Am I a Bad “Mom”

Sooo… last night was puppy obedience class.

A little background. I’ve never taken a dog to an obedience class. I’ve usually had pretty good luck just working with them at home and I live in the country where I don’t have to have my dog on a leash, or be sure they are ‘social’, nor will I ever have a ‘show’ dog. Not my thing. When my youngest child got a huskie pup a short while back, he and girlfriend decided to do the obedience thing. That’s good. Huskie’s are known to be a bit nutso (technical term) if they aren’t controlled. They started going to puppy class and I heard about how good it was. I decided to try it with my Shih Tzus.

I started by going to a ‘puppy’ class with my little one, Frieda. She did well, except when it came to walking on a leash. She parked her butt and refused any treat or bribe. I continued to work with her and Frank at home. She still did the brake thing, but Frank did great. At. Home.

The trainer decided they should be going to the ‘adult’ class, since they are over 6 months old. I was sick last week, but last night when I went I decided to take Frank since he’d been doing so well. He did fine with everything – except the leash. He, too, became Stubborn Puppy. Not a bribe in the place could get him to walk with me on the leash. This is where it becomes *gulp* hard.

The trainer got out this collar. I don’t know what it’s called, but it looks like something you’d torture with. She kept say, “This won’t hurt him”…followed by “He may fight or scream, but trust me, he’s not being hurt”. Ooookay… That was an understatement. He fought, he growled, he snarled, he went from being my cuddly, sweet, most-mild-mannered Shih Tzu to the puppy from HELL. You woulda thought he was possessed. The trainer: “Just keep going back and forth on this middle path and when he’s moving, praise him”. This went on for about 15-20 minutes while all the other dogs in the class (lab, choc lab, poodle, schnauzer, schnauzer2, and pit bull) were all being as well-mannered as could be on their leashes. Heeling, stopping, staying, turning, doing it all soooo nicely while my hell-hound was carrying on in the middle of the room.

The whole way home, Frank pouted. I don’t know how to explain this, except to tell you that I had a Shih Tzu for 17 years – Dusty. She was the sweetest thing. We learned early on that you couldn’t yell at her. It took very little correction for her to know the right way to do something. If she got yelled at (as I say, only did once or twice) she would go sit by herself and cry… I kid you not. Cried. Real. Tears. We couldn’t believe it the first time or two. She would sit there and tears would run down her face. Then she wouldn’t come around you for at least a half a day. It really hurt her feelings. Hubby reminded me of this when I got home last night and Frank went into his pen, laid down and put his chin on his paws and looked at me with those sad “human” eyes. (My son swears he doesn’t have dog eyes, but has human ones.) He was so subdued all night last night.

Now I’m in a quandry. I feel like a bad mom. I mean, a really bad mom. I called my daughter who is working at the pet store. She’s an animal nut, too. She thinks this isn’t good. She tells me those “torture” collars (my name) shouldn’t be used on a Shih Tzu, that their neck bones are too fragile. They should only be used on dogs like German Shepherds and Pit Bulls. Then I talk to youngest son who is taking his dog there. He says the trainer told them the first class that she would never make them do something that would make them uncomfortable.

Hmmm… My first instinct (and Hubby’s) was to say, to heck with the money (I paid in full and it wasn’t that much). I live on a farm and my dog walks on a leash good enough for me and it isn’t worth it to me to torture the dog just to make it walk ‘properly’. Did I mention she sent home the collar so I could practice torturing my dog at home? … and his sister?

Son says I should talk to the trainer. That if I did, she probably wouldn’t make me use the collar. But if I don’t use the collar, Frank won’t walk on his leash in class. That is a lot of what they have to learn – it has to do with the walking. Did I mention… SHIT. Yeah, it’s like that.

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

4 thoughts on “Am I a Bad “Mom””

  1. Was the collar a Gentle Leader? (that’s the name brand) That’s what I’ve been using to train my dog, who is quite a bit bigger than yours. My dog hates the collar but boy does she obey when wearing it. She heels pretty good. The important thing is to fit it right. Our Gentle Leader came with a DVD explaining how to fit it and train with it.

    Don’t give up – she’ll learn to walk by your side if you keep trying. Find some sort of treats that she goes ga-ga over and use those only for training. Cooked chicken or roast beef works great with our dog.

  2. We use a gentle leader on our border collie/chow chow mix and she hates it too but it is gentle and humane and she is slowly getting better (she is a hyper spaz of a pup). I agree with Amanda.

    When I first got Angelou (the pup), I took her to training and she was AWFUL, like the worst student in the class and 3 weeks into it she got sprayed in the face by a skunk in our backyard and that was the end of training class. She smelled to high heaven!

    I say, follow your instincts.

  3. Oh how I’m happy to just have a cat! The one animal that seems to have been born with the knowledge of bathroom breaks in a box and no where else. phew! 🙂 Hey there non-stalker friend, thanks for the comment on my site and I’ll be blogrollin ya 🙂 Good luck with the dog hell. My family and I are huge animal fans and we would be feeling the exact same way as you about the leash. Hard to feel like you may be doing the wrong thing for your animals when just trying to do what is best! Your animals seem like they are friends to you and your family. *hugs*

  4. Too Funny!

    Gypsie did the same thing.

    I finally used a harness on her. That way the pulling is on her back and not around her neck. That did the trick!

    She only does the “parking” thing when she’s tired. Just plops her butt down and pants.

    Gyps is very “soft” too. Just a stern word – either No or even her name and she stops in her tracks.

    Once she escaped into our crabby neighbor’s yard. Hubster spotted her and hopped the fence after her. He yelled at her and she piddled right there on the guys back porch.

    She didn’t LOOK at Hubster for about a week.

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