For those of you that have been following for awhile, you may remember that back in December 2013 (Dec. 6th, to be exact) this happened:
in the street on a 30 degree day.
After a quick investment in an electric clipper, he turned into this:
Cute enough, but what we really found under all of that fluff was a little monster that must have been so tangled up in knots that he couldn't find his way out. It may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. He was the tiniest, sweetest little dog that I'd ever run across and I remember telling his veterinarian, "I'm afraid I'll ruin him somehow and he'll become an unlikable terror". Well, that day has come. He is terrible; he's a monster.
I don't know when it started exactly. I do know that after finding him in the street during one of those rare cold weeks in Austin, I took him to the pet store to buy him a sweater and he couldn't have been more well behaved. He was perfect. I was flipping him around like I was shearing a sheep, fitting one sweater after another until I found one small enough to fit. Then, after Christmas, we went back looking for discounted sweaters since the holiday had come and gone. It was a completely different scene.
He lunged and barked and whined and struggled to confront each and every dog that he saw whether it be near or far, large or small. In three weeks time he'd become completely unmanageable. I was embarrassed, felt totally responsible and didn't know how to correct him. And yes, I've slapped his butt, I have. I'm not proud of it but if anything gets his attention it's a slap on the butt. I know this isn't the best approach. I know this is frowned upon so I simply stopped taking him out in public.
We did try one last time six months later in the summer. We took him to the farmers' market. There was crying and shaking and that was just me. Arrow reenacted the pet store scene and we all tried our best to distance ourselves from him which is no easy feat when you are tethered by six feet of leash.
He made sure to eat lots of long, un-mowed grass the day before so that he'd have a ten inch poo that he dragged around as he continued to lunge at passers-by and which I tried to catch with a crumpled napkin (thank you, Starbucks) so he'd look less like a snarling Loch Ness monster entangled in stinky seaweed. In a word, it was humiliating. That was officially his last time out.
I took him to work with me because I really needed help with him. I'm lucky to have a co-worker that allowed Arrow to "play" with her two Schnauzer puppies. We let them off leash and it was scary as hell at first but it ended well. Arrow was out of control as usual, did his full frontal, teeth bared approach and went nutso for about two minutes and then...stopped. He was pretty much ok, he just doesn't have a handle on greetings.
I don't even know what to compare it to. It might be like me seeing someone at the bus stop in front of the house only to scream obscenities at them, race down the embankment, body slam them to the ground and then say, "Oh, you're so much nicer than I thought you'd be, sorry for the dust up. Friends?!" Arrow's kind of like that.
There is really nothing that anyone at work can do for me. I think I knew this all along but needed confirmation that I wasn't blowing this all out of proportion. I'm not and things are about to change.
We (Arrow and I) are meeting with a trainer on Monday morning for an at-home consultation. We've already discussed his behavioral issues over the phone and she thinks I'm right about not taking him to group training; other dog owners will only freak out and everyone will be distracted and resentful if my six pound terror hogs up all of the class time. He will very likely attend play-group (I feel like I need to apologize ahead of time to his future companions) and get some socialization skills under his belt.
The training facility does a very structured rotation of 20 minutes playing and 20 minutes rest throughout the day. He'll be under supervision and be with other dogs his size. I'm nervous and excited for us both. I've alerted El Presidente and, with the trainer's blessing, I'll be posting a few photos of our interaction. Wish us luck!