Mixed Emotions

It’s Christmas Day as I write this, and I am officially 50 years old. Seems like I should have a better handle on life by now, but I still feel like I am struggling to get through the day sometimes. My son will be 18 in a few months, which seems impossible to believe, but is true.

Life with the puppy continues to have its ups and downs. He is six months old now and growing bigger everyday. Sometimes I look at him and am filled with regret that I got him because he makes me question my sanity, but other times I am overwhelmed by love for him and thankful for the joy he has brought to my life already. On a sleepless night recently, I went so far as to read the surrender information page on a rescue website and found myself sobbing at the painful thought of giving him up, although I still don’t know how I am going to make it through puppyhood.

A lot of the day is okay. He still takes frequent naps, and a marrow bone will keep him occupied for up to an hour. He gets hyper around 3-4 pm and usually enjoys a trip to the dog park as long as it isn’t raining. It’s hard for me to take him places because he pulls so hard on the leash and jumps on people as well. I took him to the pet store recently and it was a disaster!

Potty training is still hit and miss. He sometimes whines at me to take him out, but other times will just do his business on the floor in the kitchen or the family room. If I catch him, I tell him to stop and then take him outside immediately. I know I should keep him with me at all times, but it is difficult to do that. It would help if we had a way to put a gate at the top of the stairs between the kitchen and family room. But that would require replacing the existing half-railing with a pony wall, and I’m not sure if my husband is interested in doing that.

Other issues include chasing the cat sometimes (although sometimes he will leave him alone), barking incessantly when he is tired of being in the office with me or wants me to play with him instead of eating my dinner, and more recently peeing in his crate when we go out. We don’t use the crate for sleeping, only for when we are out of the house, and it’s not going so well.

I’m sure most of these problems are due to my lack of ability as a trainer. I am considering a private dog trainer to help me learn the skills I am missing and get things under control. We did a group class at the pet store for puppy skills and he did learn a few things but it was difficult to concentrate because he was too distracted by the other dogs. I’m thinking some one on one time with a trainer would be helpful.

So that’s my update for now. I still have hope that I can make it through and keep my sanity intact.

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