Thursday, January 05, 2012

Yesterday's walk

I don't know if I've mentioned but Gozer is a bit of a barky dog. She's quiet in the house but if she sees another dog she starts lunging and barking like crazy. I don't know how to stop her doing this yet (we start the training on Sunday) so on walks where we encounter other dogs I end up practically dragging this barking dog away from the other dog.

Over the last week we've been walking our next-door neighbour's shih-tzu dogs Misty and Mya. Misty is all of about 8 pounds and is quite calm and easygoing. Mya is about 15 pounds and is stubborn and a bit lazy. She usually doesn't like going out on walks and tends to drag her feet for the first bit so that she has to be pulled along a bit. We'd noticed when doing this that her collar was loose and that she could probably wriggle out of it but she's not our dog so we figured we'd work with it.

Yesterday Ian had to work in the afternoon so I had the three dogs. We'd generally been going out with them together as it's easier to deal with them and their leavings if there are two of us. However, things had been going well so we figured it wouldn't be a big deal for me to have them on my own.

We started off just fine with Gozer and Misty taking the lead and Mya dragging behind. As we reached the end of the part that adjoins our property, Gozer started lunging. There's a house there that had a small brown dog there that had never, ever been there before along with about six kids between about six and eight years old. I tried to correct Gozer and she started barking (Rrawrf rrawrf rawf rawf). As did the other dog (ARF arf arf arf).

Just then, I felt the resistance that had previously been Mya suddenly disappear because she had wriggled free of her collar. Gozer was still barking, as was the other dog, and Misty was being calm while I tried to catch Mya. She seemed to think that we were having a great game of chase as she waddled from sniff spot to sniff spot. I managed to catch her jacket a little ways away, pull her back to me, and clamp her between my legs.

I knew if I didn't shorten the collar that she'd just wriggle out again because she's stubborn, not stupid. So I pulled my gloves off and frantically started fiddling with the collar to tighten it. Meanwhile, the kids also started yelling at the dog to stop barking and the adult in the house started yelling at the kids to move the dog away from the fence.

So there I was, trying to get this collar tightened with this dog clamped between my legs, and I'm surrounded by this wall of sound:

RRAwrf! RRawrf! ARF arf arf arf! Stop! RRRAWRF rrawrf rrawrf rawf! Barking! ARF ARF ARF! Get the DOG! RRRAWRF rrrawrf rawrf rawf! AWAY! arf arf arf! from the FENCE! RRRAWRF rawrf rrawrf! arf arf arf! FENCE! Barking! Rawrf!

All I could think is, "instead of moving the damn dog away from the damn fence, why don't you take it inside?" but I was trying not to get frustrated or annoyed while listening to this noise. Finally I got the collar shortened and on Mya; I checked it and I could slip two fingers under the collar so we were good to go. I kneeled down in front of Gozer, stared her down, and said NO. She settled down a bit so we started away.

Unfortunately, we had to go past the house because there's nowhere else to go. Naturally Gozer started barking again, only this time I was actively pulling her along. Mya had just noticed the other dog (maybe she is a little stupid, at that) and started lunging towards it as well. I ended up kind of half-dragging both of them along with Gozer's bark sounding more like "Rrawacgh" than "Rrawrf". I could hear the kids whispering to each other that I was choking those dogs. If they weren't lunging, they wouldn't be choking... although maybe the dogs aren't smart enough to figure it out.

Once we were well down the sidewalk, all the dogs calmed down and we had a relatively uneventful walk. Tomorrow is the last day that we have to walk these two dogs. I hope that we can train Gozer to not bark at other dogs before we have to go out with those two again.... although I'm not eager to take these three out on my own again.

1 comment:

Robin said...

That sounds really stressful :(