One of our son's friends somehow managed to gift us with a year-old Great Dane who has had absolutely no training what-so-ever. And of course I oh so willingly gave my heart away to this huge, overgrown, smelly, jumping bag of doggie drool and pungent halitosis without really considering just what I was taking on. What else is new, huh? Now DS and BFF have moved away to a haven of post-teen apartment living, no curfews, and no noise limitations, leaving me and Hubby with this overgrown baby that doesn't know the meaning of less is more. But seriously, who couldn't love this huge face - at least when it isn't at eye-level?
We're on a training regime, but I'm not really sure who is actually getting trained here. We've got "Touch," "Eyes on Me," and the clicker sound down really pat. This is a smart dog, mind you. She can show you just where the UPS man left the packages, guards me against the cat and roaming dogs by pushing me into something and holding me there with her body until the threat is gone, and knows if I'm sick. Why oh Why won't she learn "Settle?"
One thing that I am totally certain of is the fact that we are the evening entertainment for the entire valley, me hollering, "Settle," and Lacy planting her front paws firmly in the middle of my shoulderblades, and the two of us dancing around the porch or down the road while I try to dislodge her from my back. It's no wonder the chiropracter can't keep me in adjustment! Watching me try to walk down the road with this dog must be like watching someone with some strange uncontrollable illenss - my arms flail around as I try to keep them from being nipped, I'm being pushed and shoved and jumped on, and I'm twisting and gyrating around, all the while attempting to keep walking forward, but basically we cover no great distances at all on these walks! And we haven't even BEGUN leash training yet! It will be like being put on one of those torturous stretching machines with me being drug from pillar to post all over the mountain!
How do they make it look so easy on the dog training shows? A few gentle words, a few treats, and Fido is behaving as if he's been an A+ training student all his life. And all within 30 minutes, I might add.
Tonight we worked on all of our commands and things went fairly well. Meaning I didn't come back in the house bleeding. (I say this pseudo tongue in cheek!). But I smell, I've got slobber all over my hands, I'm cold cuz I've been out there for what seems like forever, trapped on the road that goes past my house by this huge dog because she knows if I get to the porch, I'm retreating into the house and the fun is over. We met the neighbor and behaved very well, which pleased me, until she got bored with the human noises. Then it was time to jump some more cuz she REALLY like this dancing thing!
I've worked the "Lacy, Come!" command in on our severly disjointed walks and she is actually doing very well with that one. She calmly walks back to me to get a treat. Good thing, because there is no safety in being out in the open - nothing to flatten up against in preparation for being squashed with love! She's getting better at "Follow" but my fingers are experiencing extreme distress from being nibbled.
This business of being owned by a huge dog is sometimes not all it's cracked up to be! But then there are the OTHER times. Like when DS moved out and I went out on the porch and hugged a Great Dane while I cried. Or when Hubby had to let her in after I got sick, to show her that I was ok. She checked out the entire length of my body while I was lying on the couch by snuffling all over me, then laid down in the floor beside the couch. And how could one fail to mention that she is so smart that when she wants a treat that she KNOWS is in your pocket, she goes instead for the other pocket where the clicker resides, clicks it, and then gives you "THE LOOK" that says, "Ok, there's the noise. Now where's my treat?"
Probably by this time next year she will be a very well-behaved middle-schooler. I on the other hand, may never get to go to work with a clean outfit ever again! Paw prints on my shoulders and drool marks on the hems of my blouses are the norm these days, along with accessories such as dog hair and assorted leaves, dirt, and things that I probably don't want to recognize. Can't say life isn't exciting!
Such things as leash training, riding in a car, going to the vet - these are the milestones that mark our lives. But I can't say that it isn't worth it. Like the nursery rhyme, when she is good, she is very very good! And we love each other so! I'se her person and she be my dawg! And together we provide great comic relief to the neighborhood. Maybe we should start charging a viewing fee - Ooh! Fabric Money! There ya go!