This is a milestone day in our household. Over a year ago we brought a puppy home from the shelter. She was a strange looking creature we were told was part Lab and part Rott. (Everyone who sees her says she might have Pitt in her too.) They day we got her there was a woman screaming about how insane she was. She’d scratched the woman. Since we’d come back for the second time after making the decision she was the one for us, we were elated she’d misbehaved with the rude woman.
How could you look at this face and not fall in love? The shelter had named her Diamond, but we changed it KoKo. Koko Diamond being her full official name.
In truth, she was a special breed of cute, but she came with complete nervous insanity and eventually, very big muscles.
My husband and I were out of element.
She ate two leather couches, a doorway, the chair I’m sitting in as I type, my desk, the window sill in front of my desk, the zippers off of our coats and jackets, huge gaping holes in the kitchen, the eating area and the hall floor. It now has black duct tape covering all of the holes so I don’t trip with my clumsy atrophied feet. (She ate all of my shoes too, but the Neuropathy is so bad I can only wear slippers anyway.)
So many people have said they wouldn’t have kept a dog like her. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Why didn’t you get rid of her?” “Why don’t you get rid of her?”
Two days ago we employed a shock collar…three times at a very, very low voltage as she was attacking the Dyson. Anything that sweeps, electric or manual…she became a raging, snarling maniac. Three small jolts at various times during that single day stopped her. I could start the vacuum right now, pick up the collar and show it to her and then she would just lie down and glare at it.
She used to rage over the sweeper and broom daily, even when they weren’t in use. She’d fly at the door where she knew we kept them, barking and snarling over and over again. And it case you have it in your mind that these attacks didn’t mean anything. In the past she’d attacked Corey’s beagle. It was provoked by the privileged beagle, but it was difficult to stop.
Today, a few minutes ago, a plumber came to give us an estimate. We didn’t worry she’d bite him, but she jumps all over people. And it doesn’t stop…forever. And she bounces off the walls and furniture in her excitement.
Most days the very heavy couch has been moved at least five feet from it’s original position because she’s taken a running leap at it to avoid going around it which would slow her down from getting to where she wants to be. It’s a ten minute process to get her to stop disturbing company. And she very intimidating looking.
We knew of the visit a few minutes in advance, so I put the collar on her. And showed her where to sit. I did NOT have to use the collar. She stayed right where I told her despite the fact a stranger walked by her several times. She didn’t bark or do any of her normal obnoxious behavior. She didn’t acknowledge his presence.
I just took her outside to take the top picture. She stayed right with me. Our yard is large, almost two acres, but it isn’t fenced and there is ALWAYS a squirrel to tempt her. I can’t take her out on a leash because she’d face-plant me in seconds. I wouldn’t make it to the yard, I’d be sprawled on the concrete patio outside the door. As soon as the door opens she’d strain on the leash.
I now have a dog who is listening to me. Getting a shock collar was something I was very resistant to do…not sure why. I grew up on a farm where electrified fences were common. My stepfather had a cattle prod. And he had a electric collar for one his crazier horses. I guess I thought it was too cruel.
I wish I hadn’t been such a wussy before she ate my couches.
We both survived her training and it only took a single day. Maybe one day we’ll have the courage to start fixing and replacing all the damage.
In case you are wondering…we bought the collar on Ebay for $24.95. The ad claimed it was half-price. But if you’ve ever looked at them, they a freaking expensive. And I didn’t want one that might be “too strong”…if I bought a wimpy collar it only seem right. I’d been a wimpy trainer, only second to my husband who is the Master Wimpy Trainer!