Well maybe HATE is a little strong. They're too sweet for that. But they're mad at me, of that I am sure. You see, this past weekend in Atlanta was beautiful and sunny, perfect for those with spring fever to work outside getting the yard ready for outdoor living as only we in the South define it.
We have a beautiful front lawn, thanks to my talented husband. It is well manicured and, when temperatures permit, overflowing with dazzlingly colorful flowers. We have a blue pool in the back, and that's about it. Our dogs pretty much rule the back yard. We are allowed to swim (because they are the only two golden retrievers on the planet who hate water), but they have the run of the place. Flowers and grass simply can not survive their 85+ lb. antics - wrestling, racing, digging, etc.
Now this year, I decided I was finally going to have my vegetable garden. Marc, always the perfectionist, built me a raised garden bed that could withstand hurricane force winds if tested. He filled it with rich, black dirt and Saturday, I planted my vegetables. On Saturday evening sometime, the dogs un-planted them for me. I guess the raised bed scented with chicken manure told them that we had built them their very own playground. That was it. I had had enough.
We have just installed an invisible pet fence. In fact we finished the installation yesterday, and it went "live" yesterday afternoon. We put the collars on our dogs (Chester's is the "stubborn" dog collar, meaning the "correction" will knock him on his 85-lb. doggie fanny should he cross the boundary). Cassie, the more timid of the two, would only need a good talking-to in order to stop her from crossing. And so the training began.
Cassie only got popped once, mildly, and I do believe she will never, EVER, even get too close to the boundary again. Chester has been popped about 8 times, each time jolting him pretty good, enough to make him run and jump into my arms the first time. That was a sight to see. He'll probably get it again, a time or two, because he just can't help himself. He is too excited about life and all its delights to worry about things like boundaries. I hope he gets it soon, though. I can't stand the thought of making either of them nervous, uncomfortable or jumpy.
Oh well, everything I read and everyone I talk to says to stick with the training, that they will get it. Right now, though, Cassie just stands right next to me, afraid to move, and she looks up at me like I have lost my ever-lovin' mind. Chester is nervous about going outside, but the occasional treats and praise are hard to resist. Still - they have changed. They are different somehow. They lie around the house (right now, the only "safe" zone they know) and look at us like they've gotten a bum deal out of life. We have taken away the sheer pleasure of racing, kicking up sod and urinating on anything that blooms or looks new.
Wish us luck and steadfastness. I am a softie. I am already thinking to myself that, in order for me to have the pleasure of growing about $50 worth of veggies, we have spent about $1,000 and have cost our dogs their innocence.
Yeah, I think maybe they do hate me.