Ben and I are guilty of not being the most sociable people on the planet (that’s why we have dogs). Although we do like to go out and meet friends, it’s not as often as we would like sometimes, but the problem with not having many friends (quality over quantity) is that we don’t have people coming in and out of the house. Now, in terms of how sociable we are, that’s perfect for us, but for training the dogs to behave around guests it makes it very difficult.
My parents are doggy people, but they are not fond of Echo who is as mad as a hatter…and gets madder if people visit. He gets so happy to see people that I sometimes feel like I am peeling him off the ceiling. The problem I have is: my dogs are great now at settling down in the house with me and Ben. They lie snuggled up together and play together (which is loud for about 10 minutes and then they sleep again) and are generally pretty good (although we all know that Echo can be exhausting when he wants to be). The issue arises when we have visitors, particularly my parents (they don’t visit very often and have no experience of how to behave around an excitable spaniel), and Echo just goes through the roof with excitement. Zephy gets caught in the joy and if my guests are not willing to be firm with them, it very quickly gets out of hand, i.e. dogs jumping all over the place, up on the furniture (big no no) and generally running around like mad. Well, in my parents eyes, both dogs should be quiet and calm and wait to be spoken to, which I would love, if my dogs did that. But they are young and excited to have people to see them and if they don’t get constructive instructions they don’t know what to do with themselves. There is only so much training I can manage but the dogs need lots of people visiting to get the idea. I can get them to sit but Echo takes so much to calm down it can be too late sometimes. I feel like I am always having to prove myself to my parents and the dogs behaviour caused a very heated argument between my dad and I. It went along the lines of “if those were my dogs, they certainly wouldn’t be behaving like that” followed by “that rottie is out of hand, what are you going to do when he’s bigger” and my reply of “they do not behave like this normally, they are over excited and I need you to be firm with them” was thrown back at me with a “I don’t believe that for a second”. As if, my dogs are constantly running riot! Could you imagine being in a house all the time with dogs that excitable, they wouldn’t last very long, I believe a heart attach would ensue. I was so annoyed with myself and my dad. Now to put his comments of “my dogs wouldn’t behave like that” in perspective, they are the owners of Elmo, the terrier I mentioned in the beginning. He may be small but it isn’t the first time he has gone to bite me, or indeed, has had a hold of my ankle. He also barks continuously at anyone that enters the house….Now if he was a Rottie, that behaviour would be instantly unacceptable…so why is that small dogs get away with it??!! And why are my two people loving cuddle monsters being made out to be these demons. They just need to learn to behave around visitors, which is something I need to find a way to work on.
Anyway, the argument wasn’t helped when Echo, having being resigned to the kitchen, decided to jump the baby gate to come back through. I could only sigh. Once everyone had all calmed down, Zeph was allowed back through (Echo sadly was told to go to his bed as he just could not calm himself). Once through beside us he picked up a bone and lay at our feet to chew quietly, essentially giving my dad the middle finger (a little bit satisfying I have to say). He then gently went over to my dad for a fuss and a wee sniff, to which my dad responded by giving him a pet and a fuss and then started trying to wind him up. He was swiftly given a row from me, “you can’t have it both ways. They are either calm or excited. If you want calm don’t wind them up!”.
This argument wouldn’t be quite so frustrating but my dad and I usually get on really well. In fact, he was always the parent I turned to, and did until recently. I have no idea what has changed, but lately we seem to be just falling out constantly. Hopefully it is just a passing thing.
Anyway, after the rents left to head home (after what ended up being an ok visit considering the start), the boys were instantly calm again…