Yay, a Boston! Am I biased about working with Bostons and boxers? Without a doubt. They just feel so … familiar. When I first meet one it’s like, “I don’t know you yet, but I know you already.” I was thrilled to add sweet Lilly to my training roster, but she wasn’t the only attraction in the household this morning. Lilly greeted me at the front door with typical Boston enthusiasm (read: jumping), and was followed closely by Gunther the 10-year old German Shepherd. Gunther was perfection on four legs … mellow, sweet, gorgeous, and very tolerant of Lilly’s silliness. Then a surprise inquisitor popped from beneath the couch: 12-year old Cleo the cat! She stood on her back legs, rested her front paws on me and checked me out without an ounce of fear. Who are you, she asked, and what do you smell like? Bugs the 11-year old cat joined us, but opted to watch from afar. Just when I thought that the ark was at capacity, out strolled the star of the morning, 16-year old Milo. (Lookin’ good for 16, eh?) The cats watched Lilly’s lesson for a few moments, then Milo’s nose picked up the hot dog aroma. Suddenly, Milo was on a mission. “Meow. Meow. Meow.” Nonstop, until I broke down and gave him a hot dog sliver. Big mistake! That set the stage for the rest of the lesson … Milo meowing, and me feeding him hot dogs to get him to stop meowing. That crafty cat schooled this dog trainer! (Yes, I realized that I was “training” Milo to beg, and I loved it.) Lilly, my actual student, did a fine job. She had a tough time figuring out “sit” at first, but by the end of the lesson she nailed both the position and the requisite “pay me” gaze that always accompanies it. Here’s the gaze up close: I’m a slave to the animals in this household!
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