Once, when one of my dogs behaved in such a manner that I didn’t recognize him (of course it was in front of a group of people), my teacher commented, “Dogs have a sense of humor.” I wasn’t sure if that explained my dog’s unexpected behavior or if he decided I needed to be humbled. Can you really control that which doesn’t want to be controlled? Apparently not. And what happens when you try? You get to eat humble pie. Not funny.
I’ve been taking agility lessons from a well respected teacher and I was thinking about the first time I took my dogs to work with her. It wasn’t one of my proudest moments. Let’s just say Grady and Dawson decided to display their mischievous side and double team me in the process. Which is strange because Grady is very close to perfect so his behavior surprised me. Dawson, well, Dawson still pays a visit to “Crazy Land” whenever he gets really excited about something. Some weeks he visits “Crazy Land” three or four times. It’s exhausting!
Here’s what I recall about those few hours. (To best capture the spirit of the story, please imagine circus music playing in the background.)
It was a long drive to our lesson so the dogs were well rested by the time we arrived. Since the weather was unusually cool, each dog was left in the van while the other took his turn. I started with Dawson and left Grady in his seatbelt harness in the front seat. A few minutes into Dawson’s turn, the teacher says, “There’s a dog out there,” and there’s Grady standing at the closed door of the barn, whining. I’ve no idea how he got out of his harness. I took him back to the van and put him in Dawson’s crate. Grady wasn’t pleased with being crated but he left me no choice. I proceeded with Dawson’s lesson while giving Grady time to think about how unfair life is.
After Dawson’s turn, I switched dogs and put Dawson in his crate with a bully stick to chew. Mind you, Dawson’s mind is toast and he’s tired – he had worked hard. And he loves bully sticks. I take Grady to the barn and hear very little from Dawson which makes me believe the bully stick worked to keep him occupied (hooray for me!). There are even times I forget he’s out there he’s so quiet.
After Grady’s turn, the teacher walks out to the van with me and I put Grady in his harness and hook him in the seat. The teacher and I chat for a bit and then we walk into the barn for her to show me something. A few minutes later she says, “The dog’s out again,” and there’s Grady walking in the barn like he owns the place (are you kidding me?). I escort Grady to the van, tighten up his harness and hook him back in his seat. Afterward, I explain to the teacher why Dawson is crated and show her where Dawson chewed the seatbelt during the only time I used a dog approved seatbelt harness on him (chewed in less than 10 minutes). I say these words which quickly come back to haunt me, “Dawson’s a good boy, not much of a chewer now.” Then I notice on the van floor a bungee cord chewed in half that had been attached to Dawson’s crate. Was the bully stick chewed on? NOPE. Not even a tooth mark. How Dawson was able to get a hold of the bungee cord still eludes me.
“They’re not always like this.” I said weakly, apologetically. The teacher simply smiled.
I’ve never liked the taste of humble pie.