Do not mistake this cute face as belonging to a wonderful, perfect dog. No! While Lemon has her moments of sweetness she can be quite bad. So bad that one of her nicknames is Badness (dogs get a lot of nicknames around here – come to think of it most living beings get nicknamed around here). Lemon is badness personified.
Lemon’s badness began when she was a mere mite of a puppy. She learned early on to climb up on our patio table and bark her head off until she could get what she wanted. Sometimes it was the desire to come inside and other times it was to play with another of her dogs friends or get their attention. At that time we were living in a neighborhood and we tried to hide five dogs on 1/3 of an acre. Until Lemon joined us we had been quite successful. But when her barking rampages began we were outed. My neighbors behind us told me they actually went out and yelled at her one day to shut up. Uh Oh- not good. I did not need the question “How many dogs do you have?” There was an HOA limit of three. There were a few of us crazies with more but we tried to stay underground. We tried a collar on Lemon that emits a low pitched beep when the barking begins. Didn’t work. I had her in a bark collar- that jus made it worse. I just got trained so that when I did let her out in the yard I would coax her In at the first sign of barking. We moved soon after that complaint. It was time for more space!
When we got to our small farm we still had neighbors not far away. Our dog yard was much bigger than the old one and she loves to romp and play out there. But it comes with barking. If we toss the frisbee to her she barks as soon as she returns it to you. I ignore her until she stops and only when it is silent do I toss it. You would think she’d learn to just shut her yap. But no! She isn’t dumb -she’s bossy. Our neighbor complained once but thankfully she is older and told me she has become quite hard of hearing. I’m rather glad for her hearing impediment because I don’t want my dogs to be a bother to anyone. My neighbor on the other side has five dogs and we just co-exist amongst the barks from both camps. Her only complaint has been my chickens and ducks which we quickly enclosed in a big area. No more hens picking on her hostas.
Lemon’s terror doesn’t begin and end with barking she also steals. Kind of like Marley of the famous “Marley and Me”. She will take something and run away with it. She learned early on if she steals something you will give her a treat for its safe return. She trained us well. She steals stuff just to get a treat. She steals all the dogs bowls in the house and collects them in the family room. She steals toys of the kids (when they were little) and she still steals all dog toys so no other dog can play with them. We have resorted to private toy time -where each dog gets private time with a toy. This ensures that no fights will begin.
When we first moved here we put up a dog fence. I thought four feet high would be fine. At that point I had older dogs here and our fence had been the same height at our old home with no breakouts. We lived here for about 6 weeks before the fence was installed and we had to walk each dog outside on a leash 4-5 times a day to do their business while we waited for the fence company to get started. So you can imagine the pent up energy of five dogs who haven’t run much in weeks! So when that fence was up we released the hounds! Within thirty seconds Lemon was up and over that fence chasing our barn cat she had spotted. The next day my husband had to add a wireless fence around the wood fence and Lemon was given a collar to correct her if she got too close to the fence. I wondered if it would even work but she is smart and decided getting buzzed wasn’t that great so she stayed back.
Lemon is very loving and maybe a tad over-exuberant to humans. As she has aged she has gotten sweeter and she steals less. It is sweetness on her terms but still sweet. She won’t let you pet her unless she allows it and she doesn’t follow you around much unless you have food. But she loves my son Luke and she sleeps in his room almost nightly. She finally has graduated from having to be crated when we are out to being allowed to lay in the house. She graduated to this at age five (her age now). Rudy graduated to this at age one. There is a big difference in personality. Lemon will still try to open the garbage drawer we had specially made to keep her out. She learned how to open it in a day so we had to put a baby lock on it. She can open our pantry if it’s left ajar just a bit. I’ve come home to remnants of cookie packaging and cracker boxes strewn all about. We rubber band the pantry closed (until we fix the pantry so it closes properly.).
But we have a problem in Lemon land. She loves her fellow dogs generally- she is bossy to them but will exhibit proper playing with them for the most part but then there are the times she doesn’t – she can turn on a dime into a fierce bit*h! And thats when the problems begin … (to be continued..)
Thanks for reading.