Mixed Feelings

I’m not a violent person. I don’t believe in hitting. I’m anti-spanking but not in a militant way – believe me I had my butt popped more than once and am no worse the wear for it. But even with my anti-violence beliefs I caved today. Our furry child Harley is driving me absolutely nuts and I just can’t take it anymore. This morning she jumped up on the bed with half of a Victoria’s Secret bra in her mouth… I was not finished with that yet! What makes it worse is she got it out of a drawer! Apparently the drawer was a bit askance and she managed to get it open while I slept. I’m so frustrated. It seems that I spend half my time at home retrieving stuff from the dog. Her current favorite game is to go running by with something in her mouth until she raises the stakes high enough (i.e. something you REALLY don’t want destroyed) and you cave in and either chase her or give her a treat. And now at night she’s decided it’s fun to start barking out of the blue at 1am, 3am, 4:15am… whenever the urge hits. And it’s not just one bark… it’s incessant barking.

We bought a citronella bark collar for her a few months ago. It worked for a while until she realized if she just barks for 15-20 minutes straight she runs it out of spray. She’s too damn smart for her own good. But I just keep refilling it hoping some day she’ll just decide she really doesn’t like the smell. Jim picked up Robert at preschool today on his way home from Omaha so I was able to run to Petsmart to get some more spray on my way home. While I was there I began talking to the sales associate about Harley’s issues. He asked if we had tried training. She has passed two obedience classes. Put a leash on her in a room with 8 other dogs and she behaves. She knows a lot of commands… drop it, leave it, sit, stay, lay down, settle… she just doesn’t do them when she doesn’t want to. He suggested a shock collar. We’ve talked about these before (generally when holding a shoe or one of Robert’s toys she’s destroyed). So here I was standing in PetSmart with the shock collar in hand and Bob assuring me that it would be ok. I bought it. Got it home and started to have some pangs of guilt. I gave Harley my leftovers from lunch at Red Robin, and then put her new pretty collar on her. The one good thing I can say is it does have a button you can press where it makes a noise sort of as a warning that you can do before you push the shock button. The first four levels she didn’t flinch or act like she felt anything when I applied it. Level Five she felt. She didn’t yelp but she did jump up and look around kind of like “What the hell was that”. Jim and I had a long talk and I told him I wouldn’t do this if we weren’t going to be INCREDIBLY consistent with it. She needs to get the message loud and clear of what’s acceptable and what’s not instead of the message “that’s acceptable tonight because I’m too tired to deal with you.” The good news is she’s figured out that the beep comes first and has responded to that about 90% of the time. She’s not running away from me and will still curl up on the end of the bed so she’s not associating me with pain and that’s good. I didn’t want things to come to this but I can’t afford her destructive habits anymore and there’s no way I could ever give her away or lock her in her kennel all day.

On a lighter note, Cosmo the cat was on the coffee table checking out the collar remote and it looked for a minute like he was trying to figure out how to press the shock button. Note to self – keep control away from cat.

We got about 6″ of snow finally last night. The good news was it cleared off the car pretty quick this morning. Of course, all of our ice scrapers were in Jim’s car in Omaha since he usually cleans off the cars (that was one of my demands when the Sandford collection took over the garage and my winter parking spot).

Robert tried peas tonight. He ate them but they didn’t seem to compare to his favorite squishy squash. He’s sleeping like an absolute champ and taking long naps at day care… growing!!! I think he’s up to 19.5 pounds now and has to be at least 27″, we’ll find out next week when he has his four month check up.

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