Everyone’s a little out of sorts around here. I’m having the seasonal allergies of doom. (Why, yes, it is spring here, and I am NOT READY for it to be hot again.) Silas has been what feels like constantly on-edge, culminating in a long series of total meltdowns yesterday.
The HOA decided it was time for spring gutter cleaning, so Silas and I woke up yesterday morning to a man standing on my roof, clearly visible through my skylight. Then they moved over to the garage roof, clearly visible through our patio doors. You can imagine how well this went down. They were gone before 10:30, but then Silas was convinced that every sound–and I mean every sound until we went to bed–was the evil people coming back to stand on his roof again.
It was not a good day.
When Silas woke me up at 6:30 this morning barking like a crazy, I knew that I needed to regather the shreds of my very fragile zen in order to get through today. Tuesdays are always bad, since they’re our regular landscaping day. Despite counterconditioning him to the leaf blower for the better part of two years, we’ve only made so much progress. So, what do you do, when your dog that you can’t leave has driven you to the brink of insanity? When one more bark is going to reduce you to a temper-tantrum or to a sobbing mess, and there are probably 50 more barks coming?
Here’s my list:
–Watch dog training videos. This one is be a double-edged sword, because it can send you into the “my dog is defective” spiral, but it can also be good inspiration to work through challenges.
–Fantasize about getting away. Tomorrow, when everything is back to normal, I’m taking myself somewhere nice and quiet. In three weeks I get two whole days of Silas staying with my mom.
–Put more of the burden on your partner. I’m usually the one who intervenes when Silas has a fit, but sometimes I know that I’m just not in a good place to deal with it. Those days I’ll make my husband handle him.
–Play a silly dog game. You’ll improve your relationship with your dog and help stop some of the stress that is accumulating for both of you.
–Use the resources you have. I have a small selection of things that actually help Silas’s anxiety, but (aside from his daily meds) I tend to save them for bigger problems. If your dog is making you crazy, that’s a bigger problem. Depending on your dog, this might be a DAP product or a special puzzle toy or a ThunderShirt.
–Change the environment. This one is, again, really dog-dependent. Know your dog and watch for stress accumulations from one situation to the next.
–Take whatever break you can. Your dog needs you, sure, but does he need you right this second? This probably makes me a terrible person, but sometimes I’ll just go sit in the bathroom with the door shut. Take a mental vacation.
How about you? What do you do when your last button has been pushed?