Once again I find myself confessing all my evil dog training sins. But this time I do believe I am on to something.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Work and life have kept me going at Shiva-speed and it hasn’t been easy to relax. So. One night this week I happened to find myself a few alcoholic beverages in before it was time to take Shiva on her evening walk. (Don’t judge. It was after six. And when I say “a few” I mean more like one and a half. It was a school night, after all.) Since I hadn’t the time to eat much that day, said beverages affected me more than they should have.
Was I drunk? No. Maybe just a wee bit over the tipsy line. Just enough to make me a little friendlier than usual. Enough to prevent me from crossing the street when I saw a man approach with three dogs.
This should have been a disaster. Shiva thinks every dog in the world wants to be her best friend forever. As she has zero social skills, she thinks the best way to introduce herself to new dogs is by rushing into their faces, tail wagging high. Basically the dog equivalent of me charging across the street and yelling into another person’s face: “HI! I’M KRISTINE! WANT TO BE MY FRIEND?!” Only more rude. Startlingly, not all dogs mind this wild behaviour. I guess they missed that day of puppy kindergarten too.
But anyway, as I say, for whatever reason, I didn’t bother to cross the street when I saw the three dogs headed our way. With Shiva sniffing the grass beside me, I just kept walking. The man and his dogs also kept walking. We both moved forward at a casual speed until the six of us had completely passed each other. And can you guess what happened at that crucial passing point?
Nothing. Shiva kept sniffing, his dogs kept trotting, and we humans kept walking. There was no lunging, no tugging, no whining, no destruction of social etiquette. I don’t know if Shiva even realized the other dogs were there.
Later on, we also came upon two elderly women on an evening stroll. This is never a huge deal unless they are dog lovers. Which these two particular women were. Shiva stopped to decorate a tree and the women stopped as well. One of them reached out and grabbed her by the muzzle.
“You’re all speckled!” she exclaimed in Shiva’s face.
The other woman also reached out and patted her on the head. It’s not a gesture many dogs appreciate.
What did Shiva do?
Nothing. Her tail straightened a little but she kept four feet on the ground. Her muscles remained relaxed and her ears did not flatten against her skull. She didn’t even attempt to get away.
This has lead me to conclude that I need to be drunk if I want Shiva to behave. I should have spent her first year with us completely intoxicated at all times. If we attempt the Canine Good Neighbour Test again in the fall, I am bringing a bottle of tequila with me.
It doesn’t say anything about booze in the testing room. I checked.