Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Declare War on the Dog Whisperer!

Today was my Friday at work. We're fortunate enough to get 'Spring Break Friday' (aka: Good Friday) off from work. This is one of the things I like about my company.

It helped that today, it was over eighty degrees here. It was so warm, it felt alien. Even with the days we've had prior, days that are purely Spring- today was definitely the warmest yet.

The bad part about a day like today is that going to work is hard. It's the type of day where you just want to be at home, lazily enjoying the warmth and the sunshine and, in my case, watching the puppies play in the garden.

I did get to do some of that this evening. We had the garden to ourselves with the absence of the Dog Whisperer for a while.

I've had enough of the Dog Whisperer. He's starting to be a little...creepy. My little puppies happily frolic around the garden, amusing one another and exploring the world and then he lets his beasts out. My puppies...continue to frolic around the garden, amusing one another and exploring the world.

His beasts continue to bark.

My puppies continue to ignore them.

Then, to add insult to injury, the Dog Whisperer himself comes out. He comes to the fence. He crouches down...he tries to entice my puppies to go and see him.

My puppies ignore him.

I'm glad about this. I'm trying to train them to be ok with outside stimuli- loud noises and distractions. I don't want them to pay attention to my neighbour.

Unfortunately, I don't think he's going to give up. Two nights ago, for example, I checked to make sure that his ferocious beasts were inside the house before I opened the back door to let the puppies out. I was desperately trying to clean my house and since the puppies are scared of the vacuum, I thought the smart thing to do was wait until they were out of the way.

So I let my puppies out. I whipped around, picking up their toys, getting ready to vacuum. I plugged in my vacuum cleaner and then...I heard yapping. Yes, the Dog Whisperer had let his dogs out.

I was irritated but I realized that all I could hear was his dogs. My puppies were quiet. When I glanced out the window, Rory and Sookie were on the other side of the yard, far away from the yappy dogs.

I started to vacuum. I finished one room and stopped to check on the puppies. They were still minding their own business but now, the Dog Whisperer was crouched at the fence, desperately trying to get their attention.

This is not the first time he's done this. I know the puppies are cute but, clearly, they don't want to know him. To them, he's the neighbour with the annoying dogs and they have sticks they'd rather chew, areas to sniff...they just don't care.

I'm not sure how to take this. I find it slightly creepy that he's trying so hard to get their attention while his own loud and obnoxious dogs continue to bark like there's no tomorrow. I sound like one of those parents when I say this, one of those parents who believes her kids are perfect and it's always the fault of the other kids but, well, puppies are being good. It's him who clearly has the problem.

Tonight, I think I've reached the end of my tether. As the warmest day yet, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to keep the puppies outside to help them start to realize that it's best to eliminate outside, not in the house. Even though the Dog Whisperer's dogs would continue to bark, I felt like that wasn't our problem and as long as Rory and Sookie ignored them, it was ok.

For the first part of the evening, this was fine. Then, as I was ready to settled down to watch TV for the night, the normal time when the puppies start calming and get ready to sleep, I let them out as I usually do. Then...I heard barking. I waited. The barking continued. This time, it wasn't just the Dog Whisperer's dogs...mine were barking too.

Sighing, already having problems with my DVR and knowing I was going to miss some of my show, I went outside. Lo and behold, it wasn't just the Dog Whisperer's dogs. No, he, his wife, their son and some guests had come out into the yard and were laughing at the puppies. To them, my puppies were cuteness embodied. To my puppies, the laughter and the strange faces combined with the yapping of the annoying dogs was just terror. I tried to coral my puppies...alas, they were overwrought and not sure what to do. They ran.

As they ran, the neighbours chortled and commentated on how funny it was that the puppies were 'so willful'.

No, my puppies were not willful, they were stressed. It was dark out and the neighbours hadn't even put on their porch light. I went out, desperately trying to get the puppies inside so they could calm down while the Dog Whisperer and family continued to commentate on how cute it was. I was too furious to do anything but finally herd the puppies inside.

When I was done, I was angry. I think this might be a telling reason why the Dog Whisperer cannot control his dogs. While I'm trying to be a responsible pet parent, I know I'm slightly indulgent too. However, there's a difference between indulgence and irresponsiblity. If my 11-week-old puppies can play in the yard without yipping at strangers and his significantly older dogs can't, I don't see why I'm the one having to coral my dogs to come inside.

Sorry to vent. It's been a tough evening. Housebreaking is hard enough; when you can't let your dogs out without checking to make sure the coast is clear first, it's way harder. As I've said before, I need a privacy fence. I've even put out an ad on Craiglist to solicit bids. Apparently, even with this bad economy, no one is looking for work that badly.

I suppose I can wait to see if I can get my dad to help me build one. In the meantime, I know I'm going to have to find a way to deal with the Dog Whisperer and his attempts to get the attention of my puppies. Clearly, they don't care so I'm not sure why he keeps trying.

Ah well, at least we're going to my parents' house tomorrow. They'll get a break, at least... In the meantime, I'm about to let them out for the last time tonight. Keep your fingers crossed that the Dog Whisperer has gone to bed.

We can only hope.

Happy Friday and...Happy Easter!

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