Monday, January 16, 2006

Drug Induced Canine Truce

I don't like my dog. It is a weird position to be in. I really don't like her. But we're working on it.

I am, by nature, a dog lover. I had one dog growing up from the age of five until after I went away to college. I've had dogs since, usually a dog I picked out as a puppy, always a dog that I got to train and mold and teach good behavior and tricks. I had a yellow lab in college, Hammer, that I taught to get me beer out of the refrigerator. Now that was a dog. I had a great Golden Retreiver until a couple of years ago. Lost her in the divorce. Ouch.

Me and kiddo started talking about getting a dog several months ago. I thought I'd be a good citizen and get a shelter dog, an adult that is already housebroken and well-behaved. We went to a shelter but there wasn't really a dog there that "spoke" to me. But there was no way you can promise a 4-year-old a dog, go to a shelter and then leave without taking one home. So we decided on Daisy. She was small and timid, and she licked kiddo's face a lot.

One day, shortly after we got settled in with Daisy, Kiddo and I went out for a couple of hours. I had left her inside before, and there wasn't a problem. Well that day, she destroyed six sets of blinds on the three sets of french doors in my den. I mean destroyed them. They are expensive.

"All right, you little fucker" I said, "this means war."

She looked right at me and said, "Bring it on, old man. Let's see what you got."

She had a great stategy. She would do stuff she knew was wrong, then wait for me to get mad, at which point she would cower and pee on whatever surface she was on at the time -- floors, carpets, couches, beds, didn't matter. You couldn't get mad at her for being on the bed, because if you do, she'd pee on it. Very Clever. And she was conniving, too. One night, she came back to my bedroom to check that I was asleep, before going back to the kitchen, getting up on the counter and helping herself to a pan of fresh baked key lime squares. She checked to see that I was asleep! Well, I wasn't asleep, and I heard her, and I caught her and she jumped down, cowered and peed on the floor.

I was telling my very good friend about my problems with Daisy, who I began referring to as "that satanic little fucktard." My buddy says, "Maybe we should try some anxiety medication." He can say stuff like that. He is a veternarian.

We put her on one pill a day. It helped. She went from "satanic little fucktard" to a much milder "evil little fucker." Then I left her at the boarding facility at my Buddy's hospital for a few days over Thanksgiving. After being around her for five days, he doubled her dose. She is better now.

I was reading Brittney's account of training her dog from reading a book called "The Dog Listener." She goes into elaborate detail about becoming the Alpha in the relationship. I read it all, and this is what I took from it: Ignore the dog.

It works. We have a truce. She and Kiddo absolutely love each other. When kiddo is here, she plays a lot. When kiddo isn't here, she sleeps a lot. I ignore her. It is best for both of us. She still does stuff she knows is wrong, like get on the counter and eat the brownies or dig through the trash for chicken bones. She knows it is wrong. My buddy is a very good and experienced veternarian. He has no idea why she does it.

My theory is that her uncontrollable drive for people food is like Bill Clinton's uncontrollable drive for a blowjob. Consequences be damned, I've got to have that right now. She can't help it. I bet Clinton wishes he could have gotten out of all that trouble just by peeing on the floor.

She's locked in the playroom, watching a movie with kiddo right now. Kiddo uses her as a pillow. Cute little fucker.


At 3:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I suggest that you educate yourself about canine behavior? There is nothing wrong with this dog that you couldn't address if you understood the basic principles of being a pack leader. Look up a dog behaviorist named Cesar Milan for more information about how to control any dogs behavior by understanding how to communicate effectively with your dog. He also has a TV show on the National Geographic Channel. The problems you describe could just as easily develop in a dog from a breeder so please don't make assumptions about shelter dogs. The likely source of the problem is your qualities as an owner.


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