Monday 13 November 2017
Sorry, this is going to be a venting post. I really, really need to get this out of my system.
Where to start? Aaaahhhh, there are so many places. Actually, there’s not. You see, I’ve been bested by a twenty-one-week-old puppy. Let me take a step back to explain how I got here.
As many of you will know, I finally relented and brought home a new Border Collie puppy a few months ago. Lil Phryne was nine weeks old then, and as cute as a button. She’s still as cute as a button, and I love her dearly. That’s important here. I do love her dearly. Jump forward to now, and she’s turning twenty-two weeks old on Friday . . . and she’s frustrating the hell out of me.
She’s frustrating me so much that I’ve said things to her that are far from being nice, or civilised, or adult, or that demonstrate the fact that I a) love animals, b) love Border Collies, and c) love Phryne to bits. I’ve been driven to the verge of doing things I never thought I’d do – like rehoming a puppy . . . and worse. I’ve yelled, threatened, screamed, ignored, and been generally horrid. Again, let me point out that I do love this lil creature enormously. But again, she’s frustrating the hell out of me.
Everything that I thought I’d taught her, from the basics like sit and stay to the tricky lil tricks like high five, knuckles, kisses, and more, she’s decided that she doesn’t need anymore. When she’s told to do something, like sit and stay, my ‘I’ve got a mind of my own’ Border Collie has decided that she doesn’t need to sit and stay. She’ll do whatever the hell she wants, whenever the hell she wants to. Worse still, when we attend puppy training, she does everything, and I mean everything that Dean the trainer demonstrates with her, and when it’s my turn to work with my own pup, she ignores every f*$king instruction . . . because she’s too busy being enamoured with Dean. No, really, she loves Dean. In fact, I think she might be in love with Dean.
And then there’s the biting and nipping and pinching. Yes, I know she’s a puppy, and that’s what puppy’s do, but if you could see the bruises I’ve got from all the biting, you’d understand where I’m coming from. I’m also aware that the biting isn’t aggression based, it’s play based, but it f*$king hurts. My arse is so bruised from her bites that it looks like I’m a member of some S and M club. No, really, it does. No, really, I’m not providing you with photos as proof. Just take my word for it. Distraction rarely works when she’s going for a full-on feral attack, because she’s so focussed that nothing can break her concentration.
Within the last three or four days, she’s also decided that she no longer needs to go into her crate to rest . . . or ever. Where she used to simply just go in, and she’d get a reward for doing so, she’s decided that there’s no way in hell that she’s going to go back into the crate. Not for anything or anyone . . . except probably Dean. No amount of bribery, coaxing, yelling or screaming will make this lil sh!t get in her crate. She problem solves her way around getting the treats from the crate by pulling her blankets, upon which the treats and bribes are placed, towards her, and out of the door of the crate. Once close enough to her, she snaffles the treats, and heads back around behind me to bite my arse or my legs.
Dean so happily told me a few weeks ago that the Border Collie is the smartest breed of dog ever. This is something I already knew. Many of you will know that Phryne’s not my first BC, so I’m aware of how intelligent these critters are. Miss Parker was very, very intelligent. But Phryne . . . she’s scarily intelligent. At twenty-one weeks old, she is an expert level problem solver. For every solution to her antics and behaviour that I might have, she has a countermove. For every time I now try to get her into her crate for a rest, or because I need to go out, she has a hundred and one ways of outmanoeuvring me which usually result in me crying in frustration, or screaming at her in frustration or anger. And she sits there, looking all snuggly, and cute, and pretty, a gorgeous, and soft and squishy . . . and then she turns and bites the sh!t outta me because she wants to play, or she’s over-stimulated.
Much of her biting does come from the fact that she becomes over-stimulated, wants to play, or can’t get her own way. I’ve no idea why she’s not picked up the bite inhibition. She spent the first nine weeks of her life with her parents and siblings, surely one of them bit her back when she was being a Bitey McBiteface. Surely? Unless they were all terrified of her.
Don’t get me wrong, this lil Border Collie pup can be the sweetest lil creature out there. Mostly she’s Bitey McBiteface, but on the occasion where she’s syrupy sweet, she’s nothing short of divine. And then she turns. It’s not out of aggression, I can tell that. It’s definitely because she wants to play, or she’s over-stimulated. And you try calming a pup that’s over-stimulated and biting the sh!t out of you. There’s no getting through to them.
I’d hoped that puppy training would iron out the kinks, and I’d have a pup that was intelligent but followed commands. Instead, I’ve got a pup that’s intelligent, and frustrates the hell out of me because she’s too f*$king intelligent for me. And that, folks, is what it comes down too: my Border Collie pup is far more intelligent than I could ever wish to be, and she’s not afraid to use that intelligence to get the better of me every single day.
So, if you see me rocking in a corner, bawling my eyes out, look for the short coat, tri-coloured, twenty-one-week-old Border Collie that’s bailed me up. Oh, and if any of you have any sensible training suggestion for me to try to stop the Bitey McBiteface aspect of this pup, I’d be more than appreciative to you if you passed it along. I’ve tried all the things the experts recommend – yelping like a dog, grumping at her, finger on the tongue, holding her down on the floor until she submits, ignoring her when she bites (this is impossible to do because the biting it persistent, and it f*$king hurts), bite deterrent like bitter apple spray, putting her in her crate (hahahahahahahahaha, an hour later she’s still not in her crate, and my arse has innumerable extra bite marks on it) . . . you name it, I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. I’ve even got her on a Vitamin B and tryptophan supplement in the hope that the Vitamin B will calm her enough for me to train her but that could take six weeks to kick in! I’m at my wit’s end and willing to try almost anything at this point. And hey, when the puppy training trainer says even he’s struggling to get her to follow every command, you know you’ve got a livewire, and pretty much no hope at all until she decides of her own free will that your commands are a good thing to follow.
Now, if you don’t mind, because I’ve finally got Bitey McBiteface to go into her crate and go to sleep, I need to get an icepack for my arse!