Dogs, Cats, and Anxiety

We have two dogs. One is a big big dog, in excess of a hundred pounds. He’s full of anxiety and is an excellent pet as long as you can accept his innate refusal to socialize or even leave our bedroom except for food and walks. The other is a younger dog, about half his size. We got her with the hopes that she would play with the big dog and make his existence less miserable. This has not come to pass.

The issue is her exuberance. We took her to dog obedience classes during the pregnancy, but although she did ok, it was less than a total success. She needs a lot of practice and reinforcement. That was as I was wandering into the really bad preeclampsia and I was already having to cut activities that put me on my feet, and I could not do it. The older children did it when they were home, but they spend a lot of time at their dad’s house. Really, it should have been on the husband to train her and he would not. No matter what I did or how hard I begged, he always found a reason not to do it. Result: the training is basically gone now.

She pulls on the leash. Nothing we’ve ever been able to do has been able to stop her. The best result came from using the easy walker harness, but last week she chewed through it and now all we have is her regular snap collar. I’ve been walking her like that, on a coupler with the big dog, and it’s been a struggle. It’s hard, because I do it with the baby strapped to my chest and so I have to really control her, which isn’t easy. And today, we had barely crossed the street when she pulled hard enough to pull herself off the coupler. I did not know that was even an option until today. She refused to come when she was called and took off towards the nearby freeway. I put the big dog away, put the baby in the crib where he would be safe, and took off running after her. I got her back fairly quickly but he was crying in rage because he’s never just put unceremoniously into his crib.

I finally got him soothed when the cat jumped up on the table next to me, knocking off my full glass of water, setting off the glass break. The alarm was going off, the baby started crying again, and I had to hustle to get the water off the various electronic components in the vicinity.

And I lost it. I’m so frustrated with the amount of time I spent on pet care, cleaning tasks that are due to or exacerbated by the pets, and the issues with the dog and her training. I’m already doing so much more than I’ve done in years, and it seems cruel to add dog training to that list. Why the hell isn’t my husband doing it? And he insists that he is working at his maximum effort level and cannot. I doubt this. I’m doing a lot of things now, things he had to do when I was on bedrest. He’s not doing those things, and therefore should have the hours he had been spending on those tasks available now. We’ve been going back and forth about it all day.

And that is how walking the dogs can destroy a Monday.

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