White Dog looked up from her post breakfast grooming and snapped at YoYoMa, "Now look what you have done! I hope you are happy!"
She was referring to my decree that we were going to spend the entire day
brushing up on our manners and working on our family interactions. "I know it has been hot," Steve said, "but the cooler is on now and it is pleasant in the house. Everyone has had a lovely meal. Now we need to just spend the day appreciating what a wonderful family we are."
"Dad is is going to be your guide to niceness; Momma, me, THE Alpha Dog, remember?, is going to work on attitude adjustment and basic command response. I love you all but when I say 'come' I want you all to lose the Eskie delay of deciding whether you want to before you do it." The White Dog Army looked at Steve and smiled, wagging and knowing that lots of treats and hugs where coming. They looked at me and sighed, knowing that there were going to be some demands and expectations to meet before the payoff.
So we hung out together, all of us. The furry ones napped as Michael sorted through his "stuff" in a cleanup attempt. They supervised Steve's drawing work. We stopped for pets of encouragement and even a duck jerky break. Every so often my "Un Un UN!" duck call punctuated the house stopping someone in his tracks for a readjustment. By mid afternoon everyone was doing better...even Michael got "UH UN" ed for leaving the front door open (the cooler is on now).
We practiced stopping immediately and coming. We practiced sit and stay. We civilly walked past and sat next to each other. We sat and received treats one at a time without pushing or trying to grab out of turn. And everyone did famously...it was as if yesterday's "incident" had never occured. Kindness filled the house.
The advice and suggestions and encouragement you left were helpful beyond thanks. It convinced me that the situation was fixable and that we were not terrible pawrents. You gave us some insights and ideas that we will use to subtly change our approach toward achieving a lasting harmony in our home. Best of all we found comfort that we were not alone in the wilderness trying to solve this puzzle. Again, we are amazed at the richness of this community and your generous hearts.
We know this is not over and that everyone finding their place is a process that truly never ends. We are committed, all of us two- and four-legged members of The White Dog Army, to form a pack, to be a family, to share our lives and love. Watch us grow together!