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Monday, August 07, 2006

Blog Excuses

I have lots of excuses for neglecting my blog; I was invited to the island of St. John to stay at the beautiful honeymoon resort of Caneel Bay where I gave relationship enrichment seminars to couples, then I went to Las Vegas to lecture to patients recovering from brain surgery on intimacy after illness, then I got busy in LA at the Adult Manufacturers Expo where I promoted my products for three days, all the while balancing private clients, media interviews, quality time with my family and friends, and then there was the big decision that I had to make regarding my rescue dog, Romeo. I've had him for five years now and he's so adorable, most of the time, but every now and again he can turn into a little monster, disobey commands, snap, even mess in the house. I've taken him to trainers before, but he always resorted to going back to his old ways. For a Pomeranian, he has the dominant personality of a German shepherd. Truth be told, I have become afraid of him in the last few months. When it's time for his walk, if Romeo is being defiant, he'll hide under furniture and when I approach him with his leash, he'll snap at me. Even with my quick reflexes from my Karate training, I have had bloody fingers and toes from his little but deadly fangs. The last straw was when my Ragdoll cat Charlie jumped off my bed in the middle of the night and scared Romeo, who was sleeping on the floor, and then Romeo woke me up with his growling as he attacked Charlie and got a big chunk of his fur in his mouth. Luckily Charlie got away but if he wasn't so fluffy, Romeo could just as easily have gotten a chunk of skin. I tried to get the fur out of Romeo's mouth, but he wouldn't let me go near him. He looked at me with those ferocious eyes and growled through the fur as if to say, "Don't even think about it." So, I stayed awake for an hour watching Romeo slowly chew all of the cat's fur and finally swallow it without choking. I could not get Romeo to go downstairs so I went downstairs myself looking for the cat. Charlie was traumatized so I spent all night consoling him. The next day, sleep deprived and frustrated with my own lack of control over my dog, I decided to contact another trainer. I called him up and told him my dilemma and read him a long list of Romeo’s issues.

The Good

Most of the time, he’s happy, friendly and loving towards everyone, he lets strangers pet him. I take him to work with me and he interacts positively with clients, and then lies under my desk quietly. He let’s everyone pet him and wags his tail and he loves filming TV shows. In fact he is really the star of my A & E profile, which you can see on my website.
He gets along with Charlie, the cat who has been with me for 12 years and he gets along with the office cat, Dino. Often we have all three at the office amicably.
Romeo is smart and has a good understanding of vocabulary including: sit, lie down, come, tummy tickle, kiss, high-five, yummy yummy (that’s his favorite word), let’s go bye bye, pee pee, good boy and No, just to name a few.
He loves riding in the car, sitting in his high chair while I pet him.
He loves going for walks, running, playing, he likes interacting with small dogs.
He always lets me clean him up if he has soiled himself.
He is well behaved at the vet and at the groomer.
He has never bitten a stranger.
He has breakfast between 6 & 6:30 AM and dinner around 5:00 PM. I have been feeding him Artemis dry food with chicken, turkey, salmon, fruits and vegetables. He won’t eat the canned food so I have been adding a little cooked chicken, ground beef or steak to his dry food. His favorite treats are original milk-bones with bone marrow and greenies.

The Bad

Romeo becomes a vicious monster when he has a bone or a Greenie in his mouth, if anyone tries to take it away from him, he will bite them.
When Romeo sleeps, if woken he will growl and snap at anyone including the cat who sometimes jumps off the bed and startles him.
Sometimes I have to bribe Romeo to move from one room to another with treats, but recently he won’t move, even for a treat. I’m too afraid to pick him up in case he bites me, since he has a fearful look on his face.
Romeo is afraid of certain rooms and steps, floor surfaces like wood or marble. He will walk carefully backwards until he is out of the room with these surfaces.
Romeo will not always obey commands unless he sees a treat first.
Romeo is obsessed with licking feet. All feet!
Romeo has frequent erections, humps people and licks himself.
Romeo lifts his leg and pees over a dozen times during one walk.
Romeo doesn’t heel when we walk. He pulls on his leash, sometime just stops.
Romeo antagonizes other dogs (especially big ones) by growling and kicking dirt up with his hind legs.
Romeo still occasionally pees and poops in the house.
When Romeo is called, sometimes he obeys, sometimes he does a death march and sometimes he just won’t budge.
I take him to restaurants and feed him people food, also at home because he begs and I can’t resist.
Health issues include recurring diarrhea (probably from the treats and human food), scooting (clogged anal glands), constipation, back pain from when he fell off my bed and his x-rays show some spinal degeneration.

My Objectives

I would like to enjoy him without any fear of him biting me or anyone else.
I would like him to obey when called so that I don’t have to bribe him with food.
I would still like to spoil him, tickle his tummy (which he requests often), cuddle him and take him with me where ever I can as part of the family without worry.

My Concerns

1. Romeo has never stayed in a kennel before I’m concerned that he’ll feel like I’m abandoning him.
2. Romeo will behave perfectly with a trainer, but when he comes back home, he will go back to his old ways.
3. I have always been affectionate with him, allowed him on the bed, played, tickled him, allowed him to lick and kiss me. Am I to suddenly disallow this and how will that affect him?
4. How can I be assured that he will obey my commands?
5. What if the people around him don’t change their behavior towards him? Will his training still be successful or not?

The trainer told me that Romeo was like a bomb waiting to explode and that I had to hand him over for boot camp training for several weeks or months if I wanted to live in harmony with my dog. The fee for such training was over $4,000 and even though there was no guarantee, I had no choice. I could not let Romeo, the Pomeranian rule my life. So, the following day I took my little red haired buddy to the kennel and dropped him off for doggie boot camp. I miss taking him to the office with me and walking around the block for exercise, sharing a sorbet on hot day and tickling his tummy whenever he requests it. I feel like a doggie-mommy failure and I've been told that I spoiled him too much, treated him like a human so he didn't respect me. He's been gone almost three weeks now and I'm only supposed to visit him once a week because it causes too much anxiety, for me not the dog. I'm hoping that he'll come back having learned some valuable doggie lessons like not biting people and obeying simple orders like "come."


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