I don’t spend the day waiting by the front door with leash, clicker and treats in case someone stops by so that the dogs and I can practice greeting visitors calmly. When I know someone is coming, rarely am I organized enough to get one dog confined and the other at the door. Then there’s the hard part—training the visitor to ignore the dog and wait for me to finish clicking and treating, all of which has to be explained in the space of a nano-second over the din of one dog setting off the other, even if the other is outside, which sets off the parrots screaming like six teenagers being tortured by having their iphones snatched away.
It just doesn’t work very well.
Alanis is the culprit who starts barking and won’t stop. Miró will bark a couple of times but he prefers to stand up on his back legs and give big aire-waves. If you happen to be within reach of the paws, so much the better. It is not easy to practice “sit” when you have to shout over the noise of barking and parrot-screaming, especially when your goal is to sound calm.
Being a dutiful student, I try. Today my son came home with two friends. Naturally they headed for the kitchen where treats and clicker happened to be still on the counter after the morning’s class, along with objects too numerous to name. I hustled Alanis outside and attempted to capture Miró’s attention.
Trainers tell you that you have to be more interesting than whatever else the dog is looking at. I am not very interesting, even with cheese in my hand. In the midst of screaming chaos and three young men investigating a food cupboard, I sustained new scratches on my arms and Miró managed one sit and one bow. Is that success or what?
If you turn the volume to max, you'll get the merest glimmer of the real noise.