Obedience school

Obedience School

When I was in middle school Kalayna and I went to obedience school on Saturday mornings with my mom, one or two brothers, and a few of our dogs.  We practiced the training at home.  She didn’t blithely follow the commands the way some of the other dogs in class did, like a German shepherd who could heel and turn and sit right away without even being on a leash.  Kalayna knew what the commands meant, of course, she was very smart with a large vocabulary, she simply chose not to obey them all the time.  She was willful.  My mom said that when she was choosing among the puppies she worried about how the smallest black one didn’t appear to trouble herself with paying undue attention to the human, while other puppies were literally tripping over themselves in excitement about the new person who appeared in their pen.  “This one’s trouble, she’s so stubborn,” she thought, and then brought her home anyway.

Kalayna and I practiced the Stay command in the chaos of the living room with our other dogs running around.  She’d sit and stay and look very sad about it as I’d walk into the dining room, testing if she’d stay until I released her, even if I wasn’t right beside her.  We practiced sitting quietly in front of doors, waiting for them to be opened instead of jumping up on them like the other dogs.  We practiced walking politely at my left side down the sidewalk, not straining at the leash to rush ahead or sniff every bit of grass.  We practiced coming when I called.

The day of the obedience class final test she did not perfectly complete the Heel, Come Round, Sit, and Come portions.  I had to pull a little on her leash for direction, which is easy to do with a 10 pound dog.  Ms. Perfect German Shepherd was showing off her strict obedience without a leash.  Then came the long Stay test sections.  The dogs were all lined in a row, over a dozen of them, about 5 feet apart in the large open gym.  The dogs sat, were told to stay, and their owners walked to the other side of the gym.  One by one, the dogs slowly stood up and crept over to their people.  Except mine.  Kalayna didn’t move and looked miserable the whole time.

After the points were tallied, it was time to announce the dogs who passed the class.  The German shepherd made it, of course, along with most of the other dogs.  My dog’s name was not called.  Then the trainers said, “And now for the dog who received the highest cumulative score and will receive the champion trophy… Kalayna!”  We had not only passed, we had won!  Perfect scores for all the long Stay sections made up for the mediocre walking portion.  We’re #1!  We’re #1!

October 6, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words.


  1. Mom replied:

    Do stop- can’t take any more.
    I don’t mean it tho, well told, and I have told the bottom line there many times over.
    Glad you’re reminiscing on the highlights.

  2. Mom replied:

    OMG it’s the fat extra very so much timid fat guy, and his ever so shy scared of the world doberman who peed every time anybody or dog looked at her, remember them?
    He was a taxi driver. in your photo. They were 2 of a kind.

  3. Mom replied:

    pps further note how your dog is watching the photographer (me:-) )
    the reason I didn’t bring any tripping over with happiness puppies, is, altho “properly marked” white with black spots, black heads and brown eyebrows, they were going to be too huge. And I had been calling on various litters for weeks “of course I docked [read ‘mutilated’] their tails”, so this was the ONLY litter I could find with a tail, and she was aloof but seemed like a perfect size, and very, very smart. so I said to myself, “Not the color I was going for, but size wins the day” and anyhow, she was cute.
    [see now you have my mind spinning over events. The top nostalic experience in my mind from your college years, always comes back to the gruff female 10th grade hard core student placed in our off site school, who was won over the day just she, and and Kalayna, and I were in class. She got to walk the dog, while we quietly talked and she opened up like a flower searching for the sun. all because of Kalayna. She did her homework and was cooperative the rest of the year.
    Other special ed student stories like that….”Ms. Wegner, I wasn’t going to come to school today, but remembered the dog was coming” etc. Or the look of pride on a lowly-shunned- his-whole-life-at- school kid as he goes with Kalayna to another class, and the other kids sit all around the now esteemed student who proudly explains dog care and manners, and supervises dog petting.

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