Nearly every night between 1 and 4 a.m. , this guy wakes me up to let me know that he needs to go potty. But, if I get up to let him out, I will not fall back to sleep. Instead, I will lay awake agonizing over things which upset me and I will be wrecked for the next day. So naturally, he takes care of business and returns to bed. Then, in the morning when I do get up, he either slinks directly to his kennel or walks down slowly and crouching looking at me asking with his sweet Baby Seal eyes “Are we good?”. I cannot be angry or punitive with him. I mean I could, but if he tells me he needs to go and I don’t do my part, what am I to expect? I realize there are effective training tactics or adjusting food and water schedule & access, which might help. And until I am ready to initiate those with consistency, it is unfair to punish him. Anxious and ashamed people and animals do not exercise their finest behaviors.
I am permissive with our dogs, possibly because I relate to having inconvenient needs of my own. But our pets do not belong to me– They, like my children, have been entrusted to me– and no matter what, we belong to each other and together. I catch myself becoming irrationally irritated over dog or age appropriate behaviors of those for whom I am responsible. The truth is I feel bothered only because, in the moment, the needs or demands seem inconvenient or disruptive to my own self-obsessed thinking.
I admit that I have been guilty of attempting to shame my dogs and children out of behaviors that vex me. Shaming is such a damaging and bullshit move. I can do better for them. One day at a time. I am a work in progress.
We are good, little guys. We belong to each other. No matter what. Always.Much Love,
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