As you know if you’ve been following this blog, things have been improving with Bodhi slowly but surely. I’d finally reached the point where I could leave him and Sierra alone in the house while I did errands, and my husband and I could even leave them for three to four hours to go enjoy a movie. Of course, we made sure they were well exercised first, and things were put out of jaws’ reach.
We were invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, which was to happen at 3:00 p.m. We took the dogs out for exercise late morning, and I fed them their dinner early, at 2:30 since I didn’t want them to become hungry and therefore anxious while we were away. I figured we’d be gone for three to four hours—no big deal. Well, we ended up staying later than anticipated, and didn’t return home until 7:30. Five hours. What can an energetic, adolescent dog do in five hours? Well, here’s one thing…
Yep, Bodhi ate the couch. Not the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but I bet he had fun doing it. He tore into the backing cushion and ripped the upholstery to shreds. (That orange multi-colored thing is a spread that had been covering the couch.) I bet Sierra stood ten feet away the whole time, ears back, frantically trying to telepathically communicate, “Stop! What are you thinking?” In fact, when we walked in, she was the one who looked upset. Bodhi just bopped right along, the way he always does. So, here’s my confession: I was more than a little pissed off, as you might imagine. I yelled at Bodhi, and there was a handful of couch stuffing in my hand as I did it, close to his face. He finally “got” that something was wrong. When I relayed this story to my mother, she replied, “But in your books you say you’re not supposed to punish them after the fact!” I knew I should never have let her read that book. But, yes, of course the verbal correction came who knows how long after the act. And guess what, I’m human; stuffing happens. Now, don’t think I didn’t also think about my own part in this. Had I erred on the side of caution and locked the dogs outside, regardless of how cold and dark it would have gotten, and how well they’d been doing, my couch would be intact. But I didn’t. It’s just this two steps forward, five steps back thing with Bodhi that’s hard to take.
On the positive side, Bodhi has been making progress. Because my husband has now begun to take the dogs (separately) hiking in the mountains in back of our house, which are filled with foxtails and other dangerous, sticky weeds, it’s necessary for me to check between furry toes when they return (the dogs’, not the husband’s). Bodhi definitely doesn’t like it, but he will for the most part lie there and let me dig between his toes with my fingers and remove any pointy objects.
He’s doing well in his training, too. He can now do a down from a standing or sitting position on a verbal cue alone, has a pretty decent “spin,” is getting “go to your bed,” and has just started to learn “take a bow.” I have this vision in my head of he and Sierra, who already knows the trick, bowing side by side. Cute, and preferable to the vision I had of him going back to the shelter the night he ate the couch. His leashwork is much better too, although he’s still reactive toward other dogs while on leash. We’re working on it. I think that sums it all with Bodhi, who I still maintain is sweet underneath all the insanity. We’re working on it.