With my first dog ChiChi Barbados, I was pretty much a lesson in what not to do while owning a dog. This is not an all-encompassing list of some of the wonderful things I did as an owner:
- Feed her from the table.
- Give her treats for no reason at all.
- Allow her to go out and walk herself.
- Allow her to shit in other people’s yards while walking herself.
- Groomed her myself thus she looked as if she was groomed by a blind lady.
- I didn’t know how to clip her nails.
So you’re probably thinking, ‘Hot Mess, why on God’s green Earth would you get a new dog?’
It’s simple, I’ve grown since then. I’ll be real, I don’t even recognize myself with our new dog Maisel. Before we got her from a nearby shelter, I was watching dog videos morning, noon and night on what to do and what not to do.
Doggie Boot Camp
I swear to God if I hadn’t watched all of these videos (some multiple times), here are some of the mistakes I was prepared to make:
- I had no plans for crate training. This is adorable because looking back, half of the house would be destructed by now.
- Greeting the dog after being gone for 8 hours like a spouse coming back from war.
- Allowing Maisel to pull me on a leash instead of stopping each time so she understands pulling isn’t ok.
- I knew Maisel would be excited and jump up on me when having been gone for a while. I was prepared to push her off of me each time. Apparently this signals to a dog it’s playtime and they just jump more.
- I thought giving a dog treats when flipping out about another dog walking by would encourage the behavior. Apparently that’s ass-backward. Giving a dog treats while a dog passes allows them to associate something good with other dogs.
The Nerdiest Dog Walker on Earth
So here’s the thing about Maisel, she’s a sweet, goofy girl. She cover surfs in our bed and plays with her toys with a passion that’s on par with a 5-year-old opening presents at Christmas. At 11-months-old, she occasionally “play bites,” but we’re working on that.
She hates dogs, actually, anything that isn’t human. She attempted to attack a mushroom last night. I mean in all fairness, you do need to be on your guard when it comes to mushrooms. They’re quite vicious with their smooth heads, popping up among the grass like, “look at me ass hole. Let’s go!”
So where does the nerdy part come in? I want you to picture it, me walking the dog with a peach Adidas hip sack around my waist, brimming with dog treats. In my pocket, I have a sonic remote hanging out that if things go South, I can press it and it emits a sound that only dogs can hear. Because my calluses have calluses and have actually split and bled, I wear red leather gloves when walking her. This wouldn’t look weird if it was winter but it’s not and I’m usually in shorts. My other hand and wrist are bruised up and down because when she pulls, it’s a force I’m just not used to.
It’s Personal Now
It really is personal now. A dog such as this needs structure and rules and I swear to God if it’s the last thing I do, this dog will be the most polite, well-behaved dog since Lassie. Mor to come folks!