Friday, January 13, 2012

SALLY THE BRAT

First the good news -

The afternoon walk yesterday (between rain and snow storms) went pretty good.
I give Sally the Dog a B.
We went to the neighborhood church our usual way, but came back a new route.
All things went reasonably well, with some give and take of how far one of us can wander from the other, and how long one of us can linger at any certain item of interest.
We went about a mile or so.

Now, the Bad News....

Last night was another trying session with the new Resident Fur-Ball.
I let her in from the back yard just as I was to begin preparing my dinner.
I do this because I like to spice up her kibble food with some real food flavoring – leftover soup, or meat grease.
I know that it is not good to give too much of this stuff to dogs, but this amounts to a spoonful or so to her meal.

She was happy to see me and we did our usual tail wag - body rub greeting.
I fixed her food and set the bowl on the floor then finished fixing mine.
She began eating while keeping an eye on my doings.
Things went okay until I went into the living room with my food to watch the local evening news.
Then the contest began.

She began to put her paws up on my leg, as if to look at my food.
I kindly, but firmly, pushed her back down, saying, “no, down”.
After about six or eight times of this in 30 seconds, I stood up and walked back into the kitchen.
Sally followed and went straight to her food bowl and resumed eating.
Seeing this, I went back to my couch to continue my eating.
She followed.

Then we resumed the climb-up-push-down game.
At some level she understood my desire because she became frustrated – laying on the floor growling, wagging her tail, standing and biting the cushions on my couch, my pants legs, my hands, or my shoes.
We both understand that her biting is the only way she knows how to play at this point in life.
She never snaps out of anger.
It is clear to me that she is trying to bite “gently” with her hypodermic teeth.
No changes there.
And she does not try to bite when she is up on my leg, she just seems to be sniffing and looking.
But I cannot let her develop this habit.
In a year or two, she will not need my leg to see/smell my food.

I got up, and went back into the kitchen to let her out, thinking she might be trying to tell me she needed to go potty.
When I opened the back door, she just sat down and looked at me.
After a few seconds, I closed the door and went back to eating my food.
And Sally came back to me and started the jumping up/push down game again.
When I stood up and went into the kitchen, she would, again, go to her bowl and resume eating her food.

On the third cycle of this routine, I figured out that she was just playing an I-want-attention/domination game with me.
For whatever reason, she did not like me watching TV in the living room while she was eating in the kitchen.

On the fourth cycle of me PATIENTLY but firmly telling her “no” and pushing her back off of my leg for eight or ten times, I lost all patience with her.
I walked to the back door, invited her out and closed the door.
Once again Sally was banished to her back yard.
And once again, I was frustrated, angry, and upset.
Again, I am disillusioned with this whole experience.

I have found, from doing some reading, that her baby teeth will begin to fall out in March – two months from now. That is also the time I can have her tubes tied. I look forward to some changes.

In addition to all of this, I am having stress issues with my job.
They are pushing us to do things that I am not comfortable with.
These are no illegal things, just tasks that I know I do not do well – like calling people I do not know to invite them to come and do business with the company I work for.
Basically, selling.
I HATE selling.

….....

This morning, Sally was nearly a model dog.
And she seems to have grown 2 inches taller over night.....
She sat and waited while I fixed her food with barely a whimper.
She did not jump on me a single time. (although I was seated at the dining room table, not in the living room while eating)
When I took her outside after the eating, she did her business (both kinds) with little delay.
We played for about 20 minutes with my gloved hands, which is always relaxed, flop around play.
She seems to really enjoy this type of play.
When I put her out back for the day, she seemed to accept it easily (thought it was clear she would have preferred to stay inside (it is 25 degrees with a breeze and cloudy this morning).
.

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