Raising my dogs feels a lot like having children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not under any delusions that my three furry kiddos are human children. They don’t sleep in my bed; heck, they’re not even allowed upstairs where the bedrooms are. All three of them walk on a leash, including my four-pound, runt of a Min Pin. They eat twice a day, do not get people food and have fabulous dog manners… most of the time.
But I often equate it to having children because my dogs have definitively oldest, middle, and youngest child syndromes. My Min Pin is super bossy, very bratty and darn right domineering. My male Doberman is quiet and gentle and often is put in the middle of the fights. And my youngest is positively insane and the least trained of the three. I didn’t intend it to be that way, but, much like a third child, by the time you get your third dog, you are exhausted.
Yes, we chose to adopt her… sort of. She was unplanned because I’m soft. Though I had wanted a third dog, I did not want a third dog who was only six months different in age from my then puppy Doberman. Not ideal. She’s destructive, energetic, and tries my patience every day. And she has gotten away with being significantly less trained than the other two because of her destructive nature. Which seems like the opposite of what it should be.
When the other two hit their terrible twos, which is about nine months old in dog years, we solved the issue by leaving the leash on them in the house all the time when we were home. We happened to pick the two breeds in the dog world that are both insanely intelligent and smarter than us. This means that they had a combination of willful disobedience and intelligent manipulation (I once told my male to go to his bed and caught him standing on it, but using his feet to scoot is across the floor. Not technically breaking the rules, but I nearly died of shock that he was that smart and manipulative) that has actually brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I can remember sitting at home with my new Min Pin puppy and crying because she wouldn’t listen and was so awful. I routinely told my husband that we couldn’t keep her. But good dog trainers go a long way.
So, with our second dog, I continued to cry, but had the tools necessary to keep him more in line. But when we added a third puppy to the house, another Doberman, two large breed puppies that were very young and crazy were about all that my sanity could handle. She would chew through and eat the leash when we tried to leave a leash on her. She willfully disobeys and not much we do helps the situation. She doesn’t mind the taste of bitter apple, bitter yuck or hot sauce. She gets too excited to hold a stay when someone new is at the door and I haven’t had the proper low stress level to try to work through these things.
So, at two years old, she’s the worst behaved dog of the bunch and a constant embarrassment to me. We’ve tried treats, praise, and vinegar water. We’ve done bags of chains as a loud noise that she doesn’t like and we’ve tried “shunning” her. Nothing works for more than about three seconds. She has, what I call, doggy ADD and her attention span is shorter than a fruit fly. So we definitely have an oldest, middle, and youngest “child,” so to speak. And my sanity can attest to that. I hope that this summer will mark a turning point for her, both in age and training. Fingers crossed that we can get her back in with the dog trainer to solve some of her issues… And she’s lucky that she’s so stinking adorable and affectionate because I’ve definitely had days where that was her only saving grace. Though, if you are friends with me on Facebook, you will definitely see posts all summer long that start, “Three dogs for sale. Free to a good home, the sane need not apply…”