You can't tell me that animals don't know what they're doing-not after the embarrassing so called "graduation" Molly just put my husband and I through. Hundreds of dollars spent just to get my lab to respond to commands such as Sit and Stay, Heel and Off. I'd be happy to just have her listen to Off, but no...the petstore training center was like all the other California educational schools tonight; passing students that deserve to fail.
Yes, I said it-my seven month lab deserved to fail. She couldn't have been any worse if she had squatted and peed in the store. Oh wait, she did.
For the last class of Molly's continuous education, the trainer tested all the dogs on little races, like fetch and puppy push ups (sit, lay down, as many times as they can in a minute) The day before she did 17. Now we couldn't get her to do more than two.
Like other good parents, my husband and I worked with Molly for weeks, and she did great. We felt ready and were proud to display our dogs pending diploma. The trainer explained that our puppies would be tested that evening as though we were going through a canine good citizen award test. She would have to show she could greet people without jumping, walk on a leash without pulling, stay while we disappear (by the end of the class, my husband and I were tempted to run from the store) and finally, they must be able to wear the little graduation cap and poise for picture.
I knew we were in trouble five minutes into class when a fellow pet owner handed us a home made zip lock baggy filled with dog treats and Molly jumped up, ripped the bottom out of the bag, spilling all the treats and then gobbled them up like free donuts at a weight watchers meeting.
"Focus!" I commanded, holding the one remaining treat before me, hoping against hope to hold her nonexistent attention. The embarrassing part of this was I was the one who kept getting reprimanded. "Julie, don't shout at the dog, Julie, don't keep repeating the same command, Julie, don't hold the leash so tight, etc.
Throughout the night, Molly greeted everyone by jumping on them, and when the trainer watched her heel down the cat food isle, she proceeded to pull treats off the shelves. At one point she felt as though she was finally staying by my side but when people began laughing and pointing, I looked down to find she had pulled a pot of growing Kat nip off the shelves and was holding the muddy clump in her mouth.
We felt doomed, she would never graduate. When the class came to an end, our trainer gave away "the most improved dog" award. Up until this last class, my husband and I felt sure this would be Molly. She had grown into a loving calm dog, an important part of our family. Now as we sat there, too embarrassed to look up, we couldn't believe it when Molly's name was called. She won? We smiled apologetically, all the while, my husband still trying to get her to sit and stay long enough for a photo. While other's clapped unenthusiastically for our wild sweet pooch, Molly merely wagged her hard rutter-like tag, pulled the gradation cap off the dog next to her and trotted proudly away.