A Diller, A Dollar, A Canine Scholar

Because it was evident early on and because we now live in a dog-friendly city and I want to be able to take my boy with me on errands and adventures I decided that training was prudent. So, we enrolled in obedience classes. Three sets of them. I learned much about my dog but even more about myself through PetSmart’s beginner, intermediate and advanced classes. Sirius was an attentive, eager to please beginner and breezed through his first round toward certification.

But by the time intermediate class rolled around and he met Chloe, the cute little white lab mix, he had hit puppy puberty and was twitterpated. Although he was neutered at 3 months, most of his intermediate classes were spent dragging him back from his attempts at stealthy belly crawls across to Chloe. When that didn’t work he simply stared longingly serenading her with mournful love songs.

Turns out that Sirius employs the same tactics of charm, buffoonery and smarts to get through school that I did. When it was to his advantage he tried smoozing his wonderful trainer Nancy Westerbury  Nancy has been at this for a lot of years she saw him coming with that game. So, he employed Plan B. If the task is too challenging or boring then make the instructor and classmates laugh.  Most of the time my stubborn boy half performed tasks in class only to prove mastery of them before we made it hallway across the parking lot after class. He showed early on how smart he is but that great Pyrenees attitude of “I am bred to problem-solve far up in the mountains herding my flock of sheep without the need for human intervention” meant we butt heads often. While all the other cuddly puppies were so eager to please their masters, my boy was usually rolling on the floor or watching the shoppers circling the fish bowl classroom or inching his way toward the closest pretty girl (human or canine variety mattered not to him). I now understand why my youngest sister got away with the shenanigans she did, by the time my parents lived through the trials and tribulations of getting me and my middle sister through adolescence they were tired. I found that as I approach my sixth decade I am a much more forgiving and laid-back dog companion. My daughter has observed more than once, “you let that dog get away with way more than you let me get away with when I was a kid!”

My dog is spoiled rotten because he has more stubborn stamina than I do. (Those who know me are shocked because I am near infamous for my stubborn tenacity). Nonetheless, by some series of miracles and Nancy’s overwhelming desire to see dogs and their companions be successful, The Beast received certificates for all three obedience (and I use that term lightly) levels. I believe he will also pass his Good Canine Citizenship certification eventually. He really does well in public. I am waiting for him to mature just a little more. I am also secretly worried that the day we schedule for Nancy to run him through the GCC test Chloe or his other favorite girlfriend May May will happen to be in the store and he will lose all self-respect and have a lovesick meltdown rendering him deaf and dumb to my commands. It could happen, I’m telling you.

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