Week 2 at Puppy Training
Trainer: Okay, Mike. Bring Killer into the center and let’s see what he can recall. Let me see a sit and stay.
[Mike walks Killer (the pit bull) into the center of the room.
Mike: Killer, sit.
[Killer sits and waits quietly]
Trainer: Now walk away and get him to stay.
[He walks back to his original position. Killer stands up and pounces on Mr. Pickles (the Dachshund). After two horrifying shakes, Killer releases Mr. Pickles and then returns to his position.]
Mike: Good boy.
Mary [Mr. Pickles’ owner]: Why does your dog keep attaching mine?
Mike: I guess he loves pickles.
Trainer: Miles. You look confused. Are you okay?
Miles [The owner of the Afghan Hound, Lara]: Sorry. I just realized that I’m supposed to be at Lara’s acupuncture appointment. Kitty and I felt she might benefit from some light meditation and acupuncture therapy.
Trainer: Why, what’s the problem?
Miles: There isn’t a specific problem. It’s more preventative. Kitty and I get acupuncture all the time. It helps us to relax.
Trainer: Kitty is a nervous wreck. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the therapy.
[Miles turns to Kitty and says something inaudible. Kitty hurts into tears and runs out of the class.]
Trainer: David, why don’t you show the class how you train a jack russell terrier. Bring Wiki into the center and get her to sit.
[I walk my jack russell terrier into the center of the room. She’s pulling on her leash and panting.]
Me [softly]: Wiki, sit.
Me [again softly]: Wiki, please sit.
[Nothing. I lean in to Wiki and whisper.]
Me: Wiki, please. Don’t embarrass me. Just sit down. I’m begging you.
[Nothing. I lean in again.]
Me: If you don’t sit right now I’ll never give you another treat so long as I live. I’m dead serious.
[Wiki stops, looks up at me and then poops on the floor.]
Trainer: Wiki, bad girl. David, I see you haven’t been doing your homework.
Me: What do you mean?
[Trainer points to the pile of poop.]
Trainer: She was supposed to sit.
Me: Oh you wanted me to get her to sit? Like S-I-T? I misunderstood.
Patty [owner of the pomeranian, Abiel, and member of the Trinity Church]: I’d like to show the class what Abiel’s been working on.
[Patty races to the center of the room and drops a small dog pillow on the floor. Her husband, Arthur, sets up a few additional props next to the blanket such as a pile of hay and a plastic lamb.]
Patty: Abiel, who wants to be the baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas play this year?
[Abiel spins around three times, barks and then jumps in the air.]
Patty: That’s a good girl. Okay now, go practice your baby Jesus.
[Abiel, who was sporting a pink jean jacket and light blue booties, prances over onto the dog pillow, rolls onto her back and crosses her front paws. She blinks her eyes several times in a row. I have to admit, it was fairly impressive. She nailed the vulnerable yet courageous look. If Wiki played the part she would have interpreted the character to be more like Rosemarie’s baby. I’m sure of it.]
Trainer: Well, okay. I can see a lot of hard work went into this.
Patty: Opening night is Thursday. We wanted to make sure we set Abiel up for success. Practice makes perfect.
[Killer entered from the far left and sprinted toward the nativity scene. Killer pounced onto the plastic lamb. The impact tossed the pile of hay into the air. Killer ripped the head off the lamb with one jerk of his head. Patty screamed. Killer then grabbed the corner of the pillow and ran back toward his owner, with Abiel in tow. Patty, with her purse slung over her shoulder, raced toward Abiel. Arthur followed her. Of course, Wiki pulled me in because she loves to chase stuff. The entire class imploded into a shit show. Barking, knocked over chairs, Patty screaming, Kitty in the corner still in the midst of her nervous breakdown.]
Me: And I’m paying for this?