It happened. Last night I hit my "I can't deal with this anymore" moment. Hurley, as is usually the case these days, was a complete jerk at the shop for most of the day. As he gets older, he is sleeping less. This means more time during the day when he is completely and utterly bored at behaving in the store and decides to bark at me. All. The. Time. As you can imagine, this is not a behavior that is either appealing to my customers nor one that I can ignore when I have a customer in the store. I attempt to shush the first two barks; by the third he's delegated to the slammer (aka, the store kennel). I know. It's all sorts of bad to punish your dog by putting him in a kennel but I am out of options. Other than a new rule. Coming to the store is a privilege, not a puppy right. We are going to scale down his presence in the store until his attention barking is a thing of the past and he gets 2 days at the shop per week instead of 4. And the first bark, not the 3rd, prompts a timeout.
But Hurley wasn't the only straw to break my back. I got home to sofa pillows on the floor and an accident on the couch (thanks, Maggie) and puke in one of the kennels (we're going to assume this is Sadie just to spread the blame around). These two things normally wouldn't frustrate me in and of themselves - it's not Maggie's fault she has accidents nor is it Sadie's fault that dogs occasionally puke.
But then I get to cooking some fabulous Bacon Mac n Cheese for dinner and ALL THREE dogs decide that this is the perfect time to disregard staying out of the kitchen when Mom's cooking and do their best to lick the floor of any errant bacon grease, trip me, demand attention while I'm attempting to do a bazillion things at once cooking-wise, get in the trash (OK only Hurley), get in the recycling (again only Hurley) and I LOST IT. I yelled. Loudly. And for once, it wasn't just at Hurley. It was at all 3 of them. Repeatedly. I don't yell that much and extremely rarely at the girls. But I had had enough - enough not listening to me, enough of Hurley being a complete and utter dick, enough of cleaning up doggie accidents, enough of not being able to cook in my own kitchen in peace. And I let them know it.
By the time the Hubster got home, all 3 were pretty cowed by Mom's rant and were doing their best to avoid me by hanging out in their kennels. So cowed that they were barely excited to see Dad (I felt pretty bad about that).
And I hate to say it but Hurley being cowed/remorseful is progress. This is the puppy who just doesn't give a sh**. He will jump on the counter in front of me, get in the garbage in front of me, steal food from my plate while I am holding it. And whether we redirect or reprimand, he is never ever dissuaded from attempting the same thing 5 seconds later. I hate to yell at him but whatever tone I had in my voice last night finally prompted him to show a little hesitancy about being bad.
And while I felt OK about Hurley and I coming to some sort of an understanding, I feel awful about yelling at the girls. After we ate and settled down in front of the TV, I discovered some discharge from Maggie's woman parts (read: Urinary Tract Infection) and a hot spot on Sadie's belly. Poor girls. They weren't feeling well and I took out what was mostly frustration at Hurley on them.
Raising a puppy is hard work. I'm glad this blog will be here next time we think about getting a new dog. Future Sarah: Adopt an Elderdog!