Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Attack of the Water Bottle

A couple of weeks ago I went to Petsmart to pick Bella up from Doggie Day Care (DDC). While I was waiting for the person in front of me to pick up their dog, I watched Bella play through the glass walls. Bella was standing in front of the DDC employee and he sprayed her in the face with a water bottle.
Now, before I go on. Petsmart uses water spray bottles as a negative punishment for unwanted behavior.  Every dog must pass a behavior evaluation before they can be accepted into DDC, so most of the dogs are well behaved.
You might ask why the employees would need to use spray bottles. I would assume the spray bottles assist them in managing the collective dog behavior. I use the word assist because they should all know how to interact with a group of dogs and how to redirect unwanted behavior.
Back to the story at hand…
I cannot be totally sure, but from my perspective, the DDC employee sprayed Bella because she was too close to him and was crowding the doorway. When I saw him spray her the first time I was a little shocked but willing to reserve judgment. But when he sprayed her again almost right afterward and then raised his arm over the half glass wall, that separates the room into two small play areas, to spray another dog who was barking I was upset.
When it was my turn in line I filed a complaint with the manager. I told her Bella is a well trained dog. She is CGC certified and knows commands like “no” and “back up”. So when the DDC employee didn’t tell her any command and just sprayed her in the face twice, he will not accomplish anything. The only thing that he would accomplish with Bella would be to teach her to not like water. Dave and I do not use negative punishment. We both believe positive reinforcement is the only way we want to train Bella (and Draco). I mentioned how he sprayed another dog in a different section of the room. And that I think he needs to be instructed on how and when to use the spray bottle. I also requested water spray bottles not be used on Bella. Ever.
The manager was completely understanding and told me the DDC employee would have a verbal warning about the over usage of the spray bottle.
Afterward, when Bella and I were at home cuddling on the couch with Draco, I wondered if I over reacted. I looked down at Bella sleeping happily at home without a care in the world. I reached my hand down to pet her on the head and my hand brushed across two wet spots on her fur. Wet spots created by that spray bottle. Wet spots that shouldn’t have been there.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Boring Bella

I know our loyal followers (Hi, Claire, Jimmy, JR and Chris) have noticed Dave and I have been absent from our blog lately. And we could give you lots of excuses.
Like my sister had a baby, fall is a busy time for Dave at work, the holidays, Dave threw out his back or I broke my foot…but we don’t need excuses.
The real reason is because Bella has become boring.
We don’t have any good stories. She is a well behaved (for the most part) puppy. She is well trained. If she jumps on the couch and tries to lick Draco’s ears we say:
Leave it. Off.
And she stops licking and jumps off the couch. Sometimes we have to say it twice but she does it.
I can walk her with my boot cast on my foot. I am not suppose to but she will walk on a loose leash enough that I can walk her without losing my balance.
She doesn’t eat/chew on our belongings. She sticks to her toys. If she does have something that is not hers; we tell her to drop it and she will.
She doesn’t eat Dandelions anymore.
She doesn’t go potty in the house anymore.
She has stopped humping Draco (okay maybe this one needs a post….)
She is not perfectly behaved, she is only 15 months old. But for 15 months is a really good dog.
Here are a few of the things she knows:
With me (run to my left side and sit)
Heal (she needs some more work on this one)
Front (Sits in front on me)
Back up (walks backwards)
Leave it
High five
Pound it
Sit and wait for permission before walking through a doorway
Loose leash walking
Roll over
Sit politely for petting (she sometimes forgets this one)
Sits when I stomp my foot (not how I broke my foot by the way)
That is a lot for Dave and me; and for Bella.
But back to Bella being boring…well there is not too much to write about.