Boomer had a slightly stressful vet visit today; I took him to a new vet, whose vet techs basically bear hug the dogs on the exam table while the vet does his exam. Boomer was friendly to everyone including the vet until the vet leaned over him & patted his head. Boomer then growled, & they put a muzzle on him (rather, let me put the muzzle on him since I think he scared the vet tech… Boomer has a hair raising growl). The exam went smoothly, & Boomer seemed fine with the vet afterward, although I don’t think it was 100% fine. Too much eye contact.
We got home, I gave Boomer a bath, with which he cooperated better than usual, & then later after dinner I had to give him a pill. Normally if I just toss the pill in his dinner, he eats it along with the kibble, but these pills are slightly big & he left it in there.
As I reached for him he growled & ducked away.
With the hair on the back of my neck standing up, I put the girls in the house. I then approached him again. He growled & ducked 4-5 more times. I stopped, took a breath, & hugged him, reassuring him that it was just a little pill. In my arms, he growled. I let him go & thought for a second.
I didn’t want to get angry, although my currently almost overwhelming fear (Boomer’s growls are scary) made that easy. Fuggit. I decided that even if he bit me, he was going to take the damn pill. I was not going to be angry; I was going to be patient. Tenacious. My entire training style with my dogs is tenacity; they know that if they don’t do it now, they’re gonna do it later, even if I have to stand here & say it 100 times. They are well familiar with the words “I can do this all day.”
Boomer was NOT going to learn to control me with a fucking growl.
I don’t know what the dog behaviorists would say. I went & got one of his treats. He wanted it. I reached for his muzzle, he growled & ducked. Boomer could probably hear my heart pounding, but I said the words: “I can do this all day, Boomer.”
Finally, he let me toss the pill down his throat, & then he got the treat. And then I told him he was a good boy & marched into the house because I was getting a stress headache & frankly I wanted to smack him but that would be counterproductive.
Boomer is super affectionate. His favorite thing is to sit with me in the back yard & lean against me while we just sit there & watch the leaves on the trees. He loves being praised, & he sleeps hugging me at night. Boomer loves me; he likes nothing better than being with me. It’s very difficult for me to accept him growling at me.
I don’t know where he learned it from, but I can’t tolerate it. Maybe I’ve been too affectionate & gentle, too permissive. Lately I’ve caught him sleeping on my side of the bed. I think he’s getting ideas. I do follow NILIF, but imperfectly. I guess it’s time to tighten up on that.
I am still King here. I get scared, but I’m frickin’ King. And you, Boomer, are sleeping on the floor tonight until I decide otherwise.
Any words of wisdom, by the way, are welcome. I’m not a know-it-all King by any means.