Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parental Failure

I think I'm finally ready to admit it: we have failed as parents with our first-born.
Disobedient, stubborn, jealous, slightly overweight, nosy, no regard for personal space, and that's only the beginning of the problems. I only hope that what people say about a dog being a good test of your parenting skills is not true. Because if Oscar's behavior is any indication, Sophia is in a world of hurt.
As much as we try, Oscar is just Oscar - for better or worse...usually more for worse. We started trying to get him used to walking on a leash from the time he was a puppy, and he has never taken to it very well. We've tried just about every contraption out there to train him to walk calmly beside us rather than pulling and huffing and puffing in front of us, but nothing has worked. Even as we walked last night, Oscar gagged himself by pulling once again on the leash, and Herschel replied, "It's really simple, Oscar, if you don't pull, that won't happen." Unfortunately nothing is quite that simple with Oscar.
In fact, Oscar has graduated from not one, but two(!!) obedience classes. Graduated, not simply participated. We're talking mortar board and everything. Which only makes me lose faith in our education system.
What we got out of these two classes is that Oscar is extremely food motivated - no shock there, hence the slight weight problem, and that despite his behavior, he's just so doggone lovable. Each week when we would enter Petsmart for our class, everyone could hear Oscar coming - puffing, barking, whining, sooooo excited to get to go to class. And all the employees, knowing what was coming around the corner, would say, "Oooh, it's Oscar!" while other customers with their well-trained dogs looked on with horror as we corralled Oscar into the classroom area.
That's the reaction we get most places. One time when he was displaying similar behavior in the waiting area at the vet's office while waiting to be boarded, a rather nervous looking older woman with a perfectly behaved pooch said, "Oh, this must be his first time." To which the receptionist who happened to overhear the comment replied, "Who Oscar? No way, he loves it here!" About that time, they came to take him back and greeted him with a, "Hey, it's Oscar!!" For the record, I've never heard them greet another dog like that, by name. It's like he's a celebrity there. And we all know how great celebrities behave...
I know we're certainly a part of the problem, and we used to be a little embarrassed about it, but now we know that there's really no changing it. So we just love him. And all of our closest friends have learned to love Oscar as well. Whether it's chasing him around our living room or letting him lay on top of them as we watch a movie, they know that it's just Oscar. And there's not much you can do about it.
For all of his faults, he is potty trained, so at least Sophia's got that in her favor.


  1. Ha! Harper gets the same greeting at the doctor! They can hear her coming from a mile away, and the nurse practitioner always says "I hear Harper!!!" It's really special!

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