I’ve told you a few tales about puppy classes and how I tried to liven them up. Some of the things we were asked to do were very boring and, I thought, pointless!
This particular week, I was fifteen weeks old. We had been playing, having a wonderful time, and then it was the part of the evening I disliked. The trainer told our bipeds to get us to sit, or lie down, quietly and to look in our ears, look in our mouths, check our paws and then brush us. Didn’t she know that my biped had already done this at home earlier? It was such a waste of time when there were so many puppies to play with!
I refused to sit. My biped waved the treat near my nose and took it up over my head, but I wasn’t interested in the treat at all. I decided to pull and try to get away, I wanted to play. My biped kept a firm grip on my lead and wouldn’t let me go. I started pulling in different directions. She shortened the lead and kept a firm grip.
The trainer came over, picking her way between all the quiet puppies, and asked, “What’s the matter with Clowie?”
My biped said, “I think she just wants to play.”
The trainer said, “She’s upset about something, maybe she needs a toilet break.”
My biped said that I’d been before we came into class. But the trainer said, “She’s still very young, she probably needs to go again. Take her outside and she’ll soon calm down.”
So, my biped took me outside. I was thrilled and started running around, as far as the lead would allow, with my nose to the ground. My biped spoke to me to get my attention and took me to some grass and walked me around. I was delighted – there were so many interesting smells!
After a few minutes of walking around, my biped took me back into the hall. They had finished the boring part of the evening and the children present were now making a fuss of the puppies. A group of the children saw us come back into the hall and came running over to make a fuss of me. This was wonderful! I was a very tired and contented puppy when we went home.
When the next week arrived, I was naughty the whole time. Then, when it was time to sit quietly and be brushed, I started struggling as hard as I could to get away. I knew I didn’t have to do this boring part of the class – I had got out of it last week! My biped just kept a very firm grip on me and didn’t move. Then I saw the trainer coming over and so I bounced and pulled harder – she’d know what I wanted.
She said, “I think you should take Clowie outside for a toilet break and to calm down.”
She certainly had one part right – I wanted to go outside, it was much more fun! But I wanted to sniff and explore, I didn’t want to calm down and I didn’t need the toilet. My biped, unfortunately, seemed to know exactly what I was thinking! She said, “No, I don’t think so. Last week she was thrilled to get outside and sniff around – to go outside would be rewarding her behaviour.”
The trainer said, “Well, it’s up to you of course, but she’s far too young to see it that way.”
We stayed where we were! I carried on pulling and bouncing and making a fuss, but my biped would not budge. My plan had failed!
I tried again the next week, but I didn’t pull and struggle for quite as long. I settled down for the last minute or so, as I was tired and needed to think. The week after that I gave up struggling even sooner, I needed a new strategy. I decided I should treat this boring part of the evening as a good time to rest and eat some treats, so that I had lots of energy for the part that followed. And the next week I settled down, almost immediately, and allowed myself to be brushed. The trainer came across and said, “Clowie has improved, I hadn’t realised that Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppies could be so determined!”
The trainer was right, we can be very determined, but we’re also bright enough to recognise a lost cause when we see one – even if it takes us a few weeks to do so!
See you next Wednesday!