Dog Training Is Worth Every Penny

ImageEmma is so sweet, loving, energetic, resourceful, and VERY smart–too smart for her own good.  Imagine that God should pair me with an alpha female dog…oh, the irony in that.  She’s doing much better with her potty training, but today she peed in Nick’s bed, so I did some reading on that.  After ruling out other things, I feel certain it’s a pack animal dominance/protector/safety instinct that we WILL be managing.

Every night Nick hauls Emma’s crate into his room, and that’s where she sleeps.  Ryan is a light sleeper. He wakes up when her collar jingles or she chews her bone. Nick is sleeping over at a friend’s house tonight.  We have Emma’s crate in our room.  Nick and his friend left, I put Emma to bed, and she cried for 30 minutes.  David worked a 13 hour day that started at 3:30 in the morning. Sorry, Emma, no no.  No no.

Exhausted but determined, I hauled my cookies off the bed, got the training leash and collar, and Emma and I had ourselves a little doggy training practice session.  We did it right in the bedroom at 11:00 at night.

We’re between our 2nd and 3rd session of an 8 session training class at Speck’s in Avon, IN.  Becky is really good with the dogs and, most importantly, the humans. I highly recommend her classes–very affordable and very good.  (I don’t get anything for saying that.)  So we’ve learned “Emma, heel!” and “Sit. Stay.”  That’s our practice routine.  And we practiced it, for 10 minutes.  Man, is that little girl determined to be in charge.  When she gave up and began to mind and mind well, I gave her some love, a couple of ice-cubes (one of her favorite things), and put her back to bed with all her favorite bones.  Within a couple of minutes, she was whining again.

I hauled my irritable cookies off the bed again, put the training collar back on and we marched some more.  We heeled, we sat, and we stayed.  We marched all over the house.  We marched in front of Ryan with a little bit of distraction, we stopped, we changed directions, we sat, we stayed–for another 10 minutes.  This time when I felt she had the message, I took her, still on the leash, to her water dish and served her some nice, fresh cold water.  Then I scratched her belly, hugged her, loved her, told her how good she was, and scratched and loved her some more. Then I gave her another ice-cube and put her to bed.

She’s laying there, quiet as a little mouse, sound asleep, FULLY AWARE OF WHO IS RUNNING THIS SHOW.  Emma, girlfriend, it is not you.  These last couple of days she sure has thought so.  Eating the neighbor children’s shoes, shopping in the trash, bothering poor Teddy Piggy, nipping the kids.  Mommy was slacking on the doggy training practice. I’ve learned, and I’m teaching my family, that if Emma is bad it isn’t Emma’s fault; it’s ours.  We’ve failed to teach her our rules and make sure she understands that she will follow them at all times.

Baby steps.

The problem now is that I have to get the rest of the family completely on board.  I make them attend the training classes, but Nick really babies her.  We’ve discussed that he’s making this harder for all of us, but this dog has become something to him that I couldn’t have imagined. He gets it, but there is something special with him and this dog. It’s a road…a new part of the journey.  A difficult, but good part.

My goal now is that I will get her minding me well, and then it will be easier to teach them to do the same things with her I’ve already been doing.  She’ll know how to do them, and we will gain control of her as family. For now, she IS going to mind me.  That’s SO going to happen.

This class was only $89.  It’s once a week for 8 weeks.  I’ve learned so much after only 2 classes. Becky is really great.  She’s helped me and answered questions outside of class.  It’s really humane and useful training.  I’m planning to take the next level session.  By then the weather will be better and we can do this outside where she really has to ignore distractions.  Should be a barrel of monkeys.

I landed an alpha female.  How karmic is that? : )



Rescue A Dog–Why Emma Is Alive

Sweet baby, Emma.

Sweet baby, Emma.

Welcome, Emma, to Wormald World.  Emma is a pug mix. She was picked up by Animal Control on December 1, 2012.  The first thing they did when they brought her in was try to vaccinate her.  That didn’t go well, so they labeled her “aggressive”.  They weren’t even going to try to place her.  Emma was going to be euthanized.   If you meet Emma, you will quickly come to see how utterly unbelievable that is.  She is so sweet and loving.  I think if I was starving and had spent my day being chased down, hooked, caged, and dragged into the pound by a dog catcher, I might be a little cranky when someone comes at me with a needle.

Emma was rescued from death row by Waldo’s Muttley Crew in Monrovia, IN.  Waldo’s is in the business of saving dogs’ lives–period.  If there is a ghost of a chance of finding a home for a dog, Waldo’s takes them–from anyone, anywhere.  If they don’t find a home they stay at Waldo’s, which is a pole barn on a huge piece of private property in a small rural Indiana community.  Emma is approximately 12 to 18 months old.  She had not been spayed and she wasn’t chipped, but by the time she had been with us for a day I could tell she had been someone’s house pet.  She knows the drill.  We’re still perfecting our potty training but she does pretty well.  She understands “no”, “down”, and “sit”.  She comes to the dinner table but she doesn’t beg.  She sits quietly at our feet.  Given the lack of basic veterinary care, I think she was probably dumped because someone couldn’t keep her.

It wasn’t that I didn’t understand before, but now that we’ve found Emma I have truly come to grasp the importance of taking in a rescue dog.  On our journey to find Emma I saw a lot of tiny baby puppies being adopted with lots of excitement, and knew in my heart that half of them will wind up in Emma’s paws within a year.  Puppies are so precious, until they start eating your couch.  A huge thanks to all my friends and co-workers who encouraged me to rescue.  Emma’s was a life worth saving.


Champion Chewer!

Champion Chewer!

The fox is history. What else you got?

The fox is history. What else you got?


Emma Sleepin'

Emma Sleepin’