As cute as I am, I know I won’t always be able to get by on my looks alone. Even a matinee idol like me can stand to learn a thing or two. So when Heather decided that I needed more formal schooling at the Ahimsa academy, who was I to disagree? After all, I had a blast in those Puppy Kindergarten classes that I took there last spring.
Puppy Junior High was not nearly as much fun. In Puppy Kindergarten, even the biggest breeds weren’t much bigger than I was. It was easy to hold my own. Now, all the other dogs had grown more than I have, and every one was much taller and heavier than me. When playtime came, I mostly hung back and watched. Sniffing around on the floor for treats uncollected from previous exercises was a lot safer than scuffling with the big boys, if you ask me. I’ll wait until I get them outside, where my speed can be more of a factor, thank you very much.
So the yuks were fewer and the homework was more demanding (for Heather and Mike, anyway) in Puppy Junior High, but after six weeks I’d have to say it was worth the time. I can pretty much take a walk like a normal dog now, and I usually come when I’m called–as long as I really want to, that is. Sometimes I hold out for a “treat party.” That’s when Mike or Heather screams out that phrase in a high-pitched voice, throwing a handful of treats on the ground below them. Even if I’m dashing after a squirrel (which I probably wouldn’t catch, anyway), that surefire treat party is too good a lure to ignore. So did I learn anything in class? Yes, I did.
In fact, I passed my figure-8 walking test three weeks ago, so I got to skip right over it at the final exam. That gave me more time to practice “down/stay” on my rug. I hardly needed it; I only had to last a minute, and that’s just a joke. I’m so far beyond that. In another test, I had to respond to seven commands in 30 seconds. Seven? I did 18 without breaking a sweat. In fact, to cap off my exam, I did an optional trick, executing a perfect “roll over” while everyone in the class was watching. For that, instructor Rachel conveyed upon me “graduation with honors” and gave me a prize: a toy (pictured at right, whom I have named Sunny) plus a 10 percent off discount coupon for my next class at Ahimsa. Here’s my official diploma:
So will my formal education continue? Methinks Heather is getting that lean and hungry look. I know she’s dreaming about agility training, or at least Earthdog (kinda like a fox hunt without the foxes). Mike? Not so much, I’d say. But since everybody knows Mike doesn’t like ever like to turn away a discount, he may yet come around to Heather’s point of view. (As he usually does anyway, come to think of it.)