Try real hard to remember back to 8th grade. At my (tiny) elementary/middle school, I graduated 8th grade in a class of 17 (I can still name every one of them---and a bunch are Facebook friends, who might even be reading this---so shoutout to my class of '93 8th grade grads!). We were the top dogs, and felt like the coolest kids around. Maybe you were the *best* something in 8th grade---the best singer in your class, the fastest runner, the funniest.
And then you went to high school.
And suddenyl you're a very little fish in a very big pond.
That was therapy dog class tonight. Sigh.
If you've hung out with Parker, you know that he's a great dog. We've worked really hard with him, and he does so many amazing things:
-He will lay down and stay at the playground, as little kids run past within an inch of his nose.
-He will whimper and look at me with big eyes---but not move or snap or growl or scratch---when Maya grabs a handful of fur.
-He will gallop floppily to Maya and eagerly lick her face when I say "Parker! Where's Maya?!?"
-He puts himself to bed
-He will wait forever if I put food in front of him and say "Leave it"
But---he wants, more than life itself, to play with other dogs. Just desperately wants to frolick with them in puppy madness. At 7 months, he was the youngest pup there by far---and his puppy "Dogs! Dogs! Hey, you dogs! I need to play with you I'm right here will someone look at me I can't stand it I'm all alone!"ness it the biggest challenge we're going to face.
He did great with the one-on-one stuff---the trainer and her volunteer could pull on his paws, stick fingers in his mouth, etc etc---no problem. He took treats gently. He sat and stayed. But he whimpered, wiggled, and tried to play with the other dogs as they walked by----so embarassing!
I thought we were at the top of our game.
We have a lot lot lot lot of work to do. We might not pass this round of classes, I fear. He might just need to be older to gain more of the self control.
I need to look at it like a challenge, dust myself off, and tackle it tomorrow. But puppy training is really hard work with a toddler in tow. Throw in a toddler who needs constant physical support, and how can I manage it? How can I do our homework --- "find strangers and get them to approach your dog to pet him while you kneel next to him"----while holding a wiggling Maya, or having her sit in the stroller (yelling) to watch?
I thought we were a lot further along this training road than we actually are. And it's both daunting and annoying. Argh.