Saturday, November 27, 2004

5 dogs is a lot of dog

Having 1 dog was a breeze - I only had 1 dog when I had a husband and we had George. And she was the first dog either of us had ever had. She was our trainer dog. We learned a lot from her, and made a lot of mistakes with her - she was a beagle shepherd mix, but mostly beagle and all bark. God she barked. Then having 2 dogs wasn't twice the work of 1 it was just twice the expense - Charlie and Leonard really were a dream. I was very lucky - I'd take them for group walks with other people and they'd listen to me (mostly) and go home and wonder how people couldn't have control over their dogs like I did over mine, and I'd be so proud of my guys because I had such gentle control over them. And then I had a series of foster dogs who had a range of issues and the dog count went up and down and Eddy the bouvier was here and she didn't have any big behavioural problems because she was old; and then Buttercup came and stayed while Eddy was still here - making 4 dogs - but she's only small. But she can get everybody going like you wouldn't believe. And then Daisy came, and now Philip's here.

I think I may have to sub-contract out the head scratching. It's really interesting though, because except for Buttercup - they all patient stand in line. When I finish with one the other one will get up and come over. It's like they're all watching and when I tell one that I've had enough of scratching them the next one will come over. But it takes up a big chunk of one's day to give one-on-one time to 5 dogs, 3 cats, 2 rats and a betta fish. Let me tell you. As well as keep a house clean, answer emails, keep a website updated, and have chronic migraines which make me stay in bed for days at a time. And now I'm thinking about going back to work too... shit.

But maybe once I go back to work everybody will get into the flow of things, the dogs will get used to me not being here in the daytime so they won't have such bad separation anxiety so they won't act up so badly when we go out at night so I won't be so stressed out about taking them around other dogs. Do you know which dog is currently being the worst around other dogs currently? Charlie - my dream, perfectly trained, socialized, well mannered dog - has become the most goombah dog. He has started charging, and barking at the top of his lungs whenever he sees another dog or human on the horizon. He's blowing me away. And all the other dogs just follow him gleefully. And when I tell him to stop he doesn't. He used to listen to me 100% of the time. I don't know if it's because I've changed their dog food - but he doesn't have any sores on his back which usually coincide with him having a reaction (he's allergic to wheat - which can also make him act aggressively which is one of the first signs he's having a reaction to wheat from something) - so I'm tending to think it's something else. He's obviously going through some crisis and doubting my leadership. hmmmm. Isn't it amazing how you can discover the answers to something as you write about it?

But with 5 dogs you've definitely got to run a tight ship, because 5 dogs is a lot of dog - and Charlie's most certainly not the leader - I am, and I'm a most benevolent leader - and a leader who doles out very yummy dehydrated liver treats - but they are exhausting me the way they are right now. I haven't even been carrying my camera - if you notice I've put no pictures on my blog lately - that's because I haven't taken any pictures.

So the head scratches will continue on unabated. The charging and barking will not. So spoke the benevolent leader.

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