Monday, March 28, 2011

Enabling Buffy

Sigh . . . it’s not that I mean to enable Buffy but it’s like. . . here’s the thing, Buffy is a very able dog, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t somehow get me to do things for her that she can probably do for herself.

For example: Buffy has never been a big eater. Dogs in the wild do not eat on a regular basis. This has resulted in domesticated dogs either gorging on food (which in nature is a logical move just case the next meal is far off) or in Buffy’s case, not eating very much food (an extension of the fact that dogs in nature aren't used to getting food regularly).

Now I am 100% confident that if I leave Buffy food and she doesn’t eat it, she’ll be fine. But of course I worried especially when she was a puppy when she would barely touch her food when we put it out. So now Buffy get wet dog food mixed in with her dry food and even that doesn’t always work. To remind Buffy sometimes I pick her up and stick her face in her food and then she begins to eat or I just bring her bowl over to her so she doesn’t have to walk over to eat. Am I enabling her picky eating habits? Yes.

Then there’s the bed and the couch: Buffy isn’t a jumper. Unlike terriers, Buffy can’t do vertical leaps twice her body length in height, but she is able to jump up on beds and couches. She regularly does this at my mother-in-laws house. At our condo, it’s a different story. When she wants to come up on the couch she will simply walk up to the couch and look up at us. Now I know that she can jump up on her own but looking at cute face, I inevitably pick her up.

The same thing happens with the bed. She can totally get up there by herself and at night when I don’t pick her up onto the bed she walks over to the side of the bed closes to me curls up in a ball and look eagerly up at me until I reach up and pick her up onto the bed.

Now my wife, Diana has been doing some NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) training with Buffy. This means that you make your dog work for everything. You have your dog sit or do treats to eat food, go outside, cross the street and basically anything that they dogs wants to do. This totally makes sense and it is important to remind your dog and yourself how much you are doing for her.

Am I doing a huge disservice to Buffy by enabling her? Eh, kind of, but not really. I mean it’s not like she gets to do whatever she wants. She has boundaries and things that I don’t let her do. Trust me, I almost never give her treats unless she does a trick and yes, I do a couple things that enable her but it’s as much for me as it is for her.

I like enabling Buffy. Even if it’s stuff she can do for herself it’s feels good to take care of her and do things. She is still a puppy and am I really doing that much harm? Nah, I don’t think so. Could a little bit more NILIF from me strengthen our relationship and engage her more?

Probably and I think I'm going to do more of that but sometimes it’s hard . . . I mean seriously look at her, how cute is she?  Buffy can totally pull of that scarf!

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