The match game part two
Fido… Come… Sit
By Yvonne Passmore
It’s been a few weeks now and my friend, her children, and Chloe are settling in. Of course, now come all the issues of having a dog with children. My friend is learning the delicate balancing act of incorporating a dog as a member of a family. She now deals with curiosity, insensitivity, unruliness, noise, exhaustion, running around, fear and clinginess. All of this applies to both the dog and her children.
Gone are the quiet mornings of sneaking a coffee before the children are out of bed. Chloe likes to greet her first morning outing with a pee and barking. Thankfully, she quiets on command, but I’m sure it wakes up the children along with the neighbours. Chloe doesn’t chew the children’s toys on the floor, but there’s no guarantee about lunch left on the sofa.
Taking a dog for a walk with kids becomes an ordeal. There’s boots and strollers, coats and mittens, leashes and poop bags, and the hope that no one gets tipped over or falls due to a lack of leash manners.
The commitment required to balance and live peacefully with everything that this entails is huge. It’s an endless lesson in patience and priority placement, and no easy task. It’s a great idea to have children grow with the family dog, and vice versa. If the dog is truly to be a member of a family, it needs to be with that family. It needs to go for walks with the family. It needs to live in the house with the family. It needs to be incorporated into and be part of the family unit. It’s much easier to crate or tie out the dog and tend to it after the family’s needs, but then it doesn’t become the family dog. That dog will become a whiny and uncontrollable annoyance.
Bringing any dog into a family, whether an older re-homed dog or a puppy, requires much thought. Saying you can make it work and actually making it work is a whole different ball game. There are ways of helping to ensure success and my friend is doing everything in her power to be successful.
So far, we do not have a match made in heaven. We do have a beautiful, sweet dog that is offering love and affection and a bundle of great characteristics. We also have a dog with issues that will work themselves out with time, management, age and training.
Since my friend and Chloe are still in the ‘honeymoon’ stages of their relationship, I’m sure there will be even more issues that are yet to be seen, but during the next few months of that honeymoon stage, other current issues may just work themselves out. Even Steven. Every dog has issues. We learn to work with them and around them and realize that dogs, like children, are works in progress and we need to give them time to grow and develop.
For most owners that have great dogs, like I do, they are never perfect and we can’t expect them to be. Heaven-made matches rarely exist, but great pet and family dogs do.
Contact Yvonne by visiting her website: www.fidocomesit.com for column suggestions, training help and info about her book.