Obedience classes are often humorous

March 10, 2004

A reader and past member of my (now closed) dog obedience classes, called and asked if I would give some examples of funny things that happened in dog class. Since I enjoy thinking of these moments I am glad to oblige.

There are always humorous times when 4-H members and their dogs get together.

One time a friend called and asked if she could bring a giant breed dog to "Distraction Day," that she would even bring her own distraction as an incentive.

Now for those not familiar with my dog class curriculum, Distraction Day was a class period when the beginning dogs were tested on how well they could concentrate even with distractions. The objects we normally used were: a child with a bouncing ball, another child squeezing and rattling an empty potato chip bag, a bowl with a spoonful of super odorous dog food, and sometimes a cat in a cage, all placed in a U-shaped design.


This time the adult and her big dog arrived and unloaded her pet goat which she placed in a portable exercise pen. We quickly found out that the goat needed to be petted just to keep her quiet, and even moving her to the far side of the building, still was a tremendous distraction for the dogs, especially when we ceased petting her and she bleated for more attention. One bleat and all chaos broke loose with dogs barking, lunging and bouncing up and down.

But that wasn't all. The next week the children gathered around for directions and one asked where the lady with the big dog was. I said she wasn't a 4-H member and the child asked why. I told him that she was married (4-H allows married members now but not then). "Married!" the child exclaimed, "Why she doesn't look as old as you do!"

Then there was the gentleman in the adult class who arrived early one Saturday and asked if he could help set up the agility obstacles. "Of course," I said and continued working. After the obstacles were arranged I noticed the gentleman and his dog practicing with great glee. I called his name and asked, "Isn't this your wedding day?" He answered, "Yes, but this is so much fun!

"I'll never tell your wife," I replied.

One of my favorites was an early morning call - really early! I answered the phone and this squeaky little voice asked, "Is this thedog lady?"

I hesitated, but finally decided that a dog trainer might be called that. The child continued, "My dog is getting grey in the face. Can I color him like my mommy does and make him young again?"

I fervently hoped that mommy wasn't able to hear this and answered that "No, using color or a dye might get in the dog's eyes and hurt him." I added that the child should love his dog, play with him and enjoy him even if the animal was turning grey. The child assured me that he would do just that. |None|***

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