Saturday, February 12, 2011

Alpha Dog

I know most of my post lately have been about one dog or another, but lately that seems what my life has been consumed with. I have come to realize that responsible dog ownership comes with a time, patience and effort.

In the past, before I had my little Brandi the dogs I had owned had mostly been outside pets. Growing up, my mother was the animal lover but my dad never allowed animals in the house so the ones we had were also outside pets. My first husband also believed a dog is an animal and should be outside...although I do remember a short while of having a dog live inside with us. He was absolutely the worst untrained wild dog I have ever known but I loved him nonetheless. I was a newlywed with a husband that worked out of town most of the time so the dog was an emotional replacement I suppose...

Anyway, my argument was always the same as my dads. They make messes, they have accidents, and they are dirty but most of all they are animals so they belong outside.

It wasn't until I had Brandi that I decided that I would once again try having an inside dog. She was little and cute and how much mess could she make...very little did she ever. Mostly an accident here and there or some stray vomit in the corner. How much pee and vomit can a 5 lb dog have?? Not much.

After we got Bo and decided that he also would be an inside dog I was, and still am, very skeptical. Although I love his sweet personality, he sort of cramps my style right now. He tries to take over furniture and our space by being right up on us...he weighs 65 lbs so he's not just taking up a square foot area.

When I'm preparing food I have to constantly watch and make sure that he doesn't jump on the counter and snatch the fixings...he's always in the kitchen when I cook monitoring the situation in hopes of a surprise snack. Also, because it's just the three of us, we eat in the living area. He moves right in on our personal space in hopes of a morsel.

His feet are the worst. They drive me crazy. When he goes outside..which is very often because he drinks alot of water and food and needs to eliminate often, he runs around the yard and pick ups every piece of wet, sticky mud that is available. Before he comes back inside I have to wash his feet. This has to be done a few times a day...very time consuming.

He also has severe separation anxiety so I have to constantly worry that he has broken out of his cage or chewed out of our wood privacy fence while I'm gone. I take him the places that I can take him but he can't always go everywhere with me. My new car now smells like a dog and there is white dog hair embedded in my seats and smudge prints all over the window. I have to constantly spray and wipe down my car. By the way, just in case you haven't caught on I like things clean, neat and tidy. Hence, the reason I will always be a small dog person.

I find that I have to vacuum and sweep constantly now. Quite honestly, he's working me to death. When Toby is home he takes over the responsibility of caring for him but in reality I am the one that is here with him the most so the brunt of the responsibility falls on me.

I knew this, I bought into it, why am I bitching?? I don't know. In the past I have been known not to make the best decisions to make other people's lives happier...usually at the disposal of my own sanity and happiness.

On the plus side, Bo is very smart and learns commands quickly so I'm hoping with a little training he can be molded into something more manageable. He also is a very large incentive for me to exercise. Every day I walk a couple of miles with him right beside me. There is something about having the dog beside me that makes my walks worthwhile..very serene and almost spiritual.

When we first got Bo we knew we wanted a well trained family dog. With Bo's size and breed we know that he won't be an asset to our family without training. He is very sweet and loving now and we want him to stay that way. Without training I fear that we may lose our alpha dog role and he may take over.

A few weeks back we took to watching Cesar Millan The Dog Wisperer and the more I watched it the more realization I had that Brandi was definitely the alpha dog in our home. Luckily, because of her size she was no match for us even so.

So, in my search for a dog trainer I have been doing extensive reading on dog behavior. It's already clear that Bo does not completely see us as alpha dog...yet.

I feel like I have a long, hard road ahead but I am determined to win this one. I don't take the responsibility I took on lightly. I have an advantage over most animal lovers in that I don't view my dog as a human.

Unlike with my child I can emotionally detach myself from an animal and use the logic part of my brain. I don't use my animal to fill an emotional void that was never fulfilled. I believe this will help me in making my dog what he is suppose to follower. I am on a mission for the knowledge that it takes to do so.

Wish me luck!!

1 comment:

  1. If you ever get an opportunity to watch "It's Me or the Dog", you might find some great training tips or insight.

    Sorry for all the ick associated with the big boy. Keep up the great attitude!

    Oh...and if you remember the last two cats I adopted from the SPCA...I said "IF an animal is at a shelter/rescue/etc., it is usually for a reason...a reason that someone else got tired of dealing with!" Good luck!