A Day at Doggie Obedience School

Claire O’Halloran ’13
Web Opinions Editor

I know that many people have dogs who aren’t the most well behaved. Even if that is the case, sending them to Dog Obedience school will become a nightmare for the owner, even if it may be fun for the dog.

Graphic by Dave Carpenter and courtesy of Lagunahillsanimalhospital.com

Almost one year ago my family got our first dog, Lulu. She’s not the most well behaved dog, but she’s cute. I guess that makes up for it.

Lulu understands the whole “sit,” “stay,” and “come” deal, she just chooses not to listen unless there is a treat involved. To fix this problem my mom thought of the best solution possible: Doggie Obedience Class.

One hour a week. Monday nights. Seven or eight other parents. One minor problem: mom can’t make the first two classes. So guess who gets to go?

Yup, me, a 10th grader with a dog that doesn’t really listen surrounded by other kids’ parents. Oh, and the first class takes place in the Staples pool lobby right when water polo gets out. Even Better. A bunch of shirtless boys get to see me attempt to train my dog to be obedient.

The first class didn’t require bringing Lulu, and it was strictly informational. The usual stuff was discussed, like what we will be learning, and any specific issues people had with their dog. Boooring.

As the next week approached, I kept getting a little more excited. Sure Lulu may not get the best behavior award, but she was cute and I’d get to spend a little quality time with my best mate.

I get dropped off at Staples with Lulu-treats, plastic bags (for the occasional surprises she likes to leave), and her favorite toy in tow. I walk in and it’s quite the scene.

The trainer is there with her huge, perfectly well behaved dog, and there are about seven other dogs. One is lying down doing nothing, the two puppies are jumping around like they have never left the house, and there is one small multipoo that looks strikingly similar to his owner.

Maybe it’s just a funny myth, but from what I’ve seen it’s true: owners start to look like their dogs. My mom certainly looks like Lulu. Ever since my mom got bangs, her sandy blonde hair resembles our scruffy cockapoo just a little too closely.The same thing is true for the man at doggie obendience school. He has a head full of curly grayish-black hair. So does his dog.

Out of all the parents, this man definitely gets the friendly award. We tried conversing about the breeds of our dogs until we were told by the trainer to, “cut the chit-chat.” Oops. I didn’t know learning about how to hold a leash was so crucial.

As the lesson continued we worked on the basics: walking, sitting, and laying down. Lulu did surprisingly well.

We were about half way through the lesson when I ran out of treats. Not good. I knew I should’ve brought more. Well no worries I thought, I’ll let her play with a toy when she does something well.

Apparently Lulu has protection issues. Perfect. She lays down when I tell her to and I say, “Super,” in a disgustingly excited voice (this is known as the “bridge” word-something that stands out so the dog knows they’ve done well). I give her the toy and wrestle around with her for a bit.

“Okay Lulu back to training,” I say as I try and get the toy. Nope. Apparently she’s alpha now and gets to growl at me. “Lulu give me the toy!” I try again. “LULU DROP,” I have to practically scream and I still don’t get the toy. For anyone who is thinking, “just reach in her mouth and grab the toy,” it’s not that easy.

When she’s angry she can bite. Hard.

Just ask my dad, brother, and friend. This thirty-pound pup has drawn blood from all three of them. Way to go Lulu.

The dog trainer comes over and gets the toy easily. Great, now I look like an idiot. Way to go Claire.

The class finished and I’m almost positive Lulu isn’t going to pay attention to a single thing I say unless there is some cut up hot dog in my hand. It’s been two weeks though, so mom, your turn.

So long doggie obedience class. One day of embarrassment is enough for me.