I’m a different person.

Every weekend, Elka and I go to Dog Sense for training. We both get trained at the same time. She’s a smart dog, understands the commands, but doesn’t always want to do them – she is particularly bad at “sit” at home. She looks at me with languid eyes and says, yeah, I heard you, but I prefer to stand -thank you. (I like to say she’s the lowest class dog in the cohort. We’ve got 2 standard poodles and the rest are beautiful Lab/golden puppies. There is really nothing more beautiful that a Lab puppy who is bred to please its owner. Sit? Yes, of course! Let me look cute and please, please, please can I have a treat?) What is remarkable, really, is my own response to training. I took the exact same class in 2010/2011 with Maxi. I am so much more relaxed this time around. Last time, I was worried all the time, what if Maxi doesn’t do the thing the teacher wants her to do? What happens if she’s the worst in the class? What if she embarrasses me? This time, I’m having a lot of fun not caring about Elka’s performance. She’s a good dog. She’s going to end up medium-trained as all our previous dogs were also because she’ll be limited by my willingness (lack of) to maintain discipline and order and consistency. I have no illusions about her being well-trained (Jeremy wants a well-trained dog, but he’s more and idea guy than the follow-through guy). She was pulled to the front of the class for a demonstration on Saturday for a distracted recall and kept jumping up on the instructor. A decade ago, I would have been mortified. Now, I was like – oh well, that’s unfortunate.

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