Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Vern came home last night exhausted. For the past couple of months he has been taking an intermediate dog training class and last night was our last class. It isn’t easy being the only dog in class who rolls at every opportunity and follows right behind you, as you are walking away from him, during the sit/stay. I love Vern and he makes me smile every day, but I think I can say without hurting his feelings, that he is not a deep thinker. Vern is an “in the moment” kind of dog. When my niece was here, I was trying to show her all the tricks the dogs could do, which really amounts to sit, down, and high five, and every time I gave Vern the down command, he would lift his paw to give me a high five and wag his tail proudly like he was the smartest dog in the room. Unfortunately for Vern, Fudge was also in the room, which meant the best he could hope for was Salutatorian, but that is certainly “nothing to sneeze at,” in the world of smarts. Vern is usually a pro at the down command and in fact, my biggest problem with the sit command is Vern thinks a sit is just a means to get into the down command faster and from there, it is just a matter of time before he demonstrates his roll. I tried explaining this to my niece, but with every high five, she just kept repeating, “sure, Aunt Laurie.”
We have taken many classes with our dogs, but I have found in my experience that none teach the “dance” command, which Vern excels at, and he would most certainly be at the top of the class if added to the curriculum and the dog the other dogs would point to and say, “Vern really does have the moves like Jagger.”
Now, before the training group descends on PA and cha chas away with my Vern for some de-programming, he never jumps at any other time, although I will admit, at times, when I say I am a member of a training group, I feel a little like the Octomom saying she is a member of a Family Planning Organization. Anyways, my daughter bought me a karaoke machine for Christmas and some members of the household mentioned that the only reason she gifted me with my dream gift was because she got to go back home to Oregon and did not have to listen to and I am quoting here, “your mom’s caterwauling.” When I shouted with glee and announced it came with a microphone, my husband wanted to know if it also came with earplugs and said that was like giving Richard Simmons a megaphone and then someone else chimed in, “or Rapunzel hair extensions.”
We showed my niece Vern’s dance moves when she was here and of course, what often happens when someone sees perfection, they right away think they can do it, too. Vern was not as eager to dance with her, which was probably for the best, since Chelsea is a somewhat slimmer build than myself and I would hate to call her mother in Nashville and explain that her daughter was in the hospital because she got knocked over when Vern was putting her in a dance hold.
Unfortunately, the class we have been attending does not have a dance command, which is a real shame for my song and dance Doodle, but Vern really did do outstanding, but maybe not in the way anyone but me would notice. The last class we attended was hard on Vern for some reason. The trainer was kind and wonderful to Vern, but he walked into that class like he was on his way to the gallows and immediately started drooling. Along with potty bags, water, and treats, I always carried a towel to mop up the slobber. While he did all the commands and received many compliments of “good dog, Vern!” he never got over looking pathetic and sad and I just felt it wasn’t worth it and as if it was breaking his spirit. The class last night was different. I thought the dogs were friendlier and there was just a different camaraderie that didn’t exist in the other class and Vern felt it or maybe felt something different in me. He was ornery and happy and joyful and to me, that was what mattered the most. He rolled. He took a treat without spitting it out onto the ground like he was in the throes of abject misery. He barked his “woo woo,” when I told him there was no better dog in the whole class. The gleam was back in his eyes while he was sitting waiting for me to tell him to come to me and I was simultaneously praying the gleam didn’t mean, “I am coming, ready or not.” He approached other people and dogs with his tail wagging. He was more confident. Seriously, if you have been missing your mojo, Vern had it and was using it all these weeks in class. These were big steps for Vern.
My mom says I got my mojo back!
I truly admire the dog trainers that work so hard with their dogs, but quite frankly, my main goal is to walk by a groundhog hole without being catapulted into the hole by two Doodles and forced to introduce myself to the groundhog in a face-to-face confrontation. At the end of class, the group walked up to the ice cream place nearby and we got in line with our dogs and sat our dogs while we waited our turn. Vern behaved like the wonderful dog he is and was rewarded with his first ever taste of ice cream. All in all, a great class for a great dog. He may not be the best sit/stayer in the whole world, but I will put his rolls and dance moves up against any other dog on the planet.
If you don't think it is hard being smart and having an abundance of mojo, take a look at Vern the morning after. He did not get up until after 11 am.