Friday, January 14, 2011

Observations about Owning a Dog

As most of you know, I got a dog early this year.  If you would have told my family members that very same day if I would ever get a dog, they would have told you, no way, that would never happen.  But it did happen, and Michele said I could talk about him all I want. So if you don't want to hear about the dog, go blame her!

So, how has my life changed since I got the dog?

1.  I have to make space for the dog's things.  I wasn't expecting that, and I still haven't found a good place to put all the stuff.  The food, the toys, the treats, the medicine, the leash.  All of these things take up space.

2.  Cleaning has changed.  I thought I would have to clean a lot more with the dog, because he would get into things and chew them if I didn't have them out of his way.  He leaves things alone, so that isn't a problem.  Although I am not a neat freak, I had this idea that "dogs are dirty." With his incision, I couldn't bathe him. So I vacuum more, and brush him a lot so he doesn't shed as much.  And I wash my hands a lot.  I am relaxing more, after a conversation with my sister-in-law, who is much more relaxed.  She said, "So what if the dog has an accident / illness. Just clean it up, just like you would clean up a baby's accident/ illness."  Zeus spit up all over the house when he had his kennel cough, so all my floors and carpets are no longer in "almost new" condition.  And he (and I) brings mud in the house, since we go out frequently.  We are cleaning the floors and mopping more. I have to clean more often (the dust bunnies are gone), but the house isn't really cleaner, especially anything higher than the dog can reach.

3.  I am learning all sorts of new things. Like how to train a dog and not misdirecting him.  I am working on adding stand to his list of commands he understands, even though he hasn't completely mastered down yet.  And also working on getting him to understand he has to keep doing that until released.  He isn't the kind of dog that will offer different things until you get what you want.  He will just stare at you if he doesn't understand or doesn't want to do what you want.  He is getting past the honeymoon stage, so he pulls on the leash more when walking, and is starting to ask for what he wants now, by whining.   I don't like the whining, so I have to figure out how to make him ask nicely.  Especially the bathroom thing. I don't know how to tell whether he has to use the bathroom, or whether he is bored and wants attention.

4.  I have to make more decisions now.  In order to train Zeus, I have to figure out what I want. Some things are easy, but others are harder.  Is it all right for him to climb on the couch?  Can he jump on people if they are okay with it and ask him to?  My daughter and nephew are giving him lessons which are inconsistent with what I am teaching, but my methods will turn him into a couch potato, and I do want him to do energetic things.

5.  Schedule. I have to keep a more consistent schedule, and can't simply sleep and wake up when I please. No more midnight genealogy surfing.   One of the dogs next door can jump his fence, and I try to go out when they are inside.  Plus Zeus expects certain things at certain times. Yes, I am also working on not maneuvering my schedule around the dog, but making the dog fit around my schedule. I've made this mistake with boyfriends, and hopefully by practicing with Zeus I will learn to do this better.

6. I have found more uses for the internet. I can type in "coughing dog" on you tube, and figure out the dog has kennel cough by watching the video of another dog with the illness. I can search for whatever my question is, and there seems to be lots of answers, which is nice, because I can choose which ones fit my personality and way of training.

7. I am spending a lot more money. Not just on the dog, but the reason I stay away from stores is because it is too easy to pick up a few other things because they are useful and inexpensive. The trip to the store for the $12 Kong (recommended by just about everyone and shown in the picture) set me back about $112. Sure I "needed" everything I got, but ouch.

8.  We have more company now.  I am hoping this isn't a temporary increase, just to meet the dog, but more permanent, play with the dog, increase.  We have to clean more for this too, but I am enjoying the dog and the company.


Allie said...

Your post reminds me SO much of my friend Shirley. She got a dog after the death of her hubby, for protection. She has worked SO HARD on training her...her entire life has revolved around her dog. But she's reaping the rewards now. Just remember dogs need to know who Alpha dog is, and it's not them, it's you. If you don't let them know who's boss, they'll be insecure and be very bossy themselves! You're the pack leader.

The one mistake Shirley made was getting into a contract with PetSmart, for vet care. She had a horrible time getting out of it. She was too distraught to read the fine print when she signed, and when her contract was due for renewal, she did and was appalled. It took weeks and tons of phone calls to cancel.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Yes, I did! Yes, you can and should, and yes, I love it! He is a beautiful dog and I am really going to enjoy reading about how he trains you and your family!

Yvette said...

This post made me laugh. I have had at least one dog since I was 5. I honestly don't think I could live without one. Everything you said makes total sense though if I were to put myself in your shoes.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Oh, how well I understand! I have a friend who just lost two older dogs within a relatively short span of time and she is, naturally, heartbroken. She is going to get two new puppies, it won't take her long to remember the energy that is going to require! Sounds to me like you and Zeus are settling in together just fine.

Barb said...

Boy can I identify! especially when the trip to the doggy store ends up 3x more that I thought.
But she's so appreciative, how can I deny her?

Tanya said...

Good for you! I have learned that the dog owner (me) has to be consistent. If I don't want my dog to pull today then I better remind her that I don't want her to pull tomorrow. Unfortunately I am NOT very consistent and thus have a poorly trained dog. But that's the owner's fault, not the dog's.