'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, 12 August 2011

Bad to the Bone, or A Little Angel?

Good question!

I did a Very Stupid Thing and left Lola in the crate for an hour today while I went on a driving lesson. Talk about pushing your luck! I came home to no  accidents, which was nice, and a seemingly quite puppy... until I looked at the video I'd had recording and saw she'd been screaming, barking, biting the bars of her crate, yapping, and more, after about twenty five minutes of being alone. Silly Lola, bad Sophie.

But then the rest of the day was awesome. Lola is awesome.

I saw a loose dog, and my first reaction: 'oh god, not another one, my mum is going to kill me.' Thankfully this dog had a collar on, unlike the chubby old staffie I brought home a couple months ago. I had Lola's ball and launcher out, so I put them away, and when she looked at the dog--fate decided to kick me in the ass; the dog was a labrador-type--I told her, very quietly and firmly, to 'leave it'.

And she did! Well - for the most part. But then, she's an adolescent terrier; what more can I expect? She let the dog sniff her, and sniffed him back. She let him approach me. She snapped at him once - an air-snap, a quick and unmistakable warning, when I was sat on the bench trying to read his tag and he tried to put his head into my bag, where her ball was.

I stopped a girl to ask her if the dog was hers, and although he was not she helped me keep hold of him, and enabled me to much more easily sort everything out. At one point she tried to stroke Lola before I could ask her not to; Lola didn't bark or growl, or even lift her hackles, but rather just moved away quickly and then watched her. Not fantastic, but I'll take it!

During this time, she also went to greet a JRT we've seen before, who I haven't let her greet because she's... a weirdo, really. She was very polite and well-mannered, with no hint of hackles. She also wanted to greet a staffie and a border collie that a man was walking on leash past us, but the staffie was leaning into its lead a little too much, and so I called her back and she was growling at it. Hmm.

The first time I called the number on the dog's (Jack's) tag, nobody answered. I was already thinking how I was going to break the news to mum that I'd brought home another loose dog when, on the second try, his owner answered. Apparently her teenaged sons had been looking after him, and a few moments after our call she rang back to say where she lived, and that her son wasn't home.

She also asked if there was a small white dog with him. I didn't think she meant Lola, so nope, no there was not.

Thankfully she didn't live far. With Lola's leash clipped to his collar, and Lola walking off-lead next to me on the quiet streets back, me and the girl headed to Jack's house. Their front door was wide open, and a scruffy white dog was standing in the front yard. Bingo.

I unleashed Jack, and took both him and the other dog by the collars to gently lead them indoors. Lola followed me in, but came quickly back out when I asked her to. I leashed her and we waited until the dog's owner arrived, and when said owner did arrive Lola stayed calm and held a loose leash while the woman hugged me as thanks. Good girl.

Afterwards, me and Lola returned to the park, and within five minutes we met one of her brothers! The last time they met they were both on leash, and although they were excited and seemed to recognise each other, they were both very tense. This time, Lola was off leash and much more relaxed, though she did have a go back when one of Cloud's owner's other dogs--they have three Jack Russells, crazy stuff!--barked and snapped at her. I called her away and she came happily enough.

We walked with them for twenty minutes or so, just a quick once-around the park, and although Lola was initially a little wary and worried at times (the three were very vocal, and Blackjack kept following her and barking; plus we were walking with three strange people, two of whom were male). But she didn't snap or snarl at them, and quickly regained enough confidence to zoom over to them and get the two boys to chase her. She's such a flirt.

Now she's exhausted on the chair, dead to the world.

This is Cloud:


Sara said...

Cloud is ridiculously cute!

Lola was a good girl today :) I've always wanted to video my dogs when I leave the house to see what they do...but then, do I really want to know? LOL.

Diana said...

What a good person you are!! And your dog did awesome!!