themamabeth's Blog

Figuring it out, one crazy day at a time.

Finding Resources February 8, 2015

Filed under: The Pets,Uncategorized — themamabeth @ 1:17 pm

We have a situation.

First of all, we have four dogs:

-Daisy (problem barker), ~ 5 years

-Ranger (overall, good dog, leash reactive), ~2.5 years

-Sarge (overall, good dog. 113 pounds, could use some extra training), ~1.5 years

-Bravo (puppy, going to be a big dog), ~8 weeks

Second of all, in our rental house, we have neighbors who have a couple of chihuahuas, and they seem to very much object to our existence. Although we are here often, they don’t seem to accept that we are supposed to be here. So when we arrive, or when I take out the trash, or when we are out playing in the yard, they go absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, them going nuts is leading my own dogs to go nuts, which is not really very ideal.

I went looking for possible solutions, and it was recommended I read

Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control

and also

Control Unleashed.

I have the first book on Kindle, and I am waiting for my order to go through for the second one. I’m really looking forward to them both, because it is seriously getting old having to wrestle Sarge away from the fence whenever the neighbor dogs decide to have a conniption.

Dog training has become a new love of mine-there’s so much to it! I had no idea, and it is fascinating. I am also a little reluctant to admit that I used to be a huge fan of that guy who supposedly whispers to dogs…After much research I have come to the conclusion that those methods are not right for us, and we have decided to go a 100% positive reinforcement route.


Skunked-one year ago September 3, 2012

Filed under: The Pets — themamabeth @ 2:39 pm

Well, the dog training has hit a big fat brick wall.

Three nights ago I went to let the dogs out before I went to bed, just like I always do. Except this time, there was a skunk in the yard, a skunk who was not pleased to be confronted by two curious, excited dogs. To give the skunk credit, it did try to run away, but the dogs were persistent and the skunk had no choice but to spray. And spray it did. Holy goodness.

So apparently along with the awful smell, skunk spray burns, and Leika got it full in the face. So her first instinct was to come running up to me and rub her face all over my pants. Awesome. So now I have two stinky dogs and a stinky me, and no idea how to even begin to start fixing any of it.

I figured the dogs needed to be bathed right away, but everything I needed for bathing was inside. I figured I could corral the dogs in the dog room while I got what I needed, but Leika bolted for the couch trying to rub the burn off of her face. I got her into her room, where she started rubbing all over her bed-so now we have stinky dogs, stinky me, stinky couch and stinky dog beds.

I got them back outside and bathed-and at that point I was getting really concerned because Leika actually let me spray her directly in the face with the hose, which is totally unheard of for her.  I got them bathed and dry and brought them back in the house (because at this point we didn’t have anywhere outside to keep them.)

While looking up ways to start getting rid of the stink, I was informed by the internet that under no circumstances was I to let the dogs back into the house until they were de-skunked because the stink will travel all over the house. Awesome. And travel it did. I spent most of the night walking around spraying white vinegar everywhere trying to at least do some damage control, and then I gave up and went to bed.

The next morning when I woke up, Jake was already home from work. He said he smelled it the second he got out of his car (ps-Dear Neighbors, I’m really, really sorry). So he got the dogs back outside and threw away the giant pile of clothes and towels and dog beds I had sitting outside the back door. He then proceeded to spend hours and hours in the hot sun, after working for 12 hours overnight, building the rest of the dog run so we had somewhere to keep the dogs until the smell could be taken care of. I spend the day scrubbing every surface in our house with vinegar and peroxide.


The post stopped there, I found this in my draft folder. We ended up having to totally replace our living room furniture after that. We still smell skunk occasionally, so it’s still around.


The View From Here… March 27, 2012

Filed under: The Pets — themamabeth @ 4:27 pm


No one is happy about this. 


A Whole New World August 28, 2011

Filed under: The Pets — themamabeth @ 6:32 pm

A little while back Jake and I decided to up our satellite package from the most basic one. With the upgraded package, we got the National Geographic channel and National Geographic Wild, which means we also get the Dog Whisperer.

I’ve seen the show before, and I’ve read one of his books, but I hadn’t paid really close attention to any of it. Some of the other dog training books I’ve read lean away from the must-be-the-dominant-one mentality, so I was confused about what was “right”. And honestly, I don’t feel like I’m a dominant person so I didn’t think I could do things Cesar’s way.

The more I watch and really pay attention and listen though, I think I can do what he’s saying. I don’t have to be a dominant person necessarily, just calm and assertive. (Which is harder than it sounds.)

So. I’ve been working on being consistent with them about very specific things-they must sit and wait before they can come in the house, they must wait before going out of the house. Leika can’t stick her nose on the kitchen counters or the dining room table, including sniffing around the chairs and Lucy’s high chair. Daisy is not terribly pleased about all of the sudden losing her can-do-what-she-wants status.  She gets a consequence for barking too, which is exhausting since she barks rather often. Leika is doing really well with it, but none of this is new to her, other than my actually being consistent with it. We’ve been using the e-collar on Leika so she can be outside without a leash (our yard is fully fenced, but it is only 3 feet high), but she rarely ever gets buzzed. I will occasionally use the beep function to get her attention if she’s not listening. Mostly it just makes me more relaxed because I feel like if someone (or something) did go by I would be able to stop her from charging the fence if she wasn’t listening.  One time some kids walked by and she didn’t even notice them, but we were on the other side of the house. Jake said he’s had her out and people have walked by and she didn’t respond then either.

Yesterday after Lucy went to bed I let Leika out of her “room”  (which is one of those baby play yards) while Adeline was still awake; for my own sanity I usually wait until both kids are asleep before I let her out. We keep her in there to keep her away from Lucy (or to keep Lucy away from her) because Lucy is just relentless and I’d rather not even risk her irritating the dog and having the dog bite her. I don’t know how to have everyone mingle without making myself crazy trying to keep the kids from harassing the dogs to the point of retaliation. At one point Adeline got pretty worked up and was running around and squealing, and Leika did so well with her. She mostly just ignored her, but at one point Adeline sat down right next to Leika, and Leika laid down and rolled on her back. It still makes me nervous because Adeline is really grabby so I stay right within arm’s reach, but it really gave me hope that someday we can all coexist in a more functional manner.

Later last night I walked her on the leash around our yard (it is a big yard, my GPS wouldn’t connect on my phone, I tried to see if I could measure the distance around) and she did really well. Someone walked by on the sidewalk above our house and she struggled with focusing on me and not him. This morning I took her out down the street and it was an utter disaster. There are dogs at nearly every house, and since all of the yards are fully fenced, they are RIGHT THERE. I was walking on the side of the street with no houses but it isn’t a very wide street. She wouldn’t heel in the first place which was making me super irritated and then with the getting crazy about the dogs, I just got fed up and we came home. I need to do some more research about how to do this right, because she NEEDS to be walked but there’s no way we’re going to be successful at this at that rate. I was not calm and assertive. We will try again tomorrow before I have any coffee and we’re going to go up the steps to a non-residential street where I can maybe focus her on the no pulling issues first, then we can tackle distractions. I was really disappointed about the walk because things had been going so well in the house and yard over the past few weeks.

I have this vision of having an actual Family Dog. We can actually travel now since Jake has a job with vacation time, and she’s going to have to come. We’ve got to get through her issues so we can all actually enjoy ourselves. We took her with us at the beginning of this month on a trip and it didn’t go so well, but I know now what mistakes that I made, but we still have a long way to go before I’m going to be able to just relax and enjoy having her around and not wish I could just kennel her.

I’m just going to keep trying, keep reading and keep hoping. I’m guessing there’s not much of a chance that Mr. Millan himself will be showing up at my door any time soon or send an invite to his pack (but oh my gosh that would be so awesome), so I’ve got to figure this out on my own.



Day 1 July 20, 2011

Filed under: Mama Says,The Pets — themamabeth @ 8:24 am

The new collars showed up in the mail yesterday (a day earlier than I expected, I love Amazon.)


I think Daisy’s bark collar might be at least getting her attention, but last night she was outside and something upset her and she kind of went nuts. We’ll give it a few more days and I will try to find out if there is something I can do to supplement it. Barking is hard because I can’t figure out a way to immediately correct her, I’m always too late because she’s well into it before I can get to her.


We let Leika wear her new collar last night, but we didn’t use it. The instruction book left something to be desired and I’m not feeling confident about how to use it. I don’t want to make things worse, and this doesn’t feel like something that should be fooled around with, so I’ve got to find some more information before I do any more.


I feel more hopeful, maybe this is the crutch I need to really make some good progress.


Desperate Times July 18, 2011

Filed under: The Pets — themamabeth @ 1:51 pm

Remember these guys?


We’ve made a little progress, but not a lot.


We’re just stuck in this …rut…I guess. There’s dogs/people all over the place around here, and since our fence is three feet tall, I haven’t figured out how to get the big dog decent exercise. When I take her out to potty we do laps around the yard, but it isn’t nearly enough for her to actually burn off any energy. So she’s bored and cooped up, and when she is out she is just a huge pain. She chases the cats, counter surfs, barks at nearly every chance she gets. We’re pretty much all miserable.


So. I’m doing something I swore I would never do. I ordered one of these from Amazon today.


I just don’t know what else to do. She’s about 80% good, but if she gets focused on something, she just won’t listen. And if she jumps the fence, it isn’t like I can go chase after her and leave the kids home alone, so…Yeah. One of those.


And honestly? She’s probably better than I give her credit for, Jake has had her out in the yard with no issues, and she’s been in the yard with me and people have walked by and she’s been fine (but she’s been on a six foot leash. And there have been times she’s gotten all worked up and barked). It isn’t like she’s mean, I don’t even really know what I’m worried about happening. I know she doesn’t do well with smaller dogs-other than ours-and I have no idea what she’d do if she came face-to-face with a big dog. She did fine with the other dog that belonged to the lady who was going to adopt her, but then that lady was the type of person who knows how to handle dogs like Leika. What it comes down to is that I don’t feel like I can trust her to come when I call her. That’s the biggest thing, and to me, that’s a pretty darn big problem.


Also, we’re going to go out of town next month to visit my mother-in-law and since leaving this dog isn’t an option (separation anxiety), she’s got to come with us. And the reason for this trip? My sister-in-law and her husband are coming too, and they are bringing THEIR dogs. Yeah. I’m going to spend this entire trip babysitting the dog. Fun times!


And I totally recognize all of our problems are my own fault. I didn’t socialize her enough when she was young, and I didn’t address the issues we were having at the time. I lived in a house with a fenced yard where she could be free and run. Now, we have two little kids and no yard-running options at the moment. I need to work with her more-try harder, be more consistent. It all falls on my shoulders.


For the little dog, I got one of these. The only real issue I have with her is her barking-and she barks at everything. And when she barks, the big dog gets all frazzled. I’m skeptical but hopeful. She’s such a timid little thing that I think it’ll only take once or twice for her to get the picture. (And if it works I wonder if my neighbors would get the hint if I sent them some anonymously…)


So unless Cesar Milan shows up on my doorstep in the next few days, we’re resorting to desperate measures. I don’t know what else to do, short of drugging her.


We’ll see what happens.


On the road AGAIN May 13, 2011

Filed under: On My Own,On the Road,The Pets — themamabeth @ 9:57 pm

The kids and I are back in Phoenix. Before we moved, I had thought that I would miss it, at least a little. I don’t. Not one bit. It is big and ugly and overwhelming. It doesn’t help that I am very bitter about this trip. Which, I really shouldn’t be, because it is all about good things-getting the house cleaned and ready for someone to live in and seeing Jake’s family. But it is just meaning more time for us to be apart, and by the time we get back home, he’s going to be on night shifts again so it’s going to be like a week before we get some normal time. BUT, his next days off are going to be awesome because it is his seven off. So I guess that’s good.

We brought Daisy with us since she’s totally petrified of Jake. She is so good, she rode most of the way in Lucy’s lap, which is hilarious because at home she avoids Lucy like the plague. Lucy loves her a little TOO much and tends to grab on and not let go, but I guess for some reason that dynamic changes in the car. Maybe Daisy knows she can escape easily since Lucy is stuck in the carseat?

Tomorrow is going to be BUSY. We’ve got to get up and get the house cleaned-hopefully all the way so we don’t have to come back on Sunday. Then we’re having dinner with Jake’s family who are all going to be in town also. It’ll be fun to see all the cousins together, though, and I have cool in-laws so I’m actually looking forward to it. We don’t have any other plans, but I want to try to hang out with my dad so that’s putting us at Monday for the trip home. As much as I don’t want to be here, I also don’t want to drive back so I’m debating whether or not we should wait until Jake’s days off to come home again. I guess that’ll depend on whether or not the damn dog behaves herself (the one we left there, not Daisy-Little Miss Separation Anxiety did a number on the windows and curtains from what I hear).