Monday, April 16, 2012

Proud

Several years ago, while living in our old city neighborhood, a complete stranger lent me some valid advice. I owned Shadow then, my incorrigible, anti-social, dog aggressive "blond"-furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross. I had been dealing with seemingly endless training, as canines were everywhere. When I explained to this onlooker my intentions regarding disciplining Shadow, his or her polite response went something like this: "You're never done training.". So true, so true!! And, since dog owners are never finished training, there will be, at some point or another, a victory, whether minuscule or colossal, to celebrate!! An amazing source of evidence that hard work is paying off!! Score!! The other night, on Saturday, at 10:PM, I experienced one of those sweet moments. I was taking Rose for her evening walk. Darkness had befallen upon us, and all around our cul-de-sac were sleeping houses. Lights out, neighbors in bed. Rose and I were nearly home when, suddenly, a red Ford car drove through our street. I recognized it immediately. This red Ford car belonged to Carmella, who resides in a yellow house across the street. I recognized its driver, too, which was not Carmella. Nope!! It was John, a tall man with long silver hair. He has quite the reputation of shooting hoops!! Rose was curious, as always, her floppy ears perked, forehead furrowed, and colossal brown eyes fixated. I patiently redirected her. "Come on, Rose...." I coaxed. Zero response. No muscle within Rose's canine body moved. She just stood there, stock-still, as John emerged from Carmella's red Ford car. Then, to my utter surprise, out leaped one of his four large dogs!! Oh.... I thought. In the pitch-black darkness, I could determine John's dog's breed. I think. It was his Labrador Retriever!! And "she" appeared to be off-lead, as usual. I froze in place. Now it was my turn to be stock-still. Rose has gradually taught me that overreaction--which I am good at--will only make matters worse. It doesn't help things at all!! Because if I am not under control myself, then neither will she be!! Honestly!! If I do something short of speaking, then Rose will bay!! Seriously!! Sometimes, opening my mouth is all it takes!! Not that I am complaining.... I'm just explaining how things are around here!! So I stood there, without a word. I watched John lead his Labrador Retriever inside. It was as though he had hypnotized us and we were both cast by some spell!! Rose did not make a single sound. No whine, bay, growl or bark. I did not make a single sound. I just breathed, my heart beating. We watched in synchronized silence, as their screen door closed shut. The coast was clear!! Then, finally, I burst into a joyous: "Good girl, Rose!! Good, good, good girl!! I'm so proud of you!!" That's right. I told Rose, a dog, that I am proud of her, as though she were some praise-hungry four-year old child!! And I meant it!! Then, John stepped back outside. And, sans hesitation on Rose's part, she let out this singular hound-like bark!! I tugged on her leash to deal with that behavior. John said something which I did not catch. Then came the baying!! I hunched over to stroke Rose's velvet-soft fur. My touch calmed her almost instantly!! Yes, I am proud of Rose. For "You're never done training.". I believe that this applies just as equally for owners, as well!! And we have both come a long way.    

10 comments:

Stacey said...

oh I completely know what you mean - I over react too but it's something I'm working on! Great post as always.
I think a lot is to do with confidence however since Molly's attack in January, I also get really worried when dogs run around off leash with a dog owner who doesn't seem to have any idea. Loved this, can completely understand :-)

Raelyn said...

Stacey....
Thank-you for the comment!!
You're my most faithful Blogging Friend.... I just wanted to take a moment and say "thank-you"!! I appreciate it so much!! ;-D
I am glad that you enjoyed this post. ;)

Dip-Dip and the Bridge said...

Hi Raelyn
Thank you for visiting us. I know exactly how you feel when confronted by another dog. Taking 3 tiny dogs out who think they are able to take on any other dog is a scary business. I have often overreacted by picking them up in a panic. I (try) to make myself stay calm now and everything is okay. It is easier said than done though!
Lynne x

Raelyn said...

Dip-Dip and the Bridge....
Thanks for the comment!!
You are welcome for visiting your blog!! My pleasure!! Thanks for returning the comment and becoming a Member!! ;)
True.... Staying calm is easier said than done!! ;op

Finn said...

It is true, we are never done training. I had a horrible experience walking Finn last summer and now our walks are just more training, over and over. Thanks for stopping by our blog!

Raelyn said...

Finn....
Thanks for the comment!!
You are welcome for stopping by your blog!! My pleasure!! Thanks for returning the comment!! ;)

Ruby said...

I think I would have froze too- or run. As you know, I am not comfortable with off-leash dogs. Good job to Rose, and you too!

Raelyn said...

Ruby....
Thank-you for the comment!!
It helped to know that John's Lab is really quite obedient off-lead. But I understand what you mean.... Dogs are better controlled when leashed!! ;op

lifewithmydogs said...

I agree with 'you are never done training'. It keeps the bond strong, and there's always something to help with your dog's behavior even if you have a 'perfect' dog.

Raelyn said...

lifewithmydogs....
Thank-you for the comment!!
True. I have owned two dogs in my lifetime thus far. One--Shadow--was incorrigible. The other--Rose--is obedient and submissive!! Two completely different temperaments!! Yet either way, you are still never done training!! ;op