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11 October 2006
They're out to get me.
The four-footed critters are banding together to take over.
Lizzie is a terrier. Terriers bark. Lizzie barks. And barks. And barks. She barks inside and she barks outside. I don't so much mind when she barks inside, especially during the daytime when I have earphones in my ears anyway and it's just the three of us in the house, but when she bursts out the dog door barking and wont stop until I bring her back in, I mind. The neighbors mind. So this is something we need to get a handle on real quick, or Lizzie will become an indoor dog, and I definitely do not want that.
The thing about barking is that there has been a huge shift in it around here in the past several months. Since I've been watching The Dog Whisperer, I've adopted the suggestions of Cesar Millan and they seem to be working. Sheila starts barking. I stand at the door and I let out a sharp, low "NO!" I don't call her. I don't wheedle. I don't try to catch her. I just am calmly in command. I tell her No and, miraculously, it has begun to work. The first time I did it, she looked around at me, surprised, as if to say "Well, who put YOU in charge?" She barked again, I said "NO!" again and she actually stopped barking.
Barking has lessened considerably around here and when she does bark, a reminder from me, the Boss, is sufficient to bring it to a stop.
No longer do we have those "catch me if you can" sessions that we used to have when I tried to bring her inside when she barked, or her laughing at me as I tried to find ways to trick her into coming inside. Now I leave her outside. All she has to do is stop barking when I tell her to. It's been great.
Interestingly, as her willingness to obey me when I say "NO" grows, her acceptance of me as pack leader seems to have grown too. Now she actually steps back when we are going through a door together, which is the dog way of letting the leader pass first. She will be ahead of me and will actually stop and move aside so I can pass her and enter a room first. I am constantly amazed as I watch her behave this way. She has also taken to sleeping at my feet when I work, which I am assuming is another sign of accepting me as pack leader.
Walt, who has forgotten how long it has taken us to come to this point, is upset that Lizzie doesn't know the rules of the house. Well, she's only been here a couple of weeks. She doesn't even know that she's "home" yet. It's taken Sheila the better part of two years to finally put it all together. Lizzie is also younger than Sheila is, so she still has that adolescent rebellion going for her.
However, I can only assume that even as Sheila now accepts me as the pack leader, she's not above encouraging Lizzie in her own adolescent rebellion.
This morning the dogs were outside and Lizzie was barking her head off. In fairness to her, yesterday there was a crew of people working on the bushes in the yard behind us, clipping things right by our fence, and today there is a roofing crew working on the house next door, so it's not just that she's barking to hear herself bark. She is protecting her new home. Sort of.
So I brought the two dogs in, gave them a treat, and blocked off the dog door. The dogs chased each other around the house for awhile and finally settled down to nap.
After awhile, Sheila tiptoed into my office and gently nudged my elbow. She did it twice, then she respectfully backed up and sat by the blocked dog door. Obviously Sheila needed to go outside. What a good dog. What a polite dog.
What a con job.
I quietly moved the blockade and let her outside. She went out, barked three times and then The Golden Whirlwind raced from wherever she was and out the dog door, barking her head off again. Sheila, who had only barked three times, now came back into the house and settled down to nap again.
I swear there was a smug grin on her face as I went to call Lizzie back in again.
That's the problems with dogs. You might learn how to get them to accept you as Boss....
...but they are always smarter than you are.
Well, we'll see. I have decided to nip Lizzie's barking in the bud with a citronella collar which Ashley is going to lend to me.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
"A problem? Moi?"
This is Journal entry #2386