Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rocky: Ruining my expectations of what raising a dog is like

The puppy.

Or more precisely, “GAH. THAT STUPID DOG.”

You know, back before I had children, and I thought that I never wanted children, I wanted dogs. I’ve always been a dog lover. I was raised my entire life owning a dog. There was Ben, my beagle that lived to a ripe old age and died. Muffin, my dashaund that ran away after a week. Pongo, the dimwitted dalmation that pissed all over the house until finally one day, he disapeared. Lady, the friendly mutt whose only downfall was that she loved to run... and eat garbage. The day she barfed maggots all over the dining room floor was the day she went to live on a farm. Honey, the tiny, sweet little Yorkie that got smushed by a heavy oak chair. And Rosie and Peanut, those yappy little terriers who live with my mom and dad.

Ok, so maybe all of “my” dogs were actually my mom and dad’s dogs. But I did own a cat once. He was the best pet ever. I miss that cat. Mostly because he didn’t constantly pee under my Christmas tree and poop behind the recliner on a daily basis, or nip at my ankles in an attempt to continually herd me, like that stupid mutt ROCKY.

I love that dog and hate that dog all at once. He’s cute when he’s sleeping. He’s not so cute when he’s in biting puppy mode.

Obedience classes are in the picture, mostly because I think both Ryan and I are clueless as to how to train and discipline this dog.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good dog... for the most part. But there have been a few times, like last night, when we were playing and he latched on to my cheek. Or leg. Or hand. And let me tell you how much Lyric enjoys when he chomps her fingers.

It’s much easier to raise a child than it is a dog. Although when you combine the two, life gets much more complicated. And then your kid starts biting you and whacking your dog on the nose because that’s what she sees all day.

So here’s the deal. I don’t want to be my next door neighbors. When we told them we got a dog, they looked at each other in horror and both said, “WHY???” with looks of shock and terror on their faces as if we had just told them that we were solely responsible for the Holocaust. Turns out that they got their son a dog a few years back, and it sounds to me like they were dog training failures. The dog ran wild through the neighborhood, one time holding up a baseball game because it was on the field and my neighbor couldn’t catch it. The last straw came when it jumped on a little kid down the street and broke his glasses. The entire family of the kid showed up at their house fairly enraged, and the neighbors had to pay the eye doctor bill. Soon after, the dog went bye-bye. They didn’t say where the dog went, but I had the eerie feeling it involved a shot gun and a shovel.

I don’t want that to be me. Or my dog.

So, dog owners, and I know there are a lot of you that read this... give me your training advice. I realize that Rocky is a puppy, and while I’m not terribly offended by his pooping and peeing in the house, it’s his jumping and biting that worry me. How do I stop that without using force? It’s easy to get frustrated and swat the dog on the nose or the bum, but I don’t want to do that, especially with Lyric around, because she’ll start to think that that’s how you’re supposed to treat a dog. And that’s a no-no.


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