Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mad Parenting Skillz

While the dude has been away, it has just been me and Nika at home. (Sidenote: You might remember I said that he was taking her, but since I didn't end up going to the states, it was easier for him to leave her at home).

I have learned a few lessons about my doggy parenting skills over the past few days. I am beginning to wonder if the way that I parent my dog is any reflection of how I will parent my future children.

Two examples.

Example One: Bribery.

I've mentioned before that Nika is a good ol' farm dog. She goes inside and outside as she pleases and just runs loose. For the most part, this is just fine. Except for that one time....

Anyway, she generally goes outside in the early morning, comes back in at some point during the day, if I'm home, to have a nap, goes back out in the late afternoon, comes in while we eat dinner and goes back out in the evening.

It's the fabulous dude's job to go outside and call her in when it's time for bed. She usually comes in around 9:30-10, eats her food and crashes.

Well, what we have discovered over the past 2.5 years is that she doesn't really listen to me very well. So, when I'm by myself it's a bit tricky to get her to come inside.

During the summer months, I just make sure to bring her in while it's still daylight. The problem is it now gets dark around 5 pm and she would NOT settle with being inside all evening. The reason I have to bring her in in the daylight is because once it gets dark, she knows she can hide from me because I won't be able to see her. Sometimes she just lays down on the grass and stays very still so I can't see or hear her.

Anyway, I realized that while the dude is away, and darkness sets in around 5 pm, I would need to find a new way to get her to come inside for the night.

So, I bribed her.

When I was ready to get her to come inside, I put on some shoes, grabbed a tin of peanut butter balls that my friend had made for me and went outside and started shaking them, yelling, "Niks, come get your treat. Come get it, little puppy".

Miraculously, within seconds she came leaping and bounding towards me like a kid on Christmas morning. As soon as she leaped with excitement into the garage, I closed the door quickly so she couldn't get back out and ushered her into the house. And yes, I gave her a piece of one of the peanut butter balls.

It worked so well, I did it the next night, too. Except this time I blind-sided her, and shook the tin of milk bones instead of peanut butter balls. I got the same reaction except I think she was disappointed that all she got was a measly dog treat instead of a delicious peanut butter ball.

Example Two: A Me-First Mentality.

One of the nights the dude was away, I awoke around 2 am to hear Nika barking and growling like crazy in the living room, right by the patio door. I'm sorry to say, but this makes me scared. In the middle of the night, while I'm all alone, it makes me wonder what, or who, she might be barking at out there.

Of course, logical-coherent me would assume that it's a racoon, a squirrel or a cat. But 2-in-the-morning me assumes that it's an axe murderer just waiting to prey on a innocent victim like me.

And then, of course, I "hear" (notice the quotations) a bang on the window and scratch on the wall and all sorts of other noises that indicate that the assumptions made by 2-in-the-morning me are, in fact, correct.

I burrowed myself under my covers, squeezed my eyes shut and willed myself back to sleep. The only problem was that I have this crazy habit that I cannot wake up in the night and get back to sleep without peeing.

For 20 minutes I lay awake weighing the risks. I could continue to lay here, try to fall back asleep without peeing and risk wetting the bed. OR, I could get up, run to the bathroom, do my business and go back to sleep. The second option clearly seems better except I do believe we are forgetting something ... OH YEAH, there is a killer on my patio.

So, I tossed and turned for 20 minutes, listening, hoping I could determine whether or not someone was out there. And finally, as I glanced out my bedroom door and saw Nika laying in the doorway - which also scared me because it implied that she felt the need to place herself between me and whatever was out there - I made my decision.

I would make a break for it towards the washroom and on the way I would glance at the patio door. If I did see a killer there, I would throw Nika in front of me for protection and run upstairs to my landlords for safety.

What a perfect solution.

Of course, as I sprinted towards the washroom and glanced behind me to the patio, I saw nothing on the patio. Nothing but some leaves blowing around and an old dead autumn mum.

But, as I peed and crawled back into bed, I couldn't help but feel a small twinge of guilt about the fact that I had planned to sacrifice my sweet pup for my own safety.

What kind of mother am I?

So there you have it. If I can employ half as much bribery, trickery and me-first-mentality with my future human children as I do with my four-legged child, I think we can all agree that I will be one fantastic mother.


The First-Year Wife said...

I would blame sacrificing the dog on your late-night mentality. So as long as nothing bad happens at night, your baby will be just fine. ;) ;) Or maybe you sensed that the dog would be able to take the intruder down for you.

As for the bribery thing, the mother of the kids I nanny for bribes her kids to do everything using oreos! It cracks me up... they go through about a package every few days for 2 boys!

Lucky in Love said...

We totally did the bribe thing with out dog when she would get out. She would rush out and then we'd go and get her leash and say, "Sandy, want to go for a walk?" And then she's come running....we'd throw her back inside...and put the leash away. Mean, I know. But funny thing is, she always came running :)

Brittany Ann said...

I bribe the dogs all the time. And hey, if big dogs aren't for a little bit of protection, I don't know what is. Isn't that why they're all loyal and all?

Jackie said...

Don't worry about your parenting skills--pets are entirely different than children. I promise. You'll do just fine! :)

Taryn said...

oh dear. You are pretty much the best. I HATE to be alone at night. Hate it. I used to think that a dog might help this- but now I see that a dog won't help- it will only make it worse! thanks.

(Oh yeah- we all know you will be a great mom.)

Jenny.Lee said...

Who doesn't bribe their dogs or even children at one point or another!!!?!!!

Kristen said...

haha! We have to use the "want a treat" method all the time to get our dogs in. They actually expect a treat once they go outside and come in. Actually Pancake will go out and come right back in for a treat. Spoiled much? Our dogs are in our backyard fenced in as we live in a subdivision but I still think I'd be too scared of them running away and not coming back so let them go out! But Bailey does hide and not move in the grass! What a pain!

Llama said...

Bribing your dog is totally different than bribing a child know that! I mean, I am sure that they may be a time that youll need to bribe your future children but dont worry everyone has to do it from time to time. The difference is the dog can never talk back to you!hehe! As for the whole..."axe-murder-lurking-outside-your-window" Im with you...under my covers...although im with you on the peeing if i wake up i would do the same past the window quickly, do my thing and go back to bed! Glad your safe sweetie! You dog must really love you!

Shaina said...

Hahahahaha...this is hilarious. LOVE IT.