Jogging with the dog makes me proud.
A. Because I'm not being lazy on the couch
B. Because we spent a TON of money trying to whip this dog into shape, and now I can take her to the park, off leash, and know that she's not going too far from me.
However, I don't have full confidence that she wouldn't run off if , say, a handsome German Shepherd or a kid carrying an ice cream cone wandered by. So she wears an electronic collar that is equipped to both "page" and/or "shock the fire out of her" if it becomes necessary. She responds well to both, but her trainers told us that if we want to make an impression that we have certain expectations, that we should turn the setting up to "OH MY GOD I THINK YOU JUST LIT MY ASS ON FIRE" and let her know that whatever behavior she is exhibiting at that time is not appropriate. It's called "marking the moment."
So far, she has done extremely well with this training method and we have a great pet on our hands. In fact, we rarely have to use the shock settings on her collar now, because she responds so well to the pager. So the other day I loaded her up in the car to go for a quick run. It was my first trip to the park since she has been out of training, so when we started to get close to passing the couple in front of us, I saw her begin to head their way for a sniff. I meant to give her only a light shock and a quiet correction, but apparently OS had marked a moment recently, because the collar setting was turned up to "SHOCK THE LIVING HELL OUT OF THE DOG." Of course, she shrieked and scared both me and the poor couple in front of us. I apologized to them and explained that she was in training. Then we passed and went on our way. However, as I got passed them I heard the guy say, "Geez...can you draw more attention to yourself?"
So I spent the rest of my jog thinking about this:
In the fall of 2000, I was a sophomore in college. During my college years I was involved in a Christian organization whose focus was on dramatic outreach. At the time I thought this was a great organization. I learned a lot about the Bible. Now, however, I think the organization is a little EXTREME for my tastes...and I kind of wish I had joined a sorority...and drank more margaritas. Oh well.
During the fall of my sophomore year, this organization did a dramatic outreach called "I Agree with Ryan." Because all of my friends were in this group, I participated. Participation consisted of wearing a canary yellow t-shirt that said "I AGREE WITH RYAN" in bold black letters on a certain day, when all the other participants were wearing their t-shirts too. On that day, any place you looked you'd see a canary yellow t-shirt, walking into a building, getting on the shuttle, eating lunch, sitting in class. And I was one of them. The goal was to get the entire campus asking "What the hell?" and when they questioned any of us, we were to instruct them of a meeting held that evening. If they wanted to learn more, they could come and hear about it. Then of course, Ryan would speak and give his testimony in hopes of converting the sinners.
While the meeting that night didn't go off entirely as planned, the first part of the outreach...the get the campus to say "What the Hell?" part, well...it worked. All day long I felt like a giant loser in my canary yellow "I Agree With Ryan" t-shirt...and all day long I wanted to crawl into a hole and drink myself silly. And then it got worse.
The day before the "I'm a loser in a canary yellow t-shirt day" I had given blood. That day I was fine, but the next day, I felt pretty crappy all day long. And I was wearing a canary yellow t-shirt. Great. So I sat in Psych 310 listening to a lecture on the Id and the Ego with 35 classmates...who weren't wearing canary yellow "I Agree With Ryan" t-shirts....because they were normal. And about 15 minutes into class...after all the students had looked at me like I was a loser...can't blame them...my crappy "I gave blood" feeling swooped in full force, and I was hit with the intense knowledge of "in about 60 seconds I"m either going to pass out or throw up." Since I didn't want to do either of these in front of 35 college kids who already thought I was about half stupid, I did the only thing I could think of. I got up in the middle of the lecture, weaved my way in and out of desks towards the door....
and passed out in the doorway...my feet in the classroom, my head in the hallway floor, and my canary yellow "I Agree With Ryan" t-shirt gleaming towards the heavens. The professor dismissed the class, and then about 10 of them stood around while two guys picked me up off the floor and sat me on a bench. Girls were handing me moist towels and water bottles, and they all just. kept. staring.
A couple of years later I was pawing through racks at Goodwill, and I came across an "I Agree With Ryan" shirt. I couldn't help but think it was a much cooler shirt when the attached story was, "dude, I totally found this shirt at the Goodwill for a quarter! What the hell?"
So to the snarky guy at Triple Creek Park....
um, yes, as a matter of fact, I can draw WAY. MORE. ATTENTION to myself.