Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pushover, Thy Name is Anna


When the kids were little, we told them that if they asked one of us for something, didn't get the answer they wanted, and then tried to go to the other parent, the answer would always be NO. Tim and I didn't always agree, but we agreed to back each other up. This helped keep the good cop/bad cop dynamic out of our relationship with the kids. And we were consistent with a NO BADGERING rule, too. Badgering = Not a chance.

Then we got Shadow.

From early on, it has been clear Shadow loves Tim best. He is her Alpha. We tested this theory a few times by each taking a piece of dog food, and scattering to hide in four different areas of the house. We would make little noises and see whom she would find first. Always, always Tim. Her fave.

Tim is firm with Shadow, and she adores and respects him. Me? Not so much. Shadow does not give me the time of day unless she wants something. I'm like the indulgent grandma who has taken things too far. And what does Shadow want? Food. Always food. If Tim and I are both home when she wants to eat, suddenly I become Miss Popular.  She comes to find me because she knows I will break down and feed her earlier than Mr.Scheduled. In an instant, I become the most fabulous, adored pet Mom in the entire world.

Things have gotten out of hand since I started working from home a few months ago. Shadow starts jonesing for her evening meal around noon. Noon! I try to lay low and keep my motions to a minimum, because any trip to the bathroom or the fridge seems to awaken her desire for dinner.

In the past, I would get home from work and school pickup around 3:30. That seemed at least in the dinner-zone, so I would indulge her. After all, she'd been shut up in the house all day, and I felt sorry for her.

But now we are home together all day, and I know what to expect. First she gets off her dog bed, which is next to my desk. Then she stands next to me, looking so cute with her big amber eyes. Then she starts to talk, "Mwwoorrarooar. "Which I guess means 'food.'

I talk back.

I am firm: "No!" "Go sit down!" I reason with her: "If I feed you now, it's going to be a looooooong time before breakfast tomorrow! You'll regret it."  But if  I don't hop up immediately to feed her, she starts to bark, and bark, and bark.

And I break down.

I know it's kind of embarrassing that I don't let children badger me into things, but more often than not, I give in to Shadow. I tried earplugs. Bark. Bark. Bark. I tried putting her outside. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. I tried conducting my life from a table at Panera to avoid the whole issue.

The earliest I've given in was at 1 pm, okay maybe 12:55 during a conference call, when one of the other participants suggested I perhaps should go take care of my dog. Bark. Bark. Bark.

I know I'm teaching Shadow that I'm a pushover. "That Lady in the slippers gives me food when I bark! Yay! Let me not slacken in my barking! My barking works! Best barker ever!"

I'm hoping with Tim home more over Christmas break, we can get Shadow back on her old routine.

If not, I could always do what my sister, who is the dog-Mom of Shadow's sister does, hide in the car checking Facebook until she reaches a respectable feeding time.

34 comments:

Marinka said...

Noon is the perfect time to start thinking about dinner. Tomorrow's dinner, because I'd eaten today's by 10 am.

Alex said...

And I thought it was just me! I have 2 dogs and I work from home. They bark at me to eat all the time and I usually give in. If I'm not home but my husband is - they can last until I get home because they know he won't feed them. They normally eat 3 times a day. I've been known to feed them 5 times a day just to shut them up. Only me - they don't pester anyone else. Sometimes I yell at them to go lay down too and sometimes it works, but for the most part I give in. I've created monsters! Let me know if you figure out a solution.

Recovering Church Lady said...

Oh man, if you ever read my FB and/or blog you know that I totally GET this situation! Layla wants to eat all day and I really think it is boredom-eating. So THAT makes me feel guilty too! Your intro blurb on FB about "not getting up even though I have to pee" is so perfect! Haha!
Great post!
Susie

Carrie Brown said...

I love it. I have the same problem but with Salty wanting to go outside all the time. And also he wants water (fair enough) but once he decides he needs a drink it cannot wait 30 seconds!!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

oh my! your sister's solution is perfect. ;) good luck getting shadow on track!

Kristen said...

So funny ! My poodle is 16 now and he was always a good dog until we took in a stray. My mutt dog is the sweetest dog in the world but he seems to bring out the worst in my poodle. Bark ! Bark ! Bark ! He is like the devil on my poodle's shoulder.

Michelle DeRusha said...

You crack me up!

I think I might be related to Shadow. I often eat lunch at 10:20 a.m.

Brad is the cook around here, so when he gets home, I start yammering about dinner around 4:30 p.m. Then I'm having a second dinner (i.e. prodigious amount of snacks) at 8 p.m. I am Shadow. Clearly.

Melissa Silverman said...

LOL--She has you VERY well trained! One thing you could try is taking her meals and dividing them up to 3/day rather than 2/day. So I assume she gets 1.5 cups per meal, trade that schedule for 1 cup per meal for 3 meals/day. That may help??? :)

Melissa Silverman said...

and....she IS a lab = you know I love labs and would only ever have a lab, but they really are little piggies :)

Anonymous said...

Our dog has taken to banging on the bowl with his big fat paw (think a prison banging his tin cup against a prison fence) if we don't feed him once everyone is home at night. "Oh, Teddy. Thank you for the reminder to feed you. I'm sure glad you let me know that I'm living with an 80-pound dog who gets hungry, or I surely would have forgotten."

Jennifer Swedlund said...

Only my toddlers feed the dog. He follows them around excitedly, and not me! My 3-year-old has gotten pretty good at yelling "No, Rango! Not yet!"

Fiona, LilyfieldLife said...

You're so funny. My dog loves me but it's my husband he respects. if i sit on the couch and invite the dog up next to me, our dog looks over to wear Phil sits to check in with him. I have to say "Phil tell Charlie he can sit on the couch". What?? it's like i'm a woman with no voting rights or something!

Leigh Ann said...

Ugh the pets! I love them, but man they annoy me. The dog isn't too bad. It's the cats that - as soon as the kids are in bed - want in and out and in and out and in and out. I know by indulging then we are digging our own graves, but I cant' stand the meowing and the scratching.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the sandwiches at Panera are pretty good. Don't knock conducting life from there. I think a lot of authors have an "office" at a Starbucks because they need some chitchat and people watching. I hope the book is really coming together. It's true, labs do like snacks.

twingles said...

LMAO, our dog has the same relationship with my husband, but honestly it is sad because they are seriously BEST FRIENDS. My son begged for the dog and I said "Daddy will be infatuated, you watch". But DH feeds the dog all the live long day, which annoys me to no end, but he works from home and I don't. I think dogs are on to you work at home people.

Stimey said...

This is hilarious. I had one cat who wanted attention first thing in the morning and she would lurk over me, looking for any sign of awakeness. Thus I was reduced to faking sleep in the morning so as not to be harassed by a cat.

Rach said...

I can tune out the girls' whining. Notsomuch the dogs'. :oS I get it.

Alison said...

I'm terrible, I'd probably give in too, AND feed her dinner as well. It's a good thing we don't have pets.

Anonymous said...

We have a golden that doesn't bother us for dinner until about 5 or 5:30. He does however go outside five or six times during the day and then scratch at the door to come back in, but he won't actually come in the house until you give him a treat. So he gets feed all day long. Sometimes I won't let him outside because I know he is just going out to come back in for a treat. Annoying as anything!!!

Patricia said...

Oh my, brings back bittersweet memories....I had a wonderful lab, Bo - he was the best in every way, but his downfall was - you guessed it - food - labs are notorious chow hounds... he would do the same thing in the same order as Shadow. They are very persistent when it comes to food - I tried to look at it this way - "how intelligent he is ! He can't speak our language, and yet , look how he gets his point across !!" It's hard to get angry with those big brown eyes - they give us so much, and it goes so quickly......

Karibean said...

I love this post, Anna. It made me smile and all warm inside. We had to put our 10 year old lab to sleep last January and now, almost a year later I still find myself looking around for her or saving bits of dinner for her. They're so pesky, but such blessings. Enjoy your Christmas!

SouthMainMuse said...

Oh Shadow. Around here our dog barely seems to eat. It's the cats that are relentless until they are fed. Yelling at me. Trying to trip me. All in my face. But like you said, they eventually get what they want.

Tracie Nall said...

I know I would give in too. This is probably why we don't have a dog.

CATHRYN DENSON said...

This is so funny…and so true. Our dogs do the same. I enjoy your posts so much! They touch on so many emotions. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Reinhart said...

aw, I think it's kind of sweet the relationship you guys have. it makes me smile to think of you giving in to shadow. dogs have a sense about them don't they?

Andrea Mowery said...

Is Shadow considered elderly in dog years yet? This could explain a lot.

Lady Jennie said...

My dog stresses me out constantly. He barks because he wants to go out and then the neighbours complain. When we do go out he rolls in horrible things. And when we're home, he barks because he wants to come upstairs, but if I let him, he destroys everything.

It's a no-win situation! Except for the dog. ;-)

Momza said...

We have only had labs and golden retrievers...and we were told to feed them 3x a day--breakfast, lunch and dinner. So that's what we've always done--if we know we'll be away at lunch, we divide the noon feeding up at breakfast & dinner. Good Luck!

We are Three said...

I don't get barking, I just get the stare down. I can see him out of the corner of my eye with his big, brown eyes just looking at me. Feed me Mommy, feed me... it's awful. He eats at 8 am and 3 pm. I make him wait. It's VERY difficult though.

Anonymous said...

I woudl get one of those automatic feeders on a timer, that way he doesn't associate you with food. maybe?

Anonymous said...

And don't you just love daylight savings time?

Nichole said...

I have this problem, too. There is a humane collar called the citronella spray collar. You need it stat! It sprays citronella in front of their face and distracts them from their obsessive barking. They have them at petsmart, Petco, etc...

One of my labs is 20 pounds over weight due to my giving in...

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Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

I work from home now and when I'm making my lunch, my dog just LOOKS at me. You know the look, I'm sure, since you have Shadow. What I've been doing is giving him a big treat at that time - a greenie or other big chewable thing - and making a routine of it. That has fixed everything. After all, I think about how we are as humans. We wouldn't be happy with just two meals a day and nothing else. I figure it's only fair to give him a snack.