He showed up in a shiny black truck. Us dogs started barking like crazy. That’s what we do when anybody comes to the house.

Mom was real happy to see him. She called him Matt and gave him a big hug.

He had a dog in a crate I wanted to meet, but we had to stay in the back yard. Then this big doofus of a golden retriever jumped out. He was huge and handsome.

Matt said the dog cost more than his truck. That’s nothing. Mom says I’m priceless. Turns out the dog was really a puppy. A very big puppy who was learning to hunt.

That’s what Matt does. He teaches dogs to hunt. He also teaches them manners. Do you see where this is going?

It’s true. Mom said us house dogs were getting worse not better in the manners department. She said we all three gang up on her, barking rudely at her when we want her to do something.

Mom told me I was going to get my wish. She said I kept bugging her to do something and now she had done it. We’re all gonna get home schooled. Oh no! I like being a brat. I don’t want no stinking manners.

Once we were all in the big yard with the blond puppy, Matt sized us up. It didn’t take long. Jack got off the easiest because he’s old and deaf: easy going, wants to please. Matt said Tess was a softie, lacks confidence and starts fights because she misreads signals from other dogs.

Then it was my turn. I kinda knew it was coming. Matt said I was full of myself and wanted to boss everybody around. He said I was too smart for my own good and needed a full time job. He called me a handful.

Just to show mom that Matt didn’t know what he was talking about, I started bugging the puppy. When mom tried to stop me I herded everybody into a circle. I was just starting to enjoy the chaos when Matt intervened. In the biggest voice I ever heard he shouted “QUIT!”

Of course Jack didn’t hear it. Tess was startled and flopped on her back. I was so surprised I stopped my bad behavior. The puppy ran and sat next to Matt. Mom tried not to laugh and I suddenly got a glimpse of my future. There’s a new sheriff in town and things are gonna change.

During our first lesson Tess learned to heel, Jack learned one slap on the leg means sit, and I learned not to interrupt while people are talking. Mom got a lesson plan for all us mutts. Jack starts off with remedial training. Tess is in first grade and I’m in reform school. Good thing I learn fast!

You know what? I’m already liking the lessons. Each one of us gets special time with mom and then we get play time after. This home schooling might not be such a bad thing after all. Stay tuned. Matt comes back next week to see how we’re doing. Gotta run!

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