After four and a half years of using Natural Dog Training with Eva, my pit bull rescue, we were finally getting somewhere. She had just turned eight years old, and we had completed a full month straight of really nice work together. We had been cycling through the five cores and really working the heel and down stay (collection). She was getting light on her feet and we both felt calm and quiet. Then the day I decided to take a rest, she gorged herself on our training kibble (after I had fed her a raw breakfast to celebrate our “day off”). OOOOOffff. She also chewed up a bunch of empty Tupperware containers that were sitting on the kitchen counter and dragged some tampons out of the bathroom. So when I got home to this mess, I thought wow, she must really be regressing back to puppyhood and now we are getting somewhere. So I wasn’t that upset about it.
But then she kept me up all night needing to go out every couple of hours to dump the kibble load and I STILL woke in the morning to one of the most putrid vomit piles ever and had to call Stanley Steemer to clean my roommate’s rug. I was livid. I was tired of putting up with this bullshit.
I had to go to a networking breakfast that morning, so after cleaning the vomit, I put Eva in the car (in a crate) and she was still panting and whining and acting like a complete lunatic. After I came out of my meeting, I found that she had broken the door to this new crate. I thought I was literally going to kill this dog (this is the 6th or 7th crate she’s broken, so many I’ve lost track). I’ve never been so angry in my life. I started crying because I had this dog who couldn’t be crated nor it seemed, healed.
I took her home and basically we had it out with the bite toy. Then we did some really nice box work, and she seemed calm (or despondent, could have been either!). I was sort of losing my cool but channeling it into the training and feeling pretty okay. On the way to our next appointment, I ranted at her a bit in the car (I had to let off some steam). I think she got the point but didn’t take it personally. She stopped barking in her crate until a few hours later when we headed for home and she started feeling her oats again (or the charge of homebase?).
So we got home and I think I finally got to a deeper level of her DIS, because after a good fight over the toy (and some junky rage noise), followed by a smooth carry, she went into a down and flopped voluntarily to give me belly. We were both still a tiny bit edgy (okay, maybe just me) but she got a really good belly rub.
Now that I’ve also dumped some DIS, everyone is calm and quiet in the house. I’ve been crating ALL the dogs whenever I leave the house and Eva has been miraculously staying inside her crate until I get home. She’s turned into my best “belly girl,” and also not afraid to show me her lip-curling smiles when she feels fear.
I’ve dispensed with the headiness of the Byron Katie turnarounds, the addiction to Buddhism, and just focused on the pushing, as well as the Rage that my dogs bring up in me. And it’s really giving me courage and helping thaw my emotions. Yay for Eva the Don Diva! And the dogs that drive us crazy, forcing us to take it to the next level. Stay tuned for more updates… now that I’m finally getting the feel for this stuff, exciting things are happening!