The Dog Days of Doggie Summer School
Like any other member of the family, it's important for dog owners to send them to the right school.
I am the mommy to two beautiful kids. Sometimes I joke that I am the mommy of an adult husband, too. This summer, I am a pseudo-mommy to a teen, as my sister stays with us for three months between semesters at college.
Since December, I’ve also been the mommy to a four-legged fluff ball. Sir Oliver Jaxon Treacy, better known at our house as Ollie, has been an added member of the family. We’ve accepted him, since day one, as such.
Just like our kids, we wanted to be sure our dog was well educated. So, last week, it all began. Ollie was off to doggie school.
Finding a dog school was about as difficult as finding a preschool. We scoped them out, asked for references and checked the prices. We tried to make the best decision for all involved.
In the end, we are sending the pup to a weekly class. My husband takes him because, just like with the kids, in the end, he is really the disciplinarian. The kids, and now the dog, all turn to Mommy to kiss their boo-boos, to hold them when they are scared and to snuggle them for comfort. Daddy yells. Daddy is in charge of time-outs, butt smacks and the loss of privileges. We all love Daddy, but he is the yeller. Even the dog knows that.
Armed with the disciplinarian, Ollie was off to school last week. It wasn’t quite as traumatic as putting my baby boy on his first school bus, but I did worry about my furry friend as he went to his first day of class.
He was alone in the first session. There were no puppy peers. I think it was likely ideal so he could focus on his first lessons.
Daddy worked with Ollie on sitting, staying and laying down. He learned to use treats as a reward, as well as a new “clicker” to congratulate Ollie on his good behavior.
He came home to show off all he has learned. It was a baby step, but it is some progress. The plan is to head to six full weeks of sessions, and then we’ll see where we are. Thus far, it seems positive.
For the long term, we hope to curb the nipping. We have an Australian shepherd, so he wants to herd everyone, kids especially. We want him not to jump up on visitors—again, kids especially.
Realistically, the pup is a good boy. He is crate trained. He never has accidents in the house. He has a lot of energy, but as long as it is well spent, he is pretty well behaved. (Sounds like two other small beings in this house …)
Dogs are a lot like kids. They have to be taught. They have to go to school. And, Ollie is walking the walk. He is working on his own “degree.”
The trainer at school says he is like a teenager right now, with raging hormones and the need to be disciplined. Just like our kids, I hope we do a good job, and teach him well.
He is one of the family around here. He is another kid for me to mother. He’s a good boy.
Now, I just wish we could crate the kids and go out to dinner.
(I’m kidding. No one needs to call family services.)