I wasn't proud of myself today after a rough training session with Marge. I had set up a cute little Agility course in the back yard, thinking Marge and I would have a ton of fun playing on it this afternoon. Well, she had other ideas and wasn't exactly ready to comply. Looking back, maybe the treats weren't good enough or the weather was too humid or she was tired. But, I didn't see it that way then. I started to get frustrated and was just so upset with the whole situation.
I went inside and calmed down, figuring that staying out there and continually trying to will her through the weave poles was going to be anything but a positive experience for her. I felt pretty damn bad for the attitude I portrayed as someone simply fed up with a training session gone awry, forgetting to remember the dog underneath and the feelings that dog feels. So, I went out to the store, picking up some treats and toys for Marge to make myself feel better (since she, of course, wouldn't have been able to connect the two things).
I had lost sight of what's important; I hadn't stopped to think about how far Marge and I have come in the year she's been here. I didn't appreciate the fact that she was able to be outside without fear and I failed to fill my role as her friend, guiding her through all the new and exciting things life has to offer.
Thankfully, my negativity hadn't rubbed off on her, and she was her fine, happy self when I returned from my shopping, eager to play with the colorful stuffed fishy that had cost me just a dollar.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing. Marge welcomed the tutor into the house quite amiably and laid outside in the sun with my mother, my grandmother, and I for about an hour. We took a trip down to the boardwalk where she was a pleasure to walk with. Very attentive and not tremendously worried about other dogs. She got to go to Grandma's again, too, where she passed out on the rug with her head resting against the end of the couch. Was really cute.
So, if this ever happens again, I'm going to remember this day and how badly I felt for my feelings towards Marge's mushy mood. I'm going to remember how it could have affected her or made her uncomfortable doing agility, or make her worry that she was going to do something wrong. I'm going to stay positive 115% of the time, because anything else just isn't fair to a fearful, low confidence dog.
On another note, I have some things planned for Marge's 2nd birthday/1st Gotcha! Day coming up later on this month. First, I am working on a tribute video of sorts. I'm VERY big on videos of my pets. (I have two of Taco, memorializing him.) I have a feeling the endless pictures are going to be tough to sift through, and having to do it on my Mac means it's going to take 10 times longer because I still don't know how to use the thing completely. But it should be fun, and I will post it if I get ambitious enough to complete it in time.
The second thing I was thinking was to play a little game with any of our readers/fellow bloggers who are willing to join in. It will be a collection here on the blog on June 29th, which was the first day Marge was here last year. Anyone who wants will submit a picture of their pup (or pack) to me via e-mail with a short passage, no longer than a paragraph, about why you're lucky/happy to have your dog(s). I will post all of the pictures and blurbs with a link back to everyone's site. Is anyone interested? If so, I'll set it up later in the week, and if not, I'll scrap it.
Monday, June 8, 2009
MargeBlog started in early 2009 as a training journal for my newly adopted, skittish Lab mix, Marge. Marge's world was small back then; her fears really limited the things I could do with her. Aside from trips to the park and attending beginner training classes, Marge was mostly a stay at home gal - not because either of us wanted her to be, just because the demons from her unsuitable upbringing continued to haunt her.
Slowly, the fear diminished, her world grew. Now, Marge is a fun-loving, squirrel-chasing, winning Agility and Rally dog who accompanies me to a wide variety of places. Here, you will frequently find detailed training updates, snippets from Marge's every day life at home, and photo-filled posts detailing our many outdoor adventures.
This is more than just a dog blog - it is an actual look in to what one shelter dog's life ultimately became when she found her first and forever home and began to blossom.
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A rescue from Georgia bounced around from shelter to shelter and state to state with her siblings, Marge did not have the luxury of living in a home - my home - until just past her first birthday. A life behind bars had taken its toll on Marge, whose obvious fear of people, noise, and city life in general left a lot for her to learn about how to get by in New York.
Marge is a different dog now than she was back then. It took years of new, positive life experiences, but her fears, which used to consume everything we did, are now only one theme in a great big book of adventures.
These days, Marge enjoys going to training classes, taking trips to agility trials, having play dates with friends, and eating anything that's even remotely edible - not bad for a dog who spent her puppy days in cages.
My time with Marge has been a learning experience for which I am ever grateful. As my first dog, she has taught me and continues to teach me so much more than I ever imagined about dogs, training, and behavioral/fear issues. She's a fun dog with a sense of humor who loves life and learning.
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- Busy Bee
- In Celebration of the Dog
- Rough Times, Part 2.. Still on the Mend
- All Breed Show/Dilly Dally Rally
- The Jack Russell Effect
- Seven Heaven
- A New Training Endeavor
- Who Rules This Roost?
- An Upcoming Collection
- Agility, Week 6
- Remembering What's Important
- Chock Full O' Mishaps
- Inside Activity
- Weave Weave Weave!
- Agility, Week 5
- It's the Dog's Life
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