A New Model

While I was on vacation in Maine, Brad generously offered to take Chase to his manners class. I called Brad that Sunday afternoon to remind him. He said he was looking forward to it, although I sensed a touch of sarcasm in his voice.

Then I headed off to Kennebunkport, Maine. I was unable to speak to my “substitute” until later that night. Since everyone else had turned in early (overdose of Kennebunkport shopping) the only place inside the house with a little bit of privacy was the bathroom. I suppose I could have gone outside with the icy cold tundra-like weather but I am a self-proclaimed wimp when it comes to cold weather. So, bathroom it was. I asked how the class went. Brad just kept saying "oh my god" over and over again. I started shaking with silent laughter but I think he sensed this because then he demanded to know if I was laughing. I lied and told him absolutely not but I kind of choked that out so I believe he knew I was laughing. I asked him how the dog had misbehaved - he just kept saying that it was awful and that he would never take him to manners class again.

When I returned to South Carolina, he filled me in on more of his adventure. As soon as he arrived at the class, Chase decided to express his excitement by squatting and leaving behind a not-so-small token. Brad was not pleased with Chase's charming habit. The lesson that day was to get the dogs to lie down. Brad felt very confident because this is what Chase does best. You tell him to sit, he lies down, you tell him to lie down, he does it. You call his name, he lies down. He is really good at the "Down" command. Brad told him the command. Chase did not lie down. Absolutely refused to lie down. The trainers couldn't get him to lie down. All the other dogs were lying down except for the big hound dog named Matilda. She was baying. Matilda's owner looked over at Brad and attempted to negotiate a trade. As appealing as an over-sized baying hound dog was, Brad turned down her offer.

The next class, I was planning on going it alone but my grandmother and mother thought that it might be amusing to come watch the Chase and Sarah "Manners Class Sideshow". As I was lovingly dragged by my puppy into the classroom area, my instructor decided that his choke collar wasn't really working and it was time to upgrade to a newer model. Another instructor fitted Chase with his very own 2004 S&M Gripper Collar. This model had lots of mean looking pincher things on the inside of the collar. If the dog even breathed too heavy it would pinch his neck in an unpleasant way. You don't have to choke the dog anymore. This was now my most favorite collar! My dog was star puppy once more. He "heeled", "stayed", "sat", and "lay down". Matilda was told to get an S&M collar after baying throughout the entire class. Her owner kept holding Matilda's mouth shut but you could still hear a loud muffled sound.

One of the class features that week was to hide behind the shed and call your dog. Now, the dog is supposed to run and find you. I called my dog. My dog ran and found my mother. I think he might have been a little miffed about his new collar.

The next task was to "get your dog to weave in and out of the poles in the ground." Most of the dogs, including howling Matilda, managed to do this with some success. Chase got to the starting point. I told him to sit. He sat down backwards. Okay - off to a good start. We started to navigate the course. Chase managed to walk into every single pole. I now was painfully aware that he would not qualify for the downhill skiing event in the next Winter Olympics. I returned to my spot and watched with glee as the next person dragged his Chihuahua behind him through the course. Am I a bad person? The tiny football shaped dog was tumbling through the dirt like a missed field goal.

Class finished and we walked over to visit Grandma. She told me all of the bad things that happened in the Aggressive Dog Manners Class which was closer to her chair. Grandma always had a way to make things better!

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