Saturday, December 15, 2007

But the books say...

Dog behavior books. I have nearly all of them. Scaredy Dog, Feisty Fido,Click to Calm, Culture Clash, Mine!, Fight!, you name it, I've probably got it. And the books are great, they help to calm me down and look at things from a more objective standpoint. Fantastic, now let's get to work. I have been doing No Free Lunch (some call it NILIF) with rescue dogs for years, and even with my own big dog Nick, and it really does work.

But one thing strikes me as I read these books again years later. The training program and activities in these books are geared fro that ONE dog in the house, ONE dog to whom I can devote all time and training. With a total of, well, seven dogs in the house, some of these solutions seem to be darn near impossible to pull off with the other distractions in my life. If I had 24/7 to devote to just the one dog, I'm sure Sydney would be back to near-perfect status in no time (well, in my dream world), and I'm sure that I would be better at keeping her from failure in specific day to day activities. This is not going to be a "pretty" solution, but we'll do our very best. When it's winter in Missouri, it's not feasible to leave the old, arthritic Weimaraner outside while I spend 20 minutes with Syd so she can work for her supper. Big Nick is likely scratching at the back door, and well, the cat just comes around when he wants to, and Syd just *loves* her cat. Distractions will happen, and Syd is going to have to learn to live with it. I'm going to have to learn to live with it also. And not get frustrated when the dog doesn't progress as fast as I'd like, or when she has a setback because of some level of stress that she's not ready to handle yet. She and I don't live in a vacuum, and I do have other dogs to take care of, the job that pays for the dog food, and other Life Happens situations. Deep breath. Every day, I give myself a pep talk, and it starts with "Harness her powers for good and not evil."

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