Friday, August 2, 2013

Breaking-All-The-Rules Dog

When I was in kindergarten, I had to move my clothespin to the naughty circle because I couldn't hear my teacher telling me to stop at a certain place when I was the line leader and she was at the back of the line.  I was traumatized and she let me move it back before my mom came in for parents' night.  When I was in 5th grade, I was scolded for putting my paper in the wrong bin on my first day at a new school (even though I just did what my other classmates who had been there longer did with their papers).  I also had to move my bone to the dog house because a classmate talked to me (and I dared to listen) during a math lesson.  I have not gotten over any of these incidents.  I have always loved school and I have never had any interest of breaking the rules.

Before I ran away to visit my grandparents in Colorado (more on that later), Barley and I had a breakdown in class.  I wasn't sure if we could continue training at our center.  The short version of the story is that Barley had to do far more than just move her bone to the dog house; we had to switch classes altogether.  

On Wednesday, the owner of the training center left a voicemail saying she'd like to move Barley to a new class.  We emailed back and forth a few times, and then emailed our current trainer a few times, and Barley and I have switched to a different class.  Everyone agreed that since Barley now has a history with the little terrier, it was better for everyone if we switched immediately instead of waiting until next week for the new session to begin.

We had two options for switching classes.  We could go to the next level up with a new trainer, but some of our old classmates that Barley is comfortable with (and this is what we had planned on doing for the next session anyway).  Or, we could go to the level above that and stay with our current trainer, who knows Barley and has been beyond helpful with dealing with Barley's issues. 

Even though staying with our trainer means a more difficult class, it also means we don't have to explain anything about Barley to our trainer.  She knows what she's getting into by allowing Barley into her class.  She can help us avoid problems and manage them when they do happen.  So, we're sticking with our trainer.  She assured us that she wanted Barley to succeed and that she didn't mind having us in her class again (I have a feeling Santa will be very good to her this year!).

Last night was our first night in the new class.  We had a substitute since our trainer was out at a trial with her own dogs, but she had been given instructions that when Barley was on the floor all of the other dogs were to be in the crate room and she told all of the other classmates not to let their dogs say hi to Barley.  It was nice knowing that everyone else in class was going to be in control of their own dogs, so I only had to worry about mine.  I was more relaxed, Barley was more relaxed, and we had a great session.  Not necessarily in terms of improving our agility skills, but in terms of focus and control we made a ton of progress from last week.

So happy to be back together that we couldn't hold still long enough to take a non-blurry picture.
Since we switched classes immediately, we got to stay at my parents' house for a few extra days.  They're moving a full day's drive away from me in a month, so we stayed to help clean and sort before the realtors came to appraise the house.

Look who we found while cleaning and sorting! My three favorite Pound Puppies.
Barley and I had to vacate the house on Monday while the realtors visited the house, so we took another adventure out of Doggin' Pittsburgh.  We had a great time, but we'll save that for another time because I need to go to the store--I had to settle for pasta and butter for breakfast because my fridge is empty!

Please send good vibes, prayers, or anything else positive you might believe in out into the universe that Barley and I continue to succeed in our new class!


  1. GOOD LUCK! I'm sure she'll do great!

    1. Our first night went well--I'm hoping it gets even better when our trainer is back from her trials! We'll have the sub again next week and she was awesome, though.