were driving through a pounding rainstorm.  Mom clutched the wheel and swore quietly under her breath.  Jamie looked like he might be sick at any moment. But I didn’t care!  We were out, and that was all that mattered.

Soon, Mom made the left turn at the brightly-lit gas station with the seashell on the sign, and within seconds, we pulled up to the Obedience College.  Inwardly I sighed.  While I was comfortable enough with going to the school, I couldn’t help thinking, “Not this again!”

But when we got inside, something was different.  I didn’t go right into the arena with the other dogs.  Mom talked to a Lady that looked like she was in charge at the counter, and made me “stay” while she filled out papers.  Then, the Alpha Lady came from around the counter towards me.  Jamie and Mom patted my head, and the Lady took the lead from Mom’s hand and trotted me toward the other dogs.

“This will work out O.K.,” I thought.  “I can do my commands with someone else, then go home.”  We got to the far end of the arena, past all the other dogs, which I thought was kind of strange, and I turned my head.  I couldn’t see Mom or Jamie anywhere.  I turned my body partly around and they were gone.  “Leave it!”  Commanded the Alpha Lady, giving my lead a tug.  Life was about to get a whole lot different, doggy-style.

The tall Alpha Lady put me in a cold kennel near some barking dogs and Doberman puppies.  I didn’t bark or yelp along – just decided to wait it out and see what would happen next.  I expected Mom to come back any minute, but she did not return.  Nervously, I chewed the bars on the door of my kennel while my anxiety built.  People moved back and forth in front of my crate, but none of them were my people.  My heart sank like a stone and I got a chill up my back and a sick feeling in my stomach:  They had given me away.  I was a bad dog, and they had given me away.  I felt the urge to howl, and poop, but I didn’t do either one.  I just curled up to await my fate.  What was it going to be:  back to the shelter, or to a new owner?  Was I doomed to stay locked up at school forever?

After what seemed like a very, very, long time, the last training class ended and the lights started going out.  The only ones left were the puppies and kennel dogs.  And me.  What was going on?  Suddenly, my cage door opened and the Alpha female stood before me.  I thumped my tail at her, hoping for mercy, or better yet, to be taken home.  Joke’s over, right?

The tall woman stooped down, snapped a leather lead on my collar, and we rushed out into the rain and then hopped into a truck.  We drove and drove and drove.  We went on the expressway.  I knew it was not the direction of home.  Nervously, I looked out the window and tried to lick my dry nose.  I was terrified.  I wished now I’d pooped back at the kennel.

The Alpha Lady pulled the truck up to a very big house.  She tugged me gently, coaxing me out of the back seat.  She rang the doorbell of the house, and then handed my lead over to a Man whom I immediately sensed was the Alpha-Alpha.  After speaking in a few low words that I couldn’t make out, the Lady left.

The Alpha Male gave me a sit/stay command, which I obeyed.  He then walked me into a crate.  It had my blanket from home in it.  I could hear and smell other dogs – many dogs – in the house.  I was given a biscuit and told to “go to bed”.  The crate door banged shut, the lights went out, and I gave a few frantic, despair-riddled barks.  Then I lay on my belly, eyes wide open, heart breaking.

It was my welcome to a whole new world.  And I didn’t like it one bit.

Love, Maggie

 

7/27/13 Obedience School, Day 1

Image

(Me, not jumping.)

Today was my very first day of Obedience School and boy, am I tired out.  We worked for a solid hour with no breaks.  Let me back up and start from the beginning.

I knew something was up this morning when Jamie and Mom got dressed early.  I forgot it was Saturday, and thought they were going to go out and put me in the crate, so I was skulking about.  However, they put me in the car and we drove to the school.  When I got there, a puppy class was in session and my nose was going a mile a minute.

Gradually some other dogs drifted in, some my age, some younger.  I am proud to say that I didn’t really have a problem with the other dogs on neutral territory.  Oh, I wanted to mix it up a couple of times, but there wasn’t that “rage” feeling like I had when I felt my yard was invaded.  So I behaved well.  I was given a choke training collar.  Mom frowned when she saw it, but soon she realized that it was necessary.

We walked into a concrete arena kind of thing and we were all given the SIT command.  I did not want to sit at first, there were so many other interesting things going on.  And that is where the choke collar came in.  The instructor walked over, pulled straight up on my lead, and the next thing I knew, I was sitting.  As the hour passed, we sat, stayed, heeled (if that’s a word), went to our masters, and did a lot of walking commands.

I am so proud to say that the teachers used me as an example dog for much of the class.  I did very well.  I know I have a long way to go, and class is 8 weeks, but Mom and Jamie got a lot of good tips and I think we are all going to be on the same wavelength.

This makes me very, very happy.  I feel like I was star student!

Love, Maggie