Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Adventures in Dog School

Last night was a first for me. I took both Louie and Katie to dog school BY MYSELF. Do not try this at home folks. Wrestling with 222 pounds of Newfie craziness in a place crowded with many different types of dogs is not a feat for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. They outweigh me by 100 pounds and are helping me to build very powerful biceps. Separately, they are both very well behaved at school. Together they are a couple of monsters. The youngest, but no longer smallest, Newf is by far the biggest monster of the Newfie twosome. Louie believes that his role in life is ALWAYS a leading role. Katie's role in Louie's opinion, is always that of supporting actress...never lead.

We are getting ready for a rally obedience trial in a couple of weeks and both dogs really needed to run the course a few times last night. Louie and I went into the ring first while Katie waited in a crate which was in a different room. I have to interrupt the main point of this story by saying that this was Louie's first time ever in a real rally ring and he did a phenomenal job. I didn't give him a single bite of food and he did all the stations perfectly except one which he did perfectly the second time through. I was so proud of him. He has really excellent attention and just loves to be given a job of almost any kind.

Next came Katie's turn. Louie went into the crate while Katie and I went into the rally ring. The whole time we were practicing Louie was throwing a tantrum. I just ignored him as I didn't want to reinforce that type of behavior. He is crate trained; he just didn't want his sissy to get to do anything without him. Now, since I bragged on Louie I must also say that Katie managed to get around the ring without any treats which is truly a miracle for my little food hound AND she did the whole thing OFF LEAD. Even though she still has one more novice leg to go she is practicing for Advanced Rally which is always done off lead.

When Katie was done I went to fetch Louie only to be summoned to an obedience class that was going on in the other ring. The teacher said "Is this your dog?" I looked in the center of the ring to see Louie. He was no longer crying and howling. Instead, he was very happily wagging his tail as he greeted all of the dogs that were in the middle of their class. He had no idea that he was interrupting them. No, he thought that a party was being thrown in his honor to celebrate his great escape from his crate.

Eventually it was time to put Louie in his crate again, so I decided I would outsmart him this time. I put two metal clips on the door which he had previously managed to push open with his head. (These crates aren't as sturdy as our crates at home.) Katie and I went back to class with Louie howling away.

Five minutes later someone got my attention and told me that Louie was visiting the obedience class again. I just couldn't believe it. I went and got him and walked over to inspect the crate. At first glance I couldn't see anything wrong. The door was still fastened shut with the metal clips. I stared at it until I saw that whole front panel was disconnected from the ceiling and one of the side walls in several places. I pulled the corner of the panel back and saw a space just big enough for my Houdini to slip through.

So, the next time it was Katie's turn to practice I had to put Louie in the car. A nice gentleman was parked right beside us waiting for his wife to finish her class. He agreed to keep an eye on Louie for me. When I came back ten minutes later he reported that Louie had been very calm and had not made a single peep the whole time I was gone. He just sat in the driver's seat and stared out the window, drooling and longing for our return. I am grateful that I found a safe place for my baby boy and one that obviously is much more calming for him. I guess he associates the car with happy times and perhaps feels closer to me and Katie there.


with love, Madison said...

Wow you are a brave dog-mom. Would you ever do a two-fer again, or was once enough?

Charity, Gary, Katie and Louis said...

Yes, I'm planning on doing it again next Monday. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment LOL