Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day One of a...Dog

Me and hubs have a dog. A seven year old, muttsky from a shelter. I adopted him when he was only t-h-i-s high and now that he's full grown, he has lived in two different states, weathered five big moves, and most recently decided to say what no one else will say in the family and bite the crap out of my father in law.

Okay, it wasn't really that bad. My father in law was helping us out at the house when the dog creeps up and nibbles on his leg. Then scurried away. Repeat a few times with growing force and it was not only frustrating for the people involved, but totally not okay for our dog to be doing.

Hereafter we'll call the dog, Monkey. Not because it's his name, but to protect his doggy innocence.

Monkey is a little insecure and is the type of dog to get you before you decide to get him. My father in law can be a liiiiiiittle overbearing and you mix that with a huge new house and lots of change for the dog and... well we found ourselves in a pickle. But Monkey is super smart and we are super determined to find some peace in our house. We are also super aware that we are the problem, not Monkey...because we're super people and life is super. Or something.

 So, we hired a trainer and our first private session was last night. Our trainer uses a tens-collar for the dog so he gets a signal from the collar every time we push the button. We got to try the collar out on ourselves with some interesting results. I didn't feel anything until it was at a level 9. Hubs felt it at level 6. Monkey is good at level 1. Unless there is food involved because, let's face it, food is super good.

If you've ever been to physical therapy with a back injury (or just had chronic pain), you might have experienced a tens-unit.  If not, here's a website that talks about how it works. The concept is that you use the collar to communicate with your dog. You use the lowest setting that the dog notices. You're not using it like a shock collar to tell the dog it did something wrong. Instead, you give your dog a command, you press the button while you're saying the command and the dog basically feels a "pat on the shoulder" when you're giving the command. So then, in theory, when your dog is really distracted by something (like a huge hamburger on the counter that is DELICIOUS or an overbearing father in law that is NOT delicious) your dog feels your "touch" while you're giving the command and it knows that you need its attention.

Monkey picked up on the idea pretty quickly. But he also got a little pissed off that he couldn't eat the hamburger last night during the training session. So shortly after we took the collar off and started getting ready for bed, Monkey decided to dig up our new houseplant.

The houseplant has a new home now. We'll move it back once he's adjusted a little more. Monkey got some extra love and cuddling last night. We've decided to spoil him with love and attention while we're all learning the new house rules. He's a good snuggler, so it's a win for everyone.

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