Failuretown, Meet Overwhelmed City

Having rescue dogs is one of the most—if not the most—trying things I have ever done. Not that I really know what its like in my adult life to have a non-rescue dog, but having dogs pre-conditioned with certain issues and trying to overcome those on my own really has tested my willpower, patience, temper and resolve, among many other things. At this point, I honestly don’t know how I would handle having kids—these “cute” 15lb animals send me into a frenzy whereupon I have to use every sheer ounce of willpower in my being to control myself…

We had a really horrible incident this morning. Pierre got back yesterday with my aunt, and was added back into our pack. As I wasnt able to do any training with him over the last few days, and we had to re-integrate him back into our herd, it was rather chaotic. He is really pushy with my dogs, and will take their toys away, push their buttons, etc. He is not bad, I just think having access to resources sends him into overdrive, so we will need to manage that carefully. We finally got them settled down later in the evening.

I got up this AM super-early to take everyone to the huge dog park to hopefully burn off some steam before I went to work. This is the best dog park as it is massive, but the downside to it is that it is on a really, really busy road that people drive really fast on. I was fully aware of this when I pulled up, and parked in what I thought was the best place in case of disaster. My dogs are trained to stay in the trunk of the wagon until their leash is on and I say “lets go”. This morning, I was extra cognizant of grabbing Pierre as soon as the door opened as I knew he would be the biggest liability. My dogs are laying down like they are supposed to as I open the door. Pierre comes shooting out at me like a rocket into my arms. I caught him, but his blast released Forest as well.

I dont know exactly what happened really after that except for shortly, the Min Pin duo was barreling down the side of the road while cars are racing by at 40+MPH. Diego—bless his heart—managed to stay in the car so I slammed the trunk back shut and ran, (I hate to admit) screaming down the road after the dogs. Pierre actually has decent recall, but my hysteria and Forest’s mission to run the opposite direction of whatever way I was going didnt do anyone any favors. At one point Pierre actually got into the street and was running parallel to the traffic and I about had a heart attack. I did not keep my composure in any way, shape, or form. I corralled them back into a side street away from the main road. At this point Forest knows he is in deep shit, and there is no way I am going to catch him. Somehow I managed to grab Pierre. After chasing Forest, screaming/yelling/crying like a lunatic for another few minutes, he somehow managed to corner himself at the entrance to the dog park. He is SO lucky that that’s where he stopped—if we had not been in full view of dog people, I may have done something really, really inappropriate. Not so R+ if you know what I mean.

I grabbed him and put him back in the car by himself, took Diego and Pierre into the park, and tried to calm down.

This was one of the more traumatic incidents I have had yet with the dogs. It was horrible and I am still shaking hours later as I write this. I feel way in over my head, and again, Forest specifically is pushing me to the point of no return. This is the second time he has RUN away from me since we have had Pierre. Is there more training I can do with him? Absolutely. (We worked on exiting the car when released on the long line this morning when we got home.) But after almost a year and a half of constant work with this dog, I still cannot trust him. I am so, so, so frustrated. Pete and I had a heart to heart about it the other night—the fact that I/we have worked so hard and that it seems to barely be making an impact—and he is frustrated too.

I read dog training blogs, buy books, go to classes, and spend hours of every waking day obsessing over this stuff, and I still cannot manage my own dog. Every time I feel like we are making progress, I get knocked back down, and hard.

We know in the end that he will come around, and it will be so incredibly rewarding when it does. If he doesn’t become a road pizza first.

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3 thoughts on “Failuretown, Meet Overwhelmed City

  1. I so feel for you. I know exactly how you feel, I have a dog just like that.

    She’s nine. She’s brilliant. She’s perfect.

    If she _wants_ to be, and I have Really REally Awesome food. (Sometimes.)

  2. Thanks Brittany. I hope at this rate we make it to nine. If we do, by then, he WILL be a good dog. If it kills me. Sigh.

    He ran away from us again yesterday morning—we even were extra careful, thinking we had him corralled in the cove. Wrong! He scaled a cliff and ran off to dumpster dive at the big beach again. Luckily I had my BF with me and we caught him eventually. The official verdict yesterday was no off-leash unless we are in a fully-fenced, impenetrable area (and/or at agility where I always have treats and he seems to stay with me for some reason). So frustrating!

    And yet I somehow feel the same way about this dog that you do about yours. I hate to admit I may even love him a little bit more than the other, much better behaved dog… How does that work???

  3. I believe you may want to reread the prodigal son parable.

    We all love the difficult ones more.

    Otherwise, we’d kill them.

    (the preceding statement applies to men, children and cats as well as dogs)

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