Forgiveness and Potty Training my Pomeranian

Note: I wrote this a couple hours ago. I’m going to go ahead and be bold and post it, because I know I will not regret that decision. But talking about what I love and how that love has affected my life is a risk that seems a little reckless to make, all things considered. Whatever, YOLO. Moving forward.

12/17/2014

Forgiveness and Potty Training my Pomeranian

One of the uncanny things I learned from the 15 hours I spent hanging out with the boy I love thus far was that, if you want someone to do something or listen and there is no way they will do it other than by listening, sit still and wait for them to come to you. I’m not sure he realized that he passed that one on, and I don’t know beans about whether or not he reads this, but this is what just happened.

My Pomeranian Ella (previously mentioned on this blog as my child) has a problem with skating by on her laurels. We are basically the same person, except she is a dog. When she and I hang out, it is super funny, because the stupid things my family says about her is the same stupid shit they say about me. It’s ok. The stupid shit I said about Teddy our poodle is the same stupid shit I said about Him (the boy I like). I just happened to happen that way.

But Ella likes to piss on the floor. She knows she can get away with it, and she’s really lazy when it comes to doing what she doesn’t want to do; it’s the same kind of ego in me that makes me procrastinate being honest when I suck at being honest. She likes to pee on the carpet too, but she hates to make that known. She normally tries to hide from me, and I know immediately because she looks guilty as shit and she doesn’t want to make my eye contact. Yep. That’s been well established. Ella is a good guard dog because I can read her. If there was ever a lassie-human relationship, it would be a lot like me and Ella. I know when she’s upset, she finds me when she’s scared, we hug it out. It’s just that way.

Teddy is quiet. He likes to be still. He LOVES to cuddle, it’s his thing. My favorite thing is when he puts his little poodle head on my legs and just sits with me. I bought him a $12 beige and plush dog blanket at TJMaxx when I realized how much he always tries to steal the one I got for my room in student housing, the gray one I walk around with as my cape. He just does that, and I’m not letting him have mine. So I bought him his own. He likes to curl up in our bean bag chair in front of the TV anyways, he is kinda sassy when it comes to people trying to steal his chair. My mom is such an enabler, she defends his right to his chair even when anyone else tries to sit in it.

When Ted wants your attention, he will stare at you. He will look like he’s jealous but too humble to ask for your attention, and he shows betrayal when he wants to just come and freaking sit with you, but he’s too afraid to make the first move. You have to play dead. I’m not joking, it’s a poodle thing; our last poodle Petey did it too. That is when he’s being super bashful. He likes it when you pet his face and eyeball sockets very slowly. If you want him to come to you, you have to call “TED BEAR TED BEAR TED BEAR…” in a sing song, enthusiastic voice. I like to pet him saying stupid words about bowel movements, because he is so derpy and dog that he doesn’t know the difference.

Back to Ella. She doesn’t like to do hard things; she never has. I got her as a puppy knowing she would be a handful before we both knew what that meant. She likes to bark, but that is to get our attention. We haven’t been the best dog parents, because she asks for a lot of attention she doesn’t receive. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort lately to give her the cuddles she asks for, and let her do her thing the rest of the time because she prefers it that way. If you want Ella to listen, you will give exactly what you can and are able, and then you will be super direct, saying no as she tries to continue to cuddle you, and you will STRAIGHT UP IGNORE HER for the rest of it.

I just tried to walk them outside to pee like I normally do when they get home. At this point, they are used to still getting treats every time they come in from being outside. They are five. Not cool.

But I know a lot about Child Development Psychology, and I know my dog, and she is my child. So I decided to put that to the test.

Ever since I met that boy and started progressively giving them more attention they need instead of what they deserve, many funny things have happened. First of all, they listen. Period. I say something, they do it, because they trust me. It’s the equivalent of Authoritative Parenting (NOT Authoritarian Parenting), which focuses on setting high standards and providing a lot of positive reinforcement and warmth.

So when I walked Ella outside and told her to pee, and she equivocated and tried to go inside three times as I called her back (she listened, but grudgingly), I knew what I had to do.

I went inside. I stared at her with my best mom look. Just ask my friends, it’ll make you shit your pants. I told my mom not to give her a treat, and she listened. We gave Ted a treat. We gave nothing to Ella.

I kept staring her down. “I know what you did” was what my stare said. It was the “woah bitch” look I get when I know better and I know other people know better. It makes people slow down and back off.

She literally hid from me behind my mom’s legs. She kept peeking out, trying to see if I was still watching. Guess what? I am.

She heads out the doggy door, back outside. My mom said that she probably wanted a second chance, and because I know my mom knows how to read me and therefore, can read Ella, I took her outside. I stood at the edge of the grass, I said “Go potty” in the same tone and candor I had before.

And look who pissed in less than 30 seconds. I’m telling you, who knew.

I praised her with the same enthusiasm as a human toddler would receive as she was in mid-stream. I know how this works; y’all never had to tell me. We walked inside. She was proud of herself. She got her milk bone. Ted got another treat too, because I knew she wouldn’t notice (and thus, be jealous) and because he had also taken advantage of that opportunity.

I’m just saying, I am gonna make a great mom because I will not tolerate your nonsense. Kids at my church love me; I’m starting to understand why: I treat them like children and that is still beautiful. Just because my child is a dog doesn’t make her not my child. Ella and I are family, and god damn it, she will piss outside.

High standards never hurt anyone as long as they were consistent, not judgy, and loving. Well, I may be perpetually judgy, but I can work on that as the rest comes. It’s been five years of her pissing inside, despite everyone’s best wishes. Let’s make that at least five without (by the grace of God please).

It’s funny, because the same thing that makes me walk Ella back outside and give her a second chance is the force that inspired me to get over being pissed as a teenager in order to finish high school and survive ‘til college. Well, I may forget to forgive myself here and there, but dang, it’s starting to become routine. It helps to realize that when I set an example that is good and kind and people still pitch a fit, that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me, and it is indicative of how I need to be kind to them, but more specific. If your insecurities come out when you receive kindness, you probably just need some more reinforcement.

When I was in junior high, there was a notoriously nice girl I hated. I asked her why the hell she was so nice once, I’m pretty sure I made her cry. She kept on keeping on. She was (and I bet you $5, is) a Christian. And I have never forgotten that because she never buckled for a second, even in tears. What a human.

Well, I think we all have a lot to learn from her, and if I can use that to retrain the complacency out of my Pomeranian, why the hell wouldn’t I try? If you love someone, sometimes you give them what they need, and that can be standards, space, words, whatever applies. That’s the reason I’m not bothering that boy until he decides to get a hold of me: freshman year sucks for us all, and because I know he’s better than the way he acts sometimes, I’m going to give him the space and time he needs to figure it out until he’s ready (if ever) to ask for my feedback, or anything else. That’s what you do. It’s like “Where the Red Fern Grows”, and that book is my favorite. He can figure it out, and I trust him to do so, and in the meantime, I’m gonna keep paying attention and writing things that help others, but will also help him someday when he’s ready (if ever). That’s the entire point of the “Ghost” folder on this blog (I conveniently didn’t disclose that), because of the Holy Spirit and because I think about him incessantly anyways and those are things that he should read someday.

Anyways, talk to y’all void ppl later,

Haley

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haleylol

I am a teacher-to-be who loves people. I am not afraid of many things. I like to explain my thoughts logically on a very birds-eye view level--I was born thinking that way. I follow Jesus Christ, and I accept only that label to describe my identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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