These three photos may not look like much. A dog walking in the back yard. But, do you notice anything? My dog is “unleashed”.
No big deal, right? Not for a regular dog. But, for Misha…well, this is a sign that she is finally growing up and finally gotten over one of her worst behavior problems.
You see, Misha was just a little over 1 year old when our lives got stressful. She transitioned from puppy to one year old very nicely. And, then my dad died and we moved. The whole thing threw her. She regressed. She had to be housebroken all over again. And, she became obsessed with tan bark.
She hadn’t been particularly interested in anything in the yard until we moved. Then, she seems to be acutely away of everything and she wanted to put it in her mouth. Tan bark was her biggest obsession. She couldn’t go outside without attempting to pick up a chunk. Then, there were leaves and every now and then small rocks. As a pet mom, I was at my wits ends. I had to watch her constantly for fear of what she might swallow next.
It wasn’t just outside. In doors, she began attacking the carpet and pulling out yarn. Luckily, Bitter Apple worked on this issue. It was completely ineffective outside though.
So, I began putting her on leash in the back yard. It was kind of a hassle. But, it was better that worrying over what she might ingest every time I let her out.
The leash was as much for my own peace of mind as her safety.
Over the years, her obsession with tan bark would come and go. She’d be off leash for a while. Then, she’d start eating it again and it was back to the leash
But in the last year, I’ve noticed a change. She has lost her appetite for tan bark. Though she’ll still eat little things on the ground, she doesn’t seem as obsessive about it.
I’ve been slowly giving her more freedom in the yard over the last year. She’s gotten better at following commands and will follow me back into the house.
I still leash her in the morning. I need to check the yard to make sure our wild friends haven’t left any presents over night. Once that’s done, she’s on her own.
I felt bad keeping her on leash all those years. But, sometimes you have to do things for your dog’s safety–and for your own peace of mind
I’m happy that she gave up her tan bark obsession. Now, she can be a regular dog. She can pee without everybody watching. And, I can relax and enjoy our time outside together.