A wife and a cantankerous dutch shepherd
Ash here – Case’s better half. I thought I’d sit down and write about some recent
Scout perched mid wall work.
experiences with Scout and share with you the importance of being consistent. I’ll be honest, Scout and I rarely see eye to eye. We have our moments where we both really enjoy each other but for the most part we are pushing each other’s buttons (lets be serious, it’s Scout driving me insane). Scout is Case’s dog through and through, yet she spends the majority of her time with me manning the home front while he flies. Life is no simple feat right now trying to balance a newborn and a growing business. Most days there is barely enough time to myself to take a shower let alone work the dogs. Until just a few days ago I had put obedience training at the bottom of my to-do list. That was until that furry friend of mine started to disobey “wait” commands, chew up onesies, and drag couch cushions around the house. I realize that if I didn’t put in the time to work with them, then I was spending more time and energy correcting them for their disobedience, and being more frustrated in the process.
Smart dogs are worse than cranky kids, and melted ice cream. They know exactly when and where to act up and how to do so in a manner that gets under your skin in the worst way. I spent the early hours of Tuesday morning cleaning poop out of the nursery carpet, half-heartedly yelling “Phoeeyyyy Scout…. leaveee itt Scout… Scoutttt, Scouttt, SCOUT!!!” from underneath the covers for her to stop barking at the sprinklers. The up down, up down of getting up to put her back in a plutz, and huffing and puffing an array of expletives as I attempted to flatten my body as much as I could to get far enough under the bed to pull the dog out from under it with a mouth-full of onesie, a spoon, and a pair of Case’s boxers (she is constantly laying on them when he’s gone). When I finally got her out and she jumped on and woke up the sleeping baby, I vowed to myself there would be no more. Later that day, tired from a long day of teething baby screams and cranky clients, I cinched up my big girl boots and went out to show her who was in charge.
We scaled walls, worked on obedience commands on and off-lead. I pushed her and she pushed back but I held strong. I projected my voice as much as I hate doing it because it sounds so manly, and held strong to giving one and only one command. After about 5 minutes she knew I meant business and I had regained control of my unruly dog for at least the next hour or so. After more work on the high wall I gave her the watch command on a passing bicyclist. At first she didn’t react, so I changed my tone of voice to be more suspicious and bam she reacted – first trying to go through the stroller instead of around but a quick switch command to my right side thanks to having good management of my lead allowed her to put herself between the threat and the stroller. I called her out of it and proceeded to walk to the park to submerge her in a cesspool of stress: three baseball games, two playgrounds, screaming children, skateboards (her least favorite), and balls everywhere. Some would call it mean, others payback, I call it obedience under stress. Taking a dog from an environment where she was given the watch command to one where she has small children sneaking up on her trying to pet her, balls flying every which way, and me keeping her in a close fuss amidst constantly changing directions was the finale to our little session. It was the ultimate setting for her to be tested and tested she was. But more on that later.
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