Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Puppy Training

Why do people who don't have dogs feel the need to make snarky comments to people who do have dogs?

Dogs are considered puppies until they are two human years old. My dog is only a few months over one human year old; so, she is still WELL in her puppy phase, which means I'm still training her. Just like people, dogs have personalities. My dog is possessive of her people, which means she doesn't get along too well with other dogs. Other dogs scare her. When she is scared, she reacts like a little demon, and I'm still trying to train this out of her.

Like people, this is not an overnight process. Consider my dog, if you will, a terrible-three-toddler who is really scared. Screaming at the top of her lungs? Got it. Red in the eyes? Got it. Won't let anybody go near her? Got it. Like I said, we're working on it, and I get bit a lot. A LOT. It is all part of the process. Hub doesn't like to get bit; so, I do a lot of the "rough" work. She bites me, she gets smacked in the head. This is the same process I used with my god children (although it was a flick in the head and not a smack), and it works. The goal is to re-orient the brain - distract it from the current obsession and put it on a new track. It takes a while, but I do eventually get Epona to calm down. I still have to show her who is boss, and we're still working on it. IT IS A PROCESS.

So, we went for a walk tonight. And Epona hears another dog. A big omfg-dog. She starts to freak out, naturally. As I was prepared for this, we get down in the grass on the middle of the sidewalk and start to "talk" about who is boss and whose way we're going to go. A few smacks in the head, a few showings of the teeth later, I win. We're less concerned about the dog, and we're ready to keep on walking. Down the street farther, we hear another dog. The process is the same but it takes a little bit less time. Only now, we're in ear shot of jackass out in his yard just watching me work with my dog.

"Sounds like someone needs some school!"

Now, how is that, in any way shape or form, helpful when I am obviously trying to teach my dog not to be an asshole? I've been on the ground with the dog four or five times, and we haven't even made it all the way down the block yet. OBVIOUSLY I'm working on it. So, I started to feel like a failure because my dog isn't all shiney and perfect. Defeated, I started to head for home.

Halfway there, this hits me: FUCK THAT.

I'm not anywhere near perfect, and I don't expect my dog to be perfect either. Dogs have personalities, too, and they shouldn't be conditioned to be little robots. I'm perfectly happy with my dog being anti-social (hey, I am too!) as long as she will listen to me when she is in the midst of her freak-out. But she's a PUPPY for crying out loud. She may look like a fully-grown dog, but she's still a puppy, and she's still learning. I DID get her to start listening to me in the midst of all of that fighting, and she got to the point where I could correct her without her biting me. And bonus? We didn't even break skin this time. (I know that sounds horrible, right? I have had to literally bite my dog to show her I mean business. She isn't taking shit from anybody except Momma.)

So, when we got home, we walked around the back yard for a little bit on the leash because she needs to remember how to do it for longer than just down the block. Like I said, we're working on it. I did get her to walk RIGHT BESIDE ME all the way around the yard. And just to prove my point, I made sure I walked her halfway down the block where fat-ass bald-head could see me doing it without her freaking out all over the place.



  1. One of the girls I worked with didn't believe in disciplining their dog. They were taking it to some high priced obediance training and it was all 'positive reinforcement,' rewarding the dog when it did soemthing right but never acknowledging the bad things it did. It was some of the msot bogus things I ever heard. Was trying to tell me that if you spank the dog for pottying inside, that it would get confused and hold it because it would think that it could never go... She was a twat though.

    I do fully support strutting by the douce bag neighbor though.

  2. Fuck them all. My dog went through a couch, all of our shoes and bags, and most of my patience before she became the "good dog" she is now. And the same people who used to tell us to "take her to school" now praise her.