02 September 2016

Bringing Up Banksy :: Part 6 of 9

I tried out a couple of puppy classes. In the first one, Banksy had mad skills compared to the other puppies. Except we had one little problem, being that it was held in a little play yard where fluttering shadows danced on the droughty dead grass, and then the other half of the class was out on the most dreaded surface of all, a smooth asphalt parking lot in the breeze. The other puppies practiced heeling, my puppy just wanted to stare at specks. She earned the funny nickname OCD Pup.

Yeah, real funny, I'd think through gritted teeth as I tried to convince my puppy to look at me instead of that crunchy little leaf about to blow.

In the next class I tried, by only the second class, I was already the punchline to the hilarious joke about what happens when ladies with slow little dogs go out and get a high drive border collie. Have you heard that one? You know that batshit crazy cuckoo pants puppy in your class with the apparently clueless person on the end of the leash? What we like to call in dog training land, over threshold? That was us. My idea for puppy class had been some stays, some recalls, some circle work. Not going well.

When I asked the teacher for help of what to do when my puppy was meltdown freaking out of insanity from the other puppies running around, she replied "Well, I think what happens is people with quiet little slow dogs go out and get themselves border collies. Then they think they're going to be so easy to train."

I had to think about this for a second. According to my passive aggressive decoder ring, I was obviously the They here.

"I didn't think it would be easy…geez, all my dogs have been hard to train." Which is super, incredibly true. Also, they are totally not slow.

"Doesn't everybody with a border collie have a first one?" I honestly don't remember how she answered this. But it definitely wasn't the answer I was looking for to fix the Tasmanian devil I had on my hands.

"Border collies aren't the right dogs for everyone," was pretty much all I was going to get.

So. Not. Helpful. I dragged Banksy back through the class of running puppies, and shoved her into the car. Only thing I could figure out to do. Then I dropped out of that class. I don't know who's brain was fried more. Banksy's from watching all the other running dogs, or mine. Both of us have brains that sometimes explode.

But I WAS a border collie person, I could feel it deep down. I loved her hiking with us in the woods and her wild, goofy spirit and the way she flung herself into the pond. I loved all her funny circus tricks and how she brought back the frisbee every single time, no questions asked. She just wanted to learn, she wanted to play, she always wanted to DO IT AGAIN! She was sweet and goofy, a fluffy weirdo who had some complicated personality traits that my simple skills couldn't quite figure out. Being a lifetime confirmed non-instruction follower, now I really needed some kind of manual to unlock the predictability of unpredictability. A little booklet and the Special Tool required for all fifty thousand weird shaped screws. I needed Tim Gunn sweeping in with a pocket square, belief in me and a hug. I just had to make it work.

to be continued...


Meecie said...

Sigh, this post made me sad at the border collie community.

I volunteered with Border Collie rescue for some time, and people would get really hung up that certain dogs "needed" homes with people with experience with border collies. I was a lone voice saying "most of us had a first dog who taught us a lot, and EVERY dog teaches me a lot. You don't need an experienced home, you need a home that will rise to the challenge."

Congrats on being a home that rises to the challenge. Banksy is in the right place, that's clear.

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