The day didn’t start well dog-wise. Right now we’re using a Graco single stroller on our walks. Adeline has discovered the back basket, and thinks it is a treat to ride in there, so Lucy rides properly and Adeline gets to ride in the basket or walk (please do not try that at home, folks).
Today on the last leg of our walk, a man called across the street to ask if Toly was a Great Dane, and I told him that no, he is a Weimaraner. Then the guy asked if he was friendly, and I said that he didn’t like strangers coming up to the kids. But instead of backing off, he KEPT COMING. Not cool, dude, not cool. Threw me off the rest of the way home, and for most of the day too. I hate when people do that. I’ve got to learn to not even slow down if people try to talk to us, but I hate being rude.
Leika came home around one thirty. I thought I had gotten lucky and had both kids sleeping, and I was keeping an eye out for them so I could open the door before she knocked. Toly heard them anyway though and started barking, which woke up both kids. It created kind of a chaotic situation so the initial welcome-home part of the day did not go very smoothly and I had a hard time transitioning into the rest of the afternoon.
She is definitely different, she is more obedient and a little calmer. She’s quicker to obey, which I am thrilled about. She’s sitting and waiting really well before she goes in/out doors. I can tell she is happy to be back with Toly, and he is more relaxed with her back here. She barked at Daisy initially, but after a few corrections she’s stopped doing that.
For the afternoon we all went outside, and I tied both of the big dogs to me with leashes. I figure this way they can get accustomed to being around us and Adeline and her activity and noise. It will also let me control Leika’s tendency to flip out every time someone gets within, oh, a mile of our fence, which drives me INSANE and I am sure is very unpleasant for the people who are just trying to walk down the sidewalk. We did a couple of practice laps around the yard, and she was heeling like a DREAM, and I am so, so hopeful that that carries on. She was always the harder of the two for me to walk, and it was just exhausting and not fun to do it, so if she can heel properly now, it will be HUGE. While we ate dinner I put both dogs in their crates, and they actually stayed in there quietly the whole meal, which I am pretty sure has never, ever happened the entire time I have owned them.
The big things I want to work on right now are the fence-barking, the counter/table surfing and going on walks. If we can get a handle on those three things, I’ll be much happier.
I picked up some books at the library today. The first one I read, Oh My Dog by Beth Ostrosky Stern, was alright. I liked the tone of it, it is how I wish we were already doing things and how I hope we can get them to be. Oh My Dog touched on a couple of things that I thought were interesting about the goal not being dominant over the dogs, and that dogs are very clear on the fact that people are people and dogs are dogs. It gave me hope that just because I don’t have a dominant personality doesn’t mean I’m doomed to fail at this. The book was more along the lines that there needs to be a relationship between the owner and the dog based on love and trust, and also how important exercise is. It is hard for my Cesar Milan-trained brain to switch gears like this, but I think it will be really beneficial to us if I can change the way I think about how I am going to go about getting things back to rights with the dogs.
So, tomorrow morning is going to be a HUGE test. I’ve got the beds set up in our bedroom still, and I think tonight I’m going to open Adeline’s door like normal but gate off my doorway. I think that will help the dogs adjust to her being around at night but still let me have some control over when and where they might encounter each other.
I am still veering between despair and hope. Some minutes I can totally see us working out all of the kinks, then another minute I am sure they will NEVER be proper family dogs and that I’m going to spend the next ten years or so of my life with dogs tied to my belt loops.