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So, today I started reading Cesar’s Way in hopes of gaining some insight into Emma’s issues.  By page 5 I was thinking I might die trying to exercise her into a better frame of mind.  Cesar spends 4 hours in the morning exercising his pack of dogs.  After 2 hours for rest and lunch he rollerblades them for a couple of hours.  After another rest they play fetch.  I have to believe my Emma doesn’t need that much exercise or we are doomed!  I do think Emma and Remy (and certainly myself included) would benefit from more exercise.  I got tired just reading about it.  It is hard to get out in the winter with icy sidewalks.  I wish I still had a treadmill.

Our vet visit went really well last week – other than when she told me Cesar is the worst animal trainer in the world and that his methods are abusive and she might think he is the devil.  I believe I understood where she was coming from and I really listened to what she had to say and the why of it all.  She did give me some good thoughts to chew on with regards to Emma.  Specifically she told me I need to make Remy a positive for Emma.  She pointed out some specific examples that both Steve and I felt were really logical and that we hadn’t thought of.  I will elaborate more in another post about those specific issues.

I have given much thought and discussion to our vet’s training approach.  What it boils down to, for us, is that though some of it is very practical, a lot of it doesn’t line up with our way of thinking.  Her approach is strictly positive reinforcement, and she explained, that goes for all animals and children.  We have 4 children – 4 boys with lots of energy.  We wouldn’t raise them ignoring the bad and only rewarding the good.  They thrive with structure, discipline, love, affection and boundaries.  Our home is happiest in that way and my instinct is that our dogs will be their best in the same environment.

I can hardly wait to meet with Nino @ K9 Academy on Wednesday.  I am eager to hear his thoughts.

As I read Cesar’s books, his approach makes sense to me.  I need to be more consistent and I need wisdom, which is why I am looking into professional help.  However, I am confidant again that we will find our way and that both Emma and Remy will be great dogs.

An observation my husband made was that things we’re going pretty well until I changed things up, after talking with our vet.  I think that might have confused me and the Emma and led to my feeling of being overwhelmed.

Nino made some great comments about signals Emma has been sending that Remy isn’t grasping.  Now I know what to watch for and we have had some successes as they play appropriately together.  Remy needs to learn manners and I am working with him on that.  For example, he jumps all over her, chewing on her, and she doesn’t like it.  I dismissed her subtle growls assuming they were playful noises and basically was telling her through my actions that she would have to control the situation herself. I want her to trust that I will handle problems a they arise.  The past couple of days when I take the dogs out together I put Remy on a leash and monitor their play more closely, not allowing him to overwhelm her.  Today she really wanted to play with Remy and I allowed it but made sure to end it on a positive note, before Emma was sick of his energy.

We are learning and today I plan to read more.  I can hardly wait until Wednesday when we meet Nino.  I’m really thankful for this outlet to process the figuring out of this all.

Thank you, Ann, for your thoughtful comments, advice and links!