Every once in a while, I feel a deep appreciation for my sweet canine companion, Tetley. I had wanted my very own dog for my entire life - or at least since we had to have our family dog, Taffy, put down when I was a kid. I remember the empty feeling inside when I realized Taffy was never coming back. Over the years, I managed to satiate the need with other things, like loved ones, and food, and being in Nature. But there truly is a special place reserved in my heart for Dogs.
When my youngest child had his first birthday I began to feel that I needed something ... and my thoughts of having my own dog resurfaced. I thought it would be easier on me than having another baby, but I would turn out to be wrong about that one! By the time we found our puppy, my son was 1 1/2 years old, and my daughter was three. The first few days of puppyhood were satisfying. And then she started keeping me up at night, peeing and pooping on the floor, and running away in fear from anything loud - especially my two toddlers. All those little things were fairly easy to correct.
She was a wild little puppy, and I had incredibly high expectations for a dog. I knew she was going to be a big dog, and I tried so hard to be conscious of early signs of aggression or insecurity. I hired a dog trainer to help me learn how to be a pack leader. I crate trained her and put her on an eat-play-outside-sleep-outside schedule. She tested me over and over and over and over, and two months in I started to wonder if I had made a mistake in getting a dog. Every afternoon at nap time, I would take her outside and train her. Sit, stay, come, down. Things got worse before they got better. And even when they got a bit better, they also got a bit worse. She was highly independent (that's the Anatolian Shepherd), and was not very good at receiving affection.These challenges became more and more intense over time, and we ended up having to tie her up in the backyard because she was able to jump our 6 foot high fence.
And then we started taking her for runs ... and absolutely everything changed! We got her a remote training collar so she could run free in the forest with us, and we would have the ability to call her back to us easily. We used it on her in the backyard so she would learn that we are still her leaders. She has changed exponentially, and at five years old she is absolutely the best dog in the world. Sure there are things she doesn't always do well, like socializing with certain dogs, but I suppose not all humans get along either. She is a fantastic dog - she is the dog I always wanted, and she is perfect for us. I will probably never get another puppy as long as I live, because that was a whole lot of work, but I am so happy that I stuck with the daily training, exercise ... and her well-earned affection.
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