Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I didn't know

  I love this little monster…..

….but I had no idea how much like having a child she would be!

Seriously, my husband and I lean toward the “no thank you” side of parenthood, and we even took about four good, solid months of debate before we decided to get a dog.   I’ve always had pets, mind you, but they have always been cats.  I grew up with dogs in our home at all times, but they were other people’s dogs!  They were either my mom’s dog or my brother’s dog, and aside from helping out once in a while, those dogs were not my problem!  Just like my two terrors – my lovely chocolate Siamese – were not their problem.  Well, that is until Mom and I decided that it would be best if they stayed country cats when I moved into the city after high school.   But to get back to the subject of dogs, suffice it to say that neither my husband nor I took the decision lightly as we knew that a dog would be more work than any cat I could ever own!  In the end, we decided that while it would be more work, it could also be far more rewarding!  I rushed right out and brought Riley home.  Ahh……
Well, you know the story doesn’t end there right?  She was SO adorable.  She was even smart!  She curled up in her new little bed the moment I put it on the floor.  She was quiet.  She played happily with the toys we gave her.  Her favorite nightly ritual was sleeping out our feet during dinner.  

And of course, it doesn’t end there either.  She didn’t like sleeping in the bathroom.  So, we bought a kennel and brought her in our room at night to combat the separation anxiety she has.  This meant getting up any time she needed to potty because her little bladder wasn’t big enough yet, and we couldn’t allow her to soil her kennel (unlike the bathroom floor which had puppy pads, and I was fine with her tinkling on them).  My husband and I switched off taking her out at 2-3am every night.  Soon, though, his daddy radar turned off, and her whines no longer woke him up.  Luckily, about that time she started sleeping till I get up at 5am.  That was better.  Then she started teething. 

Now, teething has been horrid.  That bears repeating…..HORRID.  She hurts so much.  She lost at least four teeth within three days.  She whines incessantly.  She can’t sleep through the night for the pain.  We’re surviving by frozen carrots and rawhides alone.  Without those tools, we would not make it through this phase.  Oh, and when her mouth hurts too much, she can’t be bothered to stop chewing to let us know she needs to go out.  She just pees in the front room.  Monday was the first day since about the 11th of September that I’ve actually gotten to sleep till 5:15 (when my alarm goes off in the AM).  The last two weekends, I’ve been up by about 4:30 and unable to go back to bed because the dog hurts so much that she’s making too much noise for us to sleep through.  She literally curls up in my lap and gnaws on her foot while whimpering.  Now tell me, how much more like a child can that be?! 

None of that even touches going to puppy class!  And thank God for puppy class.  We cannot wait for the intermediate training that starts October 10th.  See, we probably would have given the dog back by now if it weren’t for the behavior modification that the training classes provide.  She is a willful pup!  And she tests her boundaries.  The classes help us to correct the behaviors in a constructive way while also providing the dog the correct response so that all of us are on the same page about what she’s expected to do (or not do as the case may be).  

But even good training cannot get her to behave while in pain.  We’re tired.  Our nerves are raw.  We’ll be happy when she’s done with this phase.  Can it be soon please?  That’d be an awesome birthday gift!

Also, who knew this little nine pound pup with tiny paws would gain 20 pounds since July 17th?!  I certainly didn't.  Even her trainer is shocked!  Puppy on the grow!  Any guesses at how big she'll be??

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