Friday, January 30, 2015

Attention seeking..what I am learning from Willow

As many of you know we have a new yellow lab named Willow, she is very cute and smart.  We waited and discussed getting a dog for at least five years, now that we have the space and a seven year old son that I was sure would want to care for the dog it sounded like a great idea.  Sure I knew I would have my moments and of course my husband said the same thing he had said for the last five years - "are you sure, this is a big commitment".    I had visions of sitting on the back porch sipping tea while this beautiful stretched out labrador laid on the patio next to the lounger enjoying the water features - I think I must have seen that in a Frontgate magazine somewhere....I am sure of it.   How hard could it be, the dog gets on your nerves, you put them in the backyard, feed them twice a day, and that is it, friend for life right.   I wonder if I could sue Frontgate for false advertising.....  We have the lounger and have the puppy but I am not having that experience they are selling.

Our puppy is very sweet and even trained - many, many, many weeks of trained - but what I have come to realize is my expectations were completely misaligned with reality, not a new problem.  She has taught me the black and white of attention seeking, there are many ways to get attention - any kind of attention negative or positive, she honestly does not care she would rather be shocked, tapped with a stick and beat with a shoe simultaneously then not have our undivided attention.   The experience really has made me an expert in recognizing this behavior in others including my son so much clearer, I can spot attention seeking anywhere now.  I was always skeptical to believe that there was such a thing that someone or something would do something wrong just for attention.  

For example, she knows that shoes, pillows, towels and books are off limits yet if I am not doing exactly what she wants me to do she will seek out the best pair of shoes or the best pillow in the house and run around in circles until our household looks like a three ring circus - she knows very well that this will be followed by an unpleasant exercise of being tapped with the shoe and harsh sounding words or even worse she will be zapped with the shock collar - the trainer was very clear you can talk to your dog all you want, she really does not understand you, do not waste your time - when you have a 60lb dog running around with your favorite leather shoe or silk pillow and five people chasing behind it yelling "drop, drop, drop" and "where is the damn remote to the shock collar", "why are your shoes not in mud room?", "dxxx dog drop the shoe", it really does zap your energy level.

So we had a brilliant idea, she has too much energy, we will get her on a routine (walks, play time,etc.), take her to doggie day care, and we will install a dog run in the backyard, her very own sanctuary, she will be so happy and our shoes will be protected.  Well we now spend countless hours driving her to and from daycare, standing in the backyard throwing a frisbee while dirty dishes sit on the kitchen counter and well the quote for that came in for the dog run and now that has been placed in the "to think about" column, we all know that column - when you were young if your parents said "let me think about it", you knew that meant you had to go back to drawing board and come up with another way to pitch whatever it was you wanted at that moment in time.

I have witnessed the same behavior in my professional life as well, I promise I have seen it, you can act professional for weeks trying to get something done or approved,  everyone will sit there in countless meetings going ummm, ahhh, well what if and then finally you have a late night, you go into the discussion a little cranky , you raise your voice, you throw a grown up version of a temper tantrum and then the ball gets moving but you had to create a fire drill before anyone would get off their behinds and do anything.   We all know children behave this way, I am guessing as wives we can all remember that one moment where you lost it because your husband didn't do something and for whatever reason the escalation in emotion gets things going.      Same thing the dog does, she circles around for ten minutes waiting for your to play, pet, acknowledge and then comes out the leather shoe
and well you are up faster than you can imagine....

My question is "Why?"

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