The Commandant

Yes, that is what we called her trainer in Dog Obedience 101. I underwent the training. My husband sat by the wall and criticized my techniques, and the Commandant never even looked at Zoe the entire six weeks.

Zoe did not undergo formal training, which I needed for doggie daycare and overnights, until she was a year old. She knew most of it but had each diseased hip out at six and nine months of age so we gave her time to recover.

I remember a German Shepherd who was really smart, right next to us in class. The Commandant spent a lot of time with him. He would conveniently “forget” to sit. He’d be commanded to repeat it and get a treat for doing so. He was only forgetting for a treat! Zoe did everything first time out (proud parents) but never got so much as a “good girl!” from the Commandant. She learned the basics, come when called, sit, down, stay and heel.

Now I am the Commandant. My husband has been home writing a book. I touch him on on the shoulder with his music or noise-cancelling headphones, point to our old Zoe who I lifted up on the bed and say “she’s with you.” I’m running errands.

Then, near her dinner time, she wants to come out to see the Disciplinarian and Food Wench, me. I tap him on the shoulder and say “she’s with me” and close the door.

Other than the occasional “honey-do” list I do make sure our home is a home and that our little one is taken care of. It’s usually me alone. She loves her walks with my husband. I can’t make it that far, RA for 30 years.

I can ask him to leave the computer or cell phone at a good breaking point to take her out because I’m making him a great dinner and am in the middle of it with three pans on the stove.

One thing I couldn’t teach the young, healing dog was not to jump up on people, because she never had the equipment to do so until she grew her own hips from cartilage. Amazing! She’s nearing 14 and never really had a puppy-hood and now she has no interest in jumping up. I’d just say “leave him alone. I know he’s delivering your food.”

I had to be a bit of a Commandant recently with a teething pup. She used to try to have illicit relations with my legs but now she’s grown, is no longer teething and just hugs me above the knee and does a “happy pee.” Her family knows she has a great place to stay and taunt Zoe when they are out of town. She needs someone for 101 and is a very smart girl so will learn fast if they keep up with homework.

If your dog does something right the first time, always say “good girl” and same for a boy. I do so many times a day, almost the number I tell my husband I love him. Cheers from Dee and The Fun Guy! Dee



One response to “The Commandant

  1. I would like to ask puppy owners and trainers to teach broad hand signals for the major commands. Our Zoe now has cataracts and is losing her hearing. A broad signal to come when called, to go out in the morning makes a difference. Teach it while they’re young and keep it up for many years. You’ll have a happier dog. You can add to it with sit and high five, turn around, and roll over. Our old girl still will do any of those, silently, for a treat!

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