Monday, November 3, 2008

Dog-mestic Violence

I have a secret; I was abused by my puppy. It was a training session gone awry. Our training history is NOT GOOD. We have enrolled in and started dog obedience school TWICE and dropped out both times - shame, shame, shame. It wasn't that she "flunked out" it was really that I flunked - I didn't have the time to practice the things we were taught. You see even though I am not the one who invited this dog to join our family, she is my dog. If I don't have the time to do it, and I don't (insert big whine here about family of five cooking, laundry, cleaning, carpooling, and full time job to boot)then it doesn't get done.

This episode began with me deciding to try to multi-task two things - exercise and dog walking. The grand plan was just to combine them, rather than the leisurely sniff and stroll we usually did each morning, we would pick up the pace and jog. Two birds, one stone, happy dog, happy mama - or so I thought. Out we went and with a deep breath I started to trot down the road. The dog trotted a few steps and we picked up the pace and it seemed to be going well and then - she lunged. The dog just leaped up on me and started biting my forearms. Well because it was 0 dark 30 and kind of chilly, I was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt and a sweatshirt on top of that which meant the bites didn't hurt but I could feel the clamp and this was not a good thing. Lesson one at dog obedience school (which remember we took TWICE so this one is pretty thoroughly ingrained) is to IGNORE bad behavior. You are not to give the dog attention - even negative attention - because it can be reinforcing. I certainly did not want to reinforce my dog lunging up and biting me so I came to a stop and ignored the heck out of her as she repeatedly jumped up on me and tried to bite me. She did settle down and optimist that I am, I tried this again and again and again and then I finally gave up. I snapped her leash onto the nearest stationary object and just ran laps around my circular driveway until I was tired out. We went in, I ate my cereal, I skimmed the Gazette, I fed the kids, I made the lunches, I read blogs, I curled my hair, and then I went to get dressed. I took off that long sleeved t-shirt and in the mirror saw that my forearms from wrist to elbow were black and blue. Oh My Goodness! By that point in the day, the sun was up, it was warm and the uniform of the day around here is a sleeveless blouse but how could I possibly wear that? So I put on a thin but long sleeved shirt and sweated through the day. And every time the cuff inched up a little bit, I was careful to pull it back down. For the first time in my life, I had this glimmer of understanding of why women keep quiet. I've always been one of those, "If my husband ever hit me, I'd be out of there in an instant, how could you ever stay with someone who hurt you?" kind of girls. It's not that I was unsympathetic to women who had endured domestic violence, I just truly couldn't fathom how they could protect the abuser. Well, I have a little idea now. I did everything in my power to hide my bruises. I didn't want to hear from my well meaning friends what a bad dog I had and how something must be done. I love her and she really is a good dog.

That night Ex-Marine and I looked it up on the Internet and saw where when Labrador puppies (and we assume 7 month old lab mix puppies as well) get overexcited, they jump up and bite. So the exercise plan went out the window - it was just too exciting - woohoo! Who wold have thought? I'll give her a few more months to grow up some more and then - well padded - we'll try it again!

1 comment:

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