And a happy holiday to you all. We made the trip to Arkansas, met a bunch of my brother’s friends, and saw family members that I haven’t seen in many years (they like to pretend that I’m not still alive). Contrary to the quarantine order, Dawg left the city, but what they don’t know won’t hurt us.
The above picture is of him laying between the missus and me at the gathering. He was the perfect gentleman the whole time, except when he tried to claw through the window and eat a couple of drive-in window servers. Although you can’t see it in the picture, he’s wearing a black muzzle, which he now wears every time he steps outside. [It’s an “open muzzle” design so that if he throws up it’ll fall through.] Heck, it’s hard to see against his black fur, even when standing close to him. But it’s made a big difference in his basic attitude. Now he acts embarrassed, like the other dogs will make fun of him. Who knows? Maybe they will. Tough — the muzzle stays.
Anyway, he’s officially off the quarantine order, and supposedly off the city’s watch list. He’s not completely off my list, but after talking it over with the wife, I’m feeling a bit more lenient towards the animal. It turns out that what I was seeing as a sudden behavior change has been happening more and more lately. While the wife was out of work, she took over primary care of Dawg, and was the one who walked him most often. (I’ve been going through a bad spell, and she thought she’d help out by relieving me of that particular chore.) It seems she’s been letting him get away with anything he wanted, instead of keeping his training “current”.
You see, a Bouvier has a special personality. It can’t be handled with an iron glove, but it can’t be left free to take over the relationship either. You have to walk a line between total freedom and total domination. Regular small corrections work best. The wife knows this, but just wasn’t doing it. Oh, and the drive-in fiasco? She said that was Dawg’s little “game” she lets him do whenever she goes to Starbucks (which is every day). It’s no wonder he’s acting out — he thinks that’s what we want.
So it’s back to the original grind of training Dawg several times a day, for a few minutes at a time until he relearns how to act in society. It’s my fault for slacking off, so I have no one to blame but myself. You’d think that by now I’d have learned better. If so, you’d be wrong. Sounds like Dawg’s not the only one that needs to be regularly reminded of his social duties.