Annie was our family's first dog. It was quite the experience when we adopted her in 2012. She peed on the carpet in our spare room and in Mallory's room repeatedly and I despised her. I truly, truly despised her and didn't see what having a dog was about at all. George and I would have disagreements about how to handle the situation, that were worse than disagreeing about parenting. I think for me because it was a freaking dog and we didn't have to have her or this stress in the first place. I will admit that I would resent Mallory who wanted the dog in the first place. I remember Annie trying to run away and I thought, GO! (Though, she had a chip and would eventually be returned to us.) It was very ugly in the beginning. And in hindsight, it was all about boundaries. I had to learn to have some...with a dog. I had to learn boundaries with her and it was a great indicator of how to do it with humans as well.
Annie is not an affectionate kind of dog either unlike Brinkley who is a true unconditional loving dog. Annie has her own way, but I'm learning to respect her for who she is because she can be freaking funny when she is falling asleep. Brinkley will follow me into the closet when I'm having an ugly cry. He doesn't lick my face but he sits with me. What other creature will do that? Annie, on the other hand, only pays attention to you when you have the promise of food, or when she is frightened of the weather or the cats. The rest of the time, she is asleep and loudly snoring. She is
who she is.
Boundaries. Anger is a sign that your boundaries aren't being respected or that you need to set some up!! And it's not easy work and there is much practice, practice, practice.
The picture to the left is from the book, "The Artist's Way." As you can see it spoke to me. Anger is not about the other person or dog!!! It's about going inward and not acting out, but acting upon, making a change, unless you like to stay angry? I was very angry at Annie with all the ruining of the carpet but I needed to think out of the box. I had never had a dog, an old "set in her ways" dog at that and had no idea how to have an inside dog. We had put her in a crate early on and she yelped. So we backed down and didn't do that anymore. In hindsight, that was the very thing we needed to do. And use treats. Treats are the bomb! She may have yelped at the crate but she would have acclimated. When we adopted Brinkley over a year later with urinating problems still going on, we had bigger issues of biting, etc so we finally got a dog trainer in our lives. I needed outside assistance to help us think out the box. We eventually made our way around to crating Annie at night. I don't even remember if she disliked it, but she now goes into the "sleeping box" as George calls it. I know George thought it was harsh to put her in there and separate her from us. He is such the softie. But that has been the trick as well as taking her outside in the morning and at other times of the day with the treat and demanding she "go potty." This training takes time and practice.
Learning this big lesson that went on for more than a year with a dog, has been such the example of how to deal with people as well. Thinking outside the box, not being entrenched in one way of doing things, letting go of expectations, and getting outside assistance if needed. Old dogs and I mean me can learn new tricks.
And, so often, I am so thankful that my old soul Mallory, incessantly begged for a dog, not once but twice. These four leggeds are members of our family. I totally understand dog people now. It took a while but I finally do. And not all dogs are the same, just like children.