I’m not even going to apologize for being absent from blogging, at this point, you and I both know it’s a hollow apology.
It’s been just under two weeks since we received our puppy to foster for a service dog organization, and I am starting to really understand the meaning of “give your life to the cause”. Because it’s a puppy, which is essentially a furry, mobile infant with razor sharp teeth. I don’t want kids! It should have been a reasonable extrapolation that I wouldn’t really like a puppy either, but hindsight, as they say, passes all its optometry tests.
That’s not to say I haven’t been excited and jazzed to be doing this, both because puppies are cute and because I strongly support service animals for mental and cognitive disorders. But I’m also not going to lie – I’ve cried from sheer frustration a few times. Puppies are very naughty – and very smart. I was outwitted by a dog several times. A dog that is essentially a toddler, no less. He’d bite me, so I’d move away calmly. GREAT because what he really wanted to do was bite the couch, which I was sitting in front of! What a totally clever and infuriating trick.
I’ve never had a dog before, and while cats can be destructive little shits, they don’t usually seem so determined about it. Getting Minnow to refocus on a scratching post rather than the wallpaper took a few days, for example.
It’s hard in the heat of the moment to remember a few things, such as a) depression really skews your mental perception of self, and being a total control freak seals the deal, and b) there has been a pretty good list of small victories that I need to continue remembering. Not to mention, Chris has been very accommodating in sharing pee/poop excursion duties while I snatch a nap or a shower, and more than ever now I’m back in the office. (Sad trombone at my hopes of getting some writing done on my holidays, though!)
I don’t intend to turn this blog into a running tally of “Ways I’m NOT Fucking up This Dog’s Life” but not losing perspective is still worthwhile.
For example, since two weeks ago:
- he’s been quiet at night in his crate since day 3, and this morning was the first day I got to wake up to my alarm. He hasn’t had an accident in his crate since the fourth day.
- he can go up the stairs to the front door, making the potty dance a lot more noticeable. today, he went down the stairs for the first time!
- he played very nicely with a friend’s most excellent dog, and learned when “I don’t like to play” body language means to back off.
- he sits before the door to go outside or inside.
- he sits inside the crate before we let him out.
- he has “sit”, “watch me” and the leave-it noise (kissy face) down 100% – when he’s focused and not intent on destroying my fingers or the couch, anyway.
I don’t think I’ve ever done something that’s required me to be so relentlessly positive which has been harder than anything else combined. Having a glass face is bad enough when you’re dealing with people; with a dog, it’s damn near impossible. I’ve seen other puppy raisers at the training classes who are training two dogs simultaneously (usually one young, one ~ a year old), and after spending some time with our friend’s dog, I can better believe they find it simpler. The young dog will more easily follow the first dog’s lead than your own. While that seems counter intuitive, your older dog will sit, leave it, etc, when you say the cues, and your younger dog will sit, leave it, etc when your older dog does and learn the cues that way.
… okay no, I’m not getting a second dog. one is plenty.