Monday, July 27, 2009


I took Marshall for his first obedience class yesterday. I signed us up for the group classes at the local PetsMart because he needs the socialization (truthfully, I probably do too, but shh...we're talking about the dog).

The assembled group say the least. Of the five dogs in the class, two of them refused to stand up, try or otherwise was a loudmouth, assertive, full-of-energy MANLY was a shy-turned-friendly girl (who remained easily spooked)...and then there was Marshall. Oh, and the trainer brought her dog: a floppy little corgi-shepherd puppy who shuffled around, sniffed at everything, and then, without warning, flopped flat on the if the exertion of covering so much ground on such short legs was really just way too much.

We were a motley crew.

The class was good. We learned about kinds of to make the "angry duck" sound to get their attention and make them stop doing the wrong to make a "hurt puppy" yelp anytime they lay so much as a single tooth on us...and how to do the "watch me" command. We finished the class by learning how to give the dog the equivalent of a full body massage...partly to help calm them (and us!) down and partly to provide touch therapy and get them accustomed to being handled. It was a solid 1.5 hours and very well worth it.

Marshall was a trooper. He started out energetic and interested with his tail-nub wagging...he made good effort at all the tricks...then he moved into wary and protective. The MANLY boy-dog was loud and...unpredictable...and even though he was way over there, Marshall could feel the threat. He positioned himself right in front of me (between me and the MANLY boy-dog) and kept close watch....letting out a low growl every now and then. After we passed the "let's everybody switch dogs now" part of the program, my poor guy was shutting down. He kept burying his face in my legs as the nervous shedding increased... By the time we got to the cool-down-massage part of class, Marshall was done. He laid down, back to the group, face pressed as far into my leg as it would go and gave up.

I'm really proud of him. He survived 90 minutes of class without really aggressing at anyone despite an obviously stressful situation for him. And then he came home and passed the hell out.

In other news, the Monkey is on round two of jetlag. They flew overnight from Honolulu to Houston last night/this morning. MonkeyDad reports that the Monkey only slept for about 4 hours of the 7 hour flight. Judging by the sobbing phone call I got before I left the office, I'd say that's an accurate estimation. The Monkey told me in big tearful gulps that he's done with his vacation and ready to come home. I told him to take some deep breaths and blow out all the bad....and then take a nice hot bath and get some sleep. He'll be done in a week.

(...and then I can be done worrying and waiting and wondering if he's ok. I'm ready to be done too.)

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