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My Dog Owner Experiences

Growing up when I was young, my immediate family never had dogs. Or, just thinking about it, they didn’t have good experiences with dogs. When I was born my mother had a white toy poodle, which they unfortunately had to have out to sleep a year or so after I was born due to it actually being aggressive. It had shown signs of aggression even before I was born and hold bitten people and even on one occasion bitten a young boy in the face, presumably not to too bad effect but still bad all the same.

Also, when I was around 7 or 8 my parents bought me out the blue a Lakeland Terrier from a farm.
I named the dog Patch and loved it to bits, but unfortunately it had to be returned after a few months due to biting my younger sister in the face. Thankfully not to badly and with no lasting effects. She admitted long after that she had actually teased the dog in some way, but she was very young and didn't know any better.

Really, buying a dog as a pet, especially a terrier that was from a working strain wasn’t a good idea and I get the impression my mum had bought it with a friend pretty much on impulse. I don’t think my dad even knew much about it. Surprisingly when talking to her about these early times today she said she was surprised I wasn’t more excited at the time. I don’t remember being excited either, but I know I thought it was wonderful to have such a beautiful puppy. I was absolutely devastated when it was gone.

My grandparent had had much better experiences with dogs, one half had a Labrador Sandy and the other half
Originally had a standard grey Poodle, Gina and later a toy Yorkshire Terrier, Tammy. She was tiny.

Anyway, I was devastated when I lost my first dog Patch. I think it stayed with me for many years, because as I got older I really wanted a dog of my own. The dog I wanted was an Airedale Terrier. Yes, the King of the Terriers!

My parents had never seemed too keen on me having a dog and I didn’t actually think they would allow me one. However at some point they must have been toying with the idea and tested the waters with seeing if I would like a West Highland Terrier. However for me I wanted an Airedale. I don’t think I had even ever seen an Airedale in real life. However the breeds we could have were limited because my mother being asthmatic and allergic to dog hairs, but we were told Airedales were wired coated and therefore shouldn't be a problem, so they fitted the bill nicely.

I had also been reading a book on Airedale from the local library entitle Honorary Dog, and had just fallen in love with the breed.

Well for my 16th birthday I was told I could have a dog and an Airedale at that. My birthday was at the end of May. As it happens my Airedale was born on June 27th 1990. I had to wait the longest weeks of my life until sometime in September to bring home my Airedale puppy.

In the meantime we did visit the breeders a couple of times and I read lots on the breed and looking after dogs in general.
I remember the day we choose my puppy. There were 3 Airedales all jumping up and excited within a wire fenced area. Being highly undecided person in general I couldn’t decide. I remember my dad saying “What about this cheeky one” or something similar and that was the one we choose. Is it a good idea to choose the cheekiest looking puppy? I have no idea, but in this case it was the best choice I ever made.

As soon as we got her out she changed, all still and scared. We named her Storm. A name it had taken me months to decide upon as I wanted something unique and different. I think the lady at the kennels thought it was too masculine as I remember she suggested Storma. Which at the time I didn’t like. Over time I and others pretty much used to all her Stormy, which I suppose sounds more feminine. Not that it mattered to me. We took her home with her on my lap in the back of the car with my two younger sisters.

The rest is history. I had a great 11 years with her. To me she was my soul mate and although at times tricky looking after a dog when I needed to leave home and move in with my girlfriend. When I did live away from her for a short while I still went home to walk her. After a while I persuaded my girlfriend (now wife) to let her live with us in her apartment. She even got her own sofa, because I didn’t like her sleeping on the cold floors.

Anyway 11 great years and what at the time seemed like a sudden downturn and loss of my soul mate just before Christmas, I had thought I would never go and get another dog.

However, I had just started working from home. Something I had always wanted to achieve with my first dog.
I felt I did want another dog, and an Airedale at that. I think we got her in the February. I think I should have known she was going to be trouble from the very first day!. She was confident and even got quite a hard paw on the head from I think her granny!

I have video film of her as a puppy to remind me to watch if ever I want to buy a puppy in the future. Don’t get me wrong, I love her to bits, but she was and at times still is hard work!

For sure, some of the reasons she is hard work is due to mistake I have made. For example, with her I bought an extendy lead, so with hindsight now realise I just handed her leadership over me for the walk.

Also, one of her favourite games as a puppy and young dog, and even now if given the chance is Tug of War with a rope. Yes, another game that give her power and the feeling of dominance.

She suffered from separation anxiety and for years would rip up mats, or cushions, or whatever she could get hold of when we went out. We would resort to having her in her dog crate when we when out but every now and then trail her for a while without it. Sometimes she went in handbags,or ripped some of my child's new toys.

She would steal food from the table or kitchen work surfaces. Waiting her time till all was clear.

She open doors. Oh yes, that’s fun and amusing at first. But even know I cant shut her away in the large kitchen diner, which I do know as that is where she sleeps. But at other times people may have been coming in the house and we wanted her out the way.

Also, she can open the door to the outside, which is great in the middle of winter when you come downstairs or from wherever to find her outside in the rain or snow and the house freezing cold in the middle of winter.

She was MEGA, MEGA, MEGA excitable. Now, I would say she is just excitable. This is something I’ve worked very hard on. Especially when we receive visitors, and also especially since having a child a lot of those visitors are young children.

Her current problems/issues are she barks and pulls at other dogs when on the lead in the street. I’m working very hard on this and at times she can be okay, but if the other dog does similar towards her she goes crazy.

I literally reached a point where I was not enjoying my walks with her. She was pulling in general and going crazy to other dogs. When my mother had her for a week, she pulled her over!!

Recently she's improved A LOT! She walks extremely well on the lead, and improved greatly the last few weeks, since I've been using some of Cesar Milan's methods. I just need her better behaved when she sees other dogs. Quite often I know what I've done wrong in the split seconds before she goes off on one.

She swims, she's not fussy, she’ll swim in the muddiest blackest smelliest water you have ever seen!! Smelly swamps are a favourite.

She’ll roll in animal crap. The stuff you can barely see but smells for weeks!!!

If she sees a dog while she's in the car she would go crazy. Currently I'm driving a different car and if she's in it she sits on the floor and cant see out the windows. I think I know what I did wrong on this problem (I shouted her to stop,,,or shut up). Now I make sure she is calm submissive before I let her in the car.

From the early days as puppy, she seemed to find in longer than normal to control her bladder. It was literally as if she didn’t know when she was going to go.

Who said dogs don’t poo in there bed? One time I took her babysitting in her grate and while settling in she poo in her grate. As well as walking in it. Arrrg, Id forgot that experience.

She snaps her mouth. She would snap her mouth in excitement which included the time of meeting new people.
If people put they hand out to stroke her she would get excitable and her mouth would snap. It wasn’t as if she was going for there hands, its was just her mouth snapping in the excitement.

When she was very young her play biting was a problem. This was something were were aware of but she still caused a problem with those mega sharp puppy teeth.

One year she raided the Christmas Tree. She ate every single chocolate she could reach. She pulled off every decoration she could reach and chewed them up. She also opened a number of presents and consumed a whole box of chocolates!! I know, chocolate is not good for dogs!!!

Within days of having her she had to be rushed to the vets. She somehow got the joint of her hind leg stuck underneath the piping of a radiator and it had dug in and slit her skin. She needed a couple of staples in it. I can still remember the howling and not knowing immediately how to get her out the situation.

I think within the first year she started peeing blood and developed a bladder problem. She had a number of stones removed and has since been on a urinary prescription diet.

After 5 years she discovered she could escape under the gate into the outside world. The first time it happen I realised she was gone and she came back when she heard me calling and I couldn’t fathom how she got on the wrong side of the closed gate. I assumed my other half had somehow let her out the front door when she had gone out.

This year and in particular the last few months weeks her behaviour has improved in a number of areas. Mainly due to my increased understanding of how to deal with certain situations.

She has been unfortunate this year (2007) in being bitten by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, something I'd actually like to learn about. How should I have dealt with that situation that really did threaten her life. Not from the fact she was bitten, but the dog bite and pulled on her collar which can unclipped, was tightening and twisting around her neck, putting her in a life threatening position because we couldn't get the dog off her.

Also she has had ongoing ear infection problems and just over a week ago nearly stopped me going on holiday cause her vaccination had run out.

If a person learns from there mistake you can see Ive a lot to teach as I learn more myself.



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