Friday, August 12, 2011
Cramming for Class
Do you remember when you were in school and how you'd know about an upcoming test or assignment for quite a while? And do you remember how you'd procrastinate until the last minute to study or complete the assignment ?And do you remember actually going in for the test or to turn in the assignment and expect the highest score possible, even though, in reality, you only prepared or did work worthy of maybe a low C at best? Yeah? Well, welcome to Nate and Jenna's world of dog training class. If we would be totally honest with you, we would have to tell you we don't do any training with Lucy until the day of class. In fact, we don't do any training with Lucy until a few hours before class. There, in those few hours before class, I attempt to cram a week's worth of work with Lucy into two hours and train her on all the assignments we were given the week before so that she can pass the test of "what you learned this week." Yep! Those habits developed in middle school, high school, and practiced again in college, are proving to remain true for our lives even as adults. Lucy honestly does the best she can. She loves to socialize and please everyone, so she really does try. But she's got those sniffers that come with the beagle breed that sometimes take over and all is forgotten. Remember though, that "all" entails 2 hours of practice/study at home before having to perform in front of 10 other puppies who obviously have more devout and committed parents than she. There's this one dog, "Boo" is his name. He sits at attention looking like some soldier in the army. And here we have Lucy who starts getting so excited about seeing all her new friends that she pees all over herself and whoever she is greeting. And then there's this other dog, a Border Collie.(insert angelic chorus here) And evidently, that is the breed of all breeds because she does absolutely everything that her parent commands the first time she commands it(once again, angelic chorus). When I make a comment to the teacher about how well "Nellie" has done, her reply is, "Well, she's a Border Collie." What are we: chopped liver? No....we're a Beagle. We tell Lucy to sit and if we are lucky, she will cock her head to the side and look at us, proving that her hearing is intact. We have learned that look means, "Oh yeah? You want me to sit? What's in it for me?" When she sees the treat she sits. I thought that the purpose of treats was for training only but that you wouldn't necessarily have to stock pile turkey hotdogs just to get her to go in her crate each night because they would eventually just do it because you ask once trained. We learned this not to be true. We had gotten away from giving Lucy treats to go in her crate and so she stopped going in willingly and would run around making it a game. I brought the treats back and she goes into her crate like it's the greatest thing ever. So, getting back to class, I wasn't holding out much hope for last night's class. But Lucy did things that we haven't tried more than once. In fact, as we told her to sit, then stay in that position, and then took steps away from her reminding her to continue staying the teacher was just amazed and praised us to the skies about how hard it is to teach that and we must have been working on that for quite a while. We couldn't believe it. We must be amazing dog trainers! If I can do in two hours what it takes others a week to do, I should open up my own dog training class! Does that mean that we can procrastinate and only practice for one hour before next week's class?