today we started a new chapter here at the murphy residence. previously, our two beautiful dogs, you know them as briggs and tucker the ninja dog, had been running our lives. at some point it became abundantly clear that we were in fact being owned by our two furry friends. i started to notice it back when the briggs man became an expert pacifist and started nonviolent street protests earlier this fall. at first i thought it was the price of gas that was moving him toward such action but quickly realized it was just that he wanted to make my life miserable. and so like all powerless people who think they have the upper hand, i responded by completely losing my mind, and if you can imagine, this is how i became known on our block as "the crazy neighbor who appears to be beating her big brown dog". the title was accurate enough but i thought it lacked imagination.
fast forward to february and i have one big dog who likes to defy me outside and a smaller dog who likes to defy me inside. tucker the ninja dog's antics ranged from "innocently" eating half his weight in dog food to attacking his best buddy briggs every time he saw another dog and then of course there is his SAD disorder. you know, SAD - Squirrel Attachment Disorder. its a terrible disease wherein the afflicted party is constantly plagued by the feeling that they MUST under any and all circumstances bark, run, and dig their way to any squirrel or squirrel like thing (read any other rodent, small dog, cat, large leaf blowing in the wind or anything else that may move by its own fruition) that my catch their eye. i know some dogs are into rodent chasing but this was ridiculous. at one point tucker's SAD was so bad he thought he could climb trees (he can't) and there were those saturday mornings where he just spent hours staring out the windows stalking the squirrels from room to room all the while barking his god damn head off. these were the less relaxing weekends around here.
the husband and i were coming up empty again and again. tricks we had employed when briggs was an "only dog" didn't work. food lures didn't work. time outs didn't work. surprisingly, yelling didn't work. we spent more time yelling at the dogs and being annoyed with each other than we were enjoying the company of our best fur-buddies. so a good portion of the tax refund was spent today on hiring a dog trainer. one that came with a lifetime warranty. i was nervous about having the woman come to the house, fearing that perhaps she would chastise us for the SAD or the briggs' nonviolent protests. or maybe she would be crazy and ridiculous and talk a bunch of crazy talk about speaking "dog" the importance of reading your dog bedtimes stories or some other such nonsense. but no, she was normal. she wasn't a crazy dog lady, she was a professional who acted accordingly and gave us some tips and techniques for actually having a happy home and a well-ordered pack.
she was here for a 3 hour session and we have 1 more hour to go. it seems we have more issues than the regular pack. i admit that i still feel pretty shaky on these techniques. its a little bit of dog whisperer, a little bit common sense, and a lot of practice because it appears that it's mostly about timing. the husband seems to have picked it up better than me, but i will keep trying. tonight though, we are all exhausted from our busy day.