Well here he is, Julio after a busy, busy day. This is all he has been able to manage since we got home this evening.

Today was our first day of training class. We signed up for class to give Julio more experience in social situations. This session of Dog 101 also has two of my coworkers’ dogs in it, so it was fun to have the WHS small doggy gang together. I also feel guilty for not taking Julio to classes before this, so hopefully it’s better late than never. And after over a year and a half at WHS I hadn’t taken Dog 101 from our amazing trainer Annie. Put this all together and the time was right to sign us up.

Taking Julio to a Monday evening class means that he has to come to work with me, which presents its own set of challenges. He doesn’t mind hanging out in my office while I’m in there, but tends to notice when I’m gone and complains about it. Shrilly. Today he actually did a bit better at this and was able to stay calmer when I walked out of the room.

Libby also spent the day in my office, although you’d never know she was there. She’s the nicest, mellowest girl who loves her bed in the corner.

Libby is so good, she makes pretty much any other dog look like an unruly maniac. So Julio seems especially vile compared to her.

One nice thing about Libby is that she doesn’t put up with Julio’s naughtiness. She grumbles right back at him and tells him to shut up. Then Julio will flirt with her which is pretty cute.

The other critter in the office is Kaser’s fish, Zen. Zen is a very peaceful companion, who also makes Julio seem ill behaved in comparison.

It’s really cute when Zen hangs out in his house.

So even before our 6pm class Julio had a busy day hanging out at work with me. It’s hard work being the soda machine monitor. Our Coke machine is on the wall outside my office. I had no idea how frequently people bought soda from it until Julio started coming to work with me.

The thunking sound of the soda being dispensed, which I have apparently tuned out for a year and a half, sets Julio’s alarm sensors off and brings out a round of barking. Guess that’s another behavior we can hopefully work on.

When class time came I gathered Julio’s variety of mini treats and we headed down the hall to join the six other dogs in the class.

Well, no miracles were achieved by simply walking into the training center. Julio treated all other participants to one of his full fledged shrieking episodes. It is always fun to see people’s expressions when they hear this for the first time. It’s a combination of amusement, shock and thankfulness that their dog isn’t capable of making such a horrendous noise.

I was actually pretty impressed at how well Julio was able to focus for the first half of class. There were definitely moments of distraction and more shrieking, but he was able to pay attention and work on the exercises we were supposed to practice.

But halfway through the class, the sensory overload started to hit along with all the treats to the belly. Without being able to motivate him with food (he even turned down the peanut butter spoon Annie gave him) we weren’t able to work on too much during the second half of class other than just being in a setting with lots of people and dogs. But we was much quieter during this time.

By the last five minutes of class, Julio was curled up at my feet exhausted. When it was time leave he did perk up and was able to show off a decent “wait” at the door.

When we were chatting afterward, Annie said Julio did better than she expected. We survived and I don’t think I have permanent damage to my eardrums, so that was probably successful.

After class, Julio had a mini play session with Falco and Zume, his chihuahua classmates. Watching the three of them run around the offices was pretty amusing.

Julio was practically comatose on the drive home tonight and even survived a trip though the drive through with less drama than usual. I’ll share the story of the Taco Bell incident some other time.

Here’s to five more weeks of the Julio Improvement Project!

PS – For a small taste of Julio’s sounds, check out Trent’s website. Keep in mind that this is just his whine and not his actual shriek. Happy listening!