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Training a Dog Does not Mean Beating It
A "Rescue" Dog
Selecting a Dog for My Children
I love dogs and wanted a nice one for my growing children aged 2 and 6-years old at the time I refer. However, I was inexperienced with caring for a dog, since I had never had one growing up. Still, I wanted my children to have the joy of a dog and wanted a four-legged canine companion myself.
My ex had a lot of experience with poodles, since his parents reared and then paired the animals to make additional money. We decided against a pure-bred poodle, however, because they can become jittery and high-strung if inbred too much. So, my husband at the time and I selected a poodle-cocker spaniel (cockapoo) mix for my children from a nearby shelter.
We called the dog, "Lucky" as he had been named, so he would not get confused with a new name. We knew he had experienced stress when separated from a family with a large number of dogs. Lucky's prior family had felt overwhelmed by caring for such a huge canine family and had given him up for his and their benefit.
The kind people at the Denver Humane Society told us what they knew about Lucky's previous history.
My Previous Experience with Animals
Throughout my growing up years, I always wished for a dog. Mom nixed this because of severe allergies to animals, particularly cats. My mother was not trying to be mean, however while growing up, cats were in Grandma's house constantly, causing Mom’s severe feline allergies to flare up.
As the oldest of six kids and two working parents, Mom was in charge of her other siblings, perhaps an unenviable situation. She did gain a lot of experience with children, but also a huge responsibility!
In my desire for a pet, at one time, I suggested getting a pet snake to Mom, but she found that idea totally unacceptable!
My father’s concept of dogs was that they are outside animals. In several of my other hubs, I wrote about him growing up on a farm. Dogs, like the livestock on the farm, stayed outside, except for extenuating circumstances.
In Albuquerque, where I grew up, he believed the back yard in our small home was too little area for a dog. The dogs there on the farm were large and slept outside, mostly, or under outside stairs or make-shift shelters. These dogs were rarely permitted inside and certainly kitchen/washroom only.
So, what I am saying is that my previous experience with dogs was nil! But I had always wanted a canine companion!
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Getting Used to Lucky
I found Lucky an outdoor dog house of the appropriate size, so he could stay out there while my ex and I were at work (unless it was too cold). Lucky was permitted in the house, but never allowed on the carpeting, since he had a problem urinating. My ex and I still had a baby gate to prevent him from leaving the linoleum and hardwood kitchen and laundry room into the carpeted area.
When he first came home, he cried in the non-carpeted area. I used my favorite banana seat chair to rock him until he calmed down. It was May and soon warming up. My ex padded the outdoor doghouse so he could stay warm on chilly nights, complete with an old towel for a "door". When we left the house, he stayed outside during the summer, but had plenty of shade on the porch or his house. Water was essential at all times.
Lucky generously allowed birds and squirrels eat his food. Summer was warm and Lucky became more comfortable in his new home.
As winter approached and it became too cool, he stayed in the un-carpeted area of the house with a dog bed. During the winter, we let him out to do his duty regularly and he used his dog bed outdoors. As Lucky was prone to nervous urination, we never permitted him to leave the linoleum and hardwood area that made up the kitchen, dining room and laundry room of our home.
Seasons with Lucky
As winter encroached, Lucky stayed in the linoleum and hardwood area with the help of the child-gate and regular trips in the backyard to relieve himself.
But come summer, Lucky the "outside" dog became bored in the dog house and found great enjoyment tearing up the grass in the backyard. This annoyed my ex-husband to no end! The backyard was my ex-husband's domain; I struggled to keep up with all the laundry, etc.
Anyway, ex-husband decided to discipline Lucky by smacking him in the nose. Lucky would whimper, but I as inexperienced in raising a dog did not do enough. I shouted at ex to leave Lucky alone, send him to his dog house. (I was always punished by being sent to my room as a child.)
Howsoever, a neighbor witnessed this or these incidences and called out Animal Control or perhaps the ASPCA. They banged on the door as I did laundry and demanded to know who the man was in the backyard beating on Lucky's nose.
I took them through the house to the backyard, where ex and Lucky were still there. I exited so I could take care of the children, etc. I obtainined some dog-training books and videos.
Ex was extremely mad at being reported for animal cruelty and wanted to know which neighbor called him in. "Which [horrible] neighbor turned him in" (presumably for causes unjust) went on for months on end.
Afterward, Lucky was treated humanely, as ex did not want a legal charge against him. I did learn a lesson. My sense of responsibility toward Lucky was correct. All animals and humans deserve to be treated humanely.
I was later turned out by ex without clothing, cookware, pre-marital property, etc, and found out where his heart was. More in later hubs on this. My pain and disbelief in the justice system continues. Ironically, ex began going to church after our 17 year marriage ended. This man's values seem exceedingly flawed!
Certainly, both people and animals need protection, which we all pay for in taxes. For people, justice lingers a long time through an inefficient court system. Copious dollars are paid to greedy lawyers. For dogs, you had better be cute and well behaved to be adopted from the animal shelters. For people, you had better be prepared to stand up in court and state your case clearly with well-documented dates and events.