Sunday, December 26, 2010

Military Family Consulting

Dog Training 101 - Take it or LEAVE IT

While my husband was away with the Navy, I adopted Sophie, a stubborn English bulldog with an irresistible face, full of funny expressions. Even though she was no longer a puppy, I decided to enroll her along with my children in "Dog Training 101" at the local pet store. What was I thinking...?
We were already ten minutes late when I slid into a parking spot and dragged the dog out of the car.  At the same time, I was yelling at my six year old daughter to slow down and grabbing the back of my three year old sons' shirt before he ran across the parking lot.  We quickly headed down to the glass enclosed arena, which I am convinced is located in the middle of the store just to humor the customers!  As we entered the arena, the dogs began jumping and barking up a storm.  All of a sudden the adult "owners" started yelling LEAVE IT!  LEAVE IT!  Leave what, I wondered?  My two children stood there stunned as our dog ran and hid under the nearest chair.  We had missed the first week, however I had a feeling it had something to do with shouting "LEAVE IT!" 
Tonight's lesson was about walking your dog properly on a leash.  Since we just adopted Sophie, our leash experience was limited.  Of course, both of my children wanted to walk the dog first, so as they battled it out, I tried to pull the dog out from under the chair. She hunkered down, and gave me that look of... "I am not moving!"  
 Just then, my three year old son, Griffin was complaining to everyone in the arena that he was hungry.  After I repeatedly told him he couldn't eat the dog treats, he rummaged through my purse and found a Ziploc full of Cheerios.  With a hard rip, the Cheerios went flying.  Six dogs almost ripped off their owners arm trying to leap over and eat them.   Griffin started shrieking, Lenny, the pet trainer, almost had a heart attack and yes - everyone was screaming LEAVE IT, including me. 
However, I was yelling at Griffin; who was on the floor eating the Cheerios faster than the dogs could reach them.   At that moment, my daughter Katie turned to me and said she had to go to the bathroom.  As we headed out to the restroom, my son made a run for the snack machine and I started shouting that I didn't have money.  Katie was freaking out that she had to go now "or else", and poor Sophie's head was about to pop off from yanking her down the aisle.  Griffin was hugging the snack machine and howling that I never feed him. Katie tried to open the bathroom door; which, of course, was jammed, and I begged Sophie to go into the bathroom with us.  I removed my sons' death grip from the machine, shoved the restroom door open with my hip and crammed all of us into the tiny stall.  I contemplated just going home.  However, this was "school" and I wanted to set a good example.  Ok, who am I kidding; my keys were still back in the arena and I had already paid in full, so we headed back.    
Lenny, the pet trainer, with his red megaphone in hand, announced that it was now our turn to demonstrate walking Sophie properly on the leash.  Griffin was crying hysterically, Katie was staring off into outer space and I dragged Sophie into the middle of the ring with her paws sliding under her like big clumsy ice skates.   I pulled, I pleaded and I even bribed, nothing worked.  She just laid there flashing another infamous look that said "this is it...
Take it or LEAVE IT!!"  One lesson down, seven to go! 

Jen Pilcher, Proud Military Spouse and Mom