Lent Goal [revised]: “In dog training, jerk is a noun, not a verb.” ~Dr. Dennis Fetko

Since we had a little camera “mishap” yesterday (i.e., Ian accidentally dropped and broke our DSLR camera), I’ve had to revise my goal for Lent. And, after attempting to take Ava on a 2-mile run today, I think I’ve found my new goal:

Train the dog.

Ava is actually a very smart dog. I realize all dog owners say this about their dogs, but even her vet tells us she’s quite bright. However, with her smarts comes a hefty dose of stubbornness. When she wants to stop and sniff the grass, she’s not going to keep walking no matter how hard I pull nor how many times I say, “Ava, come!” Nope, she just lies down with nose to grass and does not get up until she’s good and ready.

She’s also a jumper. And I don’t mean onto things like the sofa and the bed (which she does, and we’re ok with). She jumps on PEOPLE. And CHILDREN. Gah! It’s horribly embarrassing. I’ve learned to knee her in the chest, turn my back, and ignore her when I first walk in the door, so she doesn’t jump on me (or Ian) as much. But I cannot very well tell every stranger we encounter and every poor soul at the dog park to knee my dog in the chest. It’s a bad habit that has to go. I’m terrified she’s going to jump on and knock over a small child some day, and then we’ll be dealing with some very upset parents. And who could blame them?!

And last, but certainly not least, if by chance Ava gets out of the house or pulls free from her leash, she does not come back to us when we call her. Instead, she stops, looks at us briefly, and as soon as she realizes she is no longer attached to us, she takes off at full sprint in the opposite direction. Then she usually proceeds to jump on the nearest stranger. Awesome. While I don’t like the fact that Ava doesn’t listen and will not come when we call her name, I’m more concerned that one day she’ll run off and we won’t be able to catch up with her. I may be training for a race, but I’m by no means a fast runner. When Ava takes off, she’s gone…fast!

Ava does have many endearing qualities: she came trained to sit and now knows how to shake; she is very gentle with Bene, our cat (despite his repeated attempts to punch her in the face); she gives big, wet kisses; she is completely adorable and gets more compliments from complete strangers than I can keep track of; she does not bark at other people, dogs, squirrels, or birds; and she brings us endless amounts of joy. Nevertheless, she needs to learn basic obedience.

Thus, I’ve decided to spend the next 30-some odd days training my dog. I’m making Ian help, too. While she did help me shave another four minutes off my 2-mile run, I am not pleased with her running/walking etiquette (or lack-thereof). I want to be able to take Ava for a run, heck even a walk, without having to muscle her away from people.

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2 thoughts on “Lent Goal [revised]: “In dog training, jerk is a noun, not a verb.” ~Dr. Dennis Fetko

  1. It is a tough thing to do…and I’ve heard good things about “clicker” training. We trained Sydney (the adorable Dum-Dum) by always having treats on-hand to reward her for doing what we want. That dog is bacon-motivated, for sure.

  2. Great goal! Let me know if you have any magic advice – as you well know, my bad boys need training too!

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