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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Embarrassment 101

Lessons in too much trust too soon.

So things have been going well with the little bat dog, we did som' training in the street, where we practiced recalls, default check ins and just general Stay-wif-dee-hooman stuff. He did fantastic. Like Emma or Chili type fantastic. Very focused on me, not a care about anything else. Very "show me what you want" or "phhht, my last owner taught me this" Good stuff, really good stuff. So that, coupled with the "omg don't leave my sight to go to the bathroom, or to turn off that light in the other room" syndrome filled me with a sense of trust. This dog likes me, wants to be with me inately, and will respond to me if I need him too.

A false sense. Apparently.

So I decided this morning to take the smaller dogs to the dog park. This is an ordeal because I have to get collars on them all, which is fairly normal until Chili's collar comes out. Now we know som'thing special is happening. Chili's collar only goes on him if we are actually going som'where, because Kiwi feels the need to "play" with him by grabbing his collar and picking him up. *sigh*.

The way I get 4 very excited dogs into my car and maintain sanity breaks down like this.

I bring the car close to the gate. I open the passenger door. I check for cars, dogs, cats, people. Anything monkey wrench really. I then go to the gate and open it. The dogs wait in a sit until I release them with "go to the car". Dogs then turn left and go to the car. Treats inside car waiting. Point A. to point B. Simple stuff.

Especially easy since they seem to understand the concept of car rides being the prelude to the park or whatever. So they tend to just want to be in there. Car equals cookies, car equals rides. Yay, fun fun fun.

So I figured, me, and three other well trained dogs, all going to "the car". It would be safe to just let Radar hobble along with them. Unhindered. I don't have a harness for him yet, and he can't have anything on his throat because of the infection. A leash would make him more excited and less focused. Plus its only about 10 ft from the gate to the car. Call me lazy, but leashing four very excited dogs and walking them 10 ft, and then unclasping them all is a circus, usually involving som'one getting stepped on or choked. I figured if the old man strays a bit, I'll just redirect him. I figured the worse that would happen is he would pause to smell the mailbox. Besides he'll just naturally want to follow the other dogs and me, Chihuahuas are very group oriented.

Ha. Wrong.

So I open the gate, release them and several things happen. Emma, being the saint she tends to be, goes and gets in the car like instructed. Radar on the other hand, takes off full tilt in the other direction. I mean, FULL TILT. How an old dog with two luxating patellas and hip dysplasia runs that fast is beyond me. He looked like a fleeing rodent.

And of course, Tippy follows him. So Chihuahuas ARE group orriented! Just not in a way that benefits me. Fantastic.

Tippy also runs alarmingly fast for a neuro dog that falls over, shes right on his heels.

Chili, confused by the whole scenario, runs into the center of the street, and starts sniffing the ground in obvious displacement behavior, perhaps deciding between the car and the chihuahua 500 thats occurring.

So I scream Tippy's name, and she stops. I recall her, and while shes running back to me, I tell Chili to get in the car and he does. Tippy cannot jump into the car, so I now have to wait for her to recall, then pick her up and load her. The guy across the street raking his dirt has decided to pause to watch the "dog trainer" as her world disintegrates.

At this point I don't know where Radar is anymore. I did see him run into one particular yard, so I start there. I call his name. Nothing. So I listen and hear his tags clinking not far from me and follow the sound. I see him, as far into my neighbors yard as possible. So I now have to run across their yard, in front of their open front door (I could hear them inside talking) past their cars, boat, etc. Basically if there was any privacy left to violate, I'd probably have to walk inside to do it.

I see him. He sees me. Hes now cornered more or less. Im about 15 ft away from him. I call him. He looks at me, then at the gate hes in front of, weighs his choices and then decides that their iron side gate is the better choice than coming to me. He starts to climb through it. WTF is the only thing running through my head. You want to escape my yard to climb into another one???? Why are you running away from me???? Every interaction we've ever had has been pleasant and cookierific!!??? Right??? Gah!!!

Oh, and nevermind the 80lb unaltered Rottweiler that is dog aggressive that lives there. I'm sure they can be friends. Right.

So I snatch the little punk up about 2 seconds from him having a very bad day.

Back in the car, we drive miles to the dog park. I'm still anxious and upset over the whole thing. Everytime som'thing you think is trained, fails, you feel like a complete idiot. Its not the dogs fault, at all. Its mine. At the same time, while I do expect a little falter, most people dont expect a fullblown meltdown of expected behavior. You do expect your spouse to perhaps, admit he/she hides a tiny bit of money from you, or say, hasn't told you this or that. You don't expect an out of the blue "I have 5 other families, I'm gay and Im leaving you". Such things hurt the head a bit.

Not helped by the fact that Radar doesn't seem to like car rides, and is now throwing himself at the windows, trying to escape. I'm so upset that I almost miss the exit, and have to cross a tiny bit of paint divider on the freeway as to not miss it.

Which of course, many miles later, turns out was full of nails. When I arrive at the dog park, my tire is hissing at me and rapidly going flat.

Have you ever drove four excited dogs AWAY from a dog park without actually going in? It much like taking a bus load of kids to Disneyland, parking, and then telling them tough shit and turning around. Its full blown mutiny generally. I don't advise it.

I'm too scared to take the freeway at this point, so I take surface streets home. I figure if its going to blow out and we all spin around in flames, the car ejecting a dog here or there, it would be better to do it at 45mph instead of 80.

Do you know how many traffic signals are between the dog park and my house? Nineteen. I know because I counted them as I sat at nearly all of them on our epic quest to get home. On an empty tank mind you. I figured I had enough gas to get to the park, and would just get more on the way home. Doesn't matter anyway, because on the surface street route, there are no gas stations! One less thing to worry about.

Got home and unloaded everyone. The white bat was carried from point A. to point B. and is now sleeping as if he had the roughest day of his life. Chili is looking at me like he got shafted, and Kiwi can't get over the fact that OMG YOU'RE HOME.

So apparently, dogs love trucks, but cars are another matter.

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