If you’ve read any of my FB over the last 15 months, you’ll know Buckeye the Wonderdog has been a thorn in my flesh almost since the day he arrived at our house. I never had dogs growing up and he’s not really like any dog I’ve ever met. Buckeye was a rescue from a shelter as a puppy and came trained to sit on command and while waiting for his food. According to my husband, he has a “soft mouth” and never tries to bite any of our children or their friends. He’s quite fierce some sounding when anyone comes to see us. Those are his admirable points.
He digs like a maniac, even after he’s run 5 miles with my husband, pulls on the leash so hard I can’t walk him, refuses to come when called, and did I say he digs? He thoughtfully leaves moles on the back porch for our dining pleasure, gets car sick on long trips, and chews any stuffed animal he can get his teeth in to bits. He also has “sudden loss of cabin pressure” when stressed, which happens a good bit, especially in the car when he’s not throwing up, or any other time he feels like letting one rip. But my children love him dearly, and while I was truly tempted to send him back to the shelter to save my sanity, I just couldn’t do it. Sigh.
We took Buckeye to obedience school when he was a puppy, and he finished the class with a certificate and he could sit and stay and would come when offered really good treats, which was about where he was before the class. He really needed a refresher course, but the class we took the first time was too expensive for our current economic state. The 4-H class was for kids and cheap. We had nothing to lose.
So for seven weeks, Happy Girl and her friend Syd took their dogs to obedience school. They practiced in the ring and at home all sorts of commands. Last night was the big finish, with a written test for the humans and a “show” in the ring at Williamson Ag Center. Parents, siblings and grandparents were invited to watch.
Of course we left too late. Traffic was horrid. Somehow supper did not get made on time–a really long story involving a new Old Order Mennonite preacher, vegetables and an overdue conversation with a dear friend–OK, it was my fault. We were really late leaving for the class and we had a hard time even getting in the car, much less the interstate. There was a missing camera, lost shoes, dog treats to cut up, someone fell running to get in the van and scraped their elbows and head and we had to stop by to get some dinner with the money from the cupcakes I sold at church this weekend. Not my original plan for the money, but there you go. We all ate in the car, surrounding our poor nauseated dog. It was lovely.
We were only a little late to the class.The girls took a written test on dog obedience and different dog breeds, while I stayed outside with Buckeye to get some fresh air and so he could play with his doggy friend Purdy before class. They tend to be a bit mischievous and that’s a big distraction in an obedience class. I ended up being tangled with two overly excited dogs on leashes and Syd’s dad. Nice. After untangling, Buckeye decided to scout out the yard to find a “throne” to do his business. At least there was something he did right. It’s embarrassing for the kids to have their dog poop in the ring.
Finally the kids finished their tests and it was the dogs turn.We go in the Ag center and there’s a pen of sheep in the arena and harassed class leaders trying to keep 30 excited children and their more excited dogs away from the sheep. The sheep are a nervous wreck, knowing full well there are tons of dogs on the other side of their fence who would love to see if they could qualify for a sheep herding medal . Then the 4-H turkey callers are up in the higher levels having a turkey calling contest. It was quite the party.
The kids did great with their dogs, individually leading them into the ring and getting the dogs to obey all the commands, then as groups tried to see who could sit and stay the longest, then who could lay down and stay the longest. I despaired of being able to leave before midnight, when the second age-group of kids had a very long lay and stay portion of the competition. I’m pretty sure the last two dogs fell asleep, because they were laying on their sides–you could almost see them snoring across the Ag Center. We thought it would be most appropriate to let one of the sheep go in the arena to see if the dogs would lay and stay then, but I feared we’d be kicked out of 4-H competition for life, and none of my other children could take Buckeye through the class in the future. Fortunately for the last group, the dogs were tired of waiting around and Buckeye won the lay and stay competition in 15 seconds flat. At least he’s efficient at something.
It was a long night for kids, dogs and spectators, but everyone did great, and there were no dog fights.Somehow, Buckeye came in second place in his class (6th grade and up trainers) for obedience (big surprise) and first place for laying down the longest (not so much a surprise). Emily had the highest score on the written test for her age as well. I’m just glad they didn’t do a home study before recognizing Buckeye as the second most obedient dog. The 20 foot trenches alone would have disqualified him from the class, though it might have won us a place on the Dog Whisperer.
So now Buckeye has won ribbons in a dog show, and has some salmon-carrot
dog cookie dough for me to bake for him as his prize for the dog that can lay and stay the longest. I hope it doesn’t go to his head and I hope I don’t get that cookie dough confused with frozen breakfast cookie dough in the freezer…