If you follow me on Twitter you might know that last night was a less than stellar night. I've currently got all three dogs at my condo. Roxy, Lily and Gigi. As if my condo wasn't crowded enough, add three dogs to the mix. My shoe display is totally trashed because Roxy barges out the door as soon as I open it a sliver and sends all my pretty shoes flying in her wake. I'm learning to shrug it off.
I love dogs. I adore my dogs. I want to own more dogs and one day have a huge ranch where I can rescue animals of all kinds. The last few days with my beloved fur babies, however, have been difficult. I lost my patience last night. I'm generally pretty good about wrangling my dogs and remaining calm when they start going bananas for no good reason, but last night I was overwhelmed. Just getting out of the condo with all three of them is a chore. A loud, barking, pulling, getting dirty looks from strangers chore. I'm not a fan.
These three mutts of mine were simply out of control last night. Yanking me in all directions. Barking at people. Barking at other dogs. Putting on the brakes right in front of me so I trip over them. And then Roxy crossed the line and I LOST my cool. A little girl walked up to Lily - which Lily loved - to say hi and pet her. When Roxy turned around and saw new people she lunged forward and scared the little girl. I freaked. I know it was wrong according to dog trainers because dogs feed off our energy, but no matter how much I love my dogs I will NOT tolerate them upsetting kids. I yanked so hard on Roxy's leash I thought I was going to dislocate my shoulder. I apologized to the little girl's mother and marched off with the dogs. I was so angry I wanted to cry.
I was mad. Mad because people were looking at me like I was an irresponsible dog owner and mad because Roxy acted out. She's afraid of everything. I know why she acts the way she does, I just wish I had the time to work with her on it. The four of us sat in the grass for a while until I calmed down. There were two more incidents after that when finally I called upon my Cesar Millan skills (which were otherwise lacking at this point) and went wolf on those dogs.
They settled down (a bit) and we walked back to my condo. I prayed to every heavenly person I could think of to just get back to my suite without a huge scene. Honestly, I've blocked the elevator ride to the 18th floor out of my memory. This morning on our walk...there were only two small barking incidents, courtesy of Gigi and you better believe I laid the smack down on her - without laying a hand on her of course.
I don't believe in aggressive training for dogs and Wednesday's are usually days when I share some of the stuff that's making me (and hopefully you guys) happy, but my experience last night needed to be shared with all your fur parents who have at one point or another thought you were going to lose your mind with your misbehaving dog. I felt horrible for losing my patience and yelling at my dogs. I'll never have the best behaved dogs. We've been through puppy class - more than one session - and my family and I work with them, but they're still individuals with personalities and quirks and habits. Have patience. I know it's not an easy virtue to come by in some situations, but I promise you, you'll feel better if you ask for some patience and help when you really need it.
So, if you feel like you're going to have a melt down today and need somebody to "talk you off the ledge," ask for some patience and picture me being dragged by my own dog across a baseball field in downtown Toronto. Is your problem so bad that you can't get a laugh at my expense?