Percy shocked me this weekend. I didn’t think it was possible to shock me due to his weirdness or for him to do what he did.
We only have 4 or 5 weeks left in our 6 month obedience training package. With this package, there are six levels. Due to his rambunctious reactivity and intense prey-drive, I believe it was realistic to assume he would never make it to the off-leash levels (4, 5, 6).
But… It happened! Percy was promoted to level 4! I was rendered speechless as half the class cheered for him. To be fair, some of them may have been happy to not have to deal with this dog, but one lady (on the 3rd dog she was taking through the same group class since Percy started) diplomatically told me how she remembered when Percy first started and how much he improved. He’ll now get to join his Malinois buddies who aren’t scared to train next to my embodiment of chaos.
To celebrate this amazing surprise, Oldest Child and I took Percy for a hamburger. Normally we don’t do junk food for the boys but this was a special occasion. After both his tummy and ego were fed by those golden (arches) workers, we finally started the long drive home. I think the perpetual motion puppy had a good day.
Today I started my first full week back with kids and the neediness (oh the neediness!) is going to drive me bonkers. The students are great. I have a wonderful group of students this year. I even get Oldest Child in class. It’s the boys who are worse than static cling in January.
Since I am not at their bark and call all day, I can’t seem to leave the dogs’ sight when I am home. If it isn’t Percy gnawing on a blanket while staring mournfully at me, it’s Haas hugs and snuggles on the couch. Drake tries for cuddle time with Mom but Haas just sits on Drake who then must vacate if he wants to breathe.
As soon as I walk in the door, it sounds like a bison stampede. They are so wound up, I fear for my furniture. Even with repeated “No!”s and “Off!”s at full teacher volume, there’s still a better than average chance to see a dog soar through the air after launching himself from the back of the sofa.
If it isn’t furniture, then it’s a broken record of “Don’t chew on your brother!” Percy is actually the good boy lately with Drake taking over as King of Obnoxiousness. Haas currently has Drake pinned with Drake’s head firmly between Haas’s jaws. I guess he is tired of Drake’s crazy like the rest of us. It took both Percy and Haas working together to get that monster subdued. On the bright side, I am proud of them working together.
It’s all about optimism, today. My students are going to continue being wonderful, the boys are going to calm down within the next six months, and Percy will finally test into his next training level. While we are at it, Drake will keep making sure Haas gets his exercise and Haas will stop breaking into the kitchen to scare the cat. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. If I repeat it enough, it’ll be true, right? Even if it doesn’t, I have an amazing team of co-workers who will keep me sane when either kids or canines go crazy. Let’s get this year started!
My dogs and cat are terrible. They drive me bonkers and eat more than any five teenage boys. I am seriously considering leaving out snacks and a cold drink for the FedEx person since Chewy shipments happen frequently and are roughly the weight of an adolescent elephant.
But…I sure do love these dogs. Yes, it is annoying when they get possessive and all want to sit on me at once to get pets. I’m a good sized person but I am no match for 225 pounds of canine. At the same time, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my boys love me.
As a major introvert, quiet time after a long day of meetings or students is cherished more than chocolate. My boys don’t let me take it to extremes. It doesn’t even bother me anymore that I know I will have to pry at least three items out of dog mouths. So far today, we have confiscated a rock, a shred of blanket and an ink pen I haven’t seen in two years. Where do they find these things? It’s like a lazy way to have a treasure hunt! These giant goofballs expect a certain amount of attention and they are big enough to demand it.
The truth is, I need that affection, too. They make me laugh and gross me out constantly. It’s wonderful to scratch behind dog ears and feel the weight of a dog leaning against your hip. It is a little less great when you absent-mindedly reach over to pet Drake and his head is soaked in Haas slobber. I believe I have mentioned that Drake’s head fits in Haas’s mouth. It spends an excessive amount of time there.
When Percy’s classes end, I will miss him sticking his head under my arm for our lengthy drive each week. He absolutely loves his car drives and, weirdly enough, his training collars. I know they probably just signal that it is one-on-one time for him so having someone always happy to spend time with me is awesome.
These boys are sweethearts and I am blessed to have them. The cat, though. Oh, the cat. She is another story. Currently, I am convinced Meri is plotting my demise. I used to be a cat person. Other cats are great, but Meri hates technology users. Since I use mine more than is healthy for work and hobbies, that means she bites my head. She also hates the dogs so there is safety when the boys want a snuggle. It works for me.
I hope your pets are as terrible and wonderful, just like mine.
What a weekend capped off by a trying Monday with the terrible trio. I’m now ready to go back to school. Thanks, boys.
Friday, Drake stopped jingling. We may be slackers here and left on some extra tags from Drake’s rescue days. It’s the same idea as a bell on a cat’s collar. The big boys really should get some warning before a Drake attack. Dad looked at Drake and discovered he was naked. Where was his collar? No one knew. My theory was that Haas was dragging Captain Wigglebutt around the yard by his collar again and managed to hit the clasp juuuuuust right. Fortunately, Dad retrieved the collar so we don’t have to replace his Smart Tag, name tag, and rabies tag.
Saturday was going to be much better. This was Percy’s group obedience class. I hooked up Percy’s training collar and we had a nice, well-behaved, walk to the car. He even sat nicely in the car for the entire trip without trying to wedge his head in my armpit.
We picked up Oldest Child from a sleepover and sat through the entry-level class with no problems. My dog was being good! He did what he was supposed to and sat quietly, even when being fussed at by an adorable German Shepherd puppy. He was even calm when two Malinois came through and the owners addressed Percy by name.
You see, Percy is a bit notorious. Everyone knows Percy. This is not because he is the only lab in class, but because he gets called out in class. Like, a lot. Lately, it has been much better and he even got praise last week for doing really well with a new concept. Way to go, Percy! We are getting this! Or, so I thought.
Class began well. Percy heeled like a champ, sat when he was supposed to, and responded to my cues. Then, we started on distractions. Just like we have been practising (with no trouble) for weeks, I put my leash on the ground, stood on it, and clapped. Percy took off, barking and having a complete freak-out. Ugh. I could handle this, but still. And he kept going….and going… and finally, the owner stepped in, couldn’t get Percy to calm down. He was sent outside for a timeout. After a few minutes to calm down (and have an unscheduled potty break, ew), we went in and Percy did well for the rest of class. I apologized to the Mal owner next to me who keeps getting stuck with Percy and she said “It’s okay. We love Percy!” It’s easy to love a dog who makes yours look like a dream. I am choosing to look on the bright side and claim this as a service to other’s handler’s self-esteem.
Today, the trials continued with preventative pill day. We give our boys a combo chewable that is supposed to prevent heartworms, fleas, and other random worms and parasites that I would rather not witness. This can be a chore as it is the one thing Haas and Percy won’t eat without much strife. I decided to be tricky today. I buried it in the boys’ food bowls and locked them in their crates so they couldn’t steal each other’s pills.
I watched closely without looking like I was watching. Haas gets shy and stops eating. Drake snarfed his food and pill and was released from his crate. I checked the bottomless pit Percy and he managed to overlook his giant pill in the grooves of the slow-down bowl. I handed it to him and he dropped it and looked away. Apparently, there is a limit to what this stinker will eat. Haas, in the meantime, had picked his pill out of his bowl and moved it quite far from his food bowl. There was no way he was eating it. Hmmm… what to do next.
Oldest Child had a plan. Just peanut butter wouldn’t work so maybe a treat of a peanut butter sandwich on unhealthy white bread would do it. The big boys would get 1/4 of a pb sandwich with the pill in the middle. Drake, not to be left out, would get 1/4 of a sandwich with a treat in the middle. Percy’s disappeared in one gulp. Haas bit into his, split the pill in half, and spit out half a pill while eating the sandwich. Good thing we had another 1/4 sandwich. Finally, it went down and the big boys could be free.
Fortunately, all is forgiven, and my faithful friends are by my side again. I’m so glad Percy’s classes are almost over and I don’t have to do pill time again for a month.
Hope your weekend and Monday was much more fun! Have a wonderful week and we hope you stop by again next time.
The husband has always loved and wanted big dogs. I liked medium or small sized dogs. They don’t eat as much, they don’t have giant poops, and when they are obnoxious, you can just pick them up and move them out of the way. I never wanted a big dog. Now, I have three. Since I love them terribly and wouldn’t give them up, I decided to focus on the positives of the big guys.
There has been a drastic reduction in the number of politicians and salespeople who come to the door. I guess a giant head with teeth bigger than most people’s fingers staring at you from a window next to the door might make you hesitant to knock.
I don’t have to lean down to pet the dogs.
When I can no longer afford gas due to my feed bill, I can either saddle one of the dogs or have them hitched to a cart.
If we lose power in the winter, I don’t need a space heater because they are as big as blankets and are happy to sleep right on top of us.
Our furniture gets even wear because they weigh as much as some adult humans.
I don’t have to clean out from under the couch cushions because they regularly lift the cushions and check to make sure there is nothing tasty (like food, socks, or money) under there.
We don’t have squirrels. I’m not sure that this is really a bonus but sometimes I think they plot my demise.
Now that I think about it, we no longer have midnight cat fights in our yard. Oldest Child could now sleep at night if it wasn’t actually night time and Oldest Child is nocturnal…
Vacuum factories are going to be able to be in business for a long time because asking even a “designed for pets” vac to handle the amount of dog hair I have is unreasonable and I totally understand that I will have to replace my vacuum often.
Dog hugs when I am having a bad day. If I try to resist, the biggest brings in reinforcements and I get both dog hugs AND kisses from those three big babies.