Wednesday, May 10, 2006

An Old Joke that Rings Unfortunately True

Q. What do you call a dog with no legs?

A. It doesn't matter, `cuz he's not gonna come anyway.

We still haven't settled on a name for our new dog, but I've suddenly lost interest. As I feared, since she came into our family while I was gone on a business trip, she immediately imprinted on RUABelle and keeps my girlfriend between me and herself at all times. I figured she was just shy and have tried to make very small steps toward warming the dog to my presence.

The bad news is that RUABelle is a 1st grade teacher and leaves for work before I do, so the dog barks and howls in her crate as soon as she hears the door close behind her. So this morning, to stop the howling I let her out to roam the house. We kept a very respectful and quietly friendly distance from each other while I read the paper and drank my coffee. She has had no problem letting me pet her or rub her belly as long as her momma was around in the past.

But when I circled slowly in to put her leash on and lead her back to her crate, she took off through the house literally leaving a stream of crap as she ran. I cleaned up the straight line of poo and found her hiding nervously behind the couch sitting in another pile of pee and dookie. I knew I couldn't leave her alone all day like this, so I gently gave her a treat and put her leash on her. She didn't want to move and I certainly didn't want to drag her.

Seeing no other option, I gently picked her up like I had done in the past (once again with mommy in the room), whereupon she went nuts, thrashing about, biting me pretty deeply on both hands and wrists and showering me in more pee. I got her back in the crate and she immediately calmed down and let me reach in to pet her and remove the leash so she wouldn't get caught on it during the day. She looked like othing bad had happened, but I was shaking, bleeding and covered in pee. Oh yeah, and I was now late for my 8:00 meeting.

I think she's a good dog. I'm pretty sure she was abused by whoever took her to the pound. Odds are it was a guy. He probably looked like me. I think I'm a great pet owner and we have raised three other outstanding lovable pets. RUABelle really wants another dog and I do too, and this one really loves her. The cats are now clinging to me to maintain alpha and beta pet status. I'm willing to give the dog time and distance to get used to me or not. So I ask, dear readers, can this work?

8 Comments:

Blogger saraclark said...

Maybe you ought to talk to the Knucklehead and get the name of his vet and the medication for his dog.
I applaud your patience in not attacking the dog back, somedays it's not easy.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Oh no! Are you okay?

I don't know if it will work or not, but when I got Mrs. Wigglebottom, I was very nervous about having her around my nephews. She'd already nipped my little cousin when he hit her with a bone, so she already had a bad history with little boys and was very nervous around them.

So, we instituted a policy that, when the nephews come over, they are allowed to feed her as many "treats" as they want. Luckily, my dog's kind of stupid, so the "treats" are just pieces of dry food out of the bag.

But, let me tell you, she loves this and, by extension, loves the nephews. She associates seeing them with getting to eat a lot which she likes.

So, maybe you start bribing the dog to like you by being the one to feed it?

4:00 PM  
Blogger ceeelcee said...

Knuck's vet is my best friend, the DogDoc. See previous Masters posts for details. Most of the time, this poodle is so mellow that doggie downers would probably lead to cardiac arrest.

She doesn't really like treats much, but we're still experimenting to see what she does like. RUABelle's using a "clicker" for some sort of voodoo positive reinforcement training.

I'm just keeping my distance and loving on the cats. Dog bites hurt a lot. They bruise you on the inside. But I'm big and she's small, so I feel lucky that I'm not a Decherd librarian.

Unfortunately, I turn 40 tomorrow and everybody who sees my bandages is going to think I slit both my wrists...

5:12 PM  
Blogger bridgett said...

Holy Christ. I could not put up with this. If the dog has been abused, it's going to be a very long road to regain trust. Some dog-human pairs make it. Some don't. A talk with a poodle breeder about the specific stuff that goes on with that breed might be worth it -- they have insights into the particular triggers for that type of dog and how to minimize these episodes. I just don't have it in me to work through these kind of relationship problems with an animal that I've just met and have every reason not to like. If you are up to it, it's worthy work.

But isn't part of owning a dog pleasure? Nothing about this dog sounds pleasurable...and given the limited commitments you've made thus far (owning it three days), I think you should be thinking hard about a long-term future. Could you be happy with this dog if she never changes behavior? Or it gets worse? Because she might improve a lot or she might not.

The mass evacuation, however, seems like a deeper health problem that could indicate why she was available for rescue.

Happy Birthday.

9:47 AM  
Blogger charles said...

You must consult the Dog Whisperer. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/dogwhisperer/

No, really. Idiotic name and Texas-sized ego aside, this guy knows what you should do.

Oh, and garden gloves might be a good idea next time you're home alone. ;-)

11:30 AM  
Blogger Vol Abroad said...

Happy Birthday. Love those cats.

3:51 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

Had a weird dog that just bonded to my mother. A friend of mine brought over a pig ear (please vegetarians, don't kill me) however, it did the trick and she became my best buddy.
So animal body parts might be your ticket.

6:13 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

Forgot to say, Happy Birthday.

6:14 PM  

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