I know my way around birds pretty well, having kept and bred them for over forty years. I’ve never claimed to know much about dogs, however, especially when it comes to training them. This was never more apparent than yesterday, and today I have the bruises to prove it.
Spotticus is pretty much the best dog I’ve ever had, though he certainly has his issues. For one thing, he hates everyone but his immediate pack. That would be me, hubby, and son. Recently he surprised us by allowing our son’s fiance to buy her way into that elite club by way of many, many treats. If you’re thinking well of course, any dog can’t be bought with treats, you’d be wrong. Many have tried with Spot, and many have failed. So it’s a very small circle of humans that Spot will accept. Let him catch a glimpse of the neighbors across the street or a UPS truck entering the driveway, and all hell breaks loose.
Another little issue we have with Spot is that he really does NOT mind us. OK, sure, all you people that know how to train your dogs are thinking that’s not HIS fault, it’s ours. I agree. 100%. As I said when I started this, I don’t claim to know how to train dogs. I’ve read several books. Didn’t help me. Normally life is pretty much a routine, and it’s not really an issue. Normally.
So this is what happened yesterday. Scott and I and Spot were on the back porch. Scott and I were going outside for a minute. We don’t let Spot out there without a leash because he will not come on command. He has designated yards outside that are fenced and secure, but the backyard as a whole is off limits to him. So I step out and Scott is following behind me. Spot suddenly decides he is fast enough to just weasel out past Scott’s legs. And he’s FREE!
A chihuahua may be small, but they can run like the wind when they want to. He no sooner got off the steps and he was off and running. My immediate thought is of course that he’ll run into the road and get hit by a car or he’ll run into the woods and never be seen again. Panic!
We scream at him to come back. He ignores us and runs like a maniac. We run after him and try to head him off. He was doubling back and headed my way. I bent over ready to grab him and he changed course at the last minute. I lunged and missed and fell on the grass.
When you’re a kid and you fall, no big deal. When you’re 30 and fall, still not such a big deal. When you’re 61 and out of shape and fall, it hurts. And when you try to get right back up, you may find your equilibrium is now off kilter so YOU FALL AGAIN!
Then when you get up you find you are a bit shaky and your leg is bleeding from the not-so-soft grass that is actually full of little sticks and things, and parts of you hurt that you aren’t even sure you hit. And then you look over at the door and find the little monster is calmly standing there, looking around like innocence personified. Not being up to another go-round, it was then that the lies and sweet-talking came out.
“Spot, you want a biscuit? Come on, let’s go in and get a biscuit.” He followed me in, where I promptly shut the door behind him. Then the swearing began.
This is the same dog that when I have to go out on the weekend, Scott and Alex have both told me that Spot is clearly distressed the whole time I’m gone. He whines and will not relax. And once he hears my car when I return, he howls and carries on like a loon. He loves his Mama to pieces, except for coming when she calls!
So I guess I should consider myself lucky that I managed to housebreak him and he’s never had an accident. Of course I also had four poms and NONE of those were properly housebroken, so maybe it’s less about my skills and more about the dog. I know my limitations, and I also know my black and blues. I have plenty of both.