Well, not exactly. Mackie (aka Rowdy MacDuff), the sweet Scottie puppy who came into my world on May 31st of this year is now a “teenager” and, boy, do I have a whole new level sympathy for the parents of real teenagers.
All of a sudden, Mackie no longer knows own name. He also appears to have developed a selective deafness. If he is not the first one fed, he will immediately and loudly start playing hockey up and down the hall with his bowl (not a pleasant prospect before I have had my morning coffee). And, worst of all, when I need him to do something (come, sit, etc.) his first reaction is now, invariably, “No”.
Like human parents, I am experimenting with different ways of dealing with these new and largely undesirable behaviors. I have tried bribery (with dog treats and new toys), grounding (putting him in his crate in a darkened room), spanking (a swat with an empty paper towel roll applied to his backside – luckily he can’t dial the phone and report me to the ASPCA), and time out (putting him in the outdoor dog run while Blue the Schnauzer hangs out in the house with me – presumably getting treats, toys, and petting).
Thankfully, since Mackie is a puppy, his teens will be a matter of months rather than years. He cannot surf the Internet, get a tattoo, or otherwise run amok with other teenage puppies. In a few more weeks, it will be time for neutering (an option not available to human parents) which hopefully will help settle him down a little.
None of this means that I love Mackie any less or that I am not still tremendously happy to have him in my life. But sometimes, I really do need to take a deep breath, count to ten, think outside the box, and tell myself that we will get through this.