Lulu and I arrived early for our Saturday lesson with “Badrap.” I wanted to get situated before the other dogs began arriving.
Tim glanced over and said “Hi there, you can just stand in the corner.” No problem – Lulu was a corner kind of gal at this point in her training.
She sat on the asphalt in front of me, watching as the other dogs began arriving. I kept up a low chant. “Sit,” “no, sit”, “sit Lulu,” “sigh…sit Lulu.” She was like a small jack in the box – up, down, up, down. She was thrilled watching the other dogs arrive and join the rough circle in the parking lot. Sitting in front of me, she would watch a dog approach, and look up at me grinning as she jumped up to do a little jig.
Tim walked towards me. “Let me take her for a minute,” he said. It wasn’t really a question. I handed him the leash, and he turned to head across the circle with Lou trotting along beside him excitedly.
“I’m going to let her meet Misty,” he said over his shoulder.
I took an anxious step forward. “I’m not sure that is a good idea,” I said a little urgently.
He probably made it about half way across the circle, within about 30 feet of Misty, before Lulu began her sweet song of greeting. It really was very similar to the sound of an old firehouse siren escalating. Everyone stopped to watch as Tim attempted to control the singing, pirouetting maniac. I just sighed and lowered my head. I felt like such a bad dog parent, watching my child throw yet another tantrum.
“Lulu no,” Tim said as he tried to control the rapidly escalating little dog.
“Lulu, look at me,” he said again.
“It is no good.” She is in the zone,” I wanted to say. Her face was all scrunched up, and the wide, bright brown eyes were locked on Misty. I knew Tim had lost the battle, but he was the professional, and I just the humble owner. I kept my mouth shut.
As she lunged and bucked, he suddenly picked her up. I just groaned. She HATES to be picked up, and has this ability to harden her entire body and gyrate rapidly, slamming her limbs and rock hard body into your head as she struggles to be released. It is kind of like trying to hold onto 15 rapidly spinning sledge hammers. I had learned this painful lesson during her first bath.
She landed a blow, and was unceremoniously dumped on the ground. But the missile had already locked onto it’s target, and she continued to lurch towards Misty, much to the horror of the owner, who was quickly backing off the asphalt and into the bushes.
Tim grabbed Lulu from behind, wrapping an arm around her waist. I watched as time slowed, and she turned to bite what was holding her. I saw her mouth open wide as she lunged and I reacted, desperately yelling “NO LULU.” She froze and looked towards me. Crouching low, she darted to the side, away from her perceived attacker, heading back to me, tail tucked tight.
Everything just happened so fast. As Lu sat on my feet trembling, I bent down and took the leash, petting her head briefly and whispering soothing sounds as I stood back up.
I did not want to appear to side with Lu, so I just kind of shrugged slightly and held out the leash to him. Everyone was watching. We all knew she had been about to bite him, to redirect her aggression towards the man restraining her. This was only our second time here, and I did not want to get asked to leave. I was thoroughly embarrassed, and I’m sure it showed on my face.
“Join the circle,” he motioned to us. “Let’s get the lesson started. He probably felt sorry for the poor woman with the crazy dog.
We joined the circle, with my two neighbors quickly moving aside to allow Lu and I plenty of room. She stayed right beside me, sensing the tension and unease around her. She did everything I asked her to do, including sitting and laying calmly as other dogs passed us. She even did a hand shake at the center of the circle with another dog.
Tim took her from me again and put her through her paces. She was a different dog – a well behaved dog – a dog new to me. I wondered how long this would last.
We had an hour ride home, and she usually curled up and slept all the way back, but not today. She sat stoically in her seat, looking straight ahead. Occasionally, she would look out the passenger window, but never turned to look at me. I don’t really understand dog behavior, but she seemed to have something on her small determined mind.
I was used to controlling most things around me. If I could not, then I cut my loses and moved on to whatever came next. Patience is not one of my strongest virtues. I had a feeling that my patience was going to be tested many times over the next few months – even the next few days.