Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Monday, October 17, 2005

mad dog
I have been debating whether to blog what’s coming and on the weekend, I sent an email about it to this group I belong to - as diverse a bunch as you’ve ever seen. It seemed that my story triggered the urge to give advice on my “dilemma” and while it was nice that they felt they could give me advice, I didn’t really need it. So now I’ll write about it as if I don’t need advice - I hope.

Rocky has done what Sheila called “the Devil dog” thing before - or so I thought. He runs around like a mad dog and barks at you. Well it turns out that was just a hint of what was to come. On the weekend, he started with the running around but the barking increased to hysterical proportions and then when I sat down with him, he lunged snapping at me, still barking but actually biting me at times. In self defence, I slapped at him a few times but that did not seem to make any impact on his behaviour whatsoever.

I then realized that what I was doing was paying attention to bad behaviour and I determined that I should ignore him. Well, when a 35 pound puppy is lunging at you, jumping on your back and biting at your head, that is easier said than done. I knew I couldn’t catch him to put him in his crate for a time out because I’d tried that in the morning when he did something similar although not as escalated. So I turned my back on him and ignored him. Finally he would calm down and be quiet and then I quietly called him a good boy and rubbed his chest. Then he’d start up again. I’d ignore him and he’d get quiet, I’d praise then he’d start up again. It was tiresome, believe me. I also felt I was going deaf in one ear from the high-pitched barking.

Eventually he did stop but he still had that look on his face which meant he could start up again in a flash. Then Peter came home (he had gone to get some groceries). Rocky ran to greet him and forgot all about our (MY) horror story. When Rocky started up again with the devil dog a little later, this time with Peter present, Peter just turned and barked at him and he stopped! No fair, I wailed! I wanted to be the alpha dog THIS time. So it seems that my lot in life is to be the nurturing “mother” (all this time, I have to clean his bacterial boo boo twice a day) but I can’t get no respect.

Let me add that I know it is early days and I am also going to be the one to train him about walkies and such while Peter is at work (gainfully employed outside the home, shall we say). And I know Rocky will respect me and do my bidding (most of the time). But I do find it disappointing that I cannot take the fight out of him with a bark like Peter can. Especially since I had the same "problem" with Uma and never was the alpha dog with her.


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