Yes, she is a person. She is an adorable little human puppy. But Ranger is a dog, and he is just starting to figure these things out. So for today, she shall be deemed Rolling Lumpy Squeak Thing (RLST).
The baby has begun slow-mo flopping and flailing and can migrate herself from one end of the living room to the other, without crawling, over the space of a few minutes. And Ranger is quietly curious, but so far unconcerned. This is fabulous, but we are still starting to take greater precautions. So what does one do with a RLST and a dog in the home?
This one isn’t really about dog training. Okay it kind of is, but kind of not.
The header pic says it all. Take a look. I obviously don’t have it all solved. I have an ugly box of packaging stuff under my pretty desk. I have kid toys on the floor. There’s a DEER ANTLER on my floor. There’s a sweater in the dog bowl. The baby is still in pajamas.
But, there is also a quiet, happy Labrador safely tethered close to the baby, but out of reach. Together, but safe.
There are good solutions in the midst of sometimes-chaos.
I’m a human being with both successes and failures. And that is normal.
What got me thinking was a little fuss I saw yesterday on a Facebook group that I’m a member of. It’s a fitness group, and a couple of those NO EXCUSES “inspirational” pictures were posted. You know, like this:
Training today will consist of an attempt at telepathy.
This counts, of course, because I’m a Millenial, and we get a pass at new-agey voodoo stuff that our forbears would deride while working things called “jobs” and talking about 401ks and lawn irrigation systems. I insist on being cooler than that.
So today, I’m going to try to give Ranger a new dream.
By the very serious and critically precise technique of “lying in bed cuddling Ranger and internetting”, I’m going to transmit to Ranger his newfound personal goals as a contributing member of our family.
We’re back! As you may have noticed, Ranger and I took a blogging hiatus over the holidays. Ranger got to spend some happy Labrador time at the grandparents’ house, chasing four wheelers and going on long walks in the woods with his boy, and I got several naps and way too much fudge and pralines.
I am quite blessed to have in-laws that love Ranger and also respect our rules for baby and dog safety, such as having active, alert adult supervision any time the baby and dog are in the same room. My husband and I got to take some time off from baby-holding to explore the outdoors, so prepare for a glut of Labradorable pictures of Ranger in his natural setting – ponds, dirt roads, and mud.
We are three weeks in! I’ve slacked in blogging the last couple of days due to pitiful excuses like “I have a newborn baby” and “I need sleep so I don’t zombie all day and make my poor innocent husband do the dishes”. But I am still working with Ranger! Here’s where we are at with a few of his behaviors.
I quote myself, and I’m not ashamed of it. They ARE. And that’s why I, a dog trainer, have a dog that I haven’t trained more than 30 minutes total in my year and a half of being his dog-mommy.
Flipping through breed books as a kid, I was never really interested in yellow labs, the Ritz cracker of the dog world. Sure, they are buttery yellow and everyone likes them, but they just aren’t…special. There’s nothing thrilling about a Labrador. They are like minivans. Or carnations. They’re buying a Scream mask for Halloween.
I moved in with Ranger last year and deigned to pet him occasionally. I told myself that he was just a common dog. I didn’t invest myself in him, even though he did dumb things like run away and pull on the leash and bark BARK BARK and rest an impolite muzzle on the table at dinner.
But then I had my most recent baby and just…just look.