Saturday, July 14, 2007

Like, Explaning Ethics to Angelina Jolie & Billie Bob

A few weeks ago - almost 4 to be exact, the husband and I hired a dog trainer. And, I'm sure you are all screaming, "but Jen, you have 4 dogs how have you not had a trainer all this time!" Without the question, because only an insane person would have 4 dogs and not have hired a trainer. So, it's not a question but an exclamation. And I will answer, because things were fine until 2007 hit us smack in our butts. I'm telling you it wasn't a "good job on the field smack" either. Nor was it a "I love you so very much your butt is cute smack". It was a "mom caught us stealing a big wheel & wait until your father gets home where you pick the switch smack***" in the ass.

A few months passed and another wham-smack landed us with a trainer.

It was either try this or get rid of a dog or two or more. And that was like I'd jumped off a cliff into an abyss where there was no bottom. If anyone who knows me at all, knows that getting rid of a dog is not even an option for me. I crumpled into a heap in the backyard crying. I wasn't even crying as it was more like I was sobbing. Sobbing so hard and so long that there was a puddle of cry. And snot. The husband could only hug me, pick me up, carry me to the patio, provide some tissue and tell me to call my sister.

He full well knew that she was the only one who could console me. Secretly, I also think he knew I wouldn't yell at my sister - I haven't screamed at her since we were teens, but he knew we were on the most ultimate dangerous territory with me and she was the only one I could speak to at that very moment. Besides, she could decipher my zombie-atic mumble as that is what I had reverted to by losing all self control, snot, tears and complete thought patterns while lying in a lump in our backyard. I was not in a good way.

So, after the husband brought me my cell and a box of tissues, I mustered what I had in me (because let me tell you sobbing is exhausting) and dialed my sisters number. Being that she was the only person on the planet who could think straight or even get me to speak clearly, she told me to call a trainer. It sounds simplistic, but I needed it to be a Mack truck that hit me full on in my face before I thought of it. My sister became my Mack truck.

And call a trainer I did. The husband didn't think that would work, but I insisted with the promise fingers, toes & shoe laces crossed that if the trainer does not work, I'll look at finding a home for the dogs.

Indeed, I found a trainer through my wonderfully awesome vet. Just so you are aware, we have the best vet on this here planet of ours called earth (he's mobile and comes to our home. I've seen him perform surgery on my dogs, suture, clean their teeth and give them shots without any ounce of hesitation on animals behalf. It's a completely different experience than taking them to the clinic. They love him! We appreciate him!) Anyhow, he suggested a trainer through Bark Busters.

I could not be more grateful to our vet and our trainer.

The husband and I, due to Bark Busters, have a completely different pack of dogs. In our first visit the trainer spent 4-hours with us. That same night, by the time the husband came home from work (at midnight), he woke me up to say he couldn't believe how different our dogs were. They actually sat when he walked in the door instead of jumping up to see who could lick his face first. This is not an easy task for any of our four legged furries as the husband is over 6-feet tall! But on this night they sat immediately when he said sit. And that was only after the first lesson. . . . To use the words of Katie Holmes, "It's amazing!"

Three more weeks and the trainer returned, but only for an hour this time. He was happy to see a completely different energy in our dog pack as well as how well behaved they have become. I'm not a big braggart, but regarding my dogs, now that is a different story. So, you'll now suffer through my tales of doggie achievement as if all four of them were of the human kid kind. Hey! I listen to your stories as to how awesome your "real" human spawn are, you will listen to mine about mundane four-legged furries. [Ahem. . .] Where was I? Oh yes, my list of supreme doggie benevolence:
  • they now sit outside our foyer when someone comes to our home and rings the doorbell. We are still working on getting them to not bark when the doorbell rings, but let me tell you it's progress to get all 4 of them to just sit and stay while I open the door.
  • They sit outside the kitchen while I cook. They don't even put a paw inside the room while I cook. With food.
  • They no longer jump onto our bed without being asked. Luckily, the husband and I have decided not to buy a bigger bed, because it is just us in our bed now. No need for anything larger than our queen!
  • They sit and stay waiting to be invited outside or inside, as well as most rooms of the house.
  • They tend to lay around more inside the house instead of wrestling inside the house as if it's "Live: Smack Down on WWE" or something like that.
  • Finally, I can throw treats of doggie goodness (greenies, dried chicken breasts, food, etc.) on the floor right by each dog without any one of them eating. They sit and look at me asking to be released from the torment of having to wait for their treats that are lying right next to their feet.
It's awesome stuff going on here in our Longhorn city, I tell ya.

Even though they've become an awesomely different dog pack of whom are much more fabulous, don't be fooled, we still have much more work to do, as we are far from being perfect. The training can never ever stop or stray as it would then become broken and start over again we would. No longer will we experience any more smacks in the ass though. And that's a blessing in an of itself. Believe you me, you don't want to go through what we've been through.

On a more fantastically positive note, the trainer even suggested that we could work with Dixie to become a therapy dog(!), we only have to work on her "greeting disability." You see, she likes to jump on people to say "I love you, I can lick your face to prove my love for you. If you won't bring your face to me I'll bring mine to yours. I love you, I can lick your fact to prove. . ." Therapy dogs(!), apparently, cannot jump on people. Seriously? C'mon, where's the love, people? But it's always been a dream of mine to have a therapy dog(!). I cannot wait to take her to see children in the hospital - you cannot get more precious than that! And, maybe some nursing homes here and there, 'cos you know, old people scare me. That's only because I'm becoming one.

To date, this therapy dog(!) is the most exciting news I've received. Now, to train the husband to train the Dixie with moi to not jump up - I don't care if she's so damn cute when she does it. . . . Okay. . . . Yep, even the trainer became victim to Dixie's wily ways of supreme damn cuteness. More. Than. Once. While. He. Was. Here. And he called her "sneaky." That she is. Suffice it to say there is loads of work to be done here before Dixie can graduate to therapy dog(!).


***I would like to put in any sort of disclaimer here protecting moi parents, because this never happened in my family. It's not to say, while rare, that I didn't earn a spanking now and again while in my youts. They were completely justifiable, they just didn't happen to be completed with a "switch". Usually it was one pop on the arse (that didn't leave a mark) and I knew I'd been a bad, bad kiddie. In fact, I am not from the Longhorn city state itself and didn't even know the word "switch" existed in the sense that it is a form of a branch that you get to
specifically pick to hit your own bottom. When I heard about it I thought it was mythical in it's own proportion, because how twisted would you have to be to make your kid pick their own branch for their own corporal punishment? Though, when I think about it, I can totally understand. It's mind-warfare when it comes to children. You have to terrorize scare them or they will run all over you like Michael Schumacher in his F1 Ferrari. So, I get it. Kids need controlling these days.

Go pick your "switch" is very prevalent and
does exists here, as does the "belt", which I would just like to say for all those children's bums, "ow!" I feel for you and your pain, but stop doing stupid things and be a good kid. Your ass would then be saved, so really it's your very own fault. I would also like to say, "I'm glad it's you and not me though."

In any case, please don't send hate mail. I really do love children contrary to my belief in producing them. Also, my parents are peaceful loving people and I was angelic as a kid. I didn't need a good beating 'cos I wasn't stoopid like the children today. They raised me to be the delicate flower that I am.


Ian said...

Wow, getting your herd to behave can't have been easy, that's cool.

Wait, did you just compare your sister to a Mack Truck? I think there might be some yelling back at you for that one.

Alli said...

What a great story! I have thought about a trainer for the Merl... especially if we ever get another dog (which we might when we move to a bigger house).

I think the idea of having a therapy dog is great. There is one at UTMB that hangs out everyday on the Geriatric floor & most of the old people love her. It's really cute. You shouldn't be scared of old people...most of them are sooo sweet & fun to talk to. :)

Oh, and I support a wee spankerin of kiddos...not abusive..and no switchin or slapping, just a spank on the bum is ok. I had them when I was bad lil' toot, as my parents would say & I think I am all the better for it. :)

mindy said...

Wait. They SIT when someone comes to the door? Yeah, I don't think Otis would EVER get there, trainer or no trainer. Then again, I don't know how you can handle 4 little ones. Good work!

Godiva Jen said...

Ian: It was a bit of work to get the herd to properly behave. We still work every day, b/c they are so far from perfect. At least they're a bit calmer and that is really all I asked for - everything else is a bonus.

Don't tell my sister that! You'll put things in her head and then she will yell at me!

Alli: I recommend Bark Busters 100% if you decide to hire a trainer. Definitely worth the money! They're guaranteed for the lifetime of the dog(s)! Any time you need additional training, they'll come your way for as long as it takes. They are also in 9 different countries. If you happen to travel to one of those countries and have your puppies with you, they'll send a trainer your way if your dog(s) start acting up.

I can't wait to begin the therapy dog training with them too!

Mindy: It's a lot of work, but surprisingly easy work to do this. One dog would be absolute heaven compared to 4!

mindy said...

Only one-fourth of the joy you've got now, though!