Saturday, April 30, 2011

We're struggling with separation anxiety here ... not the Labs ... Mom & Dad!

Yesterday, we took Laurel and Hardy out to stay with Hardy's breeder, Donna Reece at Ridge View Labradors (in Huntsburg, OH). We used to leave Laurel pretty regularly with our then-trainer and her family in Columbia Station (which is, unfortunately, about an hour in the wrong direction when we are traveling). And, of course, I left Hardy in Canada for several weekends and then three weeks last summer. Since then, however, I have been negligent in not leaving them for more than a couple hours at our house. And I say I've been negligent because I know that separation anxiety is one of the biggest issues for owner-trained service dogs so it's my job to make sure that my dogs are away from me enough so they don't suffer from it. 
Well, as it turns out ... Laurel and Hardy had a wonderful time visiting with Donna and the 5 or 6 yellow Labs that were in the house with them! Brent and I really missed them while Maggie, the cat, thought it was kind of nice to be the only animal in our house! When we went to get them this afternoon, we were met at the door by all the dogs who were getting along beautifully! We'll go back to scheduling overnight visits every couple months and we'll have a place to leave them when we go away without them. The best thing about it is that I won't worry the next time we leave them there! 
On the way home, we stopped at my favorite place in the MetroParks to go for a quick walk. On our way back to the car, I took both Labs to see how well it would work to walk them together. Although I'm sure it would make it easier to use a coupler, they did beautifully walking to my left  with Hardy on the outside. We saw lots of other dogs but all were on leash and well behaved. The only negative thing that happened was when a guy on a a very fast, very quiet bike came racing past us from behind without any warning and almost ran over Hardy. We saw him do the same thing to other people with and without dogs as well. I have to admit that I yelled at him. What he did was scary and discourteous, not to mention dangerous for the people and dogs he raced past but also for him! And, of course, just as all of us were recovering, he came racing back past us going the other direction! Unless he's not smart enough to realize how dangerous it was, we suspect he was trying to intimidate all of us so that we'll stop using the path. I'm still going to take my guys there but I certainly hope I don't run into him again!

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