Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Stella and Annie had a major dog fight last week. Stella ended up in the unfortunate position of dog on the bottom. When I was finally able to pull them apart (after spraying them with the hose had no effect), Stella dragged her battered body to the garage. I thought at first Annie was hurt worse because I could see deep red blood on her snow white fur. I soon figured out it was Stella’s blood, not Annie’s.

Every once in a while they painfully remind me they are dogs.

I have signed Annie up for 8 weeks of dog obedience training to see if I can curb her increasing attempts to dominate our paper doll world. The trainer informed me to purchase a “choke” collar before the first class. I cringed when she said it and meekly responded by asking, “Should I bring treats also to reward positive behaviors?” She replied sternly, “No treats will be needed. We believe in LEADERSHIP, not TREATORSHIP.” Clearly, I will be the human on the bottom in this relationship.

I’m feeling a little sad that love doesn’t seem to be the cure-all these days. I was able to love Stella through her year of bad behavior and ended up with a fine little dog. But, I can’t wait a year to see if heaping love on Annie will be enough when Stella’s well-being is at stake.

So, I move forward with a sigh, a little more jaded at having seen my babies trying to rip each other apart, and more than a little disappointed at the prospect of becoming a “Pack Leader." I had hoped to simply preserve the title of “World’s Greatest Mom.”


Jude said...

Yikes, that trainer sounds like a nightmare and a throwback to the days when people thought leadership was about doing violence to your dog. Kind of like Cesar's technique of so freaking out a dog that they cower on the ground which he perversely considers "good behavior," but of course he doesn't live with the consequences of a profoundly traumatized dog.

I hope before you purchase a choke chain and attend the classes that you will follow your instincts about a less brutal path, and talk to an animal behaviorist who can assess why the clashes are occurring and whether the impetus is something that can be resolved with behavior modification/training on both ends (dog and human).

Leadership of the pack doesn't mean choking your dog when they don't "obey." It's understanding how the vulnerable beings completely dependent upon you and your care see the world, and what are the possibilities for you all to lead a happy, healthy life.

Peanut said...

A choke chain is not always a bad thing as the above poster seemed to imply. I say go to the first class and if you are still that uncomfortable then don't go to anymore.

Stella and Annie said...

Thanks for your comments. We'll hope for the best and see how it goes...