I was intrigued. At the stop sign ahead, I slowed down and rolled down my window. "Excuse me, can I ask you something? Is that a dog training technique you're using there?"
The woman couldn't have been nicer. "Yes, it is," she replied sweeping the dog back into place, as if on cue.
"Really?" I asked, a combination of elation and skepticism in my voice.
"We had trainer after trainer come out with their 'positive reinforcements' and 'treats' and"- pause to sweep the dog - "nothing worked" - another sweep - "and then this one trainer came out and now everything is great." Sweep.
"So it's really working?" I asked.
"Yeah, it's working, great!" - sweep - "My dog would freak at the sight of other dogs" - sweep - "to the point I had to break them apart." - sweep - "See, I even have a mark where the other dog nipped me. Not his fault." sweep, sweep - I can't swear to it, but I think the last two sweeps were for the nip.
Now I'm not the type of person to get schadenfreude. Honestly. But hearing this woman's canine woes made me feel so much better about my two, unwalkable beasts at home. Most importantly, it gave me hope that I'd be able to once again take them out into civilization, albeit with a long handled brush.
As I was about to say my goodbye, I noticed another woman coming around the corner with a small dog. "Um, there's a dog heading your way," I said as I started to pull away.
"Okay, thanks! Don't get alarmed if you see me throw something at him." Through my rearview mirror, I see my new friend take her baseball cap off and chuck it at the dog, followed by, of course, a sweep.
Since I have two dogs, I'm waiting for my son to get home from college next week before trying out this innovative, yet old-school method of dog training. I'm just too old to be sweeping two dogs at once. In the meantime, I've been teaching them to sit with a little help from a ShamWow.