Thursday, August 18, 2011

Open house, Jumping Jack starts first grade next week

I attended my first orientation at Little Rock Dog Training Center on Tuesday. There I and probably another 100 pet mommies and daddies joined the trainers to learn the rules and meet the teacher before the 8-week session starts next week.

Y'all, I may have found my people. Between the trainers who were so proud of what they volunteer to do to help pet owners and dogs alike to have better lives and the other yuppy mommies like me who wanted to be sure junior had all the right supplies to be an obedient success and the lady wearing the "Crazy Dog Lady" t-shirt, I felt pretty much normal.

They had chairs set up facing Ring 1, which was outfitted to demonstrate what dogs learn in Rally (see the signs on the floor?). And all the early birds, like me, got a good show on what Rally looks like, how they train, and what you need to get started.
There were a lot of dogs and that was just for the trainers. The newbies were told not to bring dogs. I can't imagine what this place looks like when there are classes in all the rings. There must be dogs galore. I met Dakota, a large, beautiful German Shepherd and a terrier named Stitch. I also got to see an impressive Obedience, off-leash demo. The thought of Jack ever being able to do that filled my heart with joy. We'll see. And there was a short Agility demo (they changed out the ring set up quickly).

I was pretty impressed. There were a couple of problems, though.
1. The teacher intimidates me a little, but he did say some of the right things so that's probably just me. Jack needs better stuff: a different collar, a leather leash, better treats, his own bowl just for class...there really should have been a school supply list. Also, I'm convinced Jack will be the smallest kid in the class. And I could easily see Jack doing every single one of the "Don't worry, we'll have a dog do this, or this, or that" examples.
2. Trainer Larry showed medals. The last class is a party/competition/display of skills. Dogs win medals. And now I want one. I mean, I want Jack to win one. You know, for his sake.
3. They handed out all the homework. At the orientation. And my heart quailed in fear. It really did. When I got home and read it, seated amongst Jack's collection of socks, destroyed box, destroyed toys, and right next to the destroyed chair cushion, it all seems just a  bit impossible. Teacher says it isn't. I had to put all his paperwork on top of the refrigerator...a dog eating his own homework, his obedience class homework, would be too much irony for me.
4. Can you guess the last two problems from the picture?
I have no desire to be surrounded by a wall of mirrors. Before it went to the dogs, this was a place where kids came for gymnastics. I wish they'd taken the mirrors when they tumbled on out of there.
5. And NO AIR CONDITIONING. It wasn't too bad with the fans, but I'm a little skeered of what's possible in August in Arkansas. I wonder how well Jack will handle the heat...
Still, if Jack and I can ever get to the point where he sits on one side of this ring and watches me walk to the other, waits and then runs to me when I say "Jack, come" I'll probably expire with joy. That's if the heat doesn't get me.

There will be 11 other dogs in Jack's class. And several men. He loves both. I expect him to be dancing in joy. I hope I'm right and that I can catch his joy on video.


Kathy said...

Have you ever watched "Marley and Me?" Labs are fun, and sounds like Jack is a joy for you. Will be checking in for updates!

JustCindy said...

Good luck to you and Jack! I bet you both do fine and you both survive the class and the heat. I will be waiting for an update.