This is not something I like to admit, but our dogs are not well-behaved dogs. Or at least not yet. It’s not that they don’t want to be, it’s that they’re young and full of energy and distracted by things like–well, like everything. If you combine all of those factors with both of them being quite strong, let’s just say that our evening walks are only enjoyable once both dogs are worn down. This does not bode well for our long-term happiness or for our arms staying in their sockets.

I should also confess that they are both mummy’s girls, and it’s quite possible that I’m inspiring as much bad behavior as I am good. We enjoy chair sitting, naps, and snuggling together in the mornings before convincing myself to get up, but I’m also guilty of being the one to take them on three-mile off-leash hikes at Turkey Creek. With me, you get the whole package: good and evil.

When one of your dogs is a German Shepherd, that dog must be well-trained and well-behaved. For as many people that stop us to ask about her, there are some that look sideways at us and wonder if we’re walking a giant shark and a velociraptor around the neighborhood. Matters are further complicated by children that want to run up and pet them. Parents, if your children want to pet Eleanor and Beatrice, that’s great. We’re all for it. But please hold all of your children’s food items and snacks. I have very clear, very horrified memories of Muddy grinning in delight when a small girl approached, holding an ice cream cone. Muddy wasn’t happy so much for the attention as she was for the ice cream. (We did avert that train wreck, however, and the little girl’s mother held her cone while she gave Muddy a hug.) Knowing how much Eleanor and Beatrice love food, I have no doubt that they will lovelovelove your children’s food.

We just returned from our first training session, and I think Eleanor’s brain is about to explode. The trauma of having to behave, being around other dogs, having to listen, having to learn something new, and worst of all, watching me stand next to another dog that was not her or Beatrice was almost more than she could bear. We practiced Come, Place, Sit, and Free!, but perhaps my best move was giving treats for correct behavior. I’m really good at rewards.

We will get there. Patience. Perseverance. Persistence. And yes, practice. Now come on, girls, let’s go get in bed so that you can practice being snuggle monkeys.

Eleanor, Remembering What She Learned -photo Oscar Ricardo Silva

Eleanor, Remembering What She Learned
-photo Oscar Ricardo Silva