Saturday, January 7, 2012

Walking Nightmare

In my last post I introduced Hannah- a very timid shepherd/lab mix that I have been training.  Yesterday I brought Parker, Skye, and Scooter to pick Hannah up from her house to stay with us this weekend.  I was shocked that I didn't have to carry her to the car, as she is terrified of it, but she followed the other dogs in.  I was pretty happy that our weekend was starting out with a small success.

Look!  A bunny being chased by a rare black kangaroo!

Once at the house, Hannah enjoyed running around the yard with Parker and Skye, while Scooter watched.  Scooter tolerates other dogs, but has never once shown a desire to play or interact with them.  He's sort of a cat and lawn furniture combined.

That night I made a mistake.  Bad human, bad!  I let Hannah out of her crate without realizing that she hadn't finished the rawhide I had given her while I was in the shower.  Scooter ran in and took it, then Hannah walked over to him to get it back.  He growled, she growled, then they got into a little scuffle.  If you ever meet me in person, ask me to do my dog-fight yell.  It even scares me sometimes, but it is almost guaranteed to stop a minor dog fight.  While the scuffle was all noise and no teeth, I didn't think about who was fighting before I reacted.  Hannah peed all over the floor and didn't leave her crate for about an hour after that because I scared her so badly.  Luckily, Parker wanting to play always makes her come around.

I wouldn't call it a divine gift, but I'd be okay with it if you called it that.

This morning I had a plan.  It wasn't a very good plan, but what can I say?  I'm human.  I needed to exercise the dogs, because while Hannah is too scared to go for a walk down the street, she is still an 8 month old dog, and she has a lot of energy.  Parker can only handle so much wrestling, ya know?  So I decided that a little traumatic car ride would be fine, as long as I followed it up with fun!  I loaded all the dogs up (Hannah got in the car on her own again) and drove to the park.  Yes, there are strangers there, but they always have a dog with them, which makes them much less scary to Hannah.

Hannah did well... for about 5 minutes.  We met a nice woman with a lab in the parking area, and walked with them through the first field.  When we were about to get into the second field, a group of 5-6 people came onto the path in front of us.  They all had babies in those giant backpack carriers, which made them massive and bulky.  Yes, they had dogs, but they were not cool in Hannah's book.  We quickly moved into the second field where there were more people watching their dogs play.  Normally, this is great, but one German Shepherd ran over and began trying to steal the treats out of my pocket.  Now, these were pretty good treats, but that dog was pulling at my coat, jumping on me, and nipping my hand, all while Hannah was attached to my waist leash.

As I'm trying to move away from this annoying dog, I hear a man's voice yell "Jesse!  You cut that out!"

This was about the point that I thought I might be dreaming, things were going so dramatically wrong.

A big man came running up, waving his arms and yelling.  Literally, waving his arms.  Hannah lost it- she was scrambling trying to run away while Jesse was leaping up at me.  I tried to tell the guy to stop, my dog is afraid of men, but he just yelled "I'll just grab Jesse and get him away."  It was Hannah's worst nightmare come to life.  I basically ran away once he had his dog back on leash, but there was no going back from that.  Hannah had reached her stress level, so we took a small loop that led back to the first field, where we saw this:

There were at least 15 dogs and even more owners.  Really?  Seriously?  I go to this park 2-3 times a week, and have never seen more than 5 people there in a single trip.  Poor Hannah.  Pooooooor poor Hannah.  I used a side path to get to the car, which she happily jumped into so that I could get her the bark away from that place.

Our afternoon consisted mostly of wrestling and romping at home, just to put Hannah's brain back together.

They love each other.


All better.
Hannah goes home tomorrow- hopefully in one piece.  Her confidence has gone up a lot this weekend, but I certainly won't be taking her to the park any time soon!


  1. Poor Hannah! I sucks that she has a rough time at the park. Good thing she recovered nicely with a few good friends to help!

  2. I hate those days - when you get out to try and do something constructive and just every time you turn the corner there's a trigger, or a crazy-annoying person. Sigh.

  3. Oh wow, is it weird that I'm super jealous of your 4-dog weekend/sleepover? It sounds like a dream to me, haha. Also, Hannah is the cutest!

  4. Ooh Poor Hannah, hopefully her will furget all about da park.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

    PeeS Mom wants you to teach her da dog fight yell. Max and me don't fight but sometimes we play kinda rough in da house. ;)

  5. Oh Hannah, poor baby. Ok, now that is bitey face
    Benny & Lily

  6. Totally one of those days - poor you AND hannah!

  7. Oh no. It's impossible to plan everything isn't it. Hopefully Hannah's experience at the park will end up being a small blip among all the other great things you have planned for her.

  8. Isn't it amazing how bitey face can make things better?

    Stop on by for a visit

  9. Oh my goodness!That does sound like a walking nightmare! The picture of Parker with the light behind him, is perfect :)

  10. I'd say you handled a challenging situation with grace! Hannah will be OK; dogs amaze me with their ability to bounce back. I know its a huge challenge to figure out how to exercise multiple dogs with different needs!


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