Saturday, June 21, 2014

The further adventures of Gretel... or the worst first piano lesson ever

Gretel loves to play. One of Gretel's favorite game is chase. Gretel doesn't want to chase people (though there's nothing better to her than chasing rabbits and squirrels), she wants people to chase her. Chase is even better than fetching balls. Playing chase is the best, best thing and Gretel will do anything to get people to chase her. Gretel has discovered that bolting out the front door is the very best way to play her favorite game.

Gretel's people do not like to play chase. They will throw balls. They will point out the rabbits. Gretel's people do not think playing chase is fun. Gretel's people think that playing chase with Gretel when she bolts out the front door is the worst game in the world. Gretel's people have to play the game Stalking when Gretel bolts and carefully sneak up on her, piece of food in hand, to stop the game the of chase. Gretel's people do not like this.

One of Gretel's people teaches piano. This is fun because there are always new people to ask to play. But Gretel's other people don't often let her do this and keep her in the kitchen. This makes Gretel sad. Why can she not play with the new people? This morning, things were different. All of Gretel's people went away except for the one teaching piano. They did not put Gretel in her crate. Gretel could say hi to all the new people, though none of them wanted to play. Gretel was sad and sat and pouted on a chair.

Then, one of the new people left the door open. Gretel's person was busy talking to the new person. Maybe the new person wants to play chase! Gretel runs hoping someone will play. All of the people come out of the house. Maybe they want to play. Oh, wait! Gretel feels something. Gretel has some business to do before she plays chase. OK, Gretel has taken care of her business, now they will play chase. Gretel runs. No one chases her. Gretel runs some more. Gretel looks at the people and does not look where she is running. Bang! Gretel has run into something. It was hard, but it has driven away and it is not there anymore. Gretel tries to run that way again. Some other big things comes close and honks a horn. Gretel's person is calling. Maybe running back to the house is a good idea. Oh, look! There is that new person again. Maybe she will want to play, Gretel will go ask.

Darn. The new person didn't want to play. The new person grabbed Gretel's collar. Gretel's person put her in the crate. Gretel is sad. Gretel didn't get to play.

In all my years of teaching, never have I had such a ludicrous first lesson. The dog bolts. The dog poops in front of everyone. The dog runs into the street and runs into a moving car. (I'm picturing traumatized piano students watching their teacher's dog get killed in the street.) The dog is fine and runs into the street AGAIN, narrowly being missed by a second car. The parent of my new student catches the dog and I put her in the crate.

The moral of the story? If you husband asks you if you want the dog put in the crate before everyone in the family leaves, say YES!


Ann said...

I'm sure you realize that every time you chase her, you're reinforcing the behavior, but you don't really have a choice if there's a road near the house. Still, the current situation may not end well. I know you guys don't have the time, and I also know that Gretel is young and will calm down--but this problem can be solved with training. Or an invisible fence; they can be installed DIY for very little.

thecurryseven said...

Just to clarify, we don't chase her as I said in my post. But we do have to lure her back because believe me, she won't come by herself and she will get herself killed in the process. And in case anyone thinks we are negligent pet owners, she has had a very experienced trainer working with her every. single. weekday for the past year which does put a little dent into our budget. She is getting better and since she is not quite two, she is very much a work in progress. Thanks for your concern. Just remember, being able to laugh about something doesn't mean I also don't take it seriously.


Anonymous said...

maybe she is a dog who needs a lot of space to a farm. not sure how much acrage you own. I know we have neighbors who's daughter had to move back in and they have BIG dogs…they ARE older, but they run and don't come back..break from the leash…it's awful. We have another neighbor with a huge dog and an invisible fence. The fence wire got disconnected, but the dog remembers where the boundry is which is good since there is a trail with bikers and a road over the hill. I think dogs were meant to be wild. i feel bad they were ever domesticated. I think there is still ALOT of wild in them:( my SIL dog got out in winter and was hot by a car. he had trainers and meds and everything….

Ann said...

My goodness, a trainer every weekday should do it in the long run! I feel as though dogs--larger breeds, especially--are adolescents
until they're three. The good thing is that once retrievers are trained, they're TRAINED. Sorry to have nagged about something you're already taking care of.

Lucy said...

Heh. Gretal, meet e-collar. Cheaper than an expensive trainer, by far.

I am sympathetic. Every dog my dh and I had all our lives up until we got Rhodesian Ridgebacks, would bolt out the door at the first opportunity. The cairn terrier was the worst. Little bugger had short legs but ran just fast enough to make you think you almost had him but never really could quite catch him.

The ridgebacks were a completely new experience. They want to be with us. Breed matters a lot.

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