I guess I should set the scene…we have a dog. Her name is Mischa and she is a Siberian Husky crossed with Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.
Did we know what we were letting ourselves in for 12 months ago when we picked her from her siblings to become the latest addition to our family ? Our local Vet didn’t give us any comfort as the first words out of his mouth were “what the hell have you done”. Used to dealing on our behalf with our very placid Labrador (who sadly had to be put to sleep) he was vocalising his concern that we had gone from being responsible for a cute, cuddly, bundle of fun to still a cute, but not quite so cuddly, bundle of potential Cujo.
Leaping forward in her timeline and looking at the behaviour achieved to date. Things actually went better than we first anticipated with reference to the horror stories we had been exposed to…Mischa does sit, shake a paw (well actually slams dunks a paw) and is even known to sit and let you stroke her (albeit on her terms). She walks to heel – but always on a lead as her prey instinct would have her half a mile away in the blink of an eye should something interesting catch her gaze. She is even learning to pull me on a scooter – although with this, her sense of direction and my ultimate destination at times is governed by interesting smells in the surrounding undergrowth rather than following the trail.
With me being the ‘old dog’ in her pack she continually looks to me for advice and direction. Having spent most of her life from a very small pup in mainly my company she treats me as the Alpha Male. For me the most difficult thing of all has been to balance giving her freedom to enjoy her life to the full whilst setting the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable.
And therein lies the problem….whilst I am now in a relatively balanced state with my dog I have learnt through this that I still have many things to understand about being a parent. I thought I was doing everything right with my son who is now 15 and ever closer to becoming an adult in his own right. But this last year has taught me that maybe there are other things I should be considering. For me it is hard to stop being the Alpha Male with him. He is now at an age where trying to find the right balance between acting as a rule maker and alternately letting him find his own ways, and make his own mistakes is becoming a continuous hard lesson for me to learn.
Hopefully though this ‘old dog’ can still learn a few tricks.