Adopting another being to live in your home creates a shift. Energy and routines change. I find myself there. Zoey and Mercedes, the kitty, are developing an uneasy peace. Uneasy more from Mercedes’ point of view. She understandably gets riled up at this giant creature who puts a big paw on her and insists that she play. Zoey is getting over all of the moving and transition stress of the past months, which included a UTI. And I am working through keeping the peace at 5:30 am when I get up to write (cat comes to wake people up, dog bangs on crate and tries to chase cat). Thirty minutes later, I find myself, feathers ruffled, at the computer asking, “What just happened here?”
Opportunity happened. Opportunity to love unconditionally. Unconditional love is not a pretty package with a tight golden bow. It includes the expense of time and relationship. That’s what I tell myself, at least, after the un-Zen moments.
Zoey’s trainer came on Wednesday evening. Our first session was three hours that included background info on how dogs really view our behavior towards them, followed by feeding and play ideas, and training exercises. Turns out that a lot of people’s wordy, “Coochy coochy, I’m projecting on you that you are my delicate little baby” behavior actually stresses dogs out. Like a lot.
After our first two 15-minute practice sessions, Zoey got it – she doesn’t have to be in charge. Almost a week later, she is much more relaxed. She’s hopefully thinking, “I can trust these people. They’re not barking (no pun intended) mad and will protect me.” And – she NO LONGER CHASES THE CAT, unprovoked, at least. But she does follow the command to “desist, IMMEDIATELY, sister!” We work with her daily on passive and attentiveness training, as well as sit-stay-come commands, barking, etc. And I hope to have her more comfortable around cars before our next trainer session, which is leash and front door training.
Did I mention that she likes to dig in my vegetable garden?