Yesterday, we went to our first obedience class with Ruby at the Grand Forks Kennel Club. This class is so much better than the crazy experience we had at Petco with the dog trainer that it's hard to think that these trainers could possibly be of the same species!
But that does not mean it was stress-free! Oh, no--not with a lab!
We tried to prepare for the Big Day by getting Ruby somewhat tired during the day, with lots of exercise, then sufficient sleep in her crate. We made sure she was hungry, cooked special "treats" to use in the training, ate dinner early, got her seat belt harness ready and reminded ourselves that our egos would not be on the line in this class.
And then we smoothly headed out the door to the car for class. Or tried to. First, I could not get the harness on her. This little harness is to help keep a puppy safe in the car so that she does not become a projectile with sudden stops, or a projectile with sudden bursts of energy during which she tries to consume the driver. Harnesses are good.
But you have to get them on said pup. Somehow, Ruby managed to have 12 legs and 7.6 arms that flew in dervish-like directions while I tried to snap strap A to B, attach carbiner to C, and looping it around to X etc. Trust me, between her needle-sharp puppy teeth, leaps into the air, and somersaults for belly rubs, it's no wonder that I broke out into a sweat and Doug sat nervously in the driveway, waiting for me, worrying. . . .
But eventually Ruby was locked and loaded and I hit the front door with her. She misses nothing; her mulching tendencies leave no twig unpulverized, and no gallon jar of Sun Tea on the front steps untossed.
After my feet were drenched with Sun Tea, and I had her in the car, we headed off to class, but not with the nice margin of time we'd hope for. We'd hoped that Ruby would get to meet all the nice people, get her exuberance at PEOPLE and OTHER DOGS under control in time to settle down.
But class had already begun, with all 10 other pups and owners sitting in a zen-like circle (most likely after the pups had been dosed with Valium and Prozac), when we made our Grand Entrance, hoping to slip in unnoticed. Let me just say it was noisy; Ruby was ecstatic and I'm not sure her little paws really ever touched the ground in the first minutes. The trainer paused, and announced "Looks like we have one of those dogs right here!" and approached Ruby. Ruby decided the instructor was her New Best Friend, flipped over on her back, and showered the air with dog pee.
Yeah. About that little ego thing. . . .
The trainer then slipped a little Premier Easy Walk harness over Ruby's head and middle, and Goodbye Marley! Ruby turned all angelic on us and with the sheer brute force of two adult human beings, we were now able to control her wiggly 29 lbs!
And today, we rushed out and purchased our own Easy Walk harness! What a Godsend! Now Ruby is truly a Good Dog and deserves these little treats sent to her by Elizabeth and Scott.
We ARE held captive, but most enthusiastically!