And it’s Sunday! Which means it’s Day Five in the Gina, Azzie and Odin Adventure!
And you know what? It’s going pretty well, all things considered. Still things we are working on, but better. Azzie is behaving much better with him, especially inside the apartment, and she no longer growls at him when he comes near her or her toys. She instigates a game sometimes too.
I’ve found a good balance for Odin’s food – his tummy is doing much better and he doesn’t need any more tablets to keep it that way. He’s eating his food very sweetly, and delicately and enjoying it a great deal – because he knows that there’s another meal coming and he won’t starve. I’ve given him an allergy tablet in the evenings and it seems to be helping his itchies a great deal.
This was his second night out of his crate and it all went well He’s chewed up his blanket a bit, and Gina’s fake fur blanket too… but it’s a comfort thing, so it should stop.
My main issue right now is the walks on the short lead – so any walk on post or in areas where they all need to be on their leads. Which is all the rest of our walks, basically. We go for 3 or 4 walks as a pack every day around post, and generally it’s fine, until Azzie sees another dog. Then she turns into a complete idiot. It’s not aggression or anything – she just REALLY wants to say hello, and of course she drags Gina with, who also gets all riled up (again, no aggression, just way too excited) and now I’m worried she’s going to get Odin doing the same thing. I try to keep them all walking calmly next to me, or behind me (as Gina likes to be) but then they split up to go sniff things, and then it’s tangles and I’m swapping leads and climbing out of the center of lead webs and they keep swapping sides and switching who they want to walk with and Gina is going ahead and then dropping behind me on the other side, and Azzie just goes ahead and then I ask her to walk next to me and she does for a second, but then she finds something else she wants to sniff so she just barges in front of me (I’ve nearly fallen over her I don’t know how many times) and if I don’t want to fall, I sidestep or stop and then I stand on Gina or on Odin and it’s becoming a nightmare. I’m getting so annoyed and it was so nice before! It’s not Odin’s fault – he’s really sweet on the lead – especially on his own. So is Azzie, and so is Gina! But our pack walks.. arg.. it starts out really nicely and then it’s “OMG I”VE NEVER SEEN A DOG BEFORE I MUST GO SEE IT NOW NOW NOW!” and I’m being dragged from one side of the street to the other, or up a grass bank, or down a line of cars, by Azzie. She’s 115lbs (over 50kg) and Gina is almost 100lbs (almost 50kg) – they weigh, together, more than I do. Even separately they weigh almost as much as I do! My hands were torn up the other day by the stupid idiot and all she wanted to do was say hello to the wiener dogs. Happened again today. And the owners just watch us with this blank expression, no correction, while their dogs yap wildly and run around going nuts and growl at my three, which doesn’t help.
And Gina and Odin had an altercation – not sure what happened as I was busy untangling my thumb from Azzie’s lead before it got snapped off while she whined and went on about the dogs ON THE OTHER BLOODY SIDE OF THE FIELD – I think perhaps Odin stood on Gina’s tail, or Gina stood on his sore leg. Something. I don’t know.
And then as soon as we had sorted ourselves out and carried on our way.. Azzie was FINE. Walking next to me again. Gentle as a lamb. I think I need to get her a martingale collar or something. Just some way to GET HER ATTENTION before she turns into Idiot Dog. And I AM remaining calm. I AM keeping my temper in check. So I really don’t know why she’s still doing it. I correct her, I try distract her (with my voice, by standing in front of her, or with a treat) but it only lasts a second.
It’s a bit hard to convince people that this 115lbs of hairy “rawring” dog barreling toward their dog, dragging me and two other dogs behind her, is “friendly” and “just wants to say hi” – because that’s it, really. She totally calms down when she gets to the dog. Waggy tail, big smile, no growling no barking, nothing. Even gives them a Berner play bow if she likes them. And Gina too – she’s all puffed up silliness and then when she says hi, she’s waggy tail and sniffing faces and then totally bored and moving on to something else and ignores them. Odin is very confused. He’s not sure if he should be all big chested and boy-dog with his hackles up, or if he should hang back and pretend he’s not there until it’s all over. I don’t want him picking up Idiot’s bad habits. I want him to make FRIENDS. I want him to meet Django and Luca and make MORE friends. I don’t want him to think that every dog we see needs to be GUNNED AT, like Azzie does, until we get to them. Ah well. early days still, right?
Hoping my friend Nicole can give me some helpful tips. I don’t have anyone to help me, you see, so it all has to be done by me. Sort it OUT! Fix it NOW before it becomes even more of a problem. And it WILL become a problem if I don’t get this right. One day, Azzie will gun at the wrong dog and it will be _bad_ and I don’t want that. She’s taken a LONG time to get over her incident with Marcel, and I don’t want her to go through that again. (and it wasn’t even that bad – it was a little unexpected/unintentional nip on the ear while in a dog pile at the dog park) She’s a sensitive dog and it would really do bad things to her psyche. And then Gina would step in. While she doesn’t approve of the way Azzie behaves, Gina is a real “big sister” and she would put ANY dog in their place that went for Azzie, even if Azzie caused it. And then there’s Odin… he growled at the little dogs today… which I don’t want!
So maybe a choke chain for Azzie? A martingale collar I would prefer – I know a lot of people with Berners who use them, because they’re big dogs who just don’t understand their size and strength. It’s not to harm them, just to have a little more control and a way of getting their attention. I would never hurt my dog intentionally. I’ll discuss it with Nicole, I think.
*sigh* As Nicole keeps telling me: Azzie is different. She’s just that kind of dog that takes a bit more effort. But she’s worth it. They all are. I love them all – even Odin. I don’t know him that well, but he’s definitely nudging his way into my heart very quickly. He’s a funny little man, with a lot of attitude, but a gentle soul and I know he is happy now and that makes my heart warm.
On a better note – what a lovely morning walk
Dogs were super well behaved – Azzie had a lovely roll around in the dewy grass at every opportunity, and Odin piddled so much he had nothing left to piddle after a while and thought he’d try drinking from some puddles to refill his supply (I stopped him of course – not taking a chance with bugs in the water, thanks) so he could carry on doing it. We took a different path, and I had a good idea where it would come out, so it was exciting, but not too scary not knowing where we were going exactly. We ended up coming out near the campgrounds and had a loop around there, and then headed down ANOTHER different path and ended up back at the car It was great.