My Crazy Life – October 6, 2011 – Dog Obedience Class

            Calypso and I had our first private obedience class on Tuesday this week. Ryka got to come as well. She is after all, Calypso’s biggest distraction. I had been working on the ‘sit’ command for a while and both dogs are good about sitting, so we moved on to ‘sit and wait’. This command sounds a lot easier in theory than in reality. The idea is to get Calypso and Ryka to sit and wait until I open the door or fix their food (you get the picture) and I give them the command to come.

Ryka (front) and Calypso

Calypso was doing really well until we added the door opening. She thought we were leaving the Pet Smart classroom and going home. It took ten minutes to get her to settle down and refocus, which allowed me a little time to work with Ryka. Have I mentioned how bored Ryka seems to be with the whole ‘listen’ concept? She listens, follows the command, takes her treat, looks at me, and turns around to find a corner or spot to lie down and watch. She seems to be telling me, “Been there, and got the t-shirt Mom. It’s Calypso’s turn to listen.”

Well, Calypso is nowhere near getting the proverbial t-shirt yet. As soon as I was able to gain her attention once again, I made her sit and just rattled the door. At least she didn’t jump and bolt for the door this time. I tried the door rattle a few more times and she waited so I opened the door just a tad a few times. Calypso was very good about waiting. Finally, I gave her the command to sit and wait and I opened the door wide. I have to give her credit. She sat and waited. She did not try to get up and leave. I still haven’t figured out if I am more proud or her or me. At this point, the instructor (Dory) explained to me the difference between ‘sit and wait’ and ‘sit and stay’. She also told me that the dogs would find them a little confusing in the beginning but eventually they would catch on.

It’s Friday and Calypso has already distinguished between the two – as long as Ryka is not around. She likes to run Ryka off and then come back for individual attention. She is what I call a rat of the worse kind.

With those two commands under our belt, we advanced to the ‘come’ command. You can start laughing now because it was that funny. Calypso likes to pretend she ‘doesn’t get it’. I am still hoping that no one I knew was in Pet Smart on Tuesday. There’s a good chance since we live 45 minutes away. Ryka had taken up residence in the kennel for a nap (on her own.) I guess she thought that if she pretended to be invisible, she would not have to participate.

We put Calypso on a thirty-foot leash and headed out into the store. Once Calypso got about ten feet in front of me, I practiced calling her and getting her to come back. Then, we let her advance to twenty and then thirty. Would you like to take a guess at what happened at thirty feet? If you guessed that she went exploring, you would be right.

Pet Smart is set up for animals like Wal-Mart is set up for kids. There are bins and shelves, all at eye level, to catch their attention and draw them in. This is where the ‘puppy dog face’ act came from. Calypso doesn’t particularly care for bones but she knows that her sister, Ryka, does so she decided to pick one out for her. Then, she found the balls, which is her favorite toy. After Calypso had completed her shopping, we went back to the task at hand. Turns out I was using the wrong tone of voice to call her. So, armed with my ‘new’ voice (wish I had a tape of it) I began to work on the ‘come’ command. Since Calypso insisted on exploring the store, I was trailing behind her calling, “Calypso, come. Come Calypso.” I am still feeling mortified! The new tone does work wonders but I feel like an idiot (of the worse kind.)

We also played hide and seek. I would go down the different isles and then call her. The instructor said that she put her ears and head down and when she saw me, she perked up. I think it’s a good sign that she was at least glad to see me.

Then, Ryka came to join us. There were many people in the store that became absolute statues, as two huge German Shepherds walked up to them and began sniffing them. I guess if they were not my dogs, I would be a little intimidated by them as well. I have grabbed them by the tail and pulled them to me when that was all I could reach (although I would NOT recommend this tactic to anyone else.)

I think our lessons went really well for the first day. They were more than eager to leave the store when it was time to go. However, our adventures were not over for the day. It was finally the day when I could get a new phone so we headed over to the AT&T store.

I am giving a shout out to the great salesperson that helped me in case she is reading this. Thanks Brandy!! She was fantastic and so patient. Jessica had to get a new phone too so we met up at the store to do our shopping together. We had so many questions and Brandy was an absolute doll. She also has a dog so she was very patient when I had to make several trips out to the car to let Calypso and Ryka walk around. Especially since Ryka insisted on crossing over the seats to sit next to a window. She is fine in the back of the suburban as long as we are traveling, but left to her own devices, she would rather be in a seat.

Calypso had no choice but to stay put as she was in her kennel. Had they been welcome in the store, they would have sat at my feet, but, alas, that was not an option. They were really quite patient and soon we were on our way home.

Tune in next week for more on our adventures at doggie obedience class. We will be learning how to walk on a leash (as oppose to pulling our master with the leash.)