Monday, June 4, 2012

The puppy Cronicles

For those who don't follow me personally on Facebook, then you don't know we acquired a new member of the family last month.  An adorably cuddly Chocolate Lab, Woodrow. 

You see, I made the fatal mistake of making an arbitrary rule based on nothing other than I thought the conditions could never be met.  Or at least seemed so far away that it made sense, at the time.  When we had to get rid of our Shih Tzu, Pongy, when Cookie was 11 months old, I announced that we would not get another dog until she was at least 5.  I also had the forethought to include a clause about future children, should we have any more kids, all of them had to be potty trained.  I am not going into the details of Pongy, only to say that it was not an easy decision, but the best for everyone, including the dog.  So, one fateful day in April, Jelly filled up her potty chart and Cookie was soon to turn five.  Hubby was on the Internet the next day looking for a dog.  Eight week old Woodrow came home on May 9th. 

Hubby begged cajoled and made promises....."I will take care of it Ging.  I will take it for walks and get up with it."  I kept on telling him that puppies were a lot of work.  And they chew everything. I reminded him again and again about when my Mom's dog, Sage was like as a puppy.   Hubby insisting, "No I will watch him, and I will love him and hug him and train him."  Kids start chiming in, "we will feed him and walk him and play with him and love him forever."  Cookie, "Mommy I will be five and Sister filled up her potty chart.  You said when I turned five we could get a puppy.  And you said if Sissy went potty in the potty we could get a dog."  On and on it went and I caved.  I remembered Cookie's first word was "Dog Dog". I started coming round to the idea of having a dog again.  I grew up with dogs.  These last four years have been the only time in my life I have been dog less. 

We prepped the kids on how to train dogs.  I got a book, watched a DVD, cause frankly, I had never trained a dog.  My parents did that.  And as for Pongy, hubby trained the evil little dude.  He was a good dog in every way except the whole attack anything and anyone that moved any where near him and he was so angry all the time.  But he never chewed, he was housebroken, we could leave him all day and not get complaints from the neighbors that he was barking.  

So we are now on week four of having an adorable puppy who chews everything.  He will eat anything that crosses his path.  But his favorite thing to chew is Cookie.  He loves to attack her, nibble her, grab at her hands, hump her, in general dominate her as much as possible.  It is getting quite old.  We have spoken to the Vet, we have read the books, we have tried numerous techniques.  They tell us to make a yelping noise when he tries to bite her, yeah either Woodrow is too smart and figured that out in two seconds, or he finds joy in hurting the kids.  We tried vinegar water, but the kids found that wielding the squirt bottle fun and powerful and began just squirting him randomly for pure joy of torturing the poor puppy.  And Jelly lost the bottle somewhere....I can handle the chewing of objects including my couch, but I can not abide him teething on my babies.

After a particular rough day of the dog verses Cookie, I had had enough.  Jelly does not have the same issues Cookie does.  She seems to just be calmer and understand not to flail her arms in his face or squeal like a girl and well, be Jelly and not Cookie.  So to solve this problem I informed Cookie she could not interact with the dog unless the following conditions were met. 1. He was calm and laying down. 2. I or Daddy was with her.  She was only to pet him on his back with his fur and not squeal, giggle, or in any way be herself.  Yes, I told my child to be someone other than who she really was.

But me telling my lovely, outgoing, wonderful little girl to be something she is not, was not enough.  Oh no, it gets better.  We were all in the backyard enjoying the pool and summer weather.  Woodrow was lying in the grass chewing away on a stick, chalk, or something he probably shouldn't and I spy Cookie run up to him and wave her towel in his face.  Woody, being well, a puppy jumps up and decides it must be attack Cookie time, cause he started to jump and bite and try and play with her like she was another dog.  Cookie starts crying and screaming, flailing her hands in a jazz hands like fashion in his face....Woodrow reacts by trying to grab at her fingers and play tug with them.  And I sit there in the rocking chair, in the shading yelling, "I am not going to help you.  I saw you. You asked for it.  You bugged him.  I am done intervening between you and the dog.  If you don't want to listen to me, I am not going to help you."  Of course the dog is getting more excited as her cries and flailing proceeds to a fever pitch.  Finally, guilt and shame set in and I intercede.  Telling the dog to get "Off" and making him sit.  Hugging Cookie tsking over her new wounds, sending her in the house for more band-aides. 

And here I sit feeling guilty because Cookie is sad that the dog is not living up to what she envisioned.  Guilty that her hands are cut up. She can not figure out how to play with him in a way that does not equal sharp knife like puppy teeth embedded into her flesh.  I am left frustrated that I allowed myself to be in this position.  I really can't complain about a situation I knowingly created.  I knew what would happen.  I know my child, which is why I wanted to wait until she was five.  I thought she would be old enough to take direction and understand that dogs are not people.

But he is cute, so I guess we'll keep him.