Recently my girlfriends and I headed to the mountains with our dogs for a weekend getaway. It was the perfect opportunity for Riggins to embarrass me with his questionable behavior.
As a dog sitter, I’ve dealt with a number of bad doggie habits. You would think that my precious baby would earn a gold star for behavior, but you’d be wrong. Sure some, most, OK all, of these issues are my fault. You can easily see why the begging for food happens, as I sometimes feed him from my own fork. Then there is the separation anxiety when I leave him, which rarely happens, and therefore he isn’t use to. The list goes on.
As my darling boy has gotten older (he is now 11), he seems to have conveniently forgotten some of the lessons he learned as a pup. Unfortunately, he decided to show off some of his worse behavior issues while on this weekend getaway with friends. Like any child, I feel like he knows when to misbehave to cause his mom the most embarrassment.
Three of my girlfriends and I had rented a cabin at Big Bear Lake in California. It’s an easy 2 1/2 hour drive from downtown Los Angeles and a great dog-friendly getaway. We were able to find a cabin that was A-OK with the four women and five dogs who would be hanging out for the weekend. While in the village, most places happily welcomed the pups inside and even more provided water out front for the dogs to lap up.
We even managed to find a very tolerant Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating that allowed our entire crew to sit and happily consume guacamole — the humans that is, but the dogs were snuck a couple tortilla chips. This is where Riggins got his first red mark. I rarely take Riggins out to eat with me simply because he is a gigantic foodie.
If there is food in the general vicinity, he will find it, and he will do everything in his power to get it into his belly! This time it wasn’t just the food that was his undoing, it was the atmosphere. Our group was isolated from others, per my request and for the sake of all other diners, and Riggins decided that it was his job to protect the table of his doggie and human friends.
If someone walked by, Riggins’ giant bark rumbled, putting ripples in our delicious margaritas reminiscent of the dinosaurs steps in Jurassic Park. When the incredibly nice waiter brought our food, I’d quickly crumble up a tortilla chip in my hand and offer it to Riggins one little piece at a time with the hope that it would distract him. As the big old guy of our doggie group, he was the ringleader and the other pups took their cues from Riggins, joining in when he got really riled up!
The last straw was when some happy children started running up and down the sidewalk in flip-flops. Riggins was NOT okay with that. I grabbed his head and brought his ear to my mouth and whispered, “you are not allowed to come to any other restaurants young man, you’ve lost that privilege.” Future meals out were much more relaxing with Riggins happily resting back at the cabin.
Then there was the hiking. Riggins has started to be his own man lately, and he showed off this confidence while we were on the mountain trails. I would drop his leash to take a picture, and he would happily continue down the path. When I called his name and told him, “too far,” his command to stop and stay while off leash hiking, he perked up and slightly turned his head and then chose to pretend he didn’t hear me! Stubborn old man.
On another trail, he decided we needed to be back at the car as fast as possible, which meant pulling me down the incline we had gone up. He is old, but he is still strong, and when he doesn’t want to behave on a walk, he can easily pull me with him. One of my friends finally took over. Like most children, he was better with anyone but his mom, but even then my poor friend most likely had shoulder pain from being pulled!
It’s such an embarrassment when you child misbehaves, but even with his slip-ups, Riggins is still a sweetheart. He, along with the other four dogs on our vacation, got along beautifully. Riggins happily tolerated a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, and he continues to impress me with his gentle nature toward his little dog friends.
Of course, he was in heaven having four different women to get love from. I’m pretty confident all the dogs had just as much fun as the humans did on our vacation. If you have the opportunity for friends and dogs getaway, I suggest you take it!
Has your dog embarrassed you in public, or is it just Riggins and me? Please say it’s not just Riggins and me!