Dog training: an exercise in humility – or is it humiliation? One of the two.

This is Brady.

He’s pretty cute. And pretty smart. We’ve had him since he was eight weeks old, just about a year and 2 months now. I’ve written before about how much I’ve been enjoying him, and how much I’ve enjoyed training him, too. He took to stuff so quickly! He can sit! Down! Roll over AND play dead! He gives the cutest little high fives and dances for cookies…he comes when he’s called and even learned how to wait when a treat was sitting on his nose. I thought he was pretty freaking good when it came to learning stuff – he was always a good student in his puppy classes.

THEN came the Canine Good Citizen Class.

I’m learning my dog isn’t so much a “good citizen” as he is a “little d-bag” when it comes to being in class, now. It’s not all his fault – there was a big interruption in his obedience training over the summer, from the time he was 7 months old until just about a few months ago, well after he turned a year. He caught dog herpes –more appropriately, canine viral papilloma–from daycare, and it took him about six months to get the virus out of his system. That was fun. He couldn’t go to daycare, he couldn’t even be in any kind of contact with other dogs…and class was definitely out.

His life looked a lot like this in those six months. Woe is puppy.

So, this winter I decided to jump back in with a Canine Good Citizen class. I figured since we practice all of his commands regularly he’d be totally fine. WRONG.

It was like my sweet, obedient dog has been replaced with a giant EFF YOU. He frantically pulls back on his leash to get away from me. He refuses — REFUSES — to sit and stay. This past class, he even refused to go into a down. If he gets bored while he’s in position, he just gets up and walks away. Like…WHO IS THIS DOG? This is not my dog! My dog is pretty darn good – at home, in Petco, on the street. What is it about class that makes him such an a-hole?!?!?

I’m not saying he hasn’t been making any progress. He has, in bits. By the end of class yesterday, he was doing his sit-stays and down stays for 10 counts (part of what he needs to do to pass the CGC test). I still looked like a damn fool, though. Imagine desperately trying to command the attention of a 15 pound fuzzy POS who basically could give two shits what you’re doing at the moment because those guys over there have better cookies, and see ya later!

He’s lucky he’s so damn cute. Too bad you can’t pass the CGC test on cuteness alone. *sigh*

Dog owners – any tips for me on getting a dog who blows me off in a classroom setting to listen?? Unlike him, I’m all ears.

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