After three horrible growling, snapping events in less than 24 hours, I decided it was time to take the Pennster to the wonderful Dr. Weaver at the Animal Hospital of Towne Lake to be sure that the events of the weekend hadn’t harmed her.
Dr. Weaver thoroughly examined Penny and noticed that she “tensed up” when she got around her neck and back. She thinks there is an element of pain there that may have been exacerbated by the dragging across the yard. We’re going to do two weeks of an anti-inflammatory that we can apply transdermally (she’ll have it rubbed in her ear) and see what happens. No doubt we have a behavioral issue, but there’s probably a physical problem as well.
As for the training… Dr. Weaver said while the underlying theory the trainer had was sound, the implementation was wrong, particularly with a small dog like Penny. He’ll be given his walking papers tomorrow with an explanation as to why. She gave us a couple of suggestions to handle the problem short-term — one is to use a towel over her head when she starts growling and disorient her, then grab the sides of her head to let her know who’s boss and get her off the sofa. The other is the use of a greyhound muzzle; we can do the correction while she’s wearing it, and she won’t be able to bite us.
When Penny’s feeling better, we have the names of three other behavioral specialists to work with. One is the trainer that worked with Oscar when he had his little temper tantrums when he was about 6 and started nipping me.
Somehow, someway, we’re going to get this under control in a way that all of us can live with. I know that Richard and I bear all of the responsibility of the problem getting to this point… me probably more than him because I just want to love her to death. All of us have to work on it for the good of us all.
Even after all this, I’m still crazy about my dog.