I try to keep things lighthearted around here. Over-thought, but generally positive.
I’m just not in that space lately. I’ve been getting a lot of reminders of things that Silas “can’t” do lately.
Last week at the coffee shop a four month old puppy just . . . hung out under the table the whole time her owners ate breakfast. No barking, no cowering, no insisting that she run up to every person to meet them with who knows what outcome.
Sunday we ran across what looked like a nose work/tracking class at the park where we bike. I would love to do a nose work class with Silas. All the dogs were sitting in crates, calm and happy, while one dog worked. More than Silas could handle? Probably.
Today we got an invitation to a housewarming party. The couple giving the party have two very friendly and outgoing dogs, and they told us we could bring Silas. They haven’t met him since he was a puppy. I’m not sure if Silas could handle just the two of them and their two dogs, let alone fifty people.
One thing at a time I can laugh this stuff off. It’s just a bad combination of things all at once, plus our visit with the behaviorist yesterday was pretty hard. Rational brain knows that we, culturally, expect dogs to do ridiculous things like they aren’t hard at all. It’s great that some dogs can do those things, but we can’t let that be the expectation for every dog. (Especially if you stack them together, the way I see some people trying–they want a dog who can win agility and flyball meets, walks perfectly off leash, can hang out without stressing while you drink a latte, doesn’t chase squirrels, has never laid tooth to anything that isn’t a dog toy, goes to the dog park like it’s Disneyland, and will let kids climb on him like a pony. But they don’t want to spend too much time in Obedience class, because that makes the dog “like a robot.”)
Anyway, pity party, table of one. I’ll try to get over it.
9 thoughts on “Down”
I feel you. Pyrrha is similarly limited by her various anxieties. We can’t just “take her anywhere.” And that is often sad and frustrating. You do the best you can by them and trust that they love you anyway, even if they’ll never be the star of the trial ring.
And I’m sure Silas loves me much more *because* I don’t push too hard against his limitations.
Who can resist that face? Maybe try to focus on what Silas can do instead of what he can’t do? If you think he would be good at nose work or agility, get a book or video and see if you can train that on your own. Might give him something fun to do other than obedience and you and he might solidify your bond. 🙂
Hunt test training takes hours and hours. At least for our dogs. Some labs can pick it up in 5 minutes. That is not our dogs. Still, we plug away at it because it is fun. Sure it can be frustrating. But the moment you “know” the dog got a concept, no matter how small, well it is all worth it. 🙂
You always give such good advice. 🙂
I do need to find some new training to do with Silas, because he is SO GOOD at learning things. He knows a pretty sound compliment of “tricks,” though, and my imagination for such things is pretty limited. We don’t have the space for agility–we’re in 1000 square feet of awkwardly-arranged townhouse with a 16×16 back yard.
You are so right about people expecting their dogs to fit into this cliche picture of the all american dog but it’s not realistic for a lot of dogs. I put so much pressure on Kaya when she was a puppy to be like this and I couldn’t handle it when she wasn’t so I got another dog to fill those shoes. It’s funny but it’s true. I’m not saying this is a solution for you but it made me realize her strengths and also took the pressure off fixing her weaknesses.
LOL. I think getting a second dog would push Silas over the edge. I do sometimes fantasize about my “next” dog. On a good day, that dog looks a lot like a less-crazy version of Silas. On a bad day, I imagine getting a Golden Retriever.
My dogs couldn’t do any of those things either (except the nosework) and truthfully, I wouldn’t want them to! It is far less stressful to me, to know where my dogs are and that they are safe and won’t be put in some situation that they aren’t prepared for. I have a better time.
I know, right? That’s why I’m usually able to laugh this stuff off. I’m thankful every day that Silas doesn’t have separation anxiety, so I have no qualms about leaving him home.
I got a second dog to act as a role model for Brea, my fearful dog, and it has helped a lot in a lot of different ways, but I’ve since realized that she will probably never be “normal.” Just a little less stressed in some situations. Meanwhile, Siri, my normal dog, is wearing me out with her exuberance. and energy.