Saturday, August 29, 2009

I thought I was a good parent. . . until we got a dog.

So I thought I was a good parent . . . until a few minutes ago. Ironically, I even got up early this morning and started a blog post about some parenting advice I had to offer which I thought was pretty good. I mean it wasn’t my best advice. You can read that here. It was my second best but, still pretty good, I thought.

Then my friend Lisa sent me an email and totally blew away my parenting illusions.

I am a bad, bad parent!! Or at least when it comes to “parenting” dogs.

Yesterday was my first day home alone with Lacy, our fairly newly acquired, furry, four legged, first ever pet in our married household. Although up until now I have had a child home to care for her needs, I thought I was up to the task. After all I grew up with dogs, and anyway, how hard could this be? Right?

But it was a miserable day. And I didn’t get a thing done because I was always having to play with, chase, clean up after, or walk the dog.

I called my husband for moral support and he just laughed, and laughed, and laughed—loudly.

So I called my daughter, a proud owner herself of two dogs. She also laughed and then told me I had to learn to be “Alpha Dog”. Huh?? I have never even heard that term before, let alone know how I am supposed to do that.

So, I emailed my good friend Lisa—also an owner of pets, and she wrote me back this morning. She didn’t laugh. She was mostly incredulous that I had allowed the dog to control my day like that. (Sorry, Lisa, but until your email I didn’t know I had a choice!)

She quoted back to me my email, " She kept snapping at my feet and arms, so I would take her outside and run her around--in the terrible heat--and then bring her back and a few minutes later, do it all over again." Lisa added---“Basically what you did was teach her if she snaps at you, you are going to take her outside to play. So of course she snapped again, she knew you would take her out.”

Apparently I was rewarding bad behavior.

Lisa went on to quote, "And when I tried to eat my lunch she went crazy for my food, so I had to lock myself in the office to eat," She then asked why I was the one on lock down and not Lacy. Good question.

It was at that moment I realized I was just like those indulgent parents I roll my eyes about. You know, the ones who think they have to give in to their children’s every whim out of fear their child will either throw a tantrum and make everyone miserable, or be ostracized by their friends because they don’t have the latest and best version of every form of technology.

I was being an indulgent parent.

So, thanks for the wakeup call, Lisa. And now I am off to learn how to be “Alpha Dog”.

Wish me luck!!


MissKris said...

hahahaha that's funny. You are a great parent. Your perfect kids are proof. And don't be too hard on yourself... Lacy's just a puppy. So this is like having a baby :)
I wish I could be a fly on the wall to watch the rest of the dog adjustment... funny picture.

Joy For Your Journey said...

Just so you know . . . MissKris is one of my daughters--hence the "perfect" comment.:-)

KC Mom said...

I think puppies are harder then babies!
We did the same thing, got our first indoor pet about 4 years ago. And I can honestly took us 4 years to get her to do what we want!

Lisa said...

I am reading and laughing... so funny. Hey, I remember your parenting advice post. That's when I first commented on your blog! A good day.

April said...

Just popped over from grammee's porch. I have a dog that I let know who is boss and it works out just fine. I walked around for the first week with a leash attached to her and me (around my ankle). This had a two-fold purpose. It let me know when she had to go potty. (Dogs start sniffing for a place to go right before they go) and the second reason was to let her know that I was in control. If I wanted her to move, she moved. When I sat down, she sat down....etc. She has been a great dog for us. Good luck to you!

Shannon said...

I have enough on my hands being a parent to children. Potty training them was enough to send me over the edge- and I could talk to them. Good luck with the "empty nest"!

Jenny-Jenny said...

Oh yeah. I remember those days. Puppies are not an easy venture. Good Luck Alpha.

Dave and Camille said...

Hahahahahahahaha. Enough said. :)You'll get it figured out, Lisa's advice was right on. Good luck! And thanks for the Sunday morning laugh!

Becky said...

At least a dog is easier to retrain than a child!

Momza said...

Take Luck!

Terri said...

Thanks for the good laugh.

GRAMEE said...

until i read this post i never realised how much my dog owned me..

i must change this.. i will no longer get out of bed when she tells me to.

Xazmin said...

Good luck! I feel your pain. Sometimes I think dog ownership is more trouble than it's worth!

kathryn said...

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I knew that one day you would appreciate my hard work each day! You're not a bad parent just a soft heart thats ready to be a grandparent. Do all the spoiling and leave the discipline to the parents. Unfortunately for you, Mother Michelle has school all day. This made my day!

M said..., you are funny. i agree with kris on the perfect children thing! once you learn how to be alpha dog, can you teach me how to be alpha dog on the weekends at 5 in the morning when lacy needs to go outside? that would be great...

JUST ME, THE MOM said...

Here's a great book that has helped me through many puppies :)

Good Owners, Great Dogs (Kilcommons)

It's a fun humorous read and it really works. Good luck! Enjoy!