Hang In There!

We’ve always gravitated towards the difficult dogs. So, we’ve had our fair share of issues. We’re in the middle of one right now.

Jax (our newest addition), is just reaching his new home crescendo. He’s been here long enough, and developed enough confidence to really open up and be a shithead. For example, when he first arrived, a sound may have made him shrink, because he didn’t know where he was, who he was surrounded by, or what he was supposed to do. This is made worse by the fact that he didn’t live in a house before, and life on a chain is pretty devoid of decisions. Fast forward a few months, and he’s more confident in himself, and more sure that he belongs here. Awesome. But the problem is, that has grown a LOT faster than his impulse control. Not awesome. So now, when we’re all lying around watching a movie, and he hears a noise…….. Super Jax; Defender Of The Home, springs into a fit of barking and trampling dogs to get to whatever he thought he heard. This of course, does not go over well with the rest of the crew. And, they are not amused. And let me tell you, a 5 way dog fight is a scosche stressful. Well, it’s only 3 really. Bella, looks shocked, and sits in a corner. Emma (our 14 year old Chow/Healer mix, and only non-Bully), just screams and nips and retreats. But Jax, Mabel, and Milo…… They are in it. Now, we’re working through it. Jax gets kenneled in the living room during what seems to be the problematic couple of evening hours. We’re working on his impulse control, and holding positions under distractions. Improved impulse control will help him not go to level 10 when reacting to things. And, if he has good positional control, he will hold his “Down”, or whatever, even if he wants to go see what the noise was. This will translate into Jax being able to hold a down in the room, instead of being kenneled. Once he can see that there’s no need to jump, and the rest of the pack can see he’s not insane, it’ll settle down. Add some age and maturity to the mix, and in 6 months to a year, we have a totally relaxed, free roaming group.

But, 6 months….. A year. ugh.

Listen, I’m not telling you this to complain. This is not a FML post. I am not in need of sympathy.

I tell you this because,, last night I was talking to a dog trainer who was telling me about their similar situation. And then, someone else jumped in and told their story. And, it was nice. Nice to hear that it’s not just me, or “my” dog. This happens to a lot of people. And, with education, hard work, and a never quit attitude…… They work through it.

Looking back, I can see so many dog situations we lived with that we thought would NEVER resolve. Things that were like “I don’t think we can handle this”. But all of them did. And not just a “lock one in the bedroom” kind of thing. Everyone, EVENTUALLY, had dogs that could chill out together and hang out with the family.

When I realized how uplifting it was to hear that other people were fighting my same battle AND WINNING, it made me feel a little comfort. I knew I had to share my story here. Hopefully, someone who’s “holding on” in their own situation will see this, and get a little second wind.

Make sure all your bases are covered. Get educated, so you understand the problem. Get help making a plan that you understand, and believe in. DO THE PLAN.

And, just hang on.

It WILL work.

One thought on “Hang In There!”

  1. Nice post. And, funny. I could totally visualize the scene – dog fight part not funny but you know what I mean. I agree that there is strength in numbers. It took me 2 years to reach out to other dog communities to find solace with my difficult dog situation. I found fearful dog forums, reactive dog forums, DINOS, BAT – all of those things (and now your blog) help ease the isolation of not having a happy-go-lucky dog.

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