When he wriggled into his class nine weeks ago, I thought we were gonna have to leave on day one. He would not stop BARKING and LUNGING at all the other dogs. It was so humiliating.
And then? Nine weeks later? He strolled right in, said, " 'sup?" to Ginger the doxie, Mabel the Irish setter, and his personal favorite, if by "favorite" one means "your butt is FASCINATING to me," Cooper, the Golden who is the same age as Edsel, and twice as big.
On graduation day, each dog had to go individually into the ring, there, and I know you are picturing us all in some grand Cirque de Soleil tent or something, but really we were in the gym of a rec center in the park. Gymme de Parque.
But they had an area fenced off, and each dog had to:
- run through a tunnel ("go to the liiiiight!");
- wait with his leash dropped while his owner walked away, then come when he was called;
- walk in a heel position around a bunch of orange cones ("Gotta beat Marcia, gotta beat MARCIA!") (everyone from my demographic gets that. Everyone not from my demographic is all, "?")
- and finally walk in heel until the instructor said, "Tell your dog to sit! Tell your dog to lie down!"
Good Lord a'livin', I did not think the Eds could pull all that off. And to top it off, she said as an extra credit thing, we could teach our dog a trick if we wanted to.
Who rose to that challenge? Who is neurotic and people-pleasing and has to be extra super impressive? Who wanted, in a weeks' time, to teach her dog that language where those people only speak in clicks?
I tried to teach him "bang!" which is a trick Tallulah can kind of do, where I point my finger and say, you know, "bang!" and she falls over dead. And I have used this line before but it is really true. Tallulah falls over dead in the way that Bella from Twilight would fall over dead.
"Oh." Sighhhh. "I guess I'm, ya know, dead. Heh."
What I don't have down is the dramatic fall-to-the-ground-quickly thing. I don't know how to teach them that. But anyway, I worked with Edsel, and worked with him, and worked with him, and went through nine thousand six hundred five billion and twelve training treats, which I'm certain is good for him. And at one point I sat on the floor and burst into tears, which was good for both of us.
And the whole thing was so NECESSARY. It was so MEANINGFUL that he learn "bang."
Anyway, the big day got there and we all took our pets up for the graduation.
Cooper the Golden retriever would not go through that tunnel if you'd have put a sexy girl Golden wearing bacon stilettos on the other side. Oh, his owner stood there and cajoled and called and whistled and bent over and clapped and climbed into the damn thing himself and all Cooper would do is sort of daintily put one fluffy paw in there and go, "Yeah, there's just no effin' way, old man."
He did, however, do a high five for his special trick.
The German shepherd ran through the tunnel and came when he was called, but was too distracted by the Pit to do his trick, which was going to similarly be a high five.
The Pit felt the same way about the German. I was scared to death we were gonna have the Sharks and the Jets throwing down in that gym, between those two dogs. They'd been eyeing each other all class, and I think they had both been hot for Mabel all term.
Anyway, finally it was our turn. Edsel had not liked the tunnel before, but on graduation day? "Hell. I'll take the sexy Golden with bacon shoes."
Then I put his leash down and walked away. Now, traditionally in my family, this is where trouble starts. My grandfather had a humiliating graduation experience with his Dalmatian during this step, when instead of staying and waiting to be called? The Dalmatian picked up the Pomeranian next to him and threw it in the air.
But Edsel? Kept the Poms out his mouth and BOUNDED after me when I called. We beat the PANTS off Marcia around those cones. Then? When we were walking? And the instructor said, "Sit your dog!" He totally sat. Then she said, "Down your dog!"
I said, "Down!" But Edsel? He did, "Bang."
Poor Edsel. We had done bang so many times that he forgot how to just lie down like a normal living un-shot dog. Every time had to be a dramatic death. But the instructor let us demonstrate our trick and he did it very well. No easy high-fives for Edsel. WE ARE CHAMPIONS IN THIS HOUSE!
Edsel's started biting his claws a little, but that's normal, right?
Hey, what's that behind me? Edsel, wai–BANG!