A Well-Mannered Mini Schnauzer . . . Usually
I began attending obedience school when I was a very young pup, aged 4-1/2 months old. That first class was pretty rough, but I managed to graduate (though not with honors).
Back then, I possessed a pretty limited attention span. Plus, distractions surrounded me! I attended school on the grounds of the Humane Society of Polk County, Florida. Between all the other dogs in my class and the critters running around loose on the property, I had a pretty tough time maintaining my focus — but I persevered.
I’m particularly proud of the picture on the right. That’s me, demonstrating the “sit-stay” command. Notice my excellent posture and how I’m watching my trainer attentively, waiting for the next command. I learned how to do this in obedience school.
Obedience Is Important
Here I’m demonstrating the “down-stay” command. I tend to enter a meditative state when I do a down-stay, and I can hold this command a very long time unless startled or distracted by chickens … or cats … or little kids with food.
I learned other commands at school like “Come,” “stand,” and “heel,” and can do them either on or off the leash quite well.
There is still one area where I must improve my manners. Because I’m such a friendly little guy, I want to stand up on my hind legs and put my front paws on every new human I meet. This is not polite behavior, and I am working on it. It’s just that sometimes I get so excited to make a new friend that I forget everything I’ve learned about manners…
One of the very best things about obedience school is that it gave me the opportunity to socialize with my classmates before and after class. I learned that some dogs don’t like to be sniffed — especially girl dogs — and that’s okay. Some dogs like to play with me and some dogs don’t. These are most important lessons to learn.
After I attended obedience school for about a year, I was invited to join “Dogs In Sync.”
Dogs in Sync is an award winning drill team, sponsored by the Polk County Humane Society. The team performs basic obedience maneuvers and skits to music. All members of the team are volunteers, and all the dogs are family pets. The team puts on shows throughout the area to raise money for the Humane Society which maintains the only no-kill shelter in Polk County.
I was on the team for about five years. I was in a lot of shows and did a few parades. My favorite part was after we finished a show — that was the time for “meet and greet.” I used to get lots of hugs during “meet and greet.” When we moved to Orlando, I retired from obedience training and performing with Dogs in Sync. I really do miss my buddies… those were happy times for me.
I practice my obedience skills every day, and, while it’s difficult to resist jumping up to say hello, I’m working very very hard on being a well-behaved dog. It’s just that sometimes… well, something comes over me. I forget my manners — and everything else I’ve learned — and go for the hug…