It's 7am. I have 10 loads of laundry, a disaster in the kitchen, empty pantry (or so my kids say), 100's of ants attempting a break-in at my backdoor and two kids that need to be at swim practice in 30 minutes. Yet I'm sitting at a dog park.
This past winter I learned about a litter of puppies that were about to be euthanized. I saw a picture of the bunch, and one of the dogs just spoke to me. I currently have a 9 year old shelter dog that besides shedding quite a bit, is fantastic. I really wasn't in the market for a new dog, but when it comes to canine creatures, I have a soft spot and with having five kids, it's obvious that I have a "more the merrier type attitude."
The first time she saw us, I'd like to say it was magical, but instead, she glanced up at me with sad little eyes and then proceeded to puke at my feet.
She was scared and cuddly. She burrowed in my arms and from that moment on, I knew I was hooked. $300 later, our "free" shelter dog was home.
The transition was a little rough and I wrote about needing help with training a few months ago and so many people reached out and gave me suggestions and trainers. Most of them didn't work out because they were just too far, or the timing of the training wasn't right, but after quite a bit of trial and error, I found a place that looked like a great fit.
Since I work, have kids in multiple directions and my husband is out of town more than he's in, I decided to go with private lessons and as a bonus the place I picked gave retired military discounts.
Our biggest problem is she pees. I'm not talking regular pee. I'm talking about peeing All. The. Time. The vet thinks she was abused and taken away from her mother way too early. She's timid and submissive. Any bit of excitement, new person, big dog, loud noise, wind blow, bug, bird, feather drop, you name it, she pees.
The private trainer had her for 40 minutes and finally said, "sorry, I just can't work with her. She's too scared. Put her in puppy class to socialize her."
So I did that.
She did well, and wrestled with the other dogs, but she peed on them most of the time. The other owners were great and felt sorry for her. I talked to dozens of trainers and they all said the same thing. The more you socialize and raise her confidence level, the better she'll get.
I cuddled with her, praised her, took her everywhere I went to get her out into the world. I registered her with a local dog park and took her a few times to get her with other dogs so she wasn't so afraid.
If there were any aggressive dogs, I'd turn around and go home. One time she was doing well with a group of 6 dogs, but still wouldn't leave my side and had her tail tucked under so I knew she was still nervous. She decided to venture away from me and go to the watering hole. On her way, two of the bigger dogs followed. Once she saw the two on her tail, she ran faster and as soon as they got close, she did the most mortifying thing. My dog shot turds out of her butt as she ran. I am not kidding. She literally got the shit scared out of her. I feel a little bad that all of us got an incredible laugh out of the situation, but what else could I do?
When we go on vacation, I trade dogs with another dog owner so we don't have to kennel them. I haven't gone anywhere yet because I know nobody would want to take care of our pee dog Koby. I decided to test the waters and went to the lake this past weekend. Unfortunately Koby was intimidated by their dog and peed every time he walked past her. She was there for just one night, but it was made clear to us that she wasn't welcome anymore. I absolutely don't blame them at all. I would feel the same way. Hell, I do feel the same way, but I'm in it, and I'm not giving up. As much as I desperately want to...
Koby gets along great with a dog named Earl. They wrestle, run and are incredibly happy together. Unfortunately Earl goes to the dog park at 7 am. In my attempts to socialize Koby and give her more confidence, I get up and bring her and I'll do it every day until she's confident to be around other dogs and hopefully get to the point she has enough confidence that she doesn't pee every time the wind blows.
We've made huge strides, but I need to go away again in a couple weeks and I'm sick to my stomach wondering what to do with her. I'm afraid to board her and go back to square one and no one I know will take her. I'm looking at getting someone to stay at the house, but a friend of mine that just did that (with a service that she trusted completely) had her house trashed when the sitter had a bash in her backyard.
So I'll sit here every morning until either she gets more confidence or learns how to do kegels.
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