Monday, May 18, 2009

Havin' a Rough Time of It

The last couple of days have shown the grim side of dog ownership, when behaviors pop up that you wish you could just send away instantly.

Rally class was.. stressful.  I wish I didn't even take it.  It's packed with 9 dogs in a training room that would be better suited for 6.  Marge carried on a lot in the beginning and it was impossible to keep her focus.  She snapped at another dog.  When she finally did calm down, she wasn't having fun like she does at agility.  She did welcome pets from two kids and had a GOOD social interaction with their Border Collie at the end.  But, overall, I don't think either of us liked it.

Hopefully it's better next week.  If not, maybe I'll just take the monetary loss and drop the class.  Maybe I'll go back to Beginner 2 at some point.  I can't have her stressed out like that.  Down $160 or not, it's not worth having my dog exhibit fear and reactivity.

It was funny, when we got home I went into the backyard and did some agility practice.  The life was restored to her.  She was exuberant, playful, and happy to be working.

Today I thought, okay, we'll start over.  Clean slate new day.  Nope - I'm sitting on the couch and she lets out a nice long growl at my dad, who she had just seen minutes before, as he enters the house.  I've been working so hard to keep door confrontations from happening, but I guess I overestimated her recent successes.

I hate to sound so down, but I really am.  She'd been making so much progress the past few months, peaking at a successful completion of the Canine Good Citizen.  Now, in just a couple of days, I'm seeing behaviors that I thought were gone or were never there in the first place.

Maybe I sprang too much on her too fast.  Maybe I'm forgetting the life she had before she came here and expecting too much too soon.  I thought she'd be ready for Rally - maybe she is - but I'm upset that she had to be in an environment last night that made her uncomfortable.

And, the whole dad issue - I thought it was on the upswing.   This one kills me.  To have two individuals living under the same roof who are not 100% compatible with each other is a daily struggle. 

 I can't imagine what it's like having a dog who is comfortable with everyone.


Sue May 18, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

Usually several people drop out of a class pretty quickly. Don't give up yet. If a few other do drop, you could be in a much more comfortable situation. I went thru that with Fudge. There were twelve in the class at the start. At the end there were only five and it worked out well for us. We even went on to compete in Rally.

Sam May 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM  

You know something.. I tend to overreact when it comes to Marge. After something bad happens, I'm all crazed, wondering how bad things are going to be afterwards.

It'll be okay, I know. Hopefully you're right and some people will drop out. I can already think of one person who should, because their dog hasn't even mastered loose lead walking yet.

I'll carry on.. and I'm expecting an awesome day at agility tomorrow, so hopefully the negativities will leave MargeBlog for a while.

NCmountainwoman May 18, 2009 at 8:51 PM  

Don't worry about the negativity. That's what blogs are for, and we've all been through those trying days. When our Lucy was in obedience training, I never knew which Lucy was going to show up...the compliant one who went through the paces perfectly; or the contrary one who wouldn't focus on the tasks at hand. It gets better.

And don't forget how much a spring cold can take out of you. Things will be fine.

Life With Dogs May 18, 2009 at 9:59 PM  

We have been there - our current dogs are easy, but some of our previous dogs were not. And aggression is tough to deal with, I feel for you. I'm sure you'll find your way.
It still sounds as though your progress has been two steps forward, one step back, and that still works :)

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart May 19, 2009 at 3:13 PM  

I've so been there. Here is a link to a rant I posted about this time last year. The trick is to be in the moment and not get caught up in "the streak" (good or bad).

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