And even though he did leave me with this niggling feeling that he might definitely be right, did I calmly and rationally accept his sage words or at least give myself a little more time to ponder them? Or did I beg and plead and threaten eternal misery without a new puppy for our family?? You might have guessed it... definitely something more like the latter....
Hence, meet Prince!
Prince is our adorable adopted puppy (3 months old) who came to the Amar family about a week and a half ago after we casually went to the local humane society's weekly adoption fair without ever having officially deciding that getting a dog (or puppy dog!) was the right thing for us... but those eyes did me in (and my husband too... seriously he didn't put up any fight... which was my sign that this was our dog sent from heaven... *gush*...)...
Now although this was all exciting and fabulous (oh yeah, to our kids too, since, uh, my whole original point of getting the dog was for their overall benefit in ultimately becoming their most fantastic, highly-developed selves G-d willing... and of course because they are even better at begging than me)... I am now starting to acknowledge that bringing home a puppy on a whim, having no real sense of what taking care of a puppy entails or requires (equipment, time, training skills or otherwise), and doing so on a Friday afternoon when you're Sabbath observant Jews and pet stores, google puppy advice, better yet youtube puppy videos (thank you thank you thank you makers of said videos!! you guys rock!!), and the ability to launder and properly wash any puppy accidents will all have to wait at least the next 25 hours, might not in fact be something I would recommend to others :)
However, my life philosophy tends to be 'go big or go home' so bring on the erev Shabbos puppy love!
So without any restraining tools (puppy gate, sleeping/training crate, fenced in yard...) and basically zero clue how to train a puppy (potty, behavior, or basically anything), Prince came home to our excited and loving family.
Now let me take a step back for a second and explain why the idea of getting a dog even came into our (my?) heads...
I'm kind of obsessed with my kids (when I'm not whining and complaining about them) and figuring out how to raise them to the best of my ability, and I got the idea that a dog might magically provide so many benefits (responsibility, compassion, sensitivity, self-confidence, easy-going-ness.....) and I'm actually still hopeful (and somewhat confident) that this might still be the case in the long run b'ezrat Hashem. Just don't ask me how many times this week I had to google 'why have a dog' for reassurance!!
Yet in the first ten days of dog ownership, I have found that in fact I was the one who needed 'dog therapy'!! Prince is adorable and delicious and has a precious personality. He's also like a toddler with jaws and no diaper running around my house- eek! Accordingly, I have been playing serious catch-up this week trying to figure out how the heck to deal with him! Working hard and with my family members doing a decent share of the work, I have already boasted a few times about my great relationship with my new canine friend. But I have already messed up a few times too... and in trying to correct my mistakes and figure out what to do for the future, it occurred to me that these dog training/ dog care principles I'm learning are actually almost identical to proper child-rearing strategies and adult self-development skills... so if I can just figure out how to do them with the dog (who doesn't give me a choice but to figure them out!!), then perhaps I will dramatically improve my own character traits while also becoming a much better mom to my kids!! WOW! Didn't see that one coming!
So while the details are for another post, some highlights of what I might have to look forward to are:
- managing the environment rather than disciplining (create the routine and behaviors you expect rather than waiting for things to not be the way you want and communicating that through punishment... rather be planned and pro-active with A TON OF POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT)
- don't ever use fear or anger or harshness when teaching
- be consistent!!! how else can the one you're teaching know what you want from them??!!
- don't get frustrated- be calm and patient (good one, right?)
- create a routine so they know what to expect
- give them enough attention
- your love & attention is the best reward
- don't bribe! they should do what you say/ask because they respect you...
- enjoy them
- predict their needs
- expect their success and act with their best intentions at heart
Ok, not that I'm totally failing in these areas, but I definitely need positive reinforcement!! haha you can tell i love my pup, i'm already trying to use dog training puns...
anyway, at the current moment we're still loving him and excited even though it has already been a whirlwind after only a week and a half, but I'm hopeful that the love and lessons he will bring to our family (for both me and my kids, and hey maybe the hubby too), will make it all worth it... as I explained to my kids the other day, it's ok that it's sometimes hard taking care of the dog because all the best things in life require hard work, and they were my case in point... they all got it.
Wish us luck!!!