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Witness the destruction

February 25, 2011

Destroyed door mat

Redesigned doormat, courtesy Kipling and Beckett

Our beagles are in training. Canine Good Citizen training. We heard our neighbors were complaining. Well, at least one neighbor was complaining. So we hired a dog trainer. She gave us lots of ideas about games and obedience and some tools that might help. We are trying to adjust to a new schedule with new rhythms. It’s challenging, but I think it’s slowly starting to work.

First, we changed their diet. We learned that a lot of behavioral problems can be influenced or exacerbated by a poor diet. Apparently, most of the commercial dog foods are made with low-quality ingredients and meat from sick and diseased animals. Gross. So we are transitioning them to Sojos. I bought a bag of the muesli, to which you simply add water, and let the mix soak in the fridge. You add a little fruit or veggies, and a bit of meat, then serve. So far, it has been pretty easy. Dog are omnivores, and they can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. I didn’t know what the boys would enjoy, so I started off with some frozen peas and carrots. I haven’t ever seen them so happy to eat! Even though it is more expensive and more labor-intensive, it makes me feel good knowing I am feeding them healthier food that makes them so satisfied.

I also bought two D.A.P. diffusers, one for each room of our apartment. The “dog appeasing pheromone” is supposed to be calming, mimicking a mama dog’s pheromones. Since this substance is odorless and does not affect humans, it is hard to say whether it’s real, or a bunch of hooey, but I am willing to try anything to calm Kipling down when we’re gone.

I have paired this with some “calming bites,” which are treats with calming herbs like chamomile. Again, it’s hard to say whether this is having any effect, but at least the guys think they are tasty.

Meanwhile, Beckett has a chipped tooth. I am not willing to go to a special doggy dentist to get him a root canal. So an extraction it is. Which means anesthesia and still not a small amount of money. We have started brushing their teeth. Beckett still won’t let me clip his nails. They both hate bath time, but they endure it.

This has led to a complete overhaul of our routine. We are trying to get up earlier. I am not a morning person. Although I do enjoy getting a lot of housework done, looking up and realizing that it’s only 9:30, I dislike getting hungry at 10:30, and I’m having trouble functioning on less than eight hours of sleep. I am also not good at going to bed early. I have been staying home more so that they are left alone less. However, the worst part of our apartment is that it is rather dark and cave-like inside, and being in a cave all day with only the company of beagles is starting to take its toll. I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I write this now sitting in our office, with five other humans sitting near me. It is a relief, but I also have a nagging worry that Kipling is whining and barking and scratching whenever I leave the house. Will he ever be comfortable by himself? Will I ever trust that he is OK when I’m gone?

What has me most worried about this whole process is that we adopted our pups without really knowing what we were getting ourselves into. We are “casual dog owners,” according to our trainer. Which is fine, but I am plagued by the feeling that I should have known more. I love our dogs, and even with their problems, I wouldn’t ever want to give them up. I want them to have good, happy lives, and I have often felt lately that I am not properly equipped to give them what they need to feel successful and secure. But I can give them love. I wonder if that’s enough. Surely love is better than no love, but they need more than that. The picture above proves that. Can I learn to be a benevolent and effective pack leader?


One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 4:48 pm

    This reminds me of the days when my service dog was a puppy. He was so destructive. I love the picture.

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