WTF?! Ducky, Part 2

In Part One I told you that Ducky was “misbehaving” and that somehow I was going to put an end to it one way or another. Okay, so I’ve “wised-up” and realized what is really going on here. For one thing, Ducky is trying to establish and assert her place in our family unit as “top dog”. Secondly, I know she’s just doing what some dogs do as a natural course of events.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

So, I’m back to being the “mean stepmother”. Back to enforcing all the house rules such as manners, respect, and basic obedience. At least with Ducky. Callie and Shadow know the rules, boundaries, and limitations; and, for the most part live by them. Where their arthritis limits their abilities, I cut them some slack. Truth be known, I cut them a lot of slack. They’ve earned it. Ducky has a L O N G way to go before she reaches that point. Hubby, meanwhile, has decided I’m “going too far” with Ducky’s discipline, and pretty much allows her to wrap him around her two front paws. It makes my job harder, but I’m not going to back off. I will still make sure she stays off the couch and chairs when I’m around. And I will still make sure she knows the rules. If she blows hubby off when he tells asks her to do something, I’ll laugh to myself with an “I told you so”.

What Ducky needs is discipline. I’m not talking about being yelled at, “spanked” like a child, or that kind of thing. I mean guidance, lessons in impulse control, and — for lack of a better word — structure in her life here at home. The one thing she doesn’t need is to be spoiled even more rotten than she already is; allowed to do whatever she wants to do, whenever she wants to do it, and wherever she wants to do it. She doesn’t need to be allowed privileges she hasn’t earned — like sleeping on the couch like her sisters or sitting in our laps just because she’s small enough, especially since Callie and Shadow are no longer small enough to fit in our laps. Callie and Shadow earned all of their privileges a long time ago. It’s only fair that Ducky should have to earn them as well.

Sit-stays, down-stays, and structured walks around the yard have become commonplace around here again. At least for Ducky. And especially since Callie had her ACL surgery last week. (That’s a whole other post.) Being the little opportunist that she is, Ducky continues to try to get away with pushing ahead of us. Hubby lets her get away with it constantly; but I have my hands full with Callie during our bedtime walks around the yard, so I can’t do much about Ducky. Although there are times, like last night, when I have to turn my head and tell her to sit-stay so she doesn’t trip Callie or me. Why is discipline such a hard concept for men to grasp at times?! Geezloweeze!

Ducky IS learning — or, I should say re-learning — her manners. At least around me. She sits at the bottom of the steps – mostly without being told – and waits for me to come upstairs and invite her to join me. At least when I’m the only human in the house. She usually stays on her mat in the living room, but this morning I found the stinker on the couch when I returned from a momentary trip to the kitchen. Still, she did get off when told. That in itself is an improvement.

Perhaps just as important, I’m learning a few things myself. I’ve learned (and keep learning) not to expect too much too soon as far as Ducky’s learning curves are concerned. I’ve learned to be a bit more patient with her — and constantly remind myself — and to watch her for signs of training overload, or just anxious hyperactivity. Sometimes she just has to settle down and relax for a while. (If only I could teach my husband the same thing!!) At least when it’s just the dogs and me in the house, I can create and pretty much maintain a peaceful calmness (until the doorbell rings or hubby gets home from wherever).

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18 thoughts on “WTF?! Ducky, Part 2

  1. Jan K says:

    Ugh, it’s always hard to do what needs to be done when your spouse doesn’t cooperate. My hubby and I frequently disagree on issues with the dogs, especially Luke. So when we took Luke to training, we both went, and I smirked to myself when the trainer told him things I already had. I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything, but I do learn a lot from my blog friends, and my hubby tends to want to do things like he did when he was a child with dogs….which was a LONG time ago. I’m just glad we never had kids….I think we would have disagreed about a lot of that too! 🙂

    • The Golden Life says:

      Maybe our husbands are related?! Mine wouldn’t even listen to the vet about the dogs’ digestive issues! It took shoving a picture of Ducky’s barf in his face that showed the people food he had given her the nite before and saying “the next time this happens, you’re taking her to the vet and paying for it out of YOUR retirement fund.”

      • Jan K says:

        I think they might be!! My hubby thinks I’m overprotective of Luke because I get upset when he’s running around collecting construction materials while we’re having our porch finished. “It’s just a piece of plastic siding, it won’t hurt him” – ugh, really?? This dog will eat anything! I just hope I don’t ever have to be proven right on this one….because that would probably mean we’re in the ER having something removed…..

      • The Golden Life says:

        If it’s any consolation, I’m with you 100%. Dogs that will eat anything — like your Luke and my Ducky — need to be watched carefully at the very least, and preferably kept away from harmful things, like plastic siding and the bolts that keep it in place. Ducky’s taste, thankfully, has matured from “just about everything in the yard” to her food and treats. She will still pick up acorns, especially the outer shell, to play with now and then, or rip a Kong Wubba to shreds, but she won’t eat the pieces. Those she leaves for me to clean up. But she’s a teenager now and has learned that the yard trash makes her tummy upset. Luke is still a puppy at just a year old. All I can suggest is that you keep being protective of Luke, regardless of what your husband says or does. I know it’s hard, but Luke’s life may depend upon it one day. I try to grow “elephant skin” (as my brother calls it) to help me deal with hubby’s crap. And I just do what I feel needs to be done whether he agrees or not. If he starts getting grumpy, I ignore him.

      • Jan K says:

        That does make me feel better, Sue! Especially knowing that Luke might outgrow some of this. In the meantime I keep a close eye on him. Today I watched him pulling apart a rope toy, but as I watched him he was not eating any of it (and then I threw it away). We’re learning not to let him make it into a game when we’re trying to get something away from him too.
        In my hubby’s defense, he doesn’t always say anything, but I can tell what he’s thinking by the way he looks at me! But I have tried to learn, like you said, to just walk away from it.

      • The Golden Life says:

        😉 My hubby doesn’t always say anything, either. That’s when i really have to hold my own tongue! LOL. It goes along with knowing which battles to fight and which to drop.

        I’m glad I was able to help you! Sometimes, just knowing there’s someone else who’s in a similar situation that you can talk to is all we really need. You can always PM me on Facebook if you need some “moral support”.

  2. somethingwagging says:

    Impulse control is so hard to learn. And it’s good for Ducky that you’re helping her with it.

    I’ve read that humans don’t actually develop true impulse control until they’re about 26 years old. And Ducky is a bit younger than that as a dog.

    But luckily she’s smart and so are you so hopefully you won’t have her snarking in the future.

    As for the issue of a partner who isn’t on board with the training, that could probably be the subject of its own blog hop (says the woman whose husband consistently encourages the dog to jump up).

    • The Golden Life says:

      Maybe you, Jan, and I should get together and create said blog hop? But then again I don’t want the pressure of having to write a post by a certain date.

      Actually, little by little, Ducky IS snarking less often. Of course, she’s still a teenager so she’s going to keep testing the boundaries. At least in THAT regard Sam IS supportive to an extent. When she snarks at Callie or Shadow, he DOES say “NO!” He just follows it up with letting her jump up in his lap. He refuses to believe that he’s just reinforcing the snarkiness with inappropriately-timed affection. What it amounts to is that Ducky’s his “baby girl” and he is going to spoil her rotten and do all he can to make me feel guilty for making her behave like the good little dog I know she can be. But that tactic doesn’t work on me. He should know that after nearly 21 years of marriage, don’t ya think?! Oh well. Cést la viè.

    • The Golden Life says:

      It would be nice, but he absolutely refuses to do so. According to him, all the science and psychology behind “training” is — and pardon the language but — “pure bullshit”. So, I have to do the best I can with her and hope it all eventually transfers to the times when he’s home. So far, she’s doing well.

  3. Dogs N Pawz says:

    Sounds like you are doing a great job with Ducky! I can relate with the husband thing. No matter what I tell him not to do with our three dogs, he does it anyway. It happens mostly with him feeding them table scraps. We go round and round about it, but for some reason he thinks he can do whatever he wants.

    • The Golden Life says:

      Oh God, Lisa, I feel for you! I’ve been there. The only way i was able to put an end to it was to threaten him with having to clean up Ducky’s “upchuck” the next time she got sick because of the table scraps and paying for the vet visit out of either his retirement account. None of the dogs have gotten table scraps since. And, believe me, I appreciate the moral support I get from you and the rest of our pet blogging community!!

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