Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As Dog Moms, We Were Spoiled. Now, Not So Much. We Had 2 Choices.

Willa has been part of our family for over 3 months. As with all of our kids, with time, they decompress, settle into their new environment, begin to trust us, and adapt to their new routine. They come out of their shells. They become more affectionate. They know they're going to get fed regular meals and snacks. There's plenty of playtime, snuggle time, outdoor time, etc.

When Willa first joined our family, she cowered a lot. If she was curled up on the sofa, bed, or love seat, and we approached her, she'd cower and shake. If she found refuge in her opened crate in the home office, it took her several minutes for her to crawl out with prompting. She'd cower. Shake. Lick her mouth. Take a few steps out, but then a couple back in.

At the time, she also inhaled her food and drank a considerable amount of water at a time.

When she found a comfortable spot on the bed or sofa, any noise would send her jumping and on high alert.

All of these behaviors broke our hearts.

In the here and now, about 90% of these behaviors and habits have reversed.

Willa is more relaxed. She enjoys her food and, often times, leaves a little in her bowl for later. She no longer gulps down a lot of water at a time.

The only time Willa is confined to her crate is from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Most of the time, it's less than that. When I open her crate, she runs out.

She no longer cowers.

Willa has integrated herself into our family almost completely.

She sleeps with Coco, Sophie, and Lobo on the bed and sofa.

She no longer jumps up with every noise.

If I walk by her while she's curled up on the sofa or love seat or bed, she continues to sleep.

It has taken well over 3 months for all of that to happen.

The other 10% we're still working on is her attitude.

Willa is very persistent. She's a purebred Jack Russel.

When Willa wants to play fetch, she expects me, or us, to drop what we're doing and comply with her demands. Most of the time, we're able to do that. On a few occasions, we're not able to.

Once in a while, I need an extra minute or five to finish a paragraph or finish meal prep or finish whatever it is I'm doing.

"I'd love to play fetch with you, Willa, but give me 5 minutes to finish this up first."

Again, that doesn't happen often, but when it does, Willa's nose is bent out of shape.

So far, she has shredded 3 of my fabric folk art dolls, chewed a hole in our love seat located in the home office, chewed a hole in our new comforter, and pulled the stuffing out of one of the store bought doggy beds.

We don't get angry with her. We actually find it a bit amusing. And, I know that sounds weird to most Dog Parents, but we take this behavior as a learning experience for us.

Up until we adopted Willa, Lisa and I were fairly lucky. Coco, Sophie, and Lobo didn't display any unfavorable habits. They didn't rip up shoes, furniture, steal food, chew holes in pillows and blankets, etc.

As Dog Moms, we were spoiled.

Now, not so much.

At that point, we had 2 choices.

The first, get pissed at Willa and scold her and post about her unfavorable behaviors on Facebook so our friends and family could sympathize with us.

The second, we could sit, observe, learn, allow her to train us, get familiar with a breed of dog that we've never had as part of our family, and embrace those challenges.

We've chosen the second.

Willa is incredible. She has made great strides since joining our family on March 2nd.

Coco, Sophie, and Lobo all adore her. We do too.

She's the perfect balance to our family. Since joining our family, Coco, Sophie, and Lobo have joined in for extended playtime and they each have a special game they play with her.

The journey has been quite amazing.

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