Friday, October 1, 2010

Well...HERE'S What:

If you've been following the Dog Saga (see most recent post) you know that we have had some biting going on; a friend of my daughter's as well as my wife.  In subsequent days, I have also been nipped, in the act of putting on a doggie raincoat.  My family and I had made an agreement before taking on the dog that any biting was an immediate deal breaker.  One bite and gone.  One strike and you're out.  They have reneged and I am very unhappy.

Instead we have re-consulted the Dog Listener.  Her advice is that we have a very, very stubborn dog who is nervous rather than vicious.  He does not understand his place in the pack and thinks that he is being forced to be, you should pardon the expression, Top Dog.  It is making him stressed.  Her further advice was to continue with the training techniques we have already begun and to additionally otherwise ignore the dog while around the house.  No playing, no eye contact, no petting, no encouragement outside of his other training.  I have no problem with this, apart from the fact that we are doing it at all rather than approaching his previous owners about taking him back.

The stubborn little so-and-so has, of course, dug in his heels and is resisting us mightily.  We were warned by the Listener that things might get worse before they get better.  They have.  We have had indoor urination every day since beginning the newer regimen.  Often it's occurred right after his regular trip outside, so it's some dog thing, and not relieving an urgent physical need.  I am very tired of dragging our carpet steam cleaner up from the basement.  And I don't think it will improve soon.  We have to lock him up when we have company.  We have to lock him up when we go out.  And we have to lock him up during the night lest I step into a puddle on my own nocturnal trip to the john.

I don't want to do this any more.  Any affection I may have begun to feel towards the animal is rapidly dissipating; I am strictly continuing with this (as opposed to delivering an ultimatum) because I love my wife and daughter and don't want to add to their unhappiness.  But the unhappiness and stress that I am experiencing is, I believe, influencing my already shaky health situation.  My Crohn's Disease has been flaring up badly for over two months in spite of prednisone therapy, a massive increase of my immunosuppressant drugs, and every trick that my gastroenterologist can think of to try.  I believe that the continued stress of living with the dog and the problems he has brought with him are at least partly responsible, and I have no idea how to balance my concerns and my health with the desires of my wife and daughter.  I refuse to let this situation jeopardize my family or my marriage, but I am deeply worried about my own health.  We have some college-search trips planned for the near future and in my present state, I have no idea how I am going to be able to make them.  Well, you get the idea.

I can only hope that these latest techniques cause a breakthrough soon.  Because otherwise I don't see how I can deal with this for very much longer.

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