Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bad Boy, Dusty

This morning, I'm drinking my coffee through a straw!

I live in a house with two Alpha males. Crawfish Man and the Duster. As I've mentioned, Dusty has a little testosterone problem, too much of it. At six months, he's like a spoiled toddler when he doesn't get his way. Though the toddlers probably don't bite. We've had three female Pomeranians before Dusty, Brandy, Sunshine and Spider. They all came to us at just under a year. That means... that they are very hard to put up with until they are raised. I knew that but it still doesn't make it easy.

I've been working with treats, a leash, reverse psychology. But if he has a toy he doesn't want to give up or if it's time to do something he doesn't want to do, he will try to bite you to get his point across. Some of it is bluster, but he does have a problem. And he's marking his territory everywhere. This morning I turned my back and then felt a warm stream down my leg. That's not the first time. He's very intelligent and learns quickly but much of the fault lies in my not knowing how to train him out of these bad habits. I'd like to take him to an obedience class but they are 75 miles away.

Last week, we went to the vet to have his heartworm treatment, a new kind given every six months. (If you aren't giving your dog heartworm meds, you're signing his death warrant, especially in Louisiana.) I discussed neutering with the vet who said it might calm him down a little. After all, even though he has papers, I don't think I'd want to risk passing this bad temper on. Though they say it doesn't always. And you can't wake him up from a sound sleep, he comes out of it like he's in another world, barking and snapping.

Well, CFM said, we're not having him neutered. He'll calm down. I got the impression it was a man thing. You're not cutting the Dustyworks! I said, we're not giving him a lobotomy!

I've struggled with this because he is beautiful and smart and has a lot of personality and loves people but I think I've finally had enough. I have to pick him up from behind sometimes when he doesn't want to go out and last night he bit me - in the face. Tore my lip, left teeth marks on my skin above the lip. I love him and don't want to have to do something tragic in the future so we may have to neuter him. I know, I need to try the training first. Maybe two days of them teaching me what to do would help. I could afford that.

So, I'm standing there trying to piece the pieces of my lip back together, sorry, no pictures for a while, and CFM says, "Oh, you'll be okay. I've had mine split many times. You won't look like a monster or anything." He was a boxer and football player so I guess he knows. But his standards are a little different than mine.


Leah Braemel said...

We've talked about this a bit and he does need strict training because as he gets older they become habits that are too hard to break. If you can get him to some form of training class that would definitely help.

Ouch on the lip -- it will get better, but still ... ouch.

Anonymous said...

I've signed up with a professional at Petsmart for one-on-one lessons for four weeks. I'll have to drive 150 miles to do it, but we can't live like this.

The woman told me I'd be surprised at how easily he unlearned these bad habits. And the best part, it's guaranteed. I'm already relieved.

Michael Malone said...

Hope the training works out well. The bite sounds nasty - and think the neutering is the lesser of two evils, don't you?