Uh Oh. I’m in Trouble! :D

I can’t do it.  Can’t send Sheba to a new home.

She has started TALKING to me.  I don’t know what she is saying, but she will vocalize up a storm.  So Hilarious.  When I tell her I don’t understand her, she will groan dramatically and turn her head.

So we will do whatever it takes to make it work.  I will start taking her on more and longer walks.

Pulling on the leash isn’t such a bad thing, since I have COPD and she pulls me up hills and allows me to walk longer and farther than I could without her.

I will still be looking for the right home for her.  But I’m not going to advertise.  Will just pray for direction and that the right person show up in the right place at the right time.  I will know when I meet them.

 

[on edit:  12/27:  Sheba is staying.  We are her forever home.  There’s no way I could part with her.]

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43 Comments

  1. Camilla

     /  December 25, 2012

    I’ve seen people put fences around their Rv areas…

    • I have the fences, Camilla. The dogs hate them as they keep them away from me. But I am going to start setting them up so my chair is inside it with them. That should keep them a lot happier.

  2. Tim McDougall

     /  December 25, 2012

    Good! Merry Christmas to you and Sheba. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tim. I feel so relieved. I am keeping your phone number and email address in case I ever need to talk in the future. But Sheba loves me so much that maybe that makes up for her not having optimum living conditions. For now, anyway!

      Thanks so much for letting me know there is an option if I really need it.

      • Tim McDougall

         /  December 25, 2012

        Feed, water, and love her and she will be happy.
        Feel free to call or email anytime.
        Tim

  3. Shelly

     /  December 25, 2012

    So glad you are keeping Sheba for now. We have a service dog that part lab part Australian Shepard. He will be 2 in January. The first year was rough but now he pulls the manual wheelchair and walks along the side of the electric one. He adapted to our lifestyle and is now very layed back. But the first 16 months he was a handful.. Hope Sheba settles down for you.

    • Shelly, my vet told me that after dogs get past the puppy stage, they usually adapt to their owners’ pace. A laid back owner will usually have a laid-back dog. And there are times when Sheba shows some of that now. But he did warn me that Aussies stay puppies for a long time! I believe we will make it.

  4. Oh good! Sheba’s bound to grow up soon. When she does, I’m betting she’ll be a magnificent companion. (That’s probably what she’s trying to tell you!).

  5. Barbara goodman

     /  December 25, 2012

    I wish you and Sheba the best, I know it’s hard, very hard to raise a pup, our Labrador Elsa, didn’t grow out of her puppy stage til she was 3, I didnt think “I’d make it, now, almost 7 years later we wish we had that time back, she passed away 10 weeks ago. Take it day by day, and know this will pass.
    Woods n Paws

    • Oh, Barbara, I am so sorry for your loss of Elsa.

      I started imagining life, and camping, without Sheba, and I realized she is way too much a part of my life for that. I think I was on the verge of making a big mistake. So glad Sheba “talked” me out of it. 🙂

  6. barbara young

     /  December 25, 2012

    We use a Halti harness for our crazy energetic dog and it works like a dream.no more pulling, it is painless for her,a miracle. Love it

    • Barbara, I will check the Halti harness out. Right now I have a cheap no-pull harness from Walmart that doesn’t help much. Thanks for the lead!

  7. Linnith

     /  December 25, 2012

    Sheba is stll a puppy and I think she will get better with age. I had a Lab mix and she was a handful for the first 3 years thenmuch better. Always liked to pull on the leash til th end but she weighed 75 lbs. I always say she loved me more than my family did.

    • Linnith, Sheba adores me… and that is priceless! I am a little taken aback at two comments that say she may be a handful for 3 years, but time goes by so fast. One day at a time!

  8. I could tell by the title of your post that you were keeping Sheba – at least for awhile longer! You’re now out of alligator territory(?), so the walks can be more relaxing!? Also, I highly recommend Cesar Millan’s tips on walking a dog, found here: http://www.cesarsway.com/training/thewalk/6-Tips-for-Mastering-the-Dog-Walk
    She shouldn’t pull you excessively if you use a short leash, which really helps to do that (as shown many times on his show,) I remember you wanted a larger dog for protection, and I believe Sheba has the perfect size and ‘look’ for keeping strangers at bay (they might think she’s a German shepherd!). And she and Sunny seem to get along so well, which is great! I think it’s so funny that she’s ‘talking’ to you!

    I’m sure you’re aware of the heartwarming story about the ‘reunion’ of Rusty and Timber, which came about because of ‘rvsue’s blog! Your blog led me to HER blog! I’m enjoying reading about those of you who ‘hit the road’ in your RV’s!!

    • Hi, Kathy.

      Yes, thank goodness I’m out of alligator territory! And even if I was in it, they are supposed to hibernate in winter as they are cold blooded.

      I do use a short leash now, and she still tugs like crazy! For a while she would stop when I told her “no” and gave a tug on the leash, but she has decided it’s more fun to pull! She definitely is a little hard-head! I will check out the link, though.

      I am really excited about the Halti harness that Barbara mentioned above. I believe it’s the same one my neighbor was telling me about that worked for her friend when nothing else would. Mine should be here shortly after New Years Day. It apparently works by turning their body (and my neighbor told me head) toward you when they pull. But it doesn’t tighten around their underarms or make them uncomfortable.

      I DID want a larger dog for protection. I think I mentioned once that my Westie (who died in 2003) saved my life one time just by being with me. Three thugs approached me, then one said, “She has a dog,” and they turned around and left. Sheba loves everyone, but I have no doubt that if she sensed that I was threatened, she would not tolerate that stranger’s approach.

      She and Sunny are amazing together! Sunny licks Sheba’s ears just like RVSue’s Bridget does Spike’s! It apparently is a relaxing, bonding thing for them.

      YES! I hung on to every word of the Rusty and Timber story. It still gives me goosebumps to think about it. So glad you found her blog!

  9. I hope some of these tips work for you both. It is so hard to let them go once we fall in love. Good Luck with the training.

  10. I will pray for you too! Things have a way of working out!

  11. You sound so relieved! Things always have a great way of working out, eventually.

    Incredible support that you are receiving here…you deserve it!

    • Lynne, I am so relieved I can hardly stand it. When I thought I was going to have to find her another home, I started trying to distance myself emotionally from her. Now I can’t keep my hands off her–scratching her chin, her ears… and frequent big hugs!

      I am so blessed with readers who have been with me since the early days of this blog. They are so special to me!

  12. Our dog was a leash puller, and we had struggled that, as well. Had tried a Gentle Leader halter, which she hated, and I eventually scrapped. A few months ago, before heading out on a long trip where we would be doing lots of walking/hiking, we purchased an Easy Walk harness (made by the Gentle Leader folks). This is a light body harness, but the clip for the leash is in the front, not the top of the harness. The first time we walked Jezzy with the new harness was amazing. No tugging – she just kind of trots alongside us. We recommended it to our neighbors who have a standard poodle that really pulled them around. With the new harness, even their young daughter can easily walk the dog now.

    We bought ours as a pet warehouse store. Take Sheba with you, and have the staff help you get her fitted to the right size. It’s tricky to figure out, otherwise.

    We love ours. Our dog weighs about 55 pounds.

    Thanks for your blog – I’m always amazed at how inventive you are. Love your woodsy, mushroomy knowledge.

    • barbara young

       /  December 26, 2012

      You may fi.nd she does not like the halti at firzt. My dog is part border collie,spaniel,greyhound mkx and it took about 3 weeks for her to get used to the halti but she does not
      minds at all now. I havealso seen many people with thd gentile leader but i have .never uzed one.

      • Barbara, I think that Sheba will probably adapt very quickly. She doesn’t seem to mind the different harnesses I’ve tried on her. She just figures Mom is a little crazy about tryring new stuff on her! 😀

    • Judy, I have already ordered the Halti harness that Barbara suggested. It sounds like it works the same way. I will keep the Easy Walk harness in mind, and appreciate the lead.

      I am thrilled that you enjoy the blog. I haven’t had time to get outside lately to see what’s popping up in the woods. Our rain is supposed to end today, so maybe I can do that soon.

  13. she bated her eyes and then whispered in your ear and it was all over…I’m not going anywhere.:) Bless your heart…hoping she slows her stride and carries you over those hills. maybe she was a little slow figuring out how she fit it. Things sure can happen for a reason…hug that sweetheart for me and you too!

    • She definitely has me wrapped around her paw! 🙂

      I am really excited about the Halti harness because if I put her leash on the bottom ring, it will turn her head toward me when she pulls, and I know she won’t like that. But if I need help going up a hill, I can use the ring on the back of the harness — then it functions like a regular harness.

      It dawned on me that this can actually help make Sheba a service dog and give her the job she so desperately needs. Pulling Mom uphill when needed sounds like a job that she would be proud to do, do you think?

      • Go to usservicedogregistory.com. You can register her there, and then get a letter form your doctor stating you need a service dog. You can go to things4yourdog.com and get a vest. Then she can go everywhere with you. Let me know if you need more information.

        • Michelle, that suggestion is pure gold.

          Right now I don’t think I actually need a service dog, but I probably will in the future. I will talk to my doctor when I see her in January. If she would be willing to sign off on it, I will definitely register Sheba.

          I am copying your comment and saving it so I won’t lose that information.

          I will let you know what my doctor says.

          Thanks again! Wow! I am just bowled over at the wonderful doors that the people who comment here open for me!

  14. Cherylyn

     /  December 26, 2012

    Love following your blog. I have a rescue lab/healer cross who liked to pull, but I didn’t. We found several things that worked but the most effective was if he got in front I would stop and give a pop on the leash and bring him back to sit at my side, praise him, then start again. It took a little while but really did get him paying attention to where I was. Now he pulls on command if I need. Sheba looks like a sweetie, I love a dog who talks.

    • Cherylyn, your method is the one I’m working on with Sheba. When she is calm, it works. But my major problem is that puppy hyperactive bounding enthusiasm that makes her oblivious even to a Sit command….. until she calms down enough to process what she is being asked to do. I am certain that Sheba will get there eventually.

      She IS a sweetie. And I am encouraging the talking because I get such a kick out of it! Thanks for commenting!

  15. Teri

     /  December 26, 2012

    Yay!! There are so many great books/videos/training leads and leashes. I’ll bet you will do very well, and she’s such a gorgeous girl I can’t blame you for not being able to give her up. Best wishes for all that is good for both of you.

    • Teri, I have books and videos. Sheba is such a hard-headed little thing that I can’t make some of them work.

      One of the suggestions was to spray water in her face when she did something she wasn’t supposed to. But Sheba LOVED getting sprayed with water! Several other things that were supposed to work with her didn’t either. But as she gets older and calms down a bit, I’m betting that will change.

      Thank you for the good wishes for both of us. I am daring to think that this might be a forever relationship. 🙂

  16. Elizabeth in NC

     /  December 27, 2012

    Most dogs slow down, simmer down and relax more with age…if you have a talker, you maybe should keep her…she might be invaluable in days to come!! Our last one we loved so much “talked” to us too…

    • Elizabeth, my heart has already made the decision to keep her. I just need to update the blog to reflect that! 🙂

  17. FLkamper

     /  December 28, 2012

    I have a Doberman Pinscher (98 lbs) and she was my first puppy. My husband (who has had puppies before) wanted to make sure that I’d be able to control her at all times (like if I was walking her alone in the neighborhood and a stray dog showed up). So we went to a ‘puppy obedience’ course. They taught me the skills for ‘loose leash’ walking- controlling her so that the leash always had slack in it- no pulling! And they taught me how to make her stop in her tracks, and to come back to me if she ever got away. This was a free (or super cheap) class offered by our local humane society, lasted about 8 Saturday mornings and WELL WORTH our time!
    Also, when we wanted her on her best behavior, we made sure to wear her out. We would take her for long walks, make her wear a back pack weighted down with water bottles, and we got bicycles so that she could run beside us (this let us do 3 miles in the time it would take us to do 1 mile walking). Even teaching her tricks and making her execute them. All of this helped to exhaust some of her energy.
    At the 2 year mark, you could really tell that she went from being a ‘puppy’ with all the pent-up puppy energy to an adult dog. Now she’s super relaxed, and all we have to worry about is challenging her ‘mentally’ so that she doesn’t try to entertain herself when we’re not home.
    It definitely takes patience and hard work, but it sounds like you’ve decided you’re up for the job! All her success will be even more sweet because you know how hard you worked for it. I’m glad you decided to keep her, she’ll make you proud!

    • FLkamper, I would LOVE to take Sheba to obedience school. We are so rural here, we do not have a Humane Society, although we do have a County Animal Shelter. I found a woman who has a superb reputation as a dog trainer not too far from us. But the cost of lessons was way too high for us. Eventually I still would like to do her course. It would make life much easier for Sheba and for us.

      However, since you mentioned that reasonably priced obedience lessons are available, I’ll do a search and see if I can find if there is anything like that in our area.

      We have learned that taking Sheba for long walks (with her tugging on the leash and pulling us along) does wear her out nicely. She sprawls out on the floor and doesn’t move for a while when we get home. I really like the idea of having her carry a backpack. I saw dog backpacks at REI back when I was backpacking, and I’m sure they still have them.

      Yes, we have definitely decided to keep her. Ron and I are both so relieved. Dogs as sweet and loving (and beautiful) as Sheba are real treasures. She is already like a child (although a rambunctious one) to us.

      I appreciate your suggestions and your encouragement!

  18. I getting caught up on blogs… so happy to hear about Sheba… it’s so hard. Is there a PetSmart any where near you? they have classes…. she’s sooo pretty 😉

    • We are happy, too! Ron usually bathes her, but since her hair stops up the bathtub and it’s too cold to do it outside, we took her to the groomer today. Wow! Is she ever a beautiful, good smelling dog!

      They said the only thing she refused to let them do was clip her toenails!

      There is a chain pet store about 20 miles from here. It may be a Pet Smart. I will check with them! Thanks for the lead!

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