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Knife Swallower
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Last night I was cooking supper when a wasp flew downstairs from the two doors I had foolishly left open to let the scent of lilacs waft in. I dislike wasps and immediately froze while Ranger got up from his bed and started wandering around looking at the wasp curiously.

Scared he was going to get stung or get the wasp mad, I grabbed a magazine and started chasing after the wasp. I was doing all sorts of ballerina twirls and acrobatic gyrations while I attempted to swat the wasp out of mid-air in the hopes of stunning it enough that I could kill it. I had tunnel vision happening; all I could see was this wasp and all I could think about was killing it. After ten minutes, I finally whacked him out the air hard enough and he went sailing into the living room. And that's when I saw Ranger.

Ranger had crawled between the couch and the end table and was sitting there shaking, absolutely terrified. He wouldn't even look at me, he was so scared.

For those that don't know Ranger's history, he's a rescue from a very bad situation. Regular and systematic abuse from his d-bag "owner" and left alone without food tied to a tree for weeks at a time. When I got him, I thought it was more a case of neglect than abuse, then quickly realized Ranger was scared of men with backpacks over their shoulders, golf clubs, bats, sticks, anything OVER the shoulder...obviously his "owner" had taken swings at him with something.

So poor Ranger was terrified while I had been chasing this wasp around like a maniac and I had been so focused on the wasp, I hadn't noticed Ranger's terror. I immediately dropped the folded up magazine I was still holding and attempted to lure him out of his hiding place. He was still shaking but allowed me to touch him and bring him out.

I've NEVER seen Ranger so scared. Usually when he's frightened, he keeps his distance from the source of fright but never shakes or whimpers. Even when we didn't realize he was scared of clubs and people were out back practicing their golf swings, he just went behind a tree and wouldn't come out - there was no shivers or shaking. People that know Ranger wouldn't even expect him to be like this. He is a brave, uber-confident dog and has never displayed any fear towards people or objects like this before. I felt sick in my stomach knowing I had brought out this reaction in my dog.

We spent the rest of the night cuddled up together on the couch and he got a special kong filled with fatty hot dogs and cheese. He licked it while I held it for 20 minutes. He seemed fine after awhile...but I still feel like an absolute piece of trash.
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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You're not an awful owner!!!! All of us get caught up in things and don't realize that what we're doing may be fearful to our dogs. I've been known to shout or yell at the TV during a baseball/football game I'm watching only to look over at my guys with their ears back, their eyes wide open...basically looking at me wondering "who the he** is she"!!!! I don't mean to startle them but do get caught up in the moment. After seeing their faces, I realize I have to be a little more quiet!!!

Ranger knows you would never hurt him but obviously he's still somewhat haunted by his past. It just breaks my heart when I think of what he went through (tears coming). After your cuddle on the couch and his treat filled kong...he's probably forgotten all about the paper yielding maniac running through his house!!!

He loves and trusts you!!!!!
 

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bo's mom
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hi...i agree with missmarstar and laurie...you were actually protecting ranger from the wasp (contra to being an 'awful owner'!)

with all the love, the cuddling and the special treats, i'm sure ranger knows to find his safety with you :)
 

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Advise from a person who has a hard time of self forgivness after making a mistake, let it go and give yourself a treat along with Ranger. After reading your posts I could tell you love him and protect him and this was a good learning experinece for you both.
 

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I HATE Wasps. I put up traps in May this year. So far, it hasn't been bad.

Gilmour was stung by one when he was around 8 months old and his head swelled up like a basketball.

When I inherited my Mom's Van, it was in great condition but due to it having sat unused for 4 years it became a wasp haven. So far I've pulled 9 wasp nests out of various body panels, including one behind the gas door!

The door jambs were full of them.

Those big trucks have a lot of body panel gaps, and it was a perfect place for wasps to crawl in and set up shop.

There's still one I've missed somewhere. Whenever I pull it up into the drive way, a wasp comes right away and climbs in at the right hood hinge. Almost ever time I pull in. He's actually waiting for the Van to come back!
 

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Max's Mom
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Aww poor Ranger :( it brings tears to my eyes to know he has such a past that could haunt him so. You are a TERRIFIC owner!!!!!!!! You were only trying to protect Ranger. After all the cuddling and fatty treats, I'm sure Ranger knows he can trust you and that you love him very much.....and next time he sees you doing the 'crazy dance' with a magazine, he'll know your just trying to protect him LOL! Just kidding ;) I can't stand wasps either! {Hugs to you and Ranger}:)
 

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chew chew chew
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Poor dude! I'm sure he's over it and knows you're not going to hit him. He's got it good with you!

When Ticket was younger, I didn't realize he didn't like to play like my other border collie, who LOVED to be grabbed in the butt. Poor guy tore down the stairs, hid behind the couch and wouldn't come up for any reason. Took him years but now he knows it's all in fun and I also don't get him as much.

Lana
 

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Knife Swallower
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the kind words! I felt like garbage. He's definitely over it (and was last night pretty quickly too); it was me that was still carrying guilt today. I'm pretty sensitive to an animal's emotions (due to owning/training a spooky horse for ten years) so I was disappointed in myself for being so oblivious. Ranger doesn't act like he's had a bad past 99% of the time and you certainly wouldn't think he was abused the way he was when you meet him. He loves all people, loves kids, likes other dogs...it's easy to forget he does have a bad past life. Oh well...at least I know not to chase wasps around anymore!
 

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its not funny but the picture of you certainly made me laugh. Poor Ranger, you should have offered him the folded up paper to play with. Maybe he would have shreaded it and felt better
 

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You may want to look at it from another angle.

You gave Ranger an example of making a striking move, a motion that terrifies him and then dropped your "weapon" got down to his level and offered comfort and love instead of violence. You may have taken a huge step in helping him recover from the frightening images of his past and move on. Don't beat yourself up over a purely innocent occurrence, use it to strengthen your bond and help him to recover from the bad memories. I think you made a huge move in building his confidence and his trust in you. Look for the positive I think your Ranger has. :)

BTW - I would love to see video of the "Wasp Dance"! ;)
 

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Don't feel bad. Iwas getting into my pj's and when I took off my belt Ciggy went running unde the bed. She too had been abused. I felt so bad. Now after 4 years she's getting better. She doesn't cower when I call her. It's so sad. Your story brought tears to my eyes.
 

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I understand. I would beat myself up over something like that, too. But don't!! We can't think of everything, all the time.

And you know, I have to agree with Muddypaws. You did the one thing that probably scares him more than anything and he had the opportunity to see that it was okay. Nothing bad happened to him. I don't think I'd approach it that way intentionally, but since it happened, you might as well look at the upside!

Incidentally, I lose all focus when there's a bee or a wasp near me, too. I've done my "bee dance" when out for a walk with the dogs. Gunner used to go on alert when I'd do that. Luckily, Riley just stands there looking at me like, "WTH is wrong with you?"
 

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Humankind. Be both.
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Awww... sorry you both had to go through that.

Might do you both some good to work on desensitizing him to swinging motions. Start with something benign and slowly raise it over your shoulder, while tossing awesome treats his way. Work up to a swinging motion (not aimed at him, just in general, with him near by) at speed with a benign object and then work up to the "scarier" things at slo-mo. Idea is to work so slowly, he's never reacting to it.
 

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Knife Swallower
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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, he's way better now with swinging sticks/bats etc after a few weeks of me "batting" his toys for him in the backyard. He eventually started to figure out that something "swinging" means a fun toy to chase instead of "go hide behind a tree".

He's a little wary when strangers make the motion but he's been fine with me or my brother doing it. We started off just a little a time to help ease him into it...which is why I'm so annoyed at myself for going crazy last night - I dont' want him to regress. I'll bat some toys for him today to get the connection "swinging obstacle = fun time" more firmly established.

I was talking to the guy at the pet store the other day and Ranger just LOVES this guy. Pushes his head into this guy's lap, stands to be hugged, is just a total love for him. Told the pet store guy about Ranger being abused (by a man) and he couldn't believe it. Maybe I'll see if I can get this guy's help in swinging something near Ranger and then treating...I'll keep working on it.

In the meantime, the doors are staying closed and only the windows are open!
 

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I've swatted at little critters before only to see my buddy looking at me in frighten disbelief. But, my dogs have always forgiven me. Especially around dinner time.;)

When I swipe them my dogs jump and try to catch the travelling bug.:confused: They also love us to play cricket. Real English golden!;)
 

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Oh, really, don't be upset! I'm sure be is fine and there are no worries.
I don't have a doggy story but I have a ferret story. Finn is a rescue, seemingly a happy, bouncy boy. One day right after I got him he was playing around, being silly. I walked up to him, threw my arms in the air and just yelled "Finn-Finn!!!!!!". Finn fluffed up and BARKED at me, completely startled!!!
I didn't know he'd been abused, I probably looked like I was mad at him instead of playing with him. But he was OK after a few days.
 

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Please remember...YOU rescued him. YOU love him. It was a bad moment last night. Then, you made it a GOOD (yummy Kong & snuggles) moment. It will help him when you move on from the bad moment (and I am SUCH a do-dependent member of the "beat yourself up club"). You love your dog. He loves you. That's all that matters!!!
 

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You're not a bad person, you wouldn't have posted this if you were. Actually, it may help Ranger in the long run if he learns that you can swat bugs without him thinking you're mad at him.
My Belle, who I lost last month at 14, had what was probably an awful past when I found her. She had terrible scars on her neck, a BB in her right ear (checked it with a magnet), and she learned to trust me completely.
 
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