I was on Skype with my sister the other day, who lives in Germany & has an 18mo Saint Bernard… probably not the dog I would recommend to a first time dog owner with limited access to obedience classes, training supplies, & breed & training books. I’m sure all these things can be found in Germany… but my sister hasn’t come across them and hasn’t been able to get anything shipped to her from US suppliers like Petsmart, because it’s an APO. Anyway, she’s got this 120 pound dog she can no longer control, and she and her husband are at complete odds as far as how to manage it. I was giving her some suggestions and pointers that have worked for me, and thought… what the heck. It’s not like my blog doesn’t already go in seven directions at once, and decided I’d blog about my training efforts.
So far, the new additions to our crew are working out really well… The dogs are getting along remarkably well with each other, and have been great with the kids. Sassy is really warming up and starting to seek out attention, and Rico… well, he has love like an ocean for everybody. Slowly but surely, Sassy & Rico are learning the new house rules.
Training, I have to admit, has been going a little slow… in part because I’m not just training, I’m re-training… and not just one dog, but two, as this is the first time I’ve introduced two new dogs into the mix at once. Not to mention, I have three little helpers who want to chime in every time I speak to a dog… and now the dog in question has a variety of commands coming from all corners. Read more…
- Mommy is a fan of the NILIF philosophy… Nothing In Life Is Free (I can see that your previous owners were swayed by your adorable faces and puppy dog eyes, but if you want a treat from me, you’re going to have to earn it)
- Four legged’s are only allowed on furniture when invited by a two-legged (but be aware that invitation will NEVER include Mommy’s bed)
- I am not swayed by table beggars (Sassy, laying your head in my lap and gazing up mournfully while I’m eating dinner is a good, but you’re wasting your time cuz that stuff doesn’t fly when it comes from one of the three other two-leggeds sitting at the table… and I birthed them)
- Mommy prefers her arm in its socket (Rico, if you prefer to breathe during a walk, I suggest you do not dislocate my shoulder)
- We do not eat table legs (Sassy, I know as well as the next girl that dieting is rought at times, but trust me… you are NOWHERE near starvation)
- We do not mark territory on other pack members (Yes, Rico, I agree she should not have had her face all up in your stuff, but peeing on her nose was uncalled for; a growl or light nip would have done it)
- We do not chew off each other’s collars (Sassy, again… stick to what’s in your dog dish)
- DO NOT DROOL ON THE LAPTOP (Rico, you short out my cracktop and I will ban you from my lap)
It’s hard to even know where to start after my last blog, but first I want to thank everyone who offered comfort to my family and I after the loss of our dogs. I didn’t respond to wall posts or comments like I normally do, but I read them all and can’t tell you how much they meant to me.
The kids all slept with me Tuesday night… I sent the girls to Ro’s the next day, and Tyler and I tried to go through our regular day. As melodramatic as it sounds, I was finding it hard to breathe. When the tears overcame me, it wasn’t the dainty pretty cry. It was the snot blowing, leave your stomach muscles aching full on ugly bawling. Not a real attractive look at work, so I went home as soon as I could.
Once I got there, I remembered why I went to work in the first place. I didn’t want to be in my house without Roxie and Beau. I didn’t want to walk past Roxie’s kennel in the hallway. I didn’t want to look at Beau’s bed, or vacuum up the piles of hair he left behind. I didn’t want to go to my room because I would have to pass the the back door and think about how I hung that bell on the knob, and then with the power of clicker training, taught Roxie to ring it with her nose when she wanted to go outside. I didn’t want to remember all the times the first few weeks that she woke me up at three or four in the morning with that bell… not because she had to pee, but because she wanted a treat. She may have been a badass, but she was no dummy.
After coming home the next evening, Halle told me that Daddy had said he would get her another dog… which was well intentioned, but you all know what happens when Ro buys something. He always goes overboard (I say we need a van, he shows up with an Escalade). I could see him doing what he tried to do after Ramie died, and getting a puppy that would have me running home in the middle of the day and up in the middle of the night; but I could totally understand why he did it. Halle was in tears or on the verge of almost every time I looked at her. She told me,
I want the dogs back for my birthday. I know we can’t get OUR dogs back… but I want the dogs back.
When I got home from the girls’ bus stop yestereday morning, instead of pulling in and immediately closing the door with the remote like I usually do, I got out of the car and moved a couple things out of the garage for bulk trash pickup… one of those items being the airline grade kennel that Beau busted out of earlier this year. Like, literally… he popped the door right out, then broke Roxie out of hers. I gave up kenneling him after that (it was the second kennel he’d destroyed) and reinforces the door & all corners of Roxie’s kennel with zip ties.
After I put the items at the curb I headed inside, and closed the garage door from the wall switch and simultaneously opened the door into the house… Roxie was right on the other side and rushed past me so fast I couldn’t even get a hand on her… and as I stood there screaming Roxie NO and praying the garage door would close FASTER… she dodged under it. I’m standing there with the house door partly open (I’ve got one of those door stops at the bottom for when I’m carrying in groceries and it fell down) so while I’m slapping the wall switch trying to get the garage door up and clearly NOT THINKING about the door from the house not being fully closed, Beau damn near knocks me over. I couldn’t find them before I took Tyler to his bus stop, and drove around a little afterwards but there was no sign of them. I went on to work, not wanting to call my boss and tell her I was going to be late two days in a row because of my badass dogs. Initially I wasn’t worried; half the time one of them gets out, the errant dog is waiting for me at the front door when I get home from looking for them. Both their collars have our home phone & full address AND my cell phone, and they’re super friendly. But as the day went on, there was no call.
Roxie mastered a new skill about two weeks ago. Yesterday morning, right after she jumped out of the yard & before I took a jaunt through the neighborhood that resulted in me being 15 minutes late to work, I thought to myself,
I bet it doesn’t take her more than 30 seconds to get over that wall from the time she gets out the back door.
Sadly, I was right. The good news? She’ll jump back in… and stay in.