I have yet to unmask the mystery that is my darling puppy. Alright...he's not actually a puppy (turned two in September), but he might as well be one. I will always remember the day that I adopted him, too....
One Sunday afternoon, I paid visit to the Humane Society. Now, as I've been to the HS many, many times before, I know how things work in this place. Men, women and children alike are first drawn to the two-pound mewing kittens and four-pound cooing puppies. They decide that these kittens/puppies are cute enough, and they instantly adopt them. Mind you, they never actually made it past the lobby into the dog room. After viewing this phenomenon a few times, I vowed to myself that I would adopt an adult dog. That day, I walked into the building, petted and spoke some rather embarrassing motherese to the puppies and kittens, and then walked straight into the dog room. Shortly thereafter, I spotted a 1.5 year old beagle mix in the corner. His coloring was completely a-symmetrical, and he had big, sad brown eyes. I put my hand into his cage, and he rested his chin on top of it. Sold.
I took him home, let him inspect the place, and then he and I snuggled up for a nap together. Yes, a nap. Not only was he adorably cute, but he was a cuddler. My first week with him taught me many, many more good things. He was house trained. He didn't chew on things. He could sleep just as long as I would. He didn't bark. He was...perfect.
He finally felt comfortable in my house. He became a little less shy, and a little more independent. He began to wake up earlier and earlier than me during our naps. He inspected my trash can whenever I wasn't looking( just showing me that I do not need to buy a paper shredder, for sure). He barked (a deafening, squeally pitch), at the sight or sound of other dogs. He demonstrated his love for chewing on chapstick, hairbrushes, and eventually, my glasses (see earlier post). Months and months of this activity have occurred, and none of my training methods to date have proven successful.
Of course, if he weren't so cute, I may have had a tougher time handling all of his shortcomings and his absolute refusal to learn. I by no means would have taken him back to the HS; but some days I do fight the urge to buy a pair of boxing gloves and give him a shiner (or two!).
So, as a last resort, I've trained MYSELF to doggie proof my room before I leave him unattended. And yes, even if know I'll only be gone for a mere 45 seconds, I must make sure that the trash can is unreachable, the laundry hamper is closed, the toilet seat lid is down, any food or food dishes are promptly taken back to the kitchen, and my shoes, yarn stash, and knitting projects are in the closet. Luckily, I picked up my knitting addiction AFTER I got to know my dog's evil ways. To date, my DP has yet to "frog" a project for me (*knock on wood*). Whew! He has, though, lovingly removed a few unused skeins of yarn from my knitting bag, but he never ripped or tangled them (even though he had hours to do so).
Why don't I crate him, you ask? There was a time when I thought crating him was my only option, but having him in there made me feel unbelievably guilty, so I gave the crate away. I did, however, give it a try for a few months, but in the end, it only made him more hyper when I let him out. More energy = more damage. I do not spoil him, which is an assumption I'm sure everyone makes when they see my dog's behavior. Beagles as a breed have a tendency to get very stressed out when they're not around people (which explains why he does these things only when I'm not in the room). I feed him dog food and denta-bones, and I do not give him people food. When he does something bad, he DOES get punished (and he knows he's done wrong even before my veins pop out of my neck and my eyes grow mad with rage). And he does not schizo himself into the Tasmanian devil as frequently as I've made it sound. He's my guard dog, my snuggle partner, and my child. I love him, and I'm glad that I'm patient enough to give him a home and a steady life.
I have noticed lately that he gets a bit jealous everytime I knit. He will try to lie on top of my working yarn and/or "accidentally" tangle himself in it, rest his head anywhere that is an obstruction to my needleworking, and last but not least, conveniently "whine to go out" the second I start to knit. I think he's just used to being the center of attention. If I'm not playing or cuddling with him, I'm definitely scolding or chasing him around the house.
I brought DP up for a reason. Tonight, I worked a 7 hour shift but did not remember to put my Talisman bag project (nearly completed) back in to my closet before I left. When I returned, the bag was still in its place (along with the 4 skeins of yarn I'm using to stripe it). I got lucky tonight. Very, very lucky.