At Where’s Pom, we have two knuckleheads. One perfectly healthy one that is full of anxiety and one with numerous health problems but a stellar temperament. The former is Pom, for whom the blog is named.
Pom is a beautiful, healthy dog. At 9 years old, he can still catch a tennis ball out of the air. He’s a muscular and athletic English bulldog with none of the breathing problems that plague the breed. As you can probably tell from this blog, he’s an excellent loose leash walker. He’s an angel in the house. He never chews anything, gets in the trash, or sleeps on the couch. (Furniture is off limits to the dogs with the exception of the bed.)
He has one overriding issue, however. He’s anxious and afraid of new people. If someone is coming over, he has to be locked up. Walks require vigilance lest someone with a trigger cross our path. Backpacks, hats, a limp, men in general – they’re all suspect. Everything is suspect. If Pom were a human, he’d be carrying a gun.
We’ve worked with trainers and read a shelf full of books. In the end, we understand and manage his anxiety, but the overall problem is a tough one to crack. In addition to anxiety, he is wicked smart. He’s the smartest dog either of us has ever owned. You can always see the wheels turning, and he picks up new tricks with ease. The trainer recommended that he be given a job and challenged regularly. We hide his dinner in a kong every night, and he finds it.
I was explaining Pom’s issues this week when I took our other dog, Baby Cow, to meet a friend. My friend remarked that we frequently require our pets to be perfect when most everyone you know isn’t perfect. We all have issues whether physical or mental that require management and understanding from those around us. We shouldn’t expect our dogs, who lived with humans so long they essentially domesticated themselves, from reading our emotions and having a few of their own.
For Training, the Where’s Pom team strongly recommends Kristina Ackerman at Oscar’s Pet Resort. She’s terrific.