Posted by: Rael Kalley | October 5, 2009

8. Leader of the pack

You remember Malka, the little shih-tzu-dachshund cross that joined our family a few months ago.

It seems Malkas attempts to train us have proven more challenging than she anticipated – Gimalle barks for no apparent reason and I, well, I just can’t seem to do anything right.

 So in the interests of hopefully achieving some form of harmonious co-existence in the future she enrolled us in a 10 week obedience training program.

 This past week we attended the third class. Here’s what happened:

 The classes take place in a gymnasium type room in a local community center. Four large rubber mats are placed in a square around the room and all training (supposedly) takes place on these mats.

 We were the last to arrive and Malka and I took our places on the mat just as the class was to start. Excluding Malka, eleven dogs were spread around the mat anxiously awaiting the first command.  At the precise moment that the instructor uttered the first command Malka, how can I say this delicately,  chose to void her bowels.

 Did you know dogs are pack animals?

 Now we had eleven other dogs replicating Malkas deposit resulting in an unscheduled flurry of poop bags, mops, pails and disapproving looks from eleven dog owners whose pets apparently do not behave like this without extreme provocation.

 After a few minutes the class resumed which means a great deal of walking and sitting was taking place. The sitting is necessary so that the instructor can instruct.

 During one of these sitting and listening sessions Malka, my fair lady, apparently bored, broke into a beautiful rendition of “I could have barked all night.” 

 The instructor, displeased at being upstaged, looked at me and said “get your dog to stop barking.” As an inexperienced, neophyte dog dad I asked a very stupid question “how do you do that?”   

 “Tell her to stop barking,” came the answer.

 So I looked at Malka and said sternly “stop barking.” Nothing. Apparently, and this will come as a surprise to those who know me, I don’t talk shih-tzu.

 At this point the poodle at the furthest point on the mat added her soprano to the mix and within seconds, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, we had a twelve mutt choir practice in full swing.

 Order was eventually restored and we resumed walking, sitting, heeling, staying, about turning and obstacle avoiding.

 Most of the walking had been in a clock-wise direction and as the class was beginning to wind down our perfect little angel took it upon herself to bring symmetry to the session by suddenly turning and walking in an anti clock-wise direction causing eleven other dogs to turn and strain against their leashes as they collectively decided anti clock-wise was the way to go.

 Class ended early.

 As we were leaving one of the dog moms approached and told me that Malka was an extremely disruptive dog.

 Here’s why I’m telling you this.

 This dog mom had an experience in which she witnessed a dog poop, bark and change direction, each time triggering similar behaviours in eleven other dogs.

 She gathered all of this information and to her, it means “disruptive”.

 We’ve talked a lot about how events in our lives and information presented to us have only the meaning we give it.

 I witnessed a dog poop, bark and change direction, each time triggering similar behaviours in eleven other dogs.

 I don’t understand her meaning, I just don’t get it.. I gathered all of the same information and to me, clearly, it screams “leadership.”

 Till we read again.


Responses

  1. Malka is a genius among dogs. And yes, as a matter of fact I AM an expert.


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