'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Friday, 25 February 2011

Today...

Today, I decided to go to my old college--months after they sent me a letter asking me to do so, oops--and pick up my A Level certificates. That's in the next town, so I also decided to swing by the post office returns centre in the same town, to save my mum having to make the trip. And I also had to go to the library in my town...

I also decided to take Lola with me, to see how she reacted (and, of course, because I was feeling far too lazy to have to deal with the cleanup when I got back). She's been in my town centre before (quite a few times), but has only ever been to the next town once, and we didn't stay long.

On the way up to the library, we were both startled by a young boy on a (mechnical? remote controlled?) car that made a lot of noise. It spooked Lola completely; though she didn't make a peep, she growled softly a few minutes later at the next kid we saw - a girl in the library who was just stood there. On the way back, we saw five or so other children (including one on a bike, and another that was squealing and asking to stroke her) and she didn't make a sound. I jackpotted her with treats for her eye contact.

After we got back from the library (dumping the new books, grabbing my bag and giving Jess a chance to go to the toilet, which she didn't want to do), we headed straight up to the bus stop and caught the bus to where the Hourglass used to be. From there, we walked down to my old college; on the way, Lola bark/growled at a young boy and his mother (I'd just taken a break from shovelling treats into her mouth). His mother was very understanding when I apologised.

We then headed up into the town centre, and passed a man who, after speed-walking towards us, bent quickly down to stroke Lola (without offering her his hand or slowing first). Lola backed away and barked at him, and I headed on as quickly as I could.

When we got to the centre, the outdoor market (which I'd forgotten was on today) was in full swing - it was packed! At the market, there were children everywhere, and little miss Lola didn't make a sound. She got frequent rewards for being quiet and calm, and I even let her run at a pigeon once or twice. I popped in to say hello to my mum  at her work before I headed to the post office returns to pick up our parcel. I left it with Mum to bring back in the car and spoke to her outside for a bit; until some children (a girl of about ten and a younger boy) came running up to see Lola. Lola freaked and barked, and the kids ran off - and then ran back again, this time shouting 'woof, woof!' at my pup. I started edging away, and when they came running back a third time I just quickly and calmly moved Lola away, out of their sight on the other side of the building. Their mother watched them the entire time, and didn't say a word; apparently, it's okay for your children to harass my dog. If Lola was a Rottweiler, it'd have been a different story entirely.

By the time we got back (on the bus, which Lola snoozed through most of), three hours had passed since we left. Lola hadn't been sick on either bus ride, hadn't had an accident in Mum's work or on the college grounds, and had only barked five times (to four people/groups of people - thrice at children, once at the rude older man). She's now a puddle of tired puppy on my lap.

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In other news, I found out today that my mum's ex-boyfriend's daughter is going to be living with us for a month or so. Jeez. She's engaged to a man who, apparently, wants a month's break from her (or something). So: Angela is coming to stay for a while. Mum wanted to put her in the little bedroom (where Lola is when no one can be around), but there's also the option of the front room, which I hope Ang wants instead. It'll be a major hassle to put Lola in the front room, which is three or so times bigger than the little room and has wires and dog food and such in there, all of which can be chewed by eager puppy teeth.

I suppose I should feel sorry for Ang (she does love her fiance, after all), but I'm a selfish cow and I can't help feeling more sorry for us. It's been two years since she last lived here, but for the last six months or so that she was here she was disgustingly messy: leaving cups in her bedroom until they were thick with mould, clothes strewn across the floor, which was never hoovered, and which provided a breeding ground for moths. She also isn't a fan of dogs. But if she's staying here, she'll have to pull her weight, broken heart or not. (I'm really not a caring person, at all.)

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