Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I Am A Dog Mom Failure

This is River. River is our nine month old, Flat Coated Retriever mix (we think), puppy.

She loves people. And she's a good-hearted dog.

She also loves to chew. Our floor, kids toys (even though she has her own), a couple of shingles off of the back of the house, her harnesses (yes, that's supposed to be plural), and anything else she can get her relentless puppy teeth on.

If we leave her home alone (which doesn't happen often), she seems to do fine. She waits in her kennel until someone comes back. But if we're here, she is sure she's supposed to be with us. So, if I have to go downstairs and she's in her kennel, she'll bark for me.

Probably not the bark you're thinking of. No, her bark is something like the low-battery-chirp of your smoke detector. Woof!................Woof!..............WOOF!

It could make you crazy.

And Gods forbid we put her on her lead outside. Even with toys, she can become bored in her first minute or two outside, and begin barking for us to let her in. Needless to say, it hasn't been real popular with the neighbors, and is really embarrassing for me.

We've been working on that, giving her a ten minute maximum time limit outside. If she barks, I open the door and squirt her with water, telling her to "quiet", which seems to be working. Except this morning of course. Silly me, I had to go the the bathroom, so she was out a couple of minutes longer, and it started to rain. So she was barking like her tail was on fire, and I got a message from my neighbor about it. I get it, I do. It's frustrating for me, too, when I can't so much as go to the bathroom without having a problem with my damn dog!

Over the last few days it's been one thing after another, and I'm starting to panic that I"m not going to get it right, and she's going to just be the worst dog, ever. I read tons of books before we even got her, I talked to experienced dog owners, and since the very beginning I have put in a lot of time with her. We go to the dog park, she's getting two walks a day, she learned how to do a number of commands (although lately she seems to think they're just suggestions). I really don't know where I'm going wrong!  But I'm definitely going wrong somewhere.

I'm told that this is dog adolescence.  It must be. Because I literally looked at her tonight and reminded her that I may be the only person in our house who still likes her right now (the kids like her when she's not eating something they care about, bothering the cat, or in their rooms) and she should probably not push me. I think she understood it, too, to some extent. She looked really ashamed. She went to her kennel without my even having to tell her, which I think is the doggy equivalent of hiding in her room. A smart move for her today, really. Maybe the smartest thing she did, all day.

Is there a secret to surviving your dog's adolescence? Because I haven't found raising kids to be as hard as raising this dog. I love her, I really do, but I seem to be a complete dog-mom failure. Like, if she were a kid, she'd be skipping class, and smoking on campus. I can't wait until she's an adult. It has to get easier.


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