You know, I never "harnessed" or "leashed" my kids. I always thought it was either cruel or abdicating some power on actual discipline and teaching the child. Of course, some parents think it's necessary.
Recently, when I was at Redbeard's Pirate Festival, I saw a man walking his well-behaved dog. The dog had a muzzle on it. I asked the man, "Does he bite?" He said, "No, it's for incessant barking."
I was intriqued. "Tell me more."
"The dog can breathe, pant and drink thru the muzzle, it just makes it an effort for him when he barks. So eventually he does it less and less"
I thought of my Monty at home. We love him to pieces, but he is a talker. He has LOTS to say. About the cars and pedestrians, about the squirrels, about the leaves that are falling outside....
Mostly he barks the most is when anyone comes to the door (he's a wondrous doorbell) and when we are in the car (he LOVES to ride) but unfortunately, his sharp barking can cut your eardrums like a hot knife through butter. It hurts.
Some dogs are so good. They hardly bark at all. The owners think it is their wondrous training. But sometimes it's just THE DOG and his or her personality. I'm starting to think things differently now. Maybe some kids are just too wild and unpredictable and run into the road like stupid shits. Maybe their mommies want to have less grey hair too and know that their leashed toddler is safe. I never thought I'd think that way. But I'm starting to appreciate other perspectives....
I bought a "Quick Fit Muzzle" for Monty and thought we'd try it. What the hell.
He's pretty used to his chin lead when we go for walks and it fits the same way. He was quieter with it on and I'll admit, the ride home was a bit nicer. The muzzle came off when his leash did when we walked through the door and he got a treat. I don't want him to fear it, nor think it's punishment. It's not. It's a tool. Just like his leash and chin lead are.
So I thought I'd try it again last night for when we had company coming.
You know....a REAL TEST. People coming thru the door!
I figured I would have him wear it for when friends were arriving (that's when he's the most animated) and then as soon as everyone was here we'd take it off of him.
The first thing I noticed is people's reaction....(like mine when I saw the dog at the pirate festival,) they were concerned for themselves and also the dog. "What's THAT?" "Does he bite?" "Why is he wearing it?"
So I explained what I was doing, quickly, and said, "love him up like always" and they did. It looks like a cruel thing, but he even managed to bark some while in it!
How'ere, he didn't bark "as much". It was a bit quieter and more pleasant for us. We loved him up while he was wearing it, and told him he was handsome in it.
As soon as everyone was there, Monty came up to me in the kitchen and I nonchalantly slipped it off of him and kissed him and gave him several pieces of cheese. He went and played with everyone as usual.
I think this wee deterrent could work for him to stop some of his non-stop barking. I hope so.
I mean we've tried shaking cans of pennies, squirting water bottles, telling him no, doing the animal communication thing of us making a "slack jaw", shutting him in the bathroom away from everyone when people come in....to no avail.
He's 7. He's isn't going to change at this late date and stop barking..... nor do I want him to.
He's a good boy. But he's LOUD and an asshole sometimes it almost gets you to the point of yelling "shut the fuck up!" I don't want to be mad at him for being a chatty dog.
I mean, afterall, I'm not getting Harry a muzzle for being chatty :)
I mean, talking and communication is where it's at.
But good god....please! Not so LOUD! And not so often and for nothing but the leaf that falls outside!
So, I'm just trying to get over the "mean mommy" syndrome here, and saying maybe some things work for some, and some other things work for others.
The muzzle isn't on for very long, and while it looks like a torture device, it really doesn't hurt him, it only makes it harder to do the work of barking. It just may train him to be a little more discerning for when to bark and when not to. Who knows? I'll have him try it for awhile and let you know.
I might actually be able to start taking him to some outdoor events, which I think he'd like. He's very social. I usually don't take him because he's just too much noise. But maybe now we could...
But he has to don his "plague mask" for the ball.
And I never thought I'd be that mommy with the "leashed" toddler.
But here am I.