The first weekend Guinness was home he stayed where ever we put him and was so calm. The Roc was interested in him, he wanted to be near him, and even wanted the puppy in bed with him while I read his customary three bedtime stories. I was so excited for what seemed to be a great start on adding another little being to our family…until I opened the crate on Monday morning…and a new dog came out.
A dog who wouldn’t stay where I put him, wanted to explore and sniff everything and everyone. A dog who was turning into a bit of a wild thing. Dogs getting in your face and sniffing is what the Roc has a problem with, and so he suddenly had a pretty big problem with Guinness. He didn’t want to be near him anymore for fear of the dog sniffing him. He screamed when Guinness made a move in his direction and hopped on a chair every time the dog got too close. In typical GC fashion he doomed their relationship and feared we made a big mistake in bringing Guinness home. (GC is a self proclaimed pessimist, just ask him.) But I knew better.
I started talking to the Roc about being quiet, calm, and moving slowly around Guinness. I explained that puppies are attracted to lots of noise and fast movement, and if he didn’t want to attract Guinness’s attention he needed to take it down a notch. He tried and even though it was hard for him, and he still had moments where he just couldn’t seem to control his reaction, he has managed to slow down. Over the last week the Roc started to interact more with the playful puppy Guinness has turned out to be. He is always interested in what the puppy is doing, runs to get the dog to chase him (just don’t let that dog bark!), and he still wants the puppy to come in bed with him to read stories. He just doesn’t want the puppy to sniff his face, but he will be still and allow him to sniff his hands, feet, and legs.
A pretty big deal for him. Working through his fears. Adapting. Rolling with changes. Dealing with the unexpected. Learning how to behave around a dog. Keeping quiet instead of screaming. Walking when he really wants to run. Controlling his reactions. In fact, all of that is pretty huge for him. He needs reminders and sometimes I hear him reminding himself “walk, don’t run and he won’t chase you” as he eyes the dog and scoots past him.
Even though he was slightly afraid of the dog, if we asked him if we should give Guinness back (we never would) he would say “NO!” Whew! I didn’t want to have to say “Well, we’re keeping him anyway” if he would have said yes to giving the dog back! I knew he liked the dog so I was pretty sure of his answer before I asked the question. I knew we just had to work out the kinks between the two. Teaching the Roc how to behave around Guinness, and teach Guinness to give the Roc some space. Both are doable.
Guinness is still enamored with the Roc. It’s true, puppies and kids just go together. When the Roc enters the room Guinness’s little puppy ears perk up and his eyes seek the boy out. The screams and fearful energy coming from the Roc last week haven’t deterred the puppy from wanting to be around him. I am truly grateful for that. Guinness is turning out to be a pretty neat little dog.
Today the Roc was home from school because of the massive amount of snow we received over the weekend (he’s off tomorrow too…GAH!) and so he had the opportunity to spend lots and lots of time with Guinness. Today was the first day the Roc actually wanted to play with the dog instead of just watching him play. They played “Git Yur Ducky!” (get your ducky) and had a blast. The Roc would throw the duck, yell “Git Yur Ducky,” Guinness would chase the duck, the Roc would chase Guinness, and then they would reverse on the way back to me. It was hysterical to watch. Check it out.
He wore that dog out!
Now my next challenge is to teach the Roc that just because he wants to play “Git yur ducky!” Guinness may not. The Roc had so much fun playing with him that he wanted to play that same game three more times throughout the day. By dinnertime Guinness was done and the Roc had a little meltdown because he wouldn’t play.
More screaming, but for a completely different reason. At least Guinness was unfazed…