Kenai’s had himself a day of a firsts. This was the first day he laid down in the back seat of the car and stayed put on the way to get his ears retaped. This was also the first day he was left in the car while we ate out, and he stayed in the back seat the whole time! No climbing in the front, no straddling the console, no honking the horn with his butt while he turns around…
I’m getting more and more glimpses of the noble fellow Kenai’s going to be when he’s grown, and I think I’m going to like it very much. Right now he is definitely a puppy, all feet and taped up ears. Not to mention the puppy energy! I like that too, enjoying his enthusiasm for new things and piles of old leaves.
I am catching him looking and acting very dignified more often of late. He seems, knock on unchewed wood, to be less stubborn overall. Of course that can change as fast as the weight at this age. Oh but the glorious moments of peace!
My brother and his wife are separated now, and Mike is in our basement. His 2 year old daughter Emily now spends weekends here with us. So I have 3 toddlers to contend with on weekends, and it is often way too much for my weakened body. And I have far more difficulty with migraines, anxiety, and insomnia.
I feel guilty sometimes, when I take Kenai and go upstairs. I love my neice to peices, but the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue have put limits on how much I can handle. From Em, and from Kenai. I hate it, but that’s the bare truth. I am forever amazed at mothers with fibro and CFS that manage to keep up with youngsters.
And sometimes I guiltily wish I could send her home so I could have a break from the tantrums. I get thoroughly exhuasted from all the activity, and preventing Kenai’s hard playing puppy habits around her. He’s gotten way too excited around her in the past, so I keep him leashed when she’s around. That way I can immediately stop any nonsense.
Great Danes are wonderful with kids, but all puppies have to be taught what they can and cannot do–Danes included. Tonight, unlike last weekend, Kenai did beatuifully! That was the biggest first of the day! He didn’t pull at the leash half as often, trying to go get attention from her. And he was excellent about sitting or laying down anytime she came close. After a few times of telling him, he did it on his own.
There are reasons I make my dogs down stay with small children–first so the child isn’t intimidated by a huge dog, and secondly, so the dog knows the child’s space needs to be respected. A pushy Dane can frighten a kid really quick, even if they are just happily wanting attention.
I don’t let my boys get pushy with me, so why should I allow them to do it to a child? It’s just good doggie manners. And it is a requirement for a service dog. So Kenai, too, gets the down stay command, young or not.
He was so very good for a little toddles, save for the whining behind the baby gate while I cooked. He was stuck with me while Em played in the other room. Em wanted to help cook, but I didn’t have Kenai’s crate bed out of the wash yet. Next time, baby girl! We have to eat 3 times a day, so there’s lots of opportunity. That’s hard to impress upon kids, whether furry or not.
After dinner, Em wanted to play with me a little. I had Kenai on the floor next to me and within a few minutes she decided she wanted to play with him too, which was a minor victory–she has some timidity with dogs. I was right there on the floor with them, watching Kenai’s every move. I prevented one poke with the paw that might have scratched her, and undone her new confidence. Other than that, he was the perfect gentleman. YEA!
After 15 or so minutes, his ability to be in a down stay with all the excitement was wearing thin, so it was time to stop while all was praiseworthy. And she was becoming fascinated with his taped ears, so it was definitely time to find something else for her to do! I let her touch them, and see how soft. He never moved. But grabbing hold would not have had a good reaction, and she was determined to get a yank or two.
He’s learning to be gentle with her, but when Emily is excited or throwing a fit, Kenai does too. Even if he hears a tantrum from another room, he gets upset and too squirrelly to allow. That’s a Dane for you; always, always wanting to see why a child is crying. But part of Kenai’s service dog training is to walk past screaming children–that seems a giant order right now. Oh I wish that “Calming Signals” book would come!
I’m not a total pill, I promise! I’m just being cautious, so neither of them has a bad experience with each other. The last thing we need is Kenai not liking kids, or Em not liking Kenai. So short and frequent times together is the safest way to go with both of them. And it lets me rest so I’m good for another hour or two later.
Baby steps…it’s all about baby steps!
“There’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps. It’s when we leap too far and too fast that we tenderize our rump roasts…”