Going for the Gold
In the latest saga of Operation: Take Back My House, I’ve offered to take Duncan the Dog to dog training classes for the next five weeks. CUE EYEROLL.
Here, this will take the edge off:
Maybe I’m just glutton for punishment? In need of a hobby? Maybe I’m afraid of going two months without any kind of weekly commitment (adult music class is off until the Fall, and drinking, sadly, doesn’t count).
My mother in-law and I took Duncan to a dog training class last night. The class is specifically for dogs with something called leash reactivity. Basically, Duncan cannot properly go on a walk without lunging and barking at anything that moves near us. I sought out the training. MIL footed the bill, since my wife’s parents are going to be providing his “forever home” (if you will). This was an alternative agreement to them bringing a choke or electric bark collar into our home, which sure blah blah effective blah blah, isn’t for us.
Annnnd, since they are taking their time building a couple of gates in order to provide a secure and enclosed yard for Duncan at their farm house, he’s still hanging out with us until they get their shit together. Which, honestly folks, could be five weeks. BUT! I will say that one asshole dog is WAY better than one asshole dog, three additional cats, two parents, and loss of access to 1333 square feet of your house.
Without going into the class details, Duncan is an asshole on a leash because he’s afraid, and being an asshole is his response to fear. Lucky us!
After class, my MIL declares that she wants him to go, thinks he can totally benefit from the class and (wait for it), although she is a believer in everything the trainer has to say and train, she wants ME to take him, and she’ll come over occasionally and at her convenience to practice the training with him. I wish I could write that in a way that it didn’t sound like I had just been suckered into training their dog for them. But… err. I don’t think there’s a way to write it.
I don’t FEEL suckered, but that’s also because I’m a pushover. And I like animals. Even, apparently, asshole dogs. SIGH.
She, at least, went out today and bought him (and me) some “tools.” Treats, an interactive food bowl/toy/thing, and whatever else the lady said last night we would need. Said dog trainer lady, as much as I wanted her to insist that MIL attend the class, was like, “Meh, whatever. As opposed to obedience training, we’re actually trying to rewire this emotional-processing part of his peanut brain, which isn’t specific to who trains him. It would be NICE if you could come, but he’ll benefit from it regardless.” Or something like that. It also could have been her appeasing response to MIL’s crazy-eyes.
I kind of understand why she bailed? I mean, they live an hour away. We’ve talked about that. An hour is a long time each way on a Wednesday night. And, to her admission, she does not have the patience or, um, lack of shrillness (is there a word for that?), to do a kind of dog training that has been compared to “watching paint dry.” Plus, as they live on a five acre farm, she really doesn’t have any place to practice with him because, well, no one comes around for him to bark at.
Then why does he need the training?
Bob asked the same thing! (He says, “Hi.” As always.)
Because sometimes this asshole dog will stay at our house when they go on vacation. Sometimes he might come on vacation with them and need to be walked. Sometimes strangers or neighbors may want to talk to you over your fence (he has anxiety about that as well), and maybe you don’t want to be seen as “those people with that asshole dog.”
As it is, I might buy some kind of costume to wear while we’re out training, because he’s such an embarrassment, and my neighbors know me. Maybe I can get a shirt that reads, “This is not my dog. I’m trying to medal in Karma.”
PS – For all that he is an asshole, he’s actually a nice dog. He has good table manners and likes to play fetch and sleep. He obviously came from a broken home (literally broken – we took him in the night before his owners were being evicted from their house.) He’s really just an asshole on a leash. Or, you know, when he wakes up at 5:55am to pee, but that’s just payback for having a kid who has always slept until 8am. Right?