Monday, October 1, 2012
A New Puppy Debate
Note: All pictures in this post are old ones of Storm and Jackal that I like so I reused them. :)
This is a debate I have with my husband and with myself fairly frequently. :) I want a puppy. A cute little Papillon puppy to be specific. My husband doesn't want a third dog. And logically I know now is not the best time because we're both so busy and money is tight (when is it not lol). So when I start wanting a puppy I go hug Stormy and Jackal and play with them to distract myself. :)
So what are my reasons for wanting a new puppy?
Reason Number One: Storm is getting older and I don't want Jackal to be an "only child". I know for a Siberian Husky that eleven isn't really old, but you never really know. With the recent losses (most recently and heartbreaking, the loss of the Relentlessly Huge Mango Man - go here to share your condolences with Mango Momma) of dear friends in blog-land it has me worrying about Storm. Before you think something is wrong with her, it isn't. Storm is fine. She's slowly going blind due to the cataracts and chronic dry eye, but other than that she's doing great. She still acts like a puppy, chasing Jackal around the house and picking on him to goad him into playing lol. Some days though she does act her age and those are the days I worry about the future with her. Life is uncertain and I don't want to wait until something happens to her to get a puppy. I want the new puppy grown and trained before anything happens, so that Jackal won't have to be alone (he's never been an only dog). I worry that if I wait until she's gone to get another puppy that I'll put it off or I'll select a puppy using my heart and not my brain or I'll have trouble bonding with the new puppy. After saying all that, being an only dog isn't the end of the world, so this isn't a good enough reason to just run out and get a puppy, hence the ongoing debate.
Reason Number Two: I'm an over-achiever and I always strive to be a better dog trainer. Storm was my first dog that I picked out, raised and trained all by myself. I made mistakes. I was learning through experience and by reading and watching dog training shows. When she was a puppy dog training was very dominance and punishment oriented (not allowing a dog to stare you in the eyes and using corrective jerks with a check collar to teach heeling). I wasn't mean to Storm and I didn't beat her, but I was very dominating toward her so we never developed a close relationship when she was a puppy. When I discovered clicker training and positive dog training things definitely improved with her, but she will never be as confident and carefree as she could have been if she'd been raised that way from the beginning. She trusts me now and is getting more confident with other people, but she does still get stressed in new places.
My second dog, Jackal, was trained using clicker training from day one with me at seven weeks of age. I didn't use scare based tactics like pennies in a can or dominance based tactics like making him move instead of walking around him. I used purely positive training with him. The only time I intentionally startled him was by clapping my hands if he went potty in the house. That was just to interrupt the peeing so I could take him outside. Everything I've done with him has been to build his confidence in himself and his surroundings and to trust me. I did a million times better raising Jackal than I did Storm, but as usual I made mistakes (because I'm human and always learning). He has his weird quirks like whining constantly in a vehicle or new places when he's nervous, still doesn't know how to heel or come when called (I have hang ups with both behaviors because I feel like I failed teaching them to Storm so now I'm too chicken to try for fear of failure), never did get our therapy dog certification like I wanted (don't worry we still can), etc. There are things I'm very proud of though like teaching him over forty tricks, that he's calm and accepting of baths and nail clipping, that he's so confident with strangers, etc. Because I'm an over-achiever I want another puppy so I can do even better than I did with Jackal lol. That's a totally silly reason to get a puppy, so yeah the debate continues.
Reason Number Three: I love dogs and dogs training! In an ideal world I'd be a successful dog trainer who would have the chance to work with every breed of dog, would teach people how to train their dogs and give them the best life they can have and would rehabilitate dogs so they can have a second chance (okay starting to sound like I want to be the dog whisperer LOL). Actually my number one dog related dream job would be to train police dogs! That would be the coolest thing ever. Anyway, since I'm too chicken and inexperienced to do those things I just enjoy training dogs for fun. I can always train Storm and Jackal more tricks and behaviors (if only I could get inspired and think of something to work on!), but there's nothing like training a puppy!!! They are such a clean slate and always learning and everything is so new and exciting for them. I miss that. :) Again this isn't a legit reason to get a new puppy at this time, so that's why I don't have a new puppy even though I really want one hehe.
Sorry if this post was totally boring. I couldn't think of anything else to write and I've been way too absent on the blog, so I wrote the first thing that came to mind. :D Thanks for reading guys!! Want to share your reasons for wanting a new puppy??