Owning dogs is a way of life for many. That’s exactly how I feel I was raised. I was raised to understand dogs, to believe they are part of your family and not just some pet left out in the yard. Dogs can be our best friends, our life-support (literally in my family as we have seen a number for service dogs in our lives thanks to a sibling of mine who is blind) and our emotional support. They can also be our nightmares.
I still remember growing up with my family dog. She was a purebred chocolate lab named Molly. She meant the world to every one of us in the family. Now that she has passed away from old age we look back and remember all the good times we had with her. My favorite memories include all those that put her in a good light. She was well-trained, obedient, didn’t try to eat human food (unless my dad broke the rules and fed her) and was an all around well-balanced addition to our family.
Over the years I have managed to forget about having to chase her miles through the woods when she got a wild hair up her booty and decided to scamper away from our yard. I also have forgotten about the several times she knocked over the trashcan for a midday snack.
Regardless of what bad behaviors she may have had throughout the years, at the end of the day I remember how well-trained she was. My dad did that. He trained her and in the same way helped me learn how to train a dog.
That’s why when I decided it was time for me to get a new dog back in 2009 while I was living in New York City I figured it wouldn’t be an issue. I was prepared to train a dog, so I went to the American Kennel Club on the Upper East Side and found one of the loves of my life, Evian. She is a beautiful purebred black pug.
When I look at her now I feel as if she has been the perfect puppy since day one. Sure she is now 5 1/2 years old and I have been with her every step of her life, but it’s so easy to erase any puppy age annoyances at this stage in her life. She is trained so well. For a dog like her to know commands via sign language is pretty impressive. She does what I want, when I want it while still enjoying her life as a well-balanced dog.
She sits when I need her to, she takes a nap when I am resting, she waits to go potty until I am ready to take her. She is the ideal dog. Full of love and understanding.
Now my fiancé and I have rescued a pug, which is probably a pug with a little mix of something else in him, and I have to tell you. This young, one-year-old puppy is a handful! We have to break him from bad habits formed prior to his being rescued. We also have to ease him into the home after what was probably a traumatic first year of his life before we found him. None-the-less, was Evian ever this bad? How do I remember?
I guess I just have to stay patient and continue to try new methods of training until one starts to work. What first? Crate training? What do you do if you feel crate training isn’t an option?
Evian is no longer confined to a crate at this point in her life, even though she was crate trained for the first three years of her life. Crate training obviously worked wonders for her, but how do you crate train one dog and not the other? Especially when the puppy, did I mention his name is Eddy, screams at the top of his lungs like a human baby when left alone in a crated situation. No body gets to sleep when that happens.
What is a dog owner to do? How do you rescue yourself from a misbehaved rescue dog? Especially when you love him with all your heart and are fully committed to training him. He is my son after all, sure he is a dog, but as I said earlier, he has become a part of my family. I want what is best for all of us and I will do whatever it takes!