It's a face only a mother could love. (Oh come on who are you kidding. You know you love that face as much as I do. How could you not.) We may not have a child, but we are definitely parents. And this was hands down the best way to ease into parenthood. I highly recommend getting a puppy first. This lil pup has taught me a lot. But I have definitely had some some puppy parent fails. And here are 5 of them.
1). Buoy sleeps in our bed.
Our trainer would call this an EPIC fail. According to her, it means Buoy thinks of us as siblings or den mates rather than parents or authority figures. And we definitely have our moments when we struggle to re-gain the upper hand, but I wouldn't trade him sleeping in our bed for anything. I even give up my leg room most nights, just to make him happy. And room on my pillows other nights.
2). I give in to his demands when we are traveling on an airplane.
I know, I know. I should stand my ground and be firm when he starts to paw, scratch and whine to get out of his travel condo (aka cage) under the seat in front of me. And I do for awhile. But then he lets out a bark and I freak out about the people around me and let him poke his head out. Thank goodness all of the flight attendants and people around us have been dog lovers. (In his defense, it was REALLY hot down there the last two times we've flown). And then I spend the rest of the flight hunched over making sure he stays calm and comfortable. And giving him ice cubes. They make him happy. Yes, my dog is weird. When he was a little puppy, air travel didn't phase him. He slept the whole time and didn't make a peep. Apparently I got spoiled. Now that he is older and has an opinion about things, oh boy does he let me know when he is NOT happy. And I completely cave. Fail.
3). I introduced him to plastic bottles.
I always carry AT LEAST one raw hide bone in my purse. Sometimes two or three (other dogs I have learned get jealous and want their own). Along with a toy or two. Yes, I carry a purse the size of a diaper bag so that all of my dogs needs are met. Raw hide bones are the only thing that can withstand his puppy teeth for more than a nano second. So we always have a large supply on hand. Until one day, we were out and about with Buoy, and I didn't have any raw hides in my purse. Fail! So I used an empty plastic water bottle as a substitute. And it worked really well. Until the wrapper was shred into pieces everywhere and chunks of the plastic bottle were scattered. Huge mess. And now, of course, Buoy LOVES plastic bottles. Can't get enough of them. Tries to steal them when they are still full of liquid. Yup. I'd call this one a fail. But they work in a pinch!
(At this point I have to apologize for the quality of most of the photos in this post. Quick cell phone snap shots. And this one was the worst. It was the closet thing I could get to a not-blurry action shot. Fail!)
4). Buoy hates my father-in-law.
But he loves my dad. And he loves my mother-in-law. And pretty much everyone else in the world, except my father-in-law. I don't know why, I don't know how. I've tried to understand, but I just don't. One day not too long after we got Buoy, he went from loving my father-in-law to hating him. And proves it by marking his territory whenever we are at his house. It is the ONLY time Buoy has accidents inside. I have tried to train this out of him. I've tried forcing Buoy to spend time with him to learn to like him. Hours on end. But nothing has worked. And for that, I am a puppy parent failure. And I feel horrible anytime we are at my in-laws. Because even when I watch Buoy every second while we are there, he finds a way to say "I really don't like you."
I'm really glad my father-in-law is a good sport.
And yes, this is a picture of Buoy sitting as far away from him as possible, while still being comfortable on the couch. Even Buoy has his limits of hatred vs comfort.
5). I leave him 5 days a week.
I know that this happens to lots of dogs. But nothing makes me feel more like a puppy parent failure than going to work. I HATE leaving him all alone for hours and hours. I hate the look on his face as I walk out the door. I love finding him on the landing of the stairs, staring at the door, just waiting for me to come home. But I hate it. Because I know he loves me just as much as I love him. And he hates it when I leave, just as much as I hate leaving him. It is the best part of both of our days when I get to come home and see him. And then the next morning rolls around and I have to leave again. Fail.
I am guessing this all really good practice for me. (Although, if I have separation issues with my dog, someone please help my children!) Our white fluff ball, who loves unconditionally, is teaching me a whole lot about being a parent. We have our ups and downs, our successes and our failures. And I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything. I love my little Buoy with all my heart and am so grateful I get to be his mom. Failures and all. And together, the three of us are a happy little family.