A Couple of Smooth Operators!

The Smooth Collie twins have struck again! Just as my house was tidy and clean in anticipation of the hubby coming home from his week out of town, I made a grievous error in judgment—bringing them in for some quality time as I wrote this blog.

The mistake became clear the instant I opened the door. A mad rush of sable fur tore past me at breakneck speed. Before I could utter a single word from my mouth, Jest was on the sofa—the one with the neatly arranged pillows hand-sewn by mother-in-law. In a joyous moment completely free of the restraint of his thinking brain, he began tossing pillows in the air before finally settling in for a good back scratch on the cool leather. Satisfied with the destruction of the couch, he moved onto the matching loveseat, repeating the carnage against the innocent pillows.

Meanwhile, his more devious sibling was taking advantage of my shock and loss of speech (or perhaps we should call it “shock & awe” Collie-style) by surfing the nearby game table. There, to her great delight, she found dishes left by my teenage children. After occupying herself licking up any morsel left—fit for consumption or not—she headed for greater challenges.

Bren has mastered door opening—no door in my house is too difficult for her high-level abilities. I am quite convinced that she has an opposable thumb cleverly concealed as a dew claw…Opening the door to the man cave, the hubby’s office, and, finally, to the kennel room, she was on a hunt for forbidden treasures. Once in the kennel room, she scored the ultimate prize—a jumbo-sized bag of Pupperoni carelessly left on the grooming table. As I approached to finally gain control of the situation, she resembled a raccoon caught in a garbage can, up to her neck in the Pupperoni bag.

While I am not proud to admit this, this rampage is repeated in my home on a daily basis. The victims of the carnage change depending upon which door of the house I open for the beasts. Bringing them in from the deck onto the main floor of the house results in an all-out Wild West Stampede through the kitchen, straight for the pantry. If the pantry door is closed—no problem. Bren has that one covered with that cleverly disguised opposable thumb. I have adapted to the daily pantry raid by placing high value items on a higher shelf. But occasionally I forget—just ask my kids about the loaf of Hawaiian bread they didn’t get a bite of last week…

For all of the chaos they bring to my life, I love the smoothie twins with all of my heart. I know that right now they are a living parody of the cobbler’s kids who had no shoes. My smoothies are the dog trainer’s dogs who haven’t been trained. The truth is, even a dog trainer has only so many hours in the day to devote to training dogs. After my hours spent with clients, teaching group classes, or writing behavior plans, I have little left for my own pets.

I admit this to you—my failure in training my own dogs--so that any of you struggling with your dog’s behavior know that we all struggle with the same things. No dog is perfect—there is always something to be worked on. I coach my clients to make training a fun activity for both they and their dogs…work on sits and downs for 5 minutes in the kitchen at doggy dinner time, or work on sit-stays during commercials while watching TV. I think it’s time for the trainer to take her own good advice and start working with the smoothies!

In the meantime, their exploits still leave me grinning ear to ear. The joy that they bring me easily surpasses any inconvenience of living with them. And, I vow, that the next time you hear about the smoothies, training will have become a regular part of their daily routines. I can’t wait to tell you some of those stories—I bet there will be some doosies!

Happy Training!

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