Scout and Jem feel that Atticus is an embarrassment to them because he is not like other fathers. They feel that other fathers do cool things like hunting and fishing yet their father Atticus is an old man who just sits and reads.
The appearance of a mad dog leads Atticus to shoot it from quite a distance with the first shot, to the amazement of his children. Scout and Jem later learn that their father was one of the best shots in the county, something that Scout wants to brag about but Jem does not because Atticus had not told them about it.
Atticus asks Jem to behave like a gentleman when they pass by the house of Mrs. Dubose who yells at Scout and Jem. He says they should excuse her because she is an old and sick lady. One day Mrs. Dubose tells Jem and Scout that their father is worse than the niggers he works for, making Jem lose it and destroy all her flower gardens. Jem is given a month-long punishment to be going to read to her at the house.
Scout always takes him there and they endure each day until the old lady eventually dies before the punishment ends.