Suntanning, Deita-style   6 comments

Miss D spent at least 5 whole minutes chasing the neighbor’s dog, Ruby, back and forth along the fence-line. Back and forth and back and forth… and back… and forth. Forth is a weird word. Forth. Forth. Anyway… She. Is. Exhausted. So Miss D decided to stretch out on the warm cement and do a little tanning. This is her favorite spot and her favorite position.



Neighbor John and I talked a bit while Ruby ran Miss D to exhaustion. Ruby is a young, mixed breed hound with boundless energy. John mentioned that she’d already run 5 miles this morning. Though I believe he said it like “She’s only run 5 miles so far this morning.” So far? Dude. Miss D and I walk, at most, 1 mile a day. That’s about as much as she can handle. Let’s face it. That’s about as far as I want to take her too.

Walking with Miss D is mentally exhausting. When out and about, she’s anxiety personified. New things tend to freak her out so she spends a lot of the time barking and snarling. But a barking, snarling dog looks pretty darn scary, no matter the reason. I wouldn’t want to approach her either. Which is why she does it, right? So I spend a lot of time training and on manipulating our walk so she can encounter things on her own terms and leave again as successfully as possible.  Behavior Modification Training, I believe is what our trainer calls it.

Success to me means no lunging; no snarling; excited curiosity is ok, but calm curiosity is better; obsession is never ok. Obsession leads to loss of focus and can escalate quickly into wild, manic behavior. She has been known to jump, twist, and spin until she’s halfway freed herself from her walking harness. Obviously, wild and manic behavior should be avoided. I should be able to get her attention and move her along quickly. Sometimes that means we cross the street before encountering another dog. Miss D is better able to stay focused and calm with a little distance. Calm focus is the ultimate goal.  It’s exhausting for both of us.

Honestly though, the barking and snarling is all bluff. Her biggest move is to go for your toes. If you think about it, that’s the best move for an insecure dog. What’s the first response when a dog goes for your toes? You step back or lift them out of the way, right? She wins the encounter. The big, scary human backed down with minimum effort. But if you stand your ground, she’ll back up and back down. If you overlook the scary exterior and slowly, gently approach so she can get a good sniff, she’ll calm down. Eventually. Of course, try to explain that to the two-year old who bursts into tears at the sight of the scary exterior!

But for now, there’s no crying, no barking, no snarling. Just the warm, morning sun and Miss D, stretched out and snoring away.

Posted May 19, 2012 by iloveschnauzers in A day in the life, Schnauzers

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6 responses to “Suntanning, Deita-style

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  1. “calm focus is the ultimate goal”. Words for all of us to live by.


  2. I agree with Michiele! Or, is there ritalin for dogs?


  3. Michiele, I never thought of it that way but you’re right. I could use more calm focus myself these days. And I imagine there is ritalin for dogs. After all, there’s doggie prozac, doggie arthritis pills, and benadryl. And there’s homeopathic remedies, like valerian for calm and apple cider vinegar for joint pain. The Thundershirt worked well for Checkers’s thunder phobia. But the compression seems to cause Miss D back pain, so I think we’ll stick to training treats for the time being 🙂


  4. I always love when dogs lie like that, like a little frog. it’s so cute!


  5. It’s great to know that other schnauzer owners continually train their loves like I do (have to, really!). It is unfortunate when some owners just pick up their small dog instead of properly training them not to lunge (our problem). Keep up the good work!


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