Asha just completed the best 24 hours of her life with us! We've gone an entire day with no peeing or pooping in the house, no ceaseless barking and a full night of sleep. Thank you Jesus! We are hoping this streak continues and becomes business as usual.
The last two months have been exhausting for us. We hadn't been sleeping through the night, we were constantly up with Asha. There was no rest on the couch in the mornings or in the evenings, we were constantly chasing Asha around to get her to stop barking. Every time we came home, there was a mess to clean up. We were feeling really frustrated and it was hard to be patient with her because we were so tired. I was feeling like we were in way over our heads and wasn't sure how we were going to make it work. I knew we would, I just couldn't see any sort of hope. I was feeling helpless and sad.
Last week, Asha was a guest blogger. You can read her post here. It was therapuetic to read that. It really helped me see things from Asha's point of view. Here is this little creature who cannot see or hear, all she has is us. I thought of how frustrated she must be and how she certainly wants to be calm and relaxed. She certainly wants to sleep and be in a stress free environment. That really helped me to realize the importance of being patient with her.
I started sleeping on the floor with her at night so that when she wakes with a start, I can touch her. I know I won't have to do it forever, just until she starts to feel more safe. We've stopped bringing toys up with us at bedtime. We've started walking her three times a day. Believe me, I would rather lay on the couch and do nothing, but she needs the exercise and the mental stimulation of getting out of the house. So we walk. What a difference. When we go to bed, she lays down on the bathroom floor with me and I massage her back. After about a minute, she is asleep. She gets up and moves a few times a night, but she doesn't go crazy and she doesn't need to go out to pee.
One of the biggest issues we have is that she runs into the front room and barks like crazy. Then she runs the circle from the front room to the kitchen to the foyer. And barks. We chase her down. On Sunday, I started putting a leash on her and tying it to me. She goes everywhere with me now and can't run into the front room unattended. She is much more calm and so am I.
We haven't really been able to give her a toy while we are all on the couch because Maggie is very possessive about toys. If another one of the dogs has a toy she wants to take it and gets angry if they even look at her while she has a toy. We've really been working on this and letting her know its not okay. Last night, all 3 dogs were able to chew on toys in the same room while we watched TV. Asha wore herself out playing with her toy. And THAT is what we need.
I don't know if this is fluke or if we are moving into a new phase. She's not as destructive now that we are exercising her more. When its time for a walk I always say "time to walk it out Asha". I know all this changing surely has more to do with us than with her. I am sure she sensed the aggravation and frustration.
Sunday was a busy day for Asha. She had a follow up appt at the vet. We gave her a bath ahead of time. She is SO fluffy when she is clean. She layed down and slept after her bath, while her fur was wet, and now she has bedhead on her butt. The fur there is sticking up in all different directions. It is really cute!
We took Maggie and Buster with us to the vet, because we go everywhere as a family. Asha just loves people, so she was very excited to be around the vet and the vet techs. She had to get some shots and when they held her to put a needle in her shoulder, she SCREAMED. Within a minute, she looked like this: She forgives quickly.
Buster is very jealous at the vet. He can't stand anyone looking at anyone but him. He says "look at me! What about me?! Does this look okay to you?" The vet always looks in his ears so he feels like he is getting examined too. Maggie just lays there nervous about the whole situation.
I am sure we are not out of the woods yet, Asha is still a puppy and still needs much attention and training. I am feeling much more in control of our household and that is good for all of us.