My Dog Molly: The Paradox

A girl's discovery about her dog and herself.


Leave a comment

all wiggles and happiness

Autumn is here and that makes me happy. It is, perhaps, my favourite time of year. I get to pull out sweaters, and scarves, and mitts, and hats. There’s a wonderful crispness to the air which always makes my step a little lighter and faster. And I think my happiness with the change of seasons is reflecting on Molly. She’s been doing well, really well.

When I first got Molly she was all wiggles and happiness when she met my friend Warren. He’s the type of guy who will get down on the ground and wrestle with a dog…all obedience training goes out the window with him and she loved it. Then about three months ago she and I were out for a walk when we came upon Warren but instead of her normal joy she growled and snapped. He and I were both confused and taken-a-back. It made me sad to be honest. So when Warren was coming around to the house today to help me with some yard work I was a little nervous–how would she react? Would she snap? Would she growl?

To be safe, I had a plan. When W arrived I would ask Molly to go to her room (kennel) and lock her in. He knew I was working on her behaviour and would understand. In the end, the plan worked. She was a little pouty when he left I let her out of her room but she got over it. What I didn’t realize was that W forgot something and came back to the house . And when he came to the door, M bounded right over and cuddled into him. Even when W bent down to wrestle a little with her she just wiggled and smiled…tail wagging like mad. He then grabbed the Chuck-It and they played fetch in the backyard for 15 minutes. No growls. No snapping. I couldn’t have been happier and neither could she.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some struggles and bumps. But I’m seeing progress. Inch-by-inch there’s progress.

Yes, I really do love autumn and I think someone else does too.

Image

Advertisements


Leave a comment

the girl is alright

Eek. It’s been a few weeks. If it helps matters I thought about what my blog entry would be every day for the last week. 🙂

Anyway, as you can tell by the title of this entry “the girl is alright.” Molly is doing pretty well. I’m actually a little in awe about the change in her in just a few months versus what we’ve been challenged with the last two years. More progress has been made since July than I could have ever imagined. While I’m sure some of it is age and maturity for my Molly-girl but there are some behavioural shifts.

There’s a path I always liked to take Molly on out in the badlands where I could let her romp through the tall grass and over the hills. But there was always a part of me that was afraid to take her out there. Other people take their dogs there occasionally and it is a known hangout for coyotes and deer–but only at certain times of day. And given that Molly would often ignore my calls for her return I was hesitant to take her there too often. This afternoon, however, I thought I’d give it a try.

For the first half of the trail I kept her on leash and things were pretty good. We did come across a puppy and Molly only did a little prance until the puppy started barking at her…then she barked back. But that’s a step forward. Once we reached a more isolated part of the trail (and when I knew for certain no one was around) I let her off leash and held my breath.

What was fabulous about the next 40 minutes was that Molly stayed within 20 feet of me at all times; she came the moment I called, and even sat on command when ahead of me on the trail. She was almost like a different dog. The last time I took her on this trail she was running so far ahead she would ignore my calls, lop over hills and disappear out of site. It made me nervous. Tonight, however, was a break through. Of course there were no other four legged distractions to tempt fate but that’s okay…it was nice to have some success.

So here’s my girl after her romp through the badlands…a little muddy but so happy…

Image

This evening we sit back and watch some tele by the fire.

Happy day indeed.


8 Comments

i am rubber and you are glue…

For the last two weeks I got to enjoy family, friends, the ocean, seafood, hiking, and camping. The only thing missing was M. Because I had to fly for nine hours it was best that she stay at the kennel with people she knew and care about her. I try to tell myself she has fun there but she always comes back exhausted and longing for peace. This time she came back with kennel cough, or rather, Bordetella.

Yes, she was vaccinated but like the human flu vaccine it doesn’t protect against all strains. The owner of the kennel was upfront about the whole thing and already had the vet up to visit her and start antibiotics. She’s already on the mend but I can sense it is tiring her out a little. To sweeten the healing a little I’m also giving her some unpasteurized local honey to sooth the throat. She seems to like it.

We start back with the socialization training this week but instead of involving another dog and risking it getting infected we are just going to do a few walks and see how she interacts with the world. It’s a little less controlled but so too are our walks. And after last night’s walk I’m learning that sometimes people are more vicious than dogs.

Everything started out perfect. Molly was by my side the whole way just enjoying the world around her. Because of the heat I decided to take her on a lower pathway that was well sheltered by trees. I tend to avoid this path as it can make for some tight quarters should another dog come along and I don’t want to set M up for failure. But it was a quiet day and I thought I’d take my chances.

We were almost through the trail when I noticed a lovely little Boarder Collie coming towards us off leash…note…this is NOT an off leash area, I avoid those for M’s sake. I saw the owner and yelled out calmly, “my dog can be reactive, please call your dog back to you.” He didn’t respond so I yelled out again. Finally, he called his dog but she didn’t respond and kept coming towards us. It wasn’t until the dog was about five feet in front of us did M react, and not pleasantly. I proceeded to pull her into the shrubs and put myself between her and the approaching dog. Finally, the owner grabbed his dog’s collar and muttered something unintelligible. Frustrated I said to him, “You realize this is not an off leash park.”

Well, that set him off on a nasty, rude tangent calling me a variety of names and trying to insult me. Then he proceeded to say he was going to call the police because my dog should be muzzled. Now this confused me because I now had control over her and she was calmly sitting behind me as he continued to berate me with insults. I tried to engage him in an adult conversation but he seemed to only want to rant, yell, and scream obscenities. It was horrible. Even his dog was cowering…which concerned me especially if that interaction was indicative of his day-to-day temperament.

I did respond back to him and I’m not overly proud of it. Ideally I should have just moved on but I didn’t. I kept trying to get him to calm down and understand what I was trying to say but he would have none of it. Eventually, I did move on…shaken and upset that someone would behave that way. His words directed at me really didn’t hurt, I kept remembering that childhood rhyme “I am rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” What bothered me most was what he was saying about my dog–she handled herself extremely well in this scenario…better than he did!

All I can do is wonder what possesses a grown person to behave in such an awful manner. Perhaps I’m naive but maybe he was having a terrible time of things and I was his trigger and he now regrets his behaviour. One can only hope right?

In the meantime, my little girl is healing and playing quietly with her squirrels. 🙂

Image