“What on earth is the matter with the dog?” my mother asked, concerned.

I leaned over her, a bit worried.

I looked over at the dog, now flat on her belly with her paws over her nose. She wasn’t scratching at the Halti (the halter which covers the bridge of her nose and encourages good behavior – if she jumps or makes a hard turn, it pinches a bit. It is NOT a muzzle and does not prevent breathing or anything else. She eats in it easily, if resentfully.)

The puppy wearing the Halti.

Me: Puppy? You okay?

Dog: Is he gone?

Me: What… are you talking about?

Dog: I’m not getting up until he’s gone. Did he see me?

Me: Who are you talking about?

I looked up and directly across the street and staring at us with an intentness we only see from the cat when she watches a trail of ants marching through the kitchen was a leashed, large black dog with his owners.

Me: What the heck is the matter? You love other dogs – why is this one scaring you? Is he a bad dog?

Dog: Oooooh, he’s a very, very bad dog

Me: He’s leashed, it’s okay. C’mon, upsie daisy.

Dog: NO not until he can’t see me in this

Me: Uhhhh… whut?

Dog: I hate you

Me, completely confused: What are you talking about??

Dog: The sexiest beast in the neighborhood walks past and YOU make me wear this torture device! He’s never gonna like me now

Me, giggling: Oh, my gawd. Puppy, are you embarrassed? By your Halti?

Seriously… while I admit this conversation was primarily going on in my head , I was a little astonished as well.

We all know dogs feel emotions: frustration (gimme my toy dammit), happiness (obvious), grief (ever seen a dog lose a pet parent or companion animal?) but I hadn’t expected THAT one.

That dog was really was EMBARRASSED. Like, humiliated. Poor girl, she didn’t want anyone to see she was wearing it. She wasn’t scratching at it or trying to remove it, she was hiding it.

Not. Kidding.

Okay, we’ve raised teenagers. We’re not unfamiliar with puberty. But this whole doggo aspect of it raises it to another level.

Not that we didn’t have issues – not just with our own but other people’s as well: “holy crap, what is THAT on your friend’s MySpace?”

Eyeroll from Blondie (daughter, 14 at the time): Okay, it’s totally up to her if she wants to show that! You’re not her mother!

Me: You’re absolutely right. I am not her mother and I cannot judge her. So you tell her it’s off her MySpace by six tonight or I’m calling her mother so SHE can judge.

Blondie: WHAT!!

Me: Six pm, boo-boo. Time’s a-wastin’.

I… wasn’t always the most popular parent.

However, there are positive aspects to this as well, but they might be due to far better trainers/puppy raisers than we… rather than her physical state. We left Miss M in the GDA facility as they require her to spend three weeks there when in heat, then we went on vacation – two other wonderful puppy raisers cared for her until we returned.

And what a return!

She settles! This was one of her biggest issues – guide dogs have to sit/lie patiently while their person is doing stuff. It’s not playtime, it’s wait time. Miss M was… ah… challenged by it… but now, she’s settling like a champ!

I don’t know if its her hormones calming down or if we lucked into the most amazing dog whisperers of all time who taught her, but she settles.

Settling like a champ. On clean laundry, but I guess it’s my fault since I put it on the floor…

She also “sits for greeting”, another major problem spot. She would get so hyper excited when someone wanted to say hello she’d jump on them, at them, spin, you name it.

While at the second sitter (Kathy, you are so awesome) my jaw dropped to learn she sat while children (children!!) petted her on the head – and she only got a treat on every fourth child.

Holy cow. To get her to sit for greeting I would stomp on her leash so jumping was impossible and upend the treat bag into her maw (okay, not really, but it was close).

I’m afraid to be pleased about this as I’m kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop. But for now, she’s able to be outside of her crate in the evening if we want to sit and watch TV (she lies on the floor by us). Then, when it’s lights out, we say “crate!” and bless me, she goes in and curls up.

She’s not bugging us for attention every two minutes. It’s taken ten months, but she’s starting to really show what kind of a dog she will be.

It’s so amazing to see.

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