Lawnmowers and Dogs are not Fast Friends

In case you were worried, I did manage to get in my 100 words last night. My website malfunctioned due to an over-extension of my PHP limit – or something – so I was not able to share them here. My PH is proud that I did not use my technical problems as a reason to skip out on my promises. I have now entered the ramble I came up with around 10:30 pm yesterday, back dated so as not to interrupt. For posterity’s sake, I wanted to make sure it was shared. Carry on.

Shiva is a dog who is infuriating one moment and endearing the next. She can slide right from yanking me down the street to gobble half of a dead squirrel to dropping the deceased rodent with a cheeky grin and a circle wag in my direction. It is uncanny. The worst of it is, I can never predict what will send Shiva into a leaping coil of panic and what she will pass by without flicking an ear. She is impossible to predict.

This is the challenge of living with a dog who was not socialized at a young age. We have done our best to mitigate this and over the last five years we have introduced her to many new environments and situations. She is accustomed to all variety lawn ornaments, men wielding surf boards, rocks, broken down vans, and benches shaped like people. That leaves quite a few things, unfortunately. Not to mention, just because she is okay with an object in a certain area, doesn’t mean she likes it in another.

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Those crates are super sketchy, totally looking at me funny.

For instance, on our walk tonight, we approached a store selling a number of motor-operated items. We have meandered in this area at least fifty times before with nary an issue. Tonight, there were several lawnmowers on the sidewalk. Unbeknownst to me, Shiva had never seen lawnmowers in this venue before. Lawnmoers , to her unsocialized puppy brain, belong on lawns or in dark garages. They do not live on sidewalks beside motorcycles. In short, they are evil and must be clobbered.

To the Shivster’s credit, she was polite about her smiting. She didn’t bark and lunge or dislocate my shoulder. This time, she circled around the first machine, emitting a low growl. When it didn’t move or give her the evil eye, she took a hesitant sniff of the air, as if gauging the lawnmoer’s fear. Well versed in the ways of the Sheevs, I stood back and encouraged her to move closer, rewarding her with a treat when she did. It wasn’t long before she was pawing at the once-menacing beast in an effort to get more snacks.

This is the bonus of living with a dog who is food-obsessed. It is so much easier to prevent moments like these from becoming disasters. Lawnmoers and dogs may not be fast friends but with enough confidence boosting, and some handy chicken, even nutty mutts like Shiva will come around.

If only this method would work as well with bodies of water. Ah well, one fearful paw at a time.

7 thoughts on “Lawnmowers and Dogs are not Fast Friends

  1. Well done Shiva on facing your fears and just making sure that scary lawnmower isn’t a threat!

    it is great that you two are on the same page with Shiva’s training. Since separating from the ex we seem to have very different styles of how to deal with BD and his fears and it can’t make it easy on the pour boy!

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    • That is definitely tough and you and BD have my sympathy. Training and bonding with a fearful dog is difficult enough but when you add in the sort of upheaval you have experienced, it makes it all the more challenging. I do think it is great you are both still able to spend time with him. Hopefully you will be able to come to an agreement on his training as well to bring a little more consistency to all of your lives. I am rooting for you.

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  2. It’s good that she works with you and will approach (cautiously) as you reward her. Delilah will almost always approach something, sometimes going full charge, but then there are times when she will jump backwards or straight up in the air. In most of these instances I laugh. I can’t help myself, there is something about a 70 pound dog jumping straight in the air with all four feet off the ground like a cat, that makes me laugh.

    Keep up the good work Kristine!!

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    • Hahaha! I love Delilah. She and Shiva have so much in common. Shiva approaches cautiously at first but as soon as she realizes she is getting rewarded for doing so she loses all inhibition and will attack the once-fearsome object. It’s crazy how food slays even the scariest of beasts. Except for water monsters, of course.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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