My dog and I …are having a wonderful summer, doing all the stuff all Lewisburgians do. Swimming, gardening, hiking, eating and yes, training a LOT of dogs!! We have just finished our 6th set of training classes at the Fairgrounds and are on hold until September when the last Cinnamon Rolls are digested…
Much of our classes are spent walking around asking our dogs to perform such bewildering acts as “sit” and “down” and yesterday, I had a flash of insight as I mowed my grass, trailed by five dogs. Up and down we went and they followed me backwards and forwards, keeping me company. Oh, Mom is going this way, now she’s going that way. Well so are we…Now, I know they do not understand why we are doing this, what the lawnmower is or why the grass even needs to be cut – after all, isn’t that where the interesting creatures and good smells live? But I was going and so were they. I get into the car and so do they. I immerse myself in water and so do they. Now, I do not believe that they would choose to drive or sit outside the grocery store or go kayaking on their own but they are happy to do all those things (Banksie says, “not entirely happy”) because it keeps them close to me. And you just have to feel pretty special when one of the other creatures on the planet holds you in such high regard.
It also puts in perspective the trust our dogs give us when we ask them to do some of these seemingly silly things. The “training” process is a way of gathering these guys around us and helping them organize themselves so that they are safe in our very complex world. It may not be possible for a dog to figure out why we are asking him to accomplish a “distance down” but we know that if our dear friend is somehow on the other side of a road and wants to run toward us, asking him to drop in place may save his life!! Asking your dog to politely greet a dog he clearly does not like is, not only good manners but can save you a lawsuit… We want our friends to accept if not enjoy our canine family members and so we are really doing everyone a favor by showing our dogs the ropes of navigating the human world. And although they may not understand why they are following me up and down the yard, they are happy to follow me, learn a “sit” and “heel” and be a part of my life. And I am happy to know I can take them with me to a friend’s house for dinner.
We will be offering donation classes on the Green at Carnegie Hall throughout the Summer. These classes are for all levels of dog handling and donations are at your discretion. They are usually at 10am and I will post the days on Facebook and around town. 50% of the donations will go to the Greenbrier Animal Shelter. Questions or comments welcome….email@example.com.
– Janine Lazarus, LBSPY #56. (July 28-Aug 25, 2014)