Thursday, October 23, 2008

Failing Puppy Class

"The Basset is facing the wrong way"     "The Basset needs to sit, not lie down"    "The Basset is on your wrong side"    "You need to turn to the right, not to the left.  The Basset needs to be on the outside".   These are a few of the things we heard last night.  I want to yell "HER NAME IS BEATRICE!"  Little Miss B and I are taking a puppy class.  It is not going well.  I don't think the instructor likes us very much.  We are both a little spazzy.  

While all the other dogs and owners are walking nicely in the circle, I am tripping over Little Miss B because she is diligently trying to get on my right.  Apparently, she MUST stay on the left. Neither of us is comfortable with her on the left.  She has always walked on my right.  I approached the trainer after class and questioned this.  I asked, very nicely, I might add, if it was OK for her to stay on my right.  "Absolutely not.  She MUST learn to stay on your left.  It is protocol," was the response.  What the . . .  I am not going to show her, I just want to be able to walk down the street without her tugging on her leash.  

We also got reprimanded because we are very slow.  While we walk our circle, the others in the class are lapping us.  To our 2 laps of the room, all the others have done 3 or 4.  We were told we need to keep up.  Huh?  She has a bad leg, she is short with little legs, she is lazy and I am lazier.  We can not possibly keep up that pace.  The instructor was not happy.

We are told to Halt.  All the dogs stop and sit nicely facing forward by their owners' left sides.  I tug the leash and tell Beatrice to sit.  She lays down facing backwards across my feet.  Instructor says, "The Basset can not lie down when told to sit.  When she does this, please pick her up, face her forward and put her in a sitting position."  I do this.  Numerous times.  Each time, Little Miss B proceeds to flop down on her belly and scooch back across my feet.  She's tired, she needs a nap.  

It is time for them to sit facing the middle of the big circle while Instructor walks around and tempts them with a bowl of food.  They are not allowed to get it.  Only to sit and patiently wait.  I can see it in Little Miss B's eyes.  She is going to melt down.  "Why is this woman teasing me so?" She is thinking.  "Why won't she let me eat?"  Apparently realizing that pulling on her leash and looking pathetic will not work to get the food, she decides that she won't even bother.  I asume she is now thinking, "Well, if I can't eat,  I'll just sniff the other dog's butts."  

"The Basset needs to return to her spot and resume position."  Uh-oh - Busted!  I tug and cajole Little Miss B back to our spot and think that the Military Boot Camps are probably less emotionally grueling than this.  

I am not very good at paying attention or following Instructor's direction and Little Miss B is even worse.  We are going to fail.  We can't even walk the circle without tripping over each other.  5 more weeks.  

I wonder if it is possible that we will miraculously transform to an amazing team of dog and owner.  I envision us amazing everyone with our ability to read each other's minds and walk and move seamlessly through throngs of people and animals without missing a step, only to "Halt" simultaneously facing the same way without any tugging, pulling, pushing or cajoling.  And then I wake up.  

Oh well, 5 more weeks and we can go back to our snuggle fest of a life.  It is OK that she can't seem to stay on my left.  She comes when called, leaves it when told and brings me sheer pleasure and joy every day, all day.  Who cares if she isn't perfect.  She's lovable and cute.  And in my world, that's all that counts.


Chris said...

Beatrice is BEAUTIFUL!

Don't lose heart with the training. It sounds like the instructor just doesn't understand bassets!

My family has had many many bassets. They are the sweetest and most gentle of dogs. She'll be just fine once she grows up a bit. :) Hang in there!