I was feeling really guilty about whining about Pearl in my last post and I was going to write a post about the things I love about Pearl. But I am still so frustrated with her that I am just not in a place to write a cutesy post about the way Pearl’s ears go back when she is sleepy and lifts her head to look at you or how she gets excited to learn new tricks or how cute she is when she curls up next to me and stick her nose under the crook of my knees on the rare occasion when she is relaxing.
I understand that none of my frustration is Pearl’s fault. And it is not about her allergies or her being sick or anything like that. It’s about what I thought I would be able to do with my dog that I am just not able to do with Pearl and may never be able to do. I want to be able to go on walks with my dog without her lunging, growling, and snapping at every dog that passes and half the people. I want to not live in fear of her actually biting or hurting someone. Today she about yanked my arm out, made me fall down a hill, and I ended up carrying her down my entire block because she was so out of control barking at the neighbor’s dog out in his yard. I want to be able to let her out in the yard without her jumping the fence. I want to be able to have guests over without crating her in my bedroom the entire time so they don’t get jumped on, scratched, and nipped to death. I want to be able to have puppy play dates with friends’ dogs and not have to say when friends have all bring their dogs to a BBQ that we left Pearl at home because she can’t handle it. I want to not have Pearl bark (and bark and bark) at every car door and every person, animal, or leaf that passes by our house. I want to be able to sleep past 5:30 a.m. just one day a week. I want to be able to add a second dog to our family.
I realize this is all about I want, I want, I want and I feel selfish, but Pearl is my first dog and I just feel in a slump with her that I can’t get out of. We have been working hard, training, trying to do the right thing but maybe I don’t know enough or can’t do enough. I feel like we are not making any progress despite my best efforts. I am writing about my experiences with Pearl here to keep an honest record of them, so it doesn’t seem right to write something happy and fun when I am feeling so discouraged, even though I recognize that I am being unfair to Pearl. Better to vent my feelings here than let them affect my interactions with her. Because I do understand that this is not her fault. And I do love her. I love the way she smells. I love the way she looks at me during a training session with such intense focus. I love to watch her run whenever we get an opportunity to take her to a securely fenced area. I wish I knew how to make our current situation better. Maybe I have a bad attitude. Maybe I am a bad dog owner. I want to be happy, but I want Pearl to be happy too and sometimes I just feel like there is no way our lives will ever run smoothly. Am I a terrible person? Has anyone else ever felt like this? If so, how did you change your outlook, repair your relationship with your dog, and move things in a positive direction?