Straight to Crazyville: The Grover Howard Story

Last night, Grover and I played fetch out on the small patch of grass at my apartment complex. He leapt over bushes, snatched up the ball with great fervor and trotted around like he was hot stuff. Everything was copacetic until my better half decided to go back inside, at which point Grover fell in behind her, leaving me sitting there with a slobbered-up tennis ball in one hand and 3 or 4 dog treats in the other.

[Insert comment here, gentle reader].

"Dad, you've got my undivided attention for 3 seconds and then I gots bigger fish to fry."

“Dad, you’ve got my undivided attention for 3 seconds and then I gots bigger fish to fry.”

We’ve definitely made some progress with the “G-Man” this week. I think we’ve broken him of “jumping up” on people at the front door. We’ve seen some modest gains in the lay down category, too (he’ll do it, but only when I get down on the floor with him). Walking on the leash remains a hit-or-miss proposition: he tends to do better when it’s just the two of us venturing out for his last tinkle of the night. But all bets are off when the dog in the adjacent house is outside, though – his barking and pogo-stick-like jumping sends Grover straight to Crazyville.

I’m no dog expert; most of what I know about dogs is anecdotal. I don’t think I’m too far a-field when I say Grover is a bit of an odd chap. For starters, he likes to sleep in the closet. (Once upon a time, he slept on the coffee table. Before that, in the bath tub.) He’s able to focus his attention about as well as a moth can fly in a straight line, which, is of no consequence when he’s engaged in harmless activities such as chasing lizards in the back yard. But sometimes I have no idea what’s going through that little pea brain of his. One minute he’s freaking out in the back seat at the 2 dogs who live across the street, and the next, hanging his big goofy head out the window, engaging in a veritable lick fest with the school girls who are fawning over him outside after chorus practice.

Maybe Mr. Hyde needs some gingko biloba or to sharpen his recall skills on LumositySchizo Dog Version. (Hey, there’s an idea!)

The bottom line is we’ve still got some work to do. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s gonna take quite a bit more mental and physical stimulation to cure him of his incessant day-time barking, his feline play-aggression and his leash pulling.

Perhaps someday, in the not so distant future, we can take the garbage can off the kitchen table.

In the meantime, I’ll continue researching various dog training techniques.

Last, but certainly not least, I think it’s important we don’t overlook all the good things about Grover, like how he approaches you on his own terms and gently lays his head in your lap.

To quote my fiancé, who’s never one to mince words, “Grover’s an ass, but we love him.”

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