“You have got this” … “it won’t last for long”, “they will stop biting soon” “It is just a dog”
That phrase was one I used or others said back to me until I realised it was my cry for help. I was not coping with raising the dog in my home.
We thought that getting a dog would be the best thing. The kids would be involved. The dog would come with us to all the activities we do and life would be great. Yes, we would train the dog, and come on how hard is that. Anyone can train a sit. So we made the decision we got the dog. I knew it would be messy and possibly broken sleep for the first few nights but no one prepared me for what came next.
The feeling of stress. Why, because no one prepared for the biting, how frequently puppies pee and poop. That the pup would want to chase the kids and get into everything, eating the grass, digging in the flower beds.
When you sit back of course puppies do all these things but I was not prepared for this to all happen within the space of 30 minutes, whilst trying to train the kids to close their bedroom doors, pick up their stuff, not wave their arms, not kick out at the dog that was biting their slippers and nooo some one stepped in poop!!!!!
So baby gates were put up, rules were set in place, sticker charts for the kids were stuck on the fridge door. We were going to get this right.
But the stress of watching, managing this all, the responsibility I have, to be honest, it was exhausting and each night as I sank into the sofa to relax at the end of the day, with a glass of wine. The puppy was up and wanting to rumble and play.
So I decided to get help …
When I had had the kids, the family was over helping me out, we had an Early childhood center to go to normalize what was going on and share the highs and lows of parenting. So I enrolled in Puppy Class
Week 1 I felt overwhelmed again having to do homework and reading and monitoring toilet training.
So I did what we encourage our kids to do ask the teacher/trainer for help. I did what I would have done with the kids I talked to the midwife/trainer. I needed help
Every family is different, each of us raises our kids differently.
The common ground is our love for our kids and the choice we all made to have them.
This was our choice to have a puppy.
This was not just a dog this was a member of our family.
This was a symbol to our kids of how we had cared for and loved them. How we should treat animals with care and compassion. That the kids could learn how to care for them and train them. We wanted the kids to have that ability, to be able to take on that responsibility BUT how could they……… when I could not cope with this responsibility .
All they were learning from me was to be moody stressed, angry, frustrated. with funny, kind thrown in too
NO that was not what I wanted my kids to think was okay.
I wanted them to be in control, calm, open to seeing the fun and novelty of the puppy. I wanted them to be able to cope with picking up the poop, cause all animals poop.
So I needed help, to get my s**t together
IN came the voice of reason and experience . The trainer was non-judgmental, no lectures, no controlled crying, no time outs But answers and options and ways forward with management and training and a timetable that would work for our family
I had a way to manage the crazy times, the morning, dinner, bed, bath, and reading times.
So if you catch yourself saying “It’s Just a dog “… Get some help.
The joy that i had expected to come with having a pup in our family started to come back.
It’s not just a dog