As those who have been keeping up with my Training Tuesday series know, I have been working with trainer Crystal Saling to get Frankie over his fear of the noisy outdoors. The ultimate goal: to get him to my car, parked in the driveway of my house which fronts a busy street, without stress. Methods to achieve that goal include leaving the front door open while Frankie is eating, so he will associate the outdoors with good things.
But I’ve been taking a multi-pronged approach to the problem, one that includes using the Through A Dog’s Ear driving CD, which got a very pawsitive review on this blog recently. Part of that program involves playing a soothing track on it to Frankie at a time when he is relaxed, then playing it in the car without the motor running, then in the car with the motor running… you get the picture.
All was going smoothly. The music was playing soothingly right before bedtime when all of a sudden a big roach comes scuttling by.
I did what comes naturally. I picked up a shoe and went “THWACK.”
Frankie jumped up and ran out of the room.
I thought I did sufficient damage control by playing the track three times in a row after I induced him to come back. He didn’t seem permanently traumatized.
But when I told Crystal about the experience, fully expecting her to be sympathetic and say, “Well, that’s okay, Frankie will get over it,” she said instead, “You’ve got suck it up!”
Sensing my confusion, she elaborated: “If you see a roach, wait until it goes into the other room. If there’s a snake on your arm, leave it be. You know, just suck it up.”
I generally trust Crystal’s advice implicitly but this time… not so much.
According to Cockroach-Pictures.com (I know, what isn’t there a site for?):
American cockroaches are 1.5 inches long, making them the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but they can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. American cockroaches prefer warm temperatures.
I don’t think anyone doubts my devotion to Frankie, but when it comes to choosing between a slight setback in his training or getting insomnia from worrying about where exactly that roach went and if it’s going to visit me in my bed, I’m going to choose upsetting Frankie slightly.
A sleep-deprived owner is a crabby owner.
Besides, I’m an animal too. I was only doing what came naturally when confronted with an enemy. Until I’m counter-conditioned to do otherwise, it’s instant THWACK!
Who’s with me here?
*In “The Vampire’s Kiss” (1989), Cage plays a literary agent whose consumption of a live cockroach is the first of many signs that he’s either insane or turning into a vampire.