Friday, June 06, 2008

Bad Dog

Oh, Gertrude.

Gertie has been a Very Bad Girl lately. Bad as in chewing to ribbons at least four pairs of shoes (including a brand-new pair still in the box in the back seat of the car), a wristwatch, a quilt, unused electrical cords, several paperback books and household bills. Bad as in refusing to come when called, adding about 45 minutes to every family trip as we attempt to finagle her into the car or the house.

Now, keep in mind that she is only going on her third dog obedience class, and has been doing well in there. But FT and I had a serious come-to-Jesus meeting about what we are going to do with this delinquent dog, because this is new territory for us; we've both dealt with puppies before, and even a challenging puppy (Cassie was once kicked out of a Petsmart obedience class and asked not to return) but never a contrarian destructo-dog like Gertie.

Our first resolution was to take her on extended walks twice a day to expend some of that evidently pent-up puppy energy. We're on Day 3 of this regimen, and it does seem to calm her down and keep her asleep and out of trouble all night.

Our second strategy is to attempt crate training -- which, again, we've never had to do with a dog before. We have the crate, and are going to turn it into a dog-condo R&R haven for when the dogs have to stay home -- comfy cushion, frozen peanut-butter-filled Kongs and rawhide bones and squeakies and ambient music in the background. Considering that Gertie's only experience with such structures has been at the groomer's, though, we're thinking that at least initially she will not find the crate nearly as charming and cozy as we do.

And we are having to be very careful about not letting both dogs out leashless together, because they are double trouble -- they'll make a mad dash into the woods, and we won't see them again for two hours. (And when they come back, they're covered in mucky pond water or sand from digging after woodland critters.)

I keep thinking back to something my mother used to tell me: "If you ever have children, they're going to be the ones with snotty noses, two different socks on and syrup stuck in their hair."

No comments: