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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: The Importance of Dog Training

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Importance of Dog Training

There are few things in this world that make me worry about my dogs too much.  The fact is, being the pet of a Vet Tech is like being the child of a Nurse or EMT.  You only get to go to see a doctor when you are dying.  The cycle goes something like this: "Oh, you have a little diarrhea? I’m sure you’ll be fine, here’s some canned pumpkin with dinner.  Oh, you still have it? You’ll be fine in a day or two.  Oh, now it’s bloody and you are dying? Oh, NO!  You probably have cancer or some other serious/deadly ailment that I don’t have enough money to treat!” Cue uncontrolled sobbing as I drive my dog into work. 

The fact of the matter is, when you know what is probably wrong, which is usually nothing serious, you don’t take things seriously until they get worse. It doesn’t mean that my dogs are not well cared for, they get some of the best vet care money can buy (thank you generous employee discount at a fabulous hospital that offers everything imaginable).  It means that my dogs are well trained, well cared for, well loved and that I’m not particularly over reactive to things… Sometimes I wish I were because I always feel like an ass when I let things go too long.  But such is life in animal medicine.

But yesterday, I saw for the first time something that made my heart drop.  Yesterday, while I was receiving a delivery at my front door, my naughty butthead Doberman got out the front door.  She doesn’t so this often, but she has not mastered door training just yet.  My male has, but he seized the opportunity of her having gotten out to follow her and for the first time in his life, he did not come when called back home. 

Usually, when she gets out, we actually let him off leash to go find her and then call him to us.  He comes and she follows in tow.  Today, they just ran and he didn’t come back either. They ran around our entire complex, then out the front of it into the intersection that is the entrance to our townhomes. 

Having bronchitis and what is apparently walking pneumonia meant that I did not immediately chase after then when they got out.  I calmly walked the complex calling out to them figuring they would come running back at any moment as usual.  They did not, and a few kind people pointed me in the direction of which they last saw them headed.  I headed toward the front of the complex when I could hear my male barking.  There I met the UPS guy who had inadvertently started this whole mess.  He had stopped his truck and pointed me in their direction, and they came running towards me down the sidewalk moments later… Until, at the last second, they veered off course and ran straight out into the intersection.

My heart dropped, panic rose and I screamed “Oh, JESUS!” as I ran towards the intersection screaming, as nicely as I could, for them to come back.  Thank God there were no cars coming.  The only car in sight had stopped and then motioned for me to go across the road after my dogs.  I ran, though my lungs didn’t want to, across the road praying that they did not decided to turn and run back across the street because this time cars were coming. 

They ran down the hill instead, on the grass (thank goodness!).  I bent down and cheerfully called out to dumbass number one and he came.  I grabbed his collar and wouldn’t you know, my little girl came running up too and I quickly grabbed her collar too.  I escorted them home and promptly locked them in the kitchen out of frustration and then proceeded to cough as my bronchitis kicked up full steam.

The lessons of the day is this:
  1. 1.     Practice door training with your dogs.  I have been begging people for months to come over to help me, but now I’m pretty sure people are going to start saying yes after hearing what happened.
  2. 2.     Never angrily call out to your dogs when this kind of thing happens.  This is because they will not come back if they sense they are in trouble, hence my cheerful calling out to my dogs even though I was terrified and angry.
  3. 3.     Chasing, panic stricken, after your dogs when you have bronchitis and some type of pneumonia is a sure fire way to set your recovery back… A LOT.

I rarely preach on this blog.  And I rarely preach about animal stuff.  Not many vet tech read it to my knowledge and I’ve never really seen my blog as the place to preach about dog health and safety, but today, I need you all to please think about things when dealing with your pets.  Be sure they are microchiped because tags and collars can come off.  But still be sure they have tags and collars and are licensed.  Work with them on door training and other obedience to help prevent this type of situation. 

Today, the sight of my dogs being hit by a car flashed before my eyes and it was the most horrible thought.  I’ve cared for and nursed a lot of dogs who have been hit by cars (cats too), but have never experienced it and just the little taste of what might have happened today was enough for me to know that I never want to have to. 

I pray that none of you ever have to experience it either. 



Blogger Jen said...

That is the scariest feeling ever!!! I'm sorry you had to go experience it.

October 11, 2012 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Erinn said...

Whenever someone comes to the door we always put our dogs outside because our youngest dog is a bolter. The other two never were until we got her. We REALLY need to do this training with them. While all three are great at recall, there shouldn't be the need to use it because they shouldn't be running out of the door! It's a really tough thing to train but we definitely need to buckle down and just do it.
Thanks for the needed kick in the ass about this!

October 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Chantal said...

Thank goodness my dog doesn't run away. Ok, once, I was watching my friends dog and they did the exact same thing, took themselves on a walk. I managed to get my dog, put him in my car, and chase the other one down and coax her into the car. She loves car rides. But my goodness, that was scary for awhile!

October 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

That is the worst feeling in the world. Our girl dog is very good about coming when she is called but our boy dog is a bat out of hell if he gets out and is definitely still a work in progress. It's so scary.

October 11, 2012 at 3:51 PM  

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