Boomer Growling, five days later

Head hugIt’s probably too soon to assume any kind of permanent resolution, but since that one night mentioned in my last post, Boomer has taken his pills (2 per day) without any complaint.   I tightened up on the NILIF, & to be honest I was a little miffed at Boomer for at least half of the next day, so he did get several cold looks from me.

Trust me; that’s huge.   For me, anyway.

Boomer had to sit, & wait – sometimes awhile, while I walked out of the room to get something – for anything he wanted, including going outside or coming back in.   He was not allowed on the bed without permission.   The first time he climbed up, I did the “ah ah” & gestured “off.”   He looked confused, but backed off & sat there, looking at me.  I ignored him for awhile, then permitted him up.   I know I said he was sleeping on the floor that night, but I settled for forbidding him from encroaching on my “side” as he had been doing for awhile.   He slept on the far corner of the bed that night instead of his usual place (practically on top of me).   Madeline was all too happy to cuddle up in my side.

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Boomer just growled at me.

Boomer & his favorite pillowBoomer 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.

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Chaining: Apparently Not A Good Idea

Lately I’ve been worried about my friend’s dog, who, for the last few months, has been living tethered in a garage every day for several months.   Originally he lived in a house with her & her boyfriend, but when they split up, her living situation changed & no fenced yard or enclosure is available any time soon.

In the old living situation, he was at ease with people, & although he did have a few canine rivalry-type run-ins with other dogs, overall he was a happy, obedient dog.   Since being tethered all the time, he’s become vicious to the point of biting a child who snuck into the garage to play with him.

There are a bunch of other factors to his change of behavior; the entire loss of stability must be overwhelming.   He must feel overly protective of  his gentle female owner now that they are without her boyfriend who not only spent most of his time with the dogs but was also extremely strict & structured.   He must miss the other dogs, & he must hate being alone all day until she comes home from work.

Recently I came randomly across an article stating that chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite.   The idea of tethering being psychologically damaging to a dog is corroborated in several more articles:

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Walking Boomer

Boomer made a year in October & he’s a big, exuberant 90ish lbs now.    I haven’t taken him walking for several months, although the last few times we walked he was quite relaxed on the leash & after a bit of drilling (we walked back & forth in front of a barking dog until he stopped paying attention to it), comfortably ambivalent to the barking dogs in the neighborhood.

Since he had his big growth spurt in July, I haven’t taken him out much, largely because that’s when he & Madeline had their spat & so I’ve been focusing on obedience/confidence training with Madeline, because she’s an anxious, fearful girl & their big blow up was a symptom of that.   I’ve walked Boomer around the yard on a leash & he’s pulled me off my feet when someone jogged by with a basketball, but I’d hoped his lunging tendencies were limited to his territory.

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