April 17, 2009

Congratulations, graduate!

It's that time of year again, when after lots of hard work and study, a new crop of graduates walks down the aisle to receive their diplomas ...

This Spring, our dog Remy was among their ranks having successfully completed his first obedience class. Over the course of six weeks, Remy learned to sit, stay, down, come, crawl, off, and a whole host of other commands, and in so doing, he has earned another couple of months as a member of this household. (I can't tell you how close he came to getting his walking papers before we started this class.)

Much to my surprise, Remy was not the worst student in the class. That honor went to a pair of ill-bred miniature Dachshunds. In fact, he was one of the best, which may say more about the quality of the other students than it does about Remy. Being a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd cross, Remy is very bright and caught on to the training almost instantly. For him, the real trial was learning to obey the commands consistently even when there were things to sniff, people to watch, and that pair of Dachshunds snapping at him right and left. For me, the difficulty was learning how to stay relaxed and in control even when my dog was bouncing off the walls.

So when we walked down that aisle last night with a loose lead and sat to receive our diploma, we had come a long way in six weeks. Even the trainer thought so, and after class, she took us aside and asked us to join her advanced training "polish" class in the Fall. (The other students all have to repeat Basic Obedience.) She said that Remy, for all his energy, is a natural at training, and more importantly, I proved to be highly "trainable" myself. She nearly brought a tear to my eye. So congratulations, graduates! Keep up the good work and don't rest on your laurels all Summer.

P.S. And for those of you who know Remy, if you're still doubting the veracity of this post, consider that he actually had to pose for the above photo with that stupid hat on his head, and that, while I wrote this post, he sat quietly under the coffee table chewing his bone and not chewing my cellphone, toothbrush, ankle, breakfast, etc.


Janelle said...

Remy is so cute! I fully appreciate how difficult it is to live with a border collie mix. I live with my sister and her dog, Mittens, is a border collie/spaniel mix. She's very affectionate and sweet but is also completely insane. It sounds like you've had better luck with training than I have!

the Collector said...

Well, it's helped that I've been at home all day with Remy for the past three months while I've been on maternity leave. Granted, he spends half the day in the basement, but the other half he's spent learning how to live amongst people. It also helps that he's now a year old and is finally neutered. But "sweet and affectionate" he is not -- that would be my ideal.

And let it be known that I did not create that silly hat for the purposes of taking that picture. The hat was a "graduation gift" from the obedience instructor. And most of the dogs ate them up before their owners could attempt to put them on their heads!