Training With Wolfie
By Karen Singer
Chapter 17 – Part 1 of 2
Bobo thought nothing of it when he heard Wolf suddenly start barking and running for the fence. It happened so often on some days that it was almost meaningless. He laid his head down on the porch floor again and closed his eyes. He knew Wolf would be back to lay near him again in a few minutes…after which Wolf would probably get up and bark at the fence again when whoever it was started their car and left.
The cool shade of the porch felt good. It had been getting steadily warmer all day, and since lunch, neither he nor Wolf had wanted to spend much time out in the sun. Not to mention that Wolf’s fur coat was starting to get a bit too warm now to play and rub against too much. How did Wolfie stand it? Not that Wolf had much choice in the matter.
As he laid there, he once again tried to stretch his legs out, pushing desperately against their bindings. He didn’t know why he bothered, it was useless. But it was like an impossible itch, he just had to do it. Not being able to extend them anymore was simply maddening, even though he knew that no amount of effort on his part was going to fix it. But still he tried, and sometimes, wore himself out trying – uselessly. For some reason, his hands bound up into useless paws now gave him less trouble. He wasn’t sure why, but he thought it might be because his fingers inside those paws were already extended.
He opened his eyes when Wolf came back to the porch. They were still open when Wolf checked on him and licked his face. He didn’t move as Wolf walked over to the back door and sniffed at it…which meant that whoever had driven into the driveway was still in the house. He closed his eyes again. Nap number one hundred and six for the day was waiting.
His eyes opened fast when he heard the back door opening and Wolfie letting out a little growl. Whoever had come, had been still in the house, and now the back door was opening. There was no time for him to run and hide. He saw Rosa come out, but not Connie. But then she was now living in his house next door. She wouldn’t have driven up. But right behind Rosa, he now saw those two new people, the man and the woman. The two who had brought leashes with chains and had looked him and Wolfie over a bit too much a few days ago. He saw Wolf bark twice at them, but Wolf didn’t do much more except to stand there and look at them threateningly.
Nervous at the sight of them, he sat up. He watched as the man reached out and pet Wolf’s head. Amazing! And he watched as Wolf backed down and sat. And then…uh-oh. The man was heading for him. And he had that darn leash with the chain on it in his hands again.
“Hello Bobo,” Jose said softly. “How are you today?” He reached down and pet Bobo’s head. “Time to go to work,” he said.
Work? What work? Bobo was totally confused. And then he saw the man opening the loop in the chain and bringing it towards his head. He shied away, not wanting it. He got to his feet and backed away a step.
“No!” Jose said firmly. He reached out and grabbed Bobo’s collar for a moment, then let go of it. “Stay!” he commanded. This time when he reached out with the choker collar, he was able to slip it right over Bobo’s head. It had only been slightly tight in a few places, the perfect size this time to get over his larger head. He pulled up on the leash. “Come!” he commanded.
Once again Bobo had no choice but to go with him or get choked to death. As he got led toward the porch steps, he saw Wolf disappearing into the house with Rosa and the woman. He was alone with this guy, and he was defenseless.
Jose led Bobo down into the yard away from the house. He didn’t try to go too fast. When he was far enough away from the steps, he stopped. “Bobo…sit!” he commanded. When Bobo was sitting, he dropped the leash and stood back from the strange dog. “Madam Rosa is busy in the house right now,” he said to Bobo. “She will be working with my wife today to begin getting Wolf under control when visitors come to the door. Your owner won’t always be around when we are training or when Isabelle will be working with you. Madam Rosa said that she gave you only one easy taste of one of her smaller whips as a warning against behaving in any way as anything other than a dog.” He leaned down. “Now I want to make you the same warning. I have no interest in what Rosa will do to you if you do not act properly. I will make you very sorry instead. Rosa’s little whips are one thing, but I am much stronger than she is, and I will hurt you in ways you could never imagine. So I suggest you do your best to forget you were ever human, and remember what you are now – a dog! I will not tolerate even the slightest hint of you behaving as anything other than a dog. And Bobo, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a dog trainer. Both my wife and I train dogs for a living, so we both know quite a lot about how dogs behave, and human behavior from you in any way at all will not be tolerated.”
Bobo was having trouble digesting all that. But the part that came through the most, was his threat to hurt him, probably badly, if he didn’t continue to try and do everything like a dog. He had been afraid of this guy before, now he was even more so.
Jose continued. “From what little I saw of you when we were here before, you seem to have trouble moving very fast. That’s one thing we will begin working on today. There were a number of other things I saw that we’re going to have to work on as well, we’ll get to them later.” He picked up the leash again. “For now, we’ll work on walking you properly on a leash.”
He pulled the leash tight, turned, and started walking. With the leash again threatening to choke him, Bobo had no choice but to follow as best he could.
Jose didn’t go too fast, but he moved at a moderate pace. He didn’t allow the leash to go slack at all, he kept Bobo’s head right next to his side as he walked. Every time Bobo started to lag a bit, he jerked on the leash like he would any other dog. Each time he did, Bobo moved faster again, working harder to keep up. After a few minutes of it, he wasn’t pulling on the leash hardly at all. It wasn’t unusual for a dog to have trouble keeping up when he turned to go a different direction, Jose was well aware of how dogs reacted, but in Bobo’s case, those were the times he needed to tug on the leash a bit more. That though, was normal. But Bobo still wasn’t moving very fast.
“Okay Bobo,” he said as he continued walking. “Time to move a bit faster. He stretched his steps out more and began moving at a faster pace.
Bobo had already been going wild trying to keep up, and now the guy was trying to hurry more. There was no way he could keep up. He felt like he was being dragged by that leash, and consequently, he could barely breathe since the thing was constantly choking him. He had been breathing heavily trying to keep up before, now he was wheezing…when he could actually get a breath.
“Bobo! Keep your head up high!” Jose commanded as he pulled the leash up higher.
Keep his head up? His head was being dragged wherever the guy was pulling it! He just wanted to stop and catch his breath.
“Bobo…trot!” Jose commanded.
Trot? That was a new one. How? He wasn’t a real dog! What did this guy expect him to do?
“Keep your head up and trot. Run a little,” Jose commanded as he continued to pull Bobo faster than Bobo seemed to be able to manage comfortably. It took only a few moments of watching Bobo though to figure out that Bobo didn’t know how to move in any other way than what he was doing. Jose knew he was going to have to come up with a way to teach him. Bobo was going to need some additional…incentive to move faster than he was now. He stopped to let Bobo rest.
Bobo didn’t just sit, when they stopped, he laid down, panting for all he was worth. Go faster? He couldn’t! Why couldn’t the guy see that?
Jose gave Bobo a few moments to rest, then jerked on the leash. “Up!” he commanded. “Come!” Once again he took off walking at a moderate pace.
Bobo was still tired, but he did his best to keep up. At least the guy wasn’t moving as fast as he had before.
Jose began walking faster again, trying to get Bobo to move faster. Again, he had no luck with it. Instead of stopping though, he slowed down to the pace that he had learned Bobo could tolerate better. He walked him that way for a few minutes, then led him at that pace straight back toward the porch.
“I must come up with a way to teach you to move faster,” Jose told him as they stopped at the bottom of the steps. That is my job to teach you, and your job to learn. But it is up to me to find the way to teach you. You move too slow, too cumbersome. I will give it some thought. Hopefully, next time, we can teach you to move better. I have no doubt that when you learn, you will find it to be very helpful.
Bobo found himself being led up the steps and straight into the house. He didn’t see anyone in the kitchen as they went through, but he did see his water bowl. For a moment, he tried to head straight for it, but a quick jerk on his leash put an end to that idea as the guy led him into the living room. Rosa was there with the woman. And so was Wolf, who came right over to him and licked his face. He rubbed his head against Wolf’s head affectionately. Wolf still had a leash around his neck and it was dragging on the floor under him.
Bobo jumped when he suddenly heard someone knocking on the front door. He desperately pulled against his leash, trying to go back into the kitchen where he would be out of sight, while Wolf barked furiously and ran to the front door.
“Bobo. No! Stay!” Jose commanded as he pulled tightly on Bobo’s leash, nearly pulling Bobo’s front half off the ground. Bobo thought his neck was breaking, he had no choice but to stop and stay right where he was. But he watched as Rosa stood between Wolf and the front door, not opening the door, but simply waiting for Wolf to stop barking, which he did after a few moments. Only then did Rosa open the door. Bobo was relieved to see Connie on the other side. He watched as Connie came in and Wolf moved closer to sniff at her for a moment.
“That was a little better that time,” Connie said, “but it took a long time before you opened the door.”
“It’s going to take time and a lot of practice, I’m afraid,” Isabelle told them. “We’ve only just started. But this is exactly what you’re going to need to practice with him every day.”
“And with this one,” Jose added, indicating Bobo, “I think he needs to learn to stay in place and not run away.”
“How do I handle two dogs at the same time to do two different things?” Rosa asked.
Jose smiled. “Practice I’m afraid. Practice and consistency. The consistency is the key. Perhaps punishing Bobo here when he tries to leave would be a help.”
Rosa smiled. “I’m sure I can come up with something that I can use to take care of that problem.”
While you are still working here with Wolf,” Jose said, “I’ll get the things out of the truck and set them up in the backyard.”
“Do you need me to do this again?” Connie asked.
“If you would please,” Isabelle replied.
“Of course! Anything to get that big monster under control.”
Bobo watched while Connie and Jose went outside. Rosa and the woman sat. Wolf searched around the room for a minute, then pulled one of his toys out of the basket to play with. With the leash still attached to his neck and dragging underneath him, Bobo went to his favorite place between the chairs and laid down. He was beat! He would have gone to the kitchen for a drink, but he was too tired to get up. His bigger problem though, was that he didn’t get to stay there very long.
“Bobo, come here,” the woman commanded.
Bobo looked up to see the woman standing in the middle of the room. She now held the toy that Wolf had been playing with, and Wolf was sitting expectantly in front of her, waiting to see if she would throw it for him.
“Bobo…come!” the woman commanded again.
Nervously, Bobo pulled himself out from between the chairs and approached. He sat off to the side to see what she wanted. But instead of doing something with him, the woman said, “Here Wolf. Get it!” Then she threw the stuffed toy to the other side of the room. Wolf gleefully bounded after it, where he grabbed it, then laid down right where he was to chew on it. But Bobo saw that the woman didn’t seem to be interested in what Wolf was doing. Instead, she grabbed another of Wolf’s stuffed toys from the basket and approached him.
“Bobo. Catch!” she commanded, then she tossed the toy gently at Bobo’s head.
Bobo ducked, and the toy hit his shoulder.
“No! Catch it!” She picked up the toy and tried it again. “Catch!” Again she threw the toy at him. This time she hit his head. “As Jose said,” Isabelle noted, “he doesn’t seem to like to use his mouth as well as he should.”
“I guess I should have done more with him about that when I was initially training him,” Rosa replied.
Before we leave, we’ll talk a bit about things you can try to improve that.
While the women seemed to be sitting and talking again, Bobo went back to his favorite spot and laid down. He was there for a few minutes when the doorbell suddenly rang. Terror went through him, and Wolf ran past him as he headed straight for the door, barking and growling like crazy.
While the women were trying to get Wolf under control, he took off for the bedroom to hide behind the bed. After a moment, he heard Wolf’s barking stop. He stayed where he was, until Rosa showed up a minute later.
“Found you!” she said. “Come Bobo!”
Bobo didn’t want to move.
“I said come!” She reached down and grabbed his leash and pulled. Bobo went, but it wasn’t willingly. Rosa pulled him all the way out to the living room where Wolf was now sitting far from the door, still growling softly at it. Isabelle was standing near him, holding his leash.
Rosa led Bobo right up next to Wolf. “Sit!” she commanded. “And stay! If you move from here, I’ll whip you good!”
Oh no! Bobo sat right next to Wolf, but the only thing he really wanted to do was to run…faster than Jose had been trying to drag him earlier.
“Now open the door,” Isabelle said to Rosa.
Rosa opened the door, and Wolf immediately stood up, growling more, and ready to run toward whoever was there.
“Stay!” Isabelle yelled firmly at Wolf as she grabbed his leash and gave a quick pull to get him sitting again. “Bobo…sit!” she commanded.
Bobo hadn’t even realized he had stood up. He was very relieved to see Connie once again coming into the house. Wolf’s big nose sniffed the air, then he settled down and laid down right where he was.
“What took so long that time?” Connie asked. “I heard Wolf stop barking, but after that, it seemed like forever.”
“We had to find Bobo,” Rosa explained. “He hid himself behind my bed.”
“I think, perhaps, this is what you should have both dogs doing when you open the door,” Isabelle told them. “Both of them should get used to sitting right here before the door gets opened. Once they get used to that, then it will go much easier and faster for you.”
“I can see that I’m going to be used as a Guinea pig for all this practicing,” Connie noted.
“Do you mind, dear?” Rosa asked.
Connie sighed. “Not if it means I’ll finally be able to come over here without being worried about being mauled as soon as I get in the house.”
“Thank you,” Rosa said as she put an arm on Connie’s shoulder.
“I guess we should see if Jose has finished outside,” Isabelle said. She reached down and picked up Bobo’s leash. Now holding two leashes, she led both dogs to the back door and out to the porch.