For peeps who follow me on insta/facebook/etc., you know that I recently acquired a freaking adorable little fluffball of a puppy named Small Bear. We adopted him from the humane society (rescue pets – yeah!), and brought him home to our tiny 750 square foot hovel to join our 7 year old cocker spaniel Barkley, and our calico Callie (also an adopted fur kid). Hooray for realizing one week in that maybe we didn’t think through the complexities of feeding three animals at once!
Just kidding. I love them all, and I love our tiny home zoo. Any more animals though, and I should probably be featured on Hoarders.
Anyways. One thing I am learning very quickly with a newfound pup who is pee-fully excited by the world around him and who literally LOOKS LIKE A BEAR (I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING – SEE BELOW), is that everyone and their mother wants to snuggle him and ooh and ahh and coo and caw and blah blah blah. It’s cute for like five minutes, until they decide to impart their holy wisdom of dog rearing upon me. I hate to be a negative Nancy today, but after about two months of buildup, it’s spurting out of me like I just ate really hot Mexican food and can’t even. So if you’re not in a PSA mood, check back with me later and I’ll have a more generic, less rant-y post for ya!
I live in a great neighborhood in the city, but still tucked away so it’s quiet and your neighbors actually get to know you and your name as opposed to a silent nod (if that) at the apartment mailboxes. So it’s wonderful. But with the friendliness also comes the annoying AF advice.
Let me give you a little snippet of my pup’s current situation (if you can call it a situation, which to me seems stupid because he’s a flipping puppy and learning, but whatevs). He is a husky/something breed and I have him in puppy training classes, and also have started him in a puppy play group where he frolics around with other fluff balls in a gymnasium that has probably seen more pee than a rest stop bathroom. It’s cute. I also leash/harness him most of the time, but I believe in teaching your dogs to stay close to home instead of them being constantly confined to a fence and then pulling a Forest Gump and never coming home the second you open the gate. Point being, he is well behaved, and will sniff around our house and eat things he shouldn’t, but always stays just a few feet away (only bolting after a stupid squirrel or bird). He’s a bit of a barker, but we are actively using any and all techniques to stop it, and it has gotten significantly better. The thing about puppies is, no matter how many you raise, the entire rearing process is a trial and error all over again. I have grown up with animals my entire life and when this little guy came home with us, I was all like “OMG WHY THO.”
So you can imagine my irritation when here I am, doing everything in my power to train my dog the correct way, and constantly keeping an eye on him so he doesn’t shat in the house, and making sure he doesn’t swallow pillow stuffing, and making sure I’m “luring” him away positively when he starts barking, and doing all the other things you’re supposed to apparently do all at once to make your dog “good,” only to have neighbors/passerby/strangers/Barney/Jesus tell me I should do it this way or that way or try this or that. DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK I NEVER GOOGLED THAT AND/OR TRIED IT.
The best is when they actively take it upon themselves to punish or “teach” your dog something and you are literally so shocked that they’re taking it upon themselves to do (insert action here) that you just stand with your mouth open and stammer a “oh, uh, it’s ok, uh” as they completely strip you of your dignity.
This morning, I had my dogs in the front yard for a quick potty break (the puppy on the leash just in case another dog came by and scared him), and a lady came up with her puppy (off leash) and Small Bear starting yapping his head off, scared and excited by this newfound potential friend/enemy. She said her dog was friendly so I walked him over.
“Let him sniff him, it’s good for him.”
“Yeah, he gets a little nervous, but I’ve got him in pupp-”
“You want to expose them to things now.”
“Yeah, like I said, he’s in a puppy pla-”
“See him bark like that?”
I then watched in horror as she put her hand into a claw and hit my puppy on his side saying “shh!”
“That’s what you do, it’s a mother ‘dog bite’ and the mom dogs do it so the puppy knows he’s in the wrong.”
“See? He’s already quiet, like a different dog. You should always ask owners with dogs who walk by if he can sniff them; he’s barking because he’s frustrated he can’t smell them. Some might say no but it’s always good to ask. You want to stop that behavior now otherwise it can turn into bad habits later. Really bad habits. I hope you don’t mind that I did that!”
Of course not, I welcome all voluntary forms of do-whatever-the-fuck-you-think-is-right to my dog. Who’s next? Come on over, give it a try!
Alongside incompetency and talking in the middle of movies, receiving unsolicited advice on how to do life is my greatest pet peeve of all time. I know people mean well, but unless I am explicitly asking you for pointers, do not assume I am simply letting my dog go wild and do whatever he wants whenever he wants and probably feeding him rat poison on accident because I just don’t know how to do things.
Here’s a little advice to everyone who assumes they are “The Expert” because they have successfully raised one yappy shitzu during retirement and/or overdose on Cesar Millan:
- Be kind and understanding to new pup owners – even if you refuse to remember, you were once in their shoes and it isn’t a walk in the park.
- If asked, offer advice. If you aren’t asked, don’t.
- Never ever hit or punish someone else’s dog unless you have explicit permission to do so (i.e. if you are family and are dog sitting and actively assisting in the training process, which should still not include hitting a dog).
- And most importantly, if you don’t know how to act like a self-respecting human, shut your f***ing mouth.
And now I leave you with a puppy gif because despite the idiots who think they are God, puppies are still the greatest things on Earth. K, bye.