Thursday, January 21, 2010

We need a new Doggy School

As I noted in an earlier post, our first night at doggy school was a disaster. The nail gun that the construction guy was using sent Brutus into total shutdown mode. Well, this Tuesday was his second class, and we were hoping that he would have completely forgotten about that bad experience. I took the teachers advice and cut up his favorite treat (hot dogs) which are a rarity because they give him horrendous gas, and off we went. It's an hour drive to get to doggy school, so it's not only an investment financially, although a very modest one, but it's an investment of time. We got to the school and tried to stay very upbeat, and handed out a couple treats to Brutus on our way in the door. So far so good. We got into the big class room, and he was seeming a little off, but not too bad. I was doing some running with him on his leash and trying to distract him, hoping that he would just look at this as another whole new experience. What does he do??? He walks over to a folded, cloth covered table and pees all over it. Strike one. Don and I are frantically trying to clean it up before the other dogs and owners start to arrive. The instructor had suggested that we get there about fifteen minutes before everyone else so Brutus can try to get comfortable with the room before everyone else gets there. It would have helped if we wouldn't have had to spend ten minutes of it cleaning up pee!!

I thought things were going to be OK until the instructor walked in. Instant Brutus shutdown. I couldn't believe what happened to my boy. There is nothing Brutus loves more than hot dogs. The teacher comes over and says "hello" to Brutus, and offers him a treat, and his legs start to tremble and his eyes go blank. He won't look at me, and all he can try to do is find a door. He completely remembers the fact that it was her voice, her hand giving him a treat and the sound of the nail gun in that room that had scared him. He is done. He doesn't function for the whole hour. Actually, all he does is try to get out of the room. We stayed for the class so that I could watch what the other owners and dogs were learning and try to teach it to Brutus at home, but once we were in the car, Don and I almost at the same time said that we weren't going to put Brutus through that again. We have no idea what this guy has been through in his life. We only have a snap shot of the last five weeks, and it wasn't pretty.

So, we either need to find a new doggy school, or a new teacher to come to our house. In the meantime, I am going to attend the last two classes by myself without Brutus, which will be kind of embarrassing, but I really do learn a lot and it makes it easier to teach Brutus. Then I think I will get a hold of Sandra, Jackson's mom, and ask her for a name of a good trainer. She is a pro at training, and I'm sure she'll know someone. Even though we weren't able to adopt Jackson, I feel like I will always have a connection to Sandra, and that's a good thing.

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