Friday, January 15, 2010

Snowy Goes To College

Last night, Sarah, Snowy and I had an adventurous, alarming, entertaining, exhausting, and exhilarating outing.

We went to Dog Training Classes. (Otherwise known--in our family, at least--as College.)

I am hereby here to report to you that Snowy distinguished himself at College in several different ways. (And I use the words “distinguished himself,” in the nicest possible way.)

Here are the unique ways in which Snowy became the most “notable” student in the 2010 Class of Canines:

1. He was the very first dog to have to be sprayed in the face with water by his wise instructor for refusing to stop barking hysterically at the other four dogs in the room.

2. He was the first dog to cause the instructor to have to switch from the bottle of water to a spray bottle of “yucky stuff.” (This was sprayed near Snowy’s mouth to get his attention and short circuit his barking frenzy.)

3. Snowy was the only dog whose owners were presented by the teacher with their very own personal spray bottle for ongoing “barking discipline” as the teacher was talking. (I know the other dog owners must have been incredibly jealous that we had been chosen for that singular honor.)

4. Snowy was the only dog in the room to bite the instructor. (It was just a little nip which the instructor took in stride, but he was still the only doggie to do it.)

5. Snowy was the oldest dog (by far) in the room.

6. Snowy was the smallest dog in the room. (The largest was 120 pounds and he was looking at Snowy as though he might be suitable for a tasty appetizer.)

7. Snowy was the only dog in the room who’d never been around other dogs; as a result, every time another dog came near him, he burst forth into a frothing, frantic frenzy, the likes of which have never before been recorded in the annals of doggie history.

And speaking of annals, that seems to be a good transition into a similar word.

Which is anal.

As in, “dogs sniffing the anal areas of other dogs.” (Bear with me, please. I’m trying to phrase this as delicately as possible.)

But the truth of the matter is that last night, Snowy was introduced to the fine art of behiney sniffing. (Which, I must say, was a riot to watch.) The instructor said that it was important for Snowy to discover what it feels like to be part of the pack, so to speak, and for him to realize that it really isn’t necessary to explode into hysteria every time another canine came near.

And so, to facilitate the Introductory Sniffing of the Behiney Ceremony with minimal trauma to the sniffer and the sniffee, Sable was called into action.

Now before I go any further in this highly edifying post about canine behineys, let me introduce you to Sable.

Sable was, quite simply, an amazing dog. She’d been neglected and abandoned before being adopted by our teacher. When all of us owners and our dogs (there were four dogs in the class) walked into the training room, she was already in there, lying contentedly on her rug. She lifted her head to look at us, gave a cursory glance around and then calmly put her head back down on her paws to await further development.

Now let me just say that if Snowy had been lying on a rug and four dogs had suddenly entered the room (especially if one of the dogs weighed 120 pounds), he would have immediately levitated three feet into the air and flailed around with great alacrity, barking, hyperventilating, and having the next thing to a nervous break down. (One of Snowy’s problems is that he doesn’t know he only weighs six pounds; he really believes he weighs two hundred pounds, and no one has the heart to tell him any different.)

As it turned out, Sable was there to be the role model dog for the evening. She kept her eyes fastened on her master (our teacher) at all times, and even when the other dogs came within inches of her face as they were being led around the room, she maintained an absolutely amazing aura of imperturbability.

She and her master showed us all about staying, and heeling and other tasks that will be learned in the weeks to come. And then, in the highlight of the evening (for Snowy, at least), she was called upon to allow her regal self to be sniffed by a certain hyper, happy, anxious, eager-to-please, scared-to-death, beloved teacup Maltese.

The instructor brought Sable near Snowy (by this time, Snowy was being much less reactive to the other dogs) and lifted Snowy up to engage in a bit of polite sniffing. (If sniffing some ones’ behiney can, indeed, be called polite.)

And then it was Snowy’s turn to be sniffed at a bit, which he coped with in an admirably calm and genteel manner.

And so progress was made.

Snowy began to understand that the other dogs in the room were not his sworn enemies, but instead that they were all a part of the College Pack. He began to realize that he didn’t have to give into dismaying and dire doggie distress every time one of them came within three feet of his royal personage.

At the end of the evening, he was calm and happy, and he and the trainer had become great friends. (The trainer said he understood that Snowy had nipped at him earlier because he was scared senseless by all the newness and strangeness of the evening.)

By the time we all left the building that night, Snowy and both of his accompanying ladies were exhausted. He slept the entire 25-minute trip home and then slept in till almost 7 this morning, which is very late for him. It seems as though all the spraying, biting, learning, studying, heeling, and hiney sniffing that goes into being a Canine College Dude was a just lot for him to cope with.

And just to further illustrate what our dear and darling doggie went through during his first day of college, here are a few closing pictures.

Snowy trying to stay clear of Ye Olde Horse Doggie on the rug next to his.


When Snowy wasn’t looking, Sable (at the back of the room) and Coco were showing a good deal of interest in him. (Were they possibly thinking, “Snack?”)


However, when Snowy turned to look at them, they nonchalantly found something else to stare at.


The attention focuses on Snowy once more. Snowy shows remarkable self restraint and turns the other direction. (I wanted to say that he “turned the other cheeks,” but I would never say such a thing on this blog.)


Finally, Snowy decides to let the Big Guy know that he exists. And that he ain't scared of nuthin’!


Um. Except maybe having a creature twenty times his size hovering over him.


And so ends Snowy’s first day of College. We’ll keep you updated as his college career progresses.

In the meantime, he is spending today taking a lot of naps to recover from the trauma of being a College Dude.



From the Comments Section:

Traci said her husband wanted to know what planes Steve’s Dad flew in the Air Force. Here’s the line up:

T-28, T-6, T-33, O-1, F-84F, F-84G, F-100F, F-111D

Of course, none of those letters or numbers mean a thing to me, but all you airplane buffs out there will understand!

14 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

MaryH said...

Still laughing!! Snowy, you are a beast.

lesley said...

Hilarious post! Poor baby. When I was Sarah's age I took our 'older' English Setter to obedience classes. Her name was Mimsey. I was the only 'child' in the class and she was the oldest dog in the group. But, we did great after a slow start and she even took second place out of 15 dogs in the competition at the end. I was very proud.
Old dogs can learn new tricks :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

C-c-c-c-can't stop laughing!


Rebecca said...

Lol Oh dear poor Snowy!!! I cannot tell you how much I laughed (and of course felt VERY sorry for Snowy). Worth the effort though.

I think Snowy deserves a very large treat today.

Anonymous said...

bless your sweet little heart!
I knew Mom would need another student.
But, golly, it sounds like you skipped Preschool and went directly to college. Did you even know that that large creature was actually a dog? Now, about that squirting water during circle time..... does it only work on four legged talkers? Don't think I better try to find out.
Sure hope you get a few days to rest up before tackling another subject.
woof and love
mrs pam

Anonymous said...

Just had to share what my husband wrote in our Christmas newsletter this year regarding our "new" rescue dog - a one-year old yellow lab that we found at a shelter in May:
"We took her to an obedience class in town this summer. Star started okay but by the last lesson blew past the competition to secure her spot as one of the wackiest canines in Idaho. They took a picture for the local paper of the attendees and their owners. There are about 15 dogs in the pic, calmly sitting or lying around, looking at their owners or at the camera or whatever. And in the middle of the picture is Jen holding the leash of a yellow blur with all four feet off the ground, twisting and spinning around like a twirling tarpon on a deep sea fishing rod. That would be Star."

Pam D said...

POOOR baby dog! Oh, Snowy, how could you? How could THEY? This was such a "cheeky" post! heh. My boy, who usually doesn't read blogs with me, was down here tonight. Of course, this would be the post that he read. And laughed over. And giggled. And had REALLY big eyes a time or two. Hmmm. Perhaps this should have been rated PG? (JUST kidd'n.. it was totally hilarious!). I'm glad Snowy had the chance to sniff and learn....

Anonymous said...

Of course you know that we don't train our dogs. They train US :) Think about it and look back at all the pictures you've posted of Snowy...yep, he's in charge! :) I watch the "Dog Whisperer" and try to be our pack leader, but I know who's really in charge here too. They are indeed our children in fur.

Susie said...

Snowy you are too funny!

I heard this song today and thought of Sarah. It's Randy Owen from Alabama.

the video:

Sue G said...

It isn't easy to attend college as an adult. Perhaps if he had gone when he was younger, he would have matriculated better (matriculated? where did that word come from?).

As for the olfactory section of the story, I'm sure many great relationships started in a similar fashion. (But, whoever you are, please don't share.)

Good story, Beck. You always have something to write about, don't you?

A Mom's Serious Blunder... said...

I am so enthralled with our new puppy I suspect I am not being a very good master. You have inspired me to look for obedience school for his deliciousness himself Tucker better known as Tuck Tuck Goose. If you haven't looked go and take a peek on my blog. He really is the absolute cutest thing but then again I may be a little biased.

Carrie B said...

Oh poor Snowy. He looks just like our Cooper (although Cooper is a maltese/poodle mix)and acts the same too!
Cooper also thinks he's a big dog and actually prefers the neighboring rotwilers (yes, 2) to his "cousin" the teacup yorkie. Hmmm
I guess it's their large personalitys. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, I remember those "doggie" days. We took Prince to puppy training when he was 10 weeks old. He missed his graduation because Jim had a heart cath and triple by-pass the week of graduation. I never took him back for a personal test after the classes ended. He still remembers some commands but the barking has not stopped. He was the smallest one in his class and the youngest. The trainer was amazed when I took him back later at his size. He is at least 14 pounds now and today is his second birthday. Practice, practice, practice. Ann Martin