Dog trainer/ crazy dog mom. You decide.

Tricks my puppy, Bella, can do.
Roll over.
High Five.
Up. (both paws on my forearm)

Working on:
Leave it.
Let go.
Spin in a circle.

I've had her for almost three weeks, and like most relationships-I fell in love hard and fast.  She's 16 weeks old, and she has completely changed the whole atmosphere in the house.  Kids complaining, that's ok, Bella will sit on my lap an cuddle.  The Man is being grumpy, no worries, Bella is always there to give puppy kisses.  I'm exhausted, she's a great nap buddy.  I have errands to run, no sweat, Bella is great in the car AND in her little carrier bag.  Jerkface is paying too much attention to his video games, and not her- she pooped on his bed.  She makes me just STOOPID happy. 

So I have to talk about how I've learned how to train this angel.  Zak George.  He's on You Tube and there is a world of wisdom in these lessons.  His videos are short and easy to understand.  He does do a lot of advertising, but you know, the guy has to make a living, so I get it and I'm not bothered by that.  As someone who has blogged for years, I understand affiliate dollars.  Anyway, these videos have taught me a LOT about how to communicate with both my dogs.  I have mixed in what I've learned there, and the private lessons Max and I have had to come up with training that works for me, and hopefully my dogs.  Bella is easier because she is brand new.  Max has a lot of bad habits that I have to smooth out. 

The biggest problem I have with Max is communication.  It's hard to physically get down to his level, because he is so hyper and he jumps on me.  Often knocking me down.  So we are working on that.  Getting him to NOT jump while I go into a kneeling or squatting position.  Talk about your "leg days." I think I will be able to get his attention better by closing distance between us so I can be more proactive, but also not get a concussion in the process.  I'm determined though.  He's not a bad dog, he's just an untrained dog.  So that's what I'm working on.  Before I can teach him anything new, I need to teach him how to be a little gentler with me.  Not so aggressive in his playing.  We can't play tug anymore, because he doesn't go for the toy, he goes for the hand that is holding the toy.  Raising it in the air is no help either, as he can jump higher than I can raise my arm.  So no jumping is priority #1, unless I want to end up with nubs for fingers.

Now I know you are wondering how in the world I'm teaching Bella to pray.  Well, it's the cutest trick I saw where the dog puts their paws on something (starting with my forearm) and then goes for a treat that is below and between her legs so she is basically putting her head down.  It's fucking adorable.  Starts on the arm, and will move to maybe the chair arm or something, but right now, its just the forearm and she's picking up fast what I'm asking her to do. 

There is something really cool about using tools and watching them work.  It's amazing for me to see the twitchy restraint and how she thinks it thru before her next move.  I want to teach her all of the things.  Jumping thru hoops and over stuff.  She's the only little one in the house who seems to benefit from my advice these days, so it's good for the both of us. 

And while Jerkface does take an active roll in her care, it's more about the cuddling and play time for him.  He is also helping me teach her tricks and we are both going to puppy kindergarten with her next month.  As his ESA, as long as she is there for him when he needs her and he utilizes her in that capacity, then she's fulfilling her job. Otherwise, I am completely ok being with her all the time.  I mean, I wanted a little dog too.

I will try to get some of her tricks on video so I can share them- cause who doesn't want to see THAT????



The mom show.

Nobody REALLY cares that much when mom is not feeling good.  If I'm REALLY sick, then yes.  But if I am just feeling slightly under the weather, bad headache, cramps, or a common cold, nope.  Doesn't really matter.

This is the TRUE test of motherhood really.  How to adapt when you are #1 in responsibilities, but number #10 in getting any sympathy/  I have to visible show signs of illness.  The squinty puffy eyes, the weak and nasally voice, the fever, the vomiting, dizziness.  All of it.  I basically have to come down with SARS before anyone thinks, oh hey, mom needs to sleep, perhaps I should do something for myself around here.

Don't get me wrong, if I'm feeling under the weather, I WILL just lay down and tell the boys to make leftovers or something frozen for dinner.  I will put off housework for the duration. I HAVE to self care because if I don't- who will??  But what I get is "attitude."  The sighs, the groans.  Confirmation that I am making life "inconvenient."   It frustrates me, and makes me slightly resentful, but I get over it.

Everyone knows this too.  I get over things, dangerously fast.  There is no point in staying angry.  To me, this is a blessing and a curse.  I'm the mom, and moms being over worked and underappreciated is really not unique.  Also, I don't think that my family doesn't APPRECIATE me- because I know they do.  I just think they are sometimes selfish and thoughtless.  I'm sure I was the same, and when I got older, I was more appreciative.  I know my audience.


all things dogs

So as I mentioned in my last post, I started training with Max, AND we got a puppy. 

Training with Max has been fun and challenging.  Its clear that he can do it, but he's stubborn and he has a lot of bad habits.  I find that its more about training ME, and how to handle him.  How to let him know that I am in charge.  I am taking private lessons and I feel I am benefiting from it- as well as Max benefitting from me knowing how to communicate with him. 

I cried for half of the first lesson.  I really have a lot of feelings about him.  Frustration, embarrassment and some resentment.  Like I have said, he isn't the dog I wanted, but the man wanted him.  He didn't get trained, life got busy and I am the one who takes care of him.  So now, 5 years later, I am trying to undo the results of what I didn't do to begin with.  Luckily, he does know some basics and that is helping.

It is nice to see that there will come a day that I can take a nice walk with my dog and I won't end up hurting my shoulder, or having a sore arm.  Or like last week when I was trying to get his harness on him, he jumped on me, sending me falling back to hit my head on a propane tank.  Hard. 

I need to build my own confidence with Max.  He's a big strong stubborn dog and I admit I feel foolish half of the time in class.  However, there are those moments when he heels, and stays with me, and sits when we stop.  It's a good feeling, and I was glad when the trainer said that it showed that I have been working with him.  I have to also build up every bit of patience that I have.  With Max, and with myself.  This isn't comfortable for me.  It's not natural.  Its quite the opposite really.  However, a trained dog is something I want, and I know that if I want something, I have to work for it myself. 

We also got a new puppy.  She is a Maltese Mix and a very sweet little girl.  I was lucky to find her photo online at the shelter one evening and the next morning I was the first one there to visit and snatch her up.  She is fun loving and sweet.  She also likes to play and chew so I'm working with her to keep her distracted and chewing on the things shes allowed to chew on.  Not the puppy pads, or her water bowl which she loves to move around, spilling water everywhere.

Bella is the cutest damn thing ever, and I adore her- but we will start training with her very soon as I am not about to have two wild dogs in my house.  She's just 14 weeks, and I'm going to put her and Jerkface in a puppy training class together.  He adores her and so far it is helping him feel less lonely. 

We did introduce the two dogs.  Max was very excited and it scared her.  So when SHE gets her confidence up a little, we will try again.  I know if she had barked at him, he would have backed down.  He's a big scaredy cat. 

The cats are curious about Bella.  Penny comes around and sits close to her ex-pen, and Bella wants to play.  She play bows and wags her tail, but Penny just hissed her back.  Right now Bella is still in confinement, but soon I will give her access to the office when I won't have my back turned.  Puppy steps.

Adorable.  I am so in love.



About a dog

Earlier this week, the man called me from work to tell me that he had found a lost dog.  He wasn't sure what to do with it, but he didn't want to take it to the shelter. 

What I didn't know at the time, but I do know now, is that when you take a found dog to the shelter, the owner has anywhere between 2-7 days to recover their dog from the shelter before they put it up for adoption.  The time depends on the shelter.  ALSO, they will have to pay to get the dog out.  They don't just give it to the owner.  They will have to pay for boarding fees, per day, any shots they give them (rabies).  They might microchip the dog if it isn't chipped, and in some places they will not allow the owner to take the pet before they spay or neuter it.  Daily impound fees are also 2-3x higher if the animal isn't spayed or neutered.  So reclaiming your own pet can cost hundreds of dollars.  Not everyone has a few hundred dollars to drop on this.

We held on to this little pup for about 24 and ultimately found his owner.  It was a sweet reunion and worth it for the internet scouring I did to find him.  I admit that I was sad to let this little guy go.  He was so sweet and well behaved.  I committed that we would do all we could to find this guys owner, but I was also committed to keeping him if we couldn't find the owner.  I was a little sad when we found him. 

Now I have been talking to the man about getting a small dog for a few months now.  I love my Max, but he is so hyper and the boys are afraid of him. (its a long story but lets just say they have no good reason for it)  However, Jerkface (15 y/o) absolutely fell in love with this little pup.  He sat with him, cuddled him, played with him, took him outside.  And overall was just comforted by his presence. 

Jerkface struggles from depression and anxiety (a story for another day), and it occurred to me that it would be a good thing for him to have an emotional support dog.  Someone who can be his buddy, cheer him up and really just get him out of his own head to care for something else.  This would also not be too bad for me either.  I admit it was nice just having someone cuddle up with me that I wasn't worried was going to turn on me and scratch my face off.  (another story for another time)(OMG I have so much to tell you all). 

So since this little guy has left, the Man has admitted that it would be nice to get another dog.  Something smaller and easy going.  Especially for Jerkface.  Also Bonehead, who is 14 is afraid of all dogs.  He was also afraid of the cats when we got them, however due to their size, and after some time passed, he got used to them.  He doesn't engage with them, but he has learned to co-exist.  That's all I want; for him to be able to be around a dog without freaking out.  I believe that in time, this will happen, the way it has with the cats.

First things first, though.  I have decided to enroll Max and I in some one on one obedience classes.  I want to feel confident that I can control him.  He is about 60/40 in training.  He needs some impulse control, and some focused work on basic commands.  I work with him daily, but I am not as confident as I feel I should be.  So this week is our first class.  I figure I'll do a few of these one on one classes and then enroll him in a group obedience class.  Once I feel confident, then we will really start looking for another dog.  Since I am home during the day, I am the one who is going to be caring for them the most.  So I'd like to feel confident that I can handle it. 

I'm a researcher.  So that's what I have been doing.  Researching breeds, how to introduce a new dog, which dogs are best for emotional support, which small breeds get along best with large breeds, etc.  I'm not going to be one of those pet owners who brings in someone new without considering how it will effect the pets who are already there. 

If I'm gonna do something, I want to do it right, or as right as I CAN.