Sunday, January 7, 2018

Jan 7 -The Bad Dog

Photo Cover by Steve Mason
Daily Report
Lesson: Shame,  Honesty, and Transparency
Some things I don’t want to share.  It’s not that I’m in denial, but it seems a bit personal, or embarrassing. Actually shameful.  Two of my friends have daughters in high school. One talks freely about her daughter who gives her fits being a teenager. Nothing terribly bad, but she’s tried marijuana, well she does live in Colorado; and she has obviously tried alcohol.  The other one ties her teenage daughter’s actions to her own parenting.  I can’t tell if she’s more shamed by her daughter’s extracurricular activities, or by what she deems as indictment of her parenting skills.  She literally is taking her daughter’s behavior as a personal affront. I am the motherless friend that says, “she’s a teenager.” “She’s testing parameters”  “Show her tough love and punish her fairly”  “Be a team.” “Did you see that Dr. Phil episode with the mother and daughter…?” You know the kind -the friend no mother with a rebellious daughter wants or needs. Looking at it now, I think I haven’t been empathetic. 

Tuesday of this past week, Chewey, our 85 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback mix went to doggie daycare.  He’s had a time outs before, but they seem to be more frequent.  We immediately paid for extra attention with the on-site trainer to identify and hopefully handle this behavior issue. He’s never bitten another dog, but he wards them off, with aggressively barking. It has been determined that we have reached a critical point, when he was expelled by the doggie daycare closest to our home.  They were kind. “I don’t think this is the best environment for Chewey.”

Two things you should know. 1) I’m not comparing my dog’s aggressive behavior to my friends’ daughters’ rebellious actions.  I’m not comparing my dog to my friends’ teenagers at all.  But I am comparing my friends shame to mine.  I did not want to talk about my dog being expelled. It was kind of cute on his first time out, when the “principal” called and said my sweet docile pup was in a scuffle.  But now it’s impacting my life.  The doggie daycare is less than one mile from my home. It was easy.  The housekeeper comes, dog is dropped off at daycare.  I’m out of town, Hubby drops dog off at daycare on way to work. Now we have to go to plan B.  2) The other thing you should know is that I don’t want my dog hurting another dog.  I don’t want him hurting a human trying to get to another dog. I need my dog to behave.  Keep in mind he has never shown teeth, just “in your face” barking.

So this is about Shame, about Honesty, about Transparency.  And a recognition that my Chewey issues are also as important to me as your daughter issues.  Just like someone’s stubbed toe can be as painful as someone’s toothache.

But before we could do anything about it, we had to assess the situation. So Thursday, we took Chewey to another daycare.  Before he went to our neighborhood doggie daycare, he went to a rather elite, lovely, inviting doggie daycare and kennel, 17 miles from our home and out of the way of our “inner circle of life.”  But we took him anyway, to see how he would behave.  Within 20 minutes we were getting a call from the attendant telling us that Chewey was in time-out for bad behavior.  I tried not to cry on our way to pick him up.  My sweet puppy misbehaves.

Tough love. 
Plan 1: Chewey starts behavioral training 20 June.  
Plan 2: If Plan 1 doesn’t work, (but the teacher thinks it will), he will go to doggie boot camp for two weeks.  I guess that’s like Military School for rebellious teenage girls.  And I’m sure it will cost as much! The pain and shame is real.

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

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