Monday, February 28, 2011

Wally Goes To Daycare

Wally gets to go to daycare! My sweet little furry love has been pining for this day for quite some time. When he first came to us as a sweet little puppy he used to get to come out and play with Boo and my one daycare kiddo at the time. He used to go outside with us. We didn't have a fence, but he was small enough that I could catch him easily. Well, time went on and Wally got bigger and faster and catching him was soon no small feat. Around the same time my daycare went from one kiddo to four kiddos in a matter of two weeks. Needless to say Wally got booted from daycare.

It's been a long road since then. I've been a slow learner as a dog owner. I did not grow up with dogs and it's been an ongoing struggle knowing how to deal with behaviors that are, well, for lack of a better word, very doglike. How do I get this furry cutie patootie to stop getting into toys, knocking people over with his bubbly energy, and just driving me nutso in general? Well, there's no easy answer to that. I've tried a number of approaches. I know there's mixed thoughts on The Dog Whisperer, but I learned so much from reading his books. I learned about being the kind of leader that my dog needs. Also, advice from friends has been very helpful as I've grown into being a dog owner.

Anyways, back to Wally's history with us. Things improved a bit for Wally when we moved. We now have a yard. I remember thinking "This is it!" I thought that having a yard to run around in would magically turn him into this mellow dog that just lies around inside the house. No such luck. Wally continued to grab toys constantly, chew things up, and drive me nutty.

So what has changed? I think I have continued with the Dog Whisperer's idea of being an assertive leader to my dog. I have also really tried much harder to work with him outside of daycare hours. And somehow magically in the past few months or so Wally turned a corner. All of a sudden my dog listens when I say "NO!" from across the room. I have only to look at him with a certain look and he drops whatever toy he's decided to try out. Needless to say, he doesn't even grab for them nearly as much. It used to be that I felt every last toy had to be picked up before Wally could be out in the house. Now he just lives around the toys as they're being thrown around and he's done a wonderful job of learning that toys are off limits. This was HUGE and essential for him to be able to join daycare. He still goes for a toy now and then, but it's not the constant behavior that it was. I mean, come on, he is a dog after all - can you blame him for trying to sneak one every now and then?

Much more recently,he's also had opportunity to be outside with myself and the kiddos during outdoor play. This was a great place to start as there's more room for him to run. He's now so great with his play skills with the kiddos that he actually slows down and ducks his head as he runs past kiddos. He knows he'll get a strong "NO!" if he jumps up on someone. Some people don't mind their dogs jumping on people. I'm not one of them. I mind because the people that surround me day in and out are very little and despite Wally's small Corgi stature he's actually quite strong when he pounces up on somebody to say hello. So Wally has had to learn to become very good at this before I would even consider indoor play during daycare an option for him.

Fortunately I've never had to deal with aggression towards others. This would make daycare an automatic no for him. Wally is very sweet and loves playing with the kiddos. I can tell he's happier now. And he gets good and worn out! After a week of being out much of the day with the kiddos, I can tell he's getting used to it. He plays with the kiddos for a bit and then he settles down somewhere to gnaw on his rawhide chip or he follows me around waiting for his next petting!

I'm so very excited about this transition. Hurray for Wally!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Addictions We Are and Aren't Enjoying Right Now

Well, it's been a super long time since I've posted. I think all of my blogs are starting out with that sentence. Maybe it's just expected by now that I disappear from the blogosphere on a regular basis. I guess maybe I should feel encouraged by this really. Could it be that I have a real life? Hmmm...

Well, when I thought about updating on our lives, the topic that came to mind is addictions. Yes, addictions. I've been addicted to some new things lately and have had to miss out on others. Hubby has his current addictions and Boo also has his.

My current addiction is knitting. I think it might be a crazy nesting thing. I started on some knit Ugg-style baby booties. I have one done, but I admit that my fire has died a bit. Fatigue will do that to you! But I hope to get the second bootie knit quickly. It is a quick knit as the pattern says, but the first bootie wasn't so much for me. I had to learn some new skills - a yarn over, knitting into the back of a loop, switching colors, duplicate stitching, and slip stitches to name a few. There's a saying I saw once on a facebook flair (when fb had flair) that said "I knit so I do not kill people." Well, with this project it was more like "I knit and now I want to kill people." But I finally figured out some new knitting tricks and then returned to that peaceful calm that knitting is supposed to bring. Oh heavenly bliss!

My addiction that I'm missing out on right now? Coffee. Yep...there it is. After receiving bags and bags of coffee from different people for Christmas presents, I'm not even able to enjoy. I'm one of those people that's okay with having the one cup during pregnancy, but my preggo body will NOT allow it this time. I tried and tried to make it work, but in the end I had to part as just friends with hope of resuming the relationship later. No matter what I ate before, with, or after my coffee I could not get rid of overwhelming shakiness on days that I had coffee. Big shrug on that one - didn't happen with my pregnancy with Boo. But it's just not working this time around. So instead I just look at my coffee beans every now and then that reside by my toaster in the cabinet. And I wonder "How fresh will you taste when I can finally drink you?" And then there's a very still small voice that says, "You know, you've gone this long. You'd be better off without it." Hmph...I admit my relationship with coffee mirrors one of those awful codependent relationships featured in your typical Lifetime movie. But oh the rich and earthy goodness of a cup of joe.

I don't know that it technically qualifies as an addiction, but hubby is glued to schoolwork morning, noon, and night. Of all the things to be addicted to, schoolwork is a great choice. However, I must admit that it's made its impression on our family life and that is not always easy. But many achievements in life are never reached if sacrifices are not made. He is doing really well in his studies. This fall he'll be able to complete the application process for various nursing programs and move forward. Oh what a happy day that will be! It will still be a long road, but it will be nice to get past that second milestone. The first milestone was passed simply by getting our plan rolling.

I guess that brings me to Boo and his current addictions. We're all about the puzzles right now. I bought a puzzle for him - I admit it was after reading how a friend's child was doing really spectacular with puzzles with lots of pieces. I have no need for us to keep up piece for piece, but it made me think "Hmm...I haven't really tried more challenging puzzles with Boo." And so that one thought began Boo's current infatuation. His first love was a pirate puzzle complete with a sea serpent of sorts. He has put this thing together so many times that he knows exactly where every piece goes. I admit that I actually do too! After a week I had to get him a new puzzle because the thought of putting the pirate puzzle together one more time was nearly nauseating. So his next puzzle was a robot puzzle. And that began his second love. His puzzle collection has grown a bit more since then, out of a desire to keep my sanity and to keep him challenged. I will have to continue to add to this collection as I can as the addiction shows no signs of fading anytime soon!

Well, I guess those are our current happenings. After little baby gets here end of June/ early July I plan to break out some lovely bottles of wine that were lovingly bought for me for Christmas and reintroduce myself to my wine addiction. No one call AA, just a glass now and then does wonders for the soul!