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“Cookie! No!” Justin grabbed his dog’s collar and hauled him out of the flower bed—again. “I told you not to dig in Mom’s flowers.”
Justin shook his finger in his dog’s face. Shloop! Cookie licked Justin’s hand as if to say, “I love you too, Justin!”
“I hope these flowers will still grow,” Justin said as he bent down to fix the spot where Cookie had been digging. Suddenly, Cookie was back, digging a hole while Justin was trying to fill it. “Oh, no, you don’t!”
Justin pushed the dog away from the flower bed. He hooked a chain onto Cookie’s collar to make him stay put.
Cookie whined and snuffled at Justin. He wanted to dig in the dirt.
“Now sit,” Justin commanded. The dog didn’t sit. He just licked Justin’s hand again and gave Justin a goofy doggy-grin with his teeth all showing. Justin couldn’t help smiling. He loved his dog, especially when he grinned like that. But it sure would be great if Cookie would listen to him and obey for once.
Justin walked in the back door, his hands dirty from fixing the flower bed. He went to the kitchen sink to wash.
“What happened?” asked Mom.
“Cookie was digging again.”
“Oh, dear. My poor flowers,” Mom said as she put lunch on the table.
After Justin finished his lunch, he went across the street to Matt’s house. Matt was in the backyard with his dog, Penny. Justin watched in amazement as Matt commanded Penny to sit, and the dog obeyed right away.
“Wow!” exclaimed Justin. “That’s super! How did you teach her to do what you say?”
Matt looked up proudly. “Penny went to obedience school,” he answered.
“Obedience school?” Justin asked. “I sure wish my dog could go. He won’t do anything I say. I tell him over and over to sit, but all he wants to do is slobber on me. He never listens.”
Matt laughed. “You should sign up at the pet store. They have classes where you take your dog and teach them to listen to you. Here, I’ll show you.”
The boys spent the afternoon playing with Penny. Every time Matt told her to do something, Penny obeyed!
That evening at dinner, Justin asked his dad, “Can I take Cookie to obeying school at the pet store?”
“You mean obedience school?” Dad thought for a minute. “I don’t know, maybe. Why?”
“Because, Cookie won’t do anything I tell him to. Like today, I told him over and over again not to dig in Mom’s flower bed. But he just kept doing it anyway.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me,” said Mom.
“Matt took Penny to obedience classes, and today, he told her to sit and stay. Then he walked away, and Penny stayed right where he left her,” Justin explained. “I’d sure like Cookie to listen and obey. Then I could take him for walks without worrying that he’ll run out in front of a car or chase a cat or something.”
“Hmm,” said Dad. “I guess we can call tomorrow and find out about the classes.”
“Yay! Thanks, Dad,” said Justin excitedly.
A few days later, Justin stood in a fenced-in class area at the pet store. He gripped Cookie’s leash tightly as he listened to the instructor.
“We’ll start with sitting,” the instructor explained. “Give a quick pull up on the leash and tell your dog to sit.”
Justin looked at Cookie. “Okay, boy. Sit!”
Justin pulled up as he gave the command, but Cookie did not sit. Instead, he lay down and rolled on his back waiting for Justin to rub his belly.
“No, Cookie,” Justin said, embarrassed. He pulled on the leash again to make the dog stand back up. “Now, sit!” commanded Justin as he pushed down on the dog’s back end.
“Let me try,” the instructor said taking the leash and yanking up quickly. It didn’t hurt Cookie; but it did surprise him, and he sat down.
“Wow!” said Justin. He took back the leash and Cookie stood up again. “Sit, Cookie,” Justin commanded and pulled quickly on the leash. Suddenly, Cookie barked and bounded toward a small poodle to say hello.
“No, Cookie!” Justin yelled and gripped the leash to drag Cookie away from the poor, frightened poodle and her startled owner.
When class was over, Justin rode home in the back seat with Cookie panting in his ear.
“Don’t feel bad, Justin,” said Dad. “The instructor said some dogs take longer to get it. Be patient, and remember, even if he never obeys at all, you still love him anyway ’cause he’s your dog.”
Justin worked with Cookie all week long pushing and pulling and sometimes ending up flat on his back with the dog licking his face.
“Bleecch! I didn’t say to lick me,” Justin said as he got up from the ground and wiped his face on his sleeve. “I said ‘sit!’” Suddenly, Cookie sat.
Justin stared in surprise at his dog. “Hey! You did it, Cookie. You sat down like a good dog.” Justin gave Cookie a great big hug and tossed a doggy treat to him. “Hooray! I knew you would get it!”
Cookie swallowed his treat then looked up at Justin with a big, loving doggy grin.
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.