Jule and Roxie

According to the owner who surrendered her (supposedly because of their daughter developing an allergy), Roxie is a pug/chow mix, eight years old.

Chows are substantial, adult females are 45-60 pounds (males are 50-70).

Pugs are smallish, adults are 18-20 pounds.

Pugs were bred to be companions, nothing more. Chows were bread to guard the temple, nothing less.

When rental or condo associations have a list of prohibited dog breeds, chows are often on it, right up there with pit bulls.

Who knew?

According to our visit to the vet last Friday, Roxie is 30 pounds. I think of her as a pug. She looks more like a pug than a chow and has pug-like qualities.

But her behavior toward other dogs is pure chow.

We’ve been doing better on walks—no more lunging at people (only heavy breathing), less pulling. I thought things were going well.

Until last night.

Last night, on our PM potty walk, I had my back to Roxie as I dropped her poop bag into the can. Just then, another owner with another dog came out the back courtyard door. The courtyard is surrounded by a solid wall with a solid door. You can’t see a thing until it comes through the door.

Roxie lunged.

I turned and pulled to keep Roxie from getting within striking range of the other dog.

Roxie was up on her hind legs, head thrashing.

The other owner backed away, pulled his dog away. He looked scared. I’m sure I did, too.

I pulled Roxie through the door to the courtyard. As soon as we were away from the other dog, separated by a solid wall, she quieted. We got inside the building and then safely inside my apartment .

A dog trainer was already scheduled to come for an “in home evaluation” but  that was six days away.

We might not make it.

After scrambling through websites, I found one that seemed to have trustworthy advice. I bought their book and swallowed it whole.

The next morning, I awoke with a 4Box model on my mind. While I was sleeping, my brain played with Cesar Milan’s idea that dogs need calm, assertive leadership. Head on my pillows, I drew a 4Box on the ceiling. ‘Assertive’ and ‘Calm’ would be the X and Y axes. ‘Leader,’ ‘Lover,’ and something like ‘Commandant’ would be three of the box labels.

I got out of bed and took Roxie on our AM potty walk. I showed calm, assertive leadership. Even though there was a dog in the dog park, I calmly led Roxie away. After three half-hearted lunging attempts, she gave up and started sniffing the grass.

While we walked, I thought about how I’ve been leading Roxie. Here’s the 4Box:

4 Box Model with Assertion on the X horizontal axis and Calm Energy on the Y Vertical axis. Top right box = Leader. Top left box = Lover. Bottom right box = Warden. Bottom left box = Scarecrow.

I’ve been in the Lover box with Roxie. Then, when she’s behaved in an undesirable manner, I’ve gone to the Warden box. Neither of these is what she needs. They just give her whiplash.

What Roxie needs is consistent leadership.

This is going to be a good test.

Not of Roxie.

Of me.

Chewing the Cud of Good

A white puffy cloud in a deep blue sky

Thankful for a blue sky summer day and air that feels good to breathe.



4 thoughts on “Jule and Roxie”

  1. I hope things are going well with Roxie. That is such a difficult situation. I’ve been there with a pit mix. Cesar makes it look easy, but it was hard for me not to operate from a place of fear. Putting good vibes out there for you and Roxie!

    1. Cesar does make it look easy! Things are getting better, slowly, sort of a two-steps-forward, one-step-back situation. But at least it’s not the other way around. Thanks for your support and good vibes. It helps!

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