Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I've always been a cat person. I've owned cats since I was sixteen and moved away from home. It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I got my first dog. I was at a party and this adorable stray puppy showed up for scraps. She passed out in my lap for the next two hours and after enduring the encouragement of everyone there, I took her home. It was hit or miss for the first three months. We regarded each other as strangers, sharing space but not exactly bonding. There was chewing, peeing, barking, whining and it wasn't until she scared away a couple of guys arguing in my driveway that I felt I had made the right choice.
She's since become my baby. She's absolutely adorable, fairly well-behaved, piggish and cuddly.
When I got married, I adopted my husband's sheltie. He's basically a good dog, gets along with all our other animals and takes it upon himself to alert us to impending danger.
Unfortunately, that danger is constant and includes twigs falling from trees, leaves blowing across the road, cars driving by, cats wandering up the street, the trashmen, and any movements of the neighbors.
He barks furiously when we check the mail, go out into the yard, and down to the basement.
He simply can't shut the hell up.
I can get him to sit, lay, stand, wait, come...but I can't seem to teach him "hush".
My gut feeling is that he does this with the intention of protection. He's by nature a guarder and herder. When we leave the house, we're outside of his protective range and he freaks. When something approaches the house, it's encroaching on his "herd" and he freaks.
It's been two years now and he's as bad as ever. He doesn't seem to understand that some basic routine activities are not bark-worthy.
I know a big part of the problem is just my lack of working on the problem in a focused manner. I need to get out the hotdog treats and spend a month of constant consistent effort.
I hate dog training.