Thursday, January 31, 2013

Margot the Destroyer Strikes Again....and Again....

Why the long face, Margot?

After the incident that I wrote about last time of waking up to find that Margot had chewed up shoes, a table leg, etc., things thankfully settled down for a while, and she went back to chewing on her own toys.   She was pretty good for a couple of weeks, but then last week I woke up to find that she had chewed up my glasses case, an emery board, and even the handle of a knife that I had used the night before to slice cheese!  So, I started making sure that nothing tempting was left on the coffee table at night before we went to bed. 

Margot then discovered that if she got up on the back of the loveseat, she could reach everything that was left on the sofa table that rests against the back of the sofa.  So, I come home one day to find several piles of shredded mail, and one of my favorite bracelets that I wear to work was destroyed.  I was in a rush that day and only had time to change clothes before heading over to my photography studio, but I was at least able to clean up the mess before heading out again.  I knew Justin would be home from work in about twenty minutes, so I did not put Margot in her crate.  Well, that turned out to be a mistake, because when Justin came home from work, he found more piles of shredded mail (I had cleaned up the mess, but forgot to put up the rest of the mail that was still on the sofa table), and Margot had completely destroyed one of his favorite ball caps. 

What's left of my black flats.
So, we no longer keep anything that we don’t want destroyed on the coffee table OR sofa table, but that still hasn’t stopped Margot the Destroyer.  Tuesday morning, I woke up to find that she had completely destroyed my pair of black flats that I wear to work at least 3-4 days a week.  Luckily, I own the same exact pair of shoes in brown, so I’m wearing those today, and I plan to run up to the mall after work to buy a new pair of black shoes.  Yes, I was extremely irritated when I discovered my chewed up shoes this morning, but I have actually been wanting to buy a new pair of black flats for a while now because the lining of those had come loose and were starting to be uncomfortable to wear.  Not that this makes it “okay” for Margot to put my shoes out of their misery, I’m just saying that it wasn’t the end of the world.

The thing is, every time I’ve found a pile of something that Margot has destroyed, I’m more angry at myself than at Margot because I’m the one who should have prevented it from happening.  I know better than to leave anything of value on the coffee table at night, and yet when I see Margot sound asleep as I’m getting ready to go to bed, I think, “Oh, she’s so zonked out that she’ll probably sleep through the rest of the night.  It’ll be fine if I wait until tomorrow to put these things away.”  Wrong!  I also recently purchased a shoe organizer for my foyer so that Justin and I would stop kicking off our shoes and creating a big pile of temptation for Margot by the front door, and we’ve both been very diligent about putting our shoes into their little “lockers” every evening.  However, yesterday I was pretty worn out from a long day at work, followed by a two-hour meeting with my photography partner at the studio, and I simply forgot to put my shoes away after I kicked them off.  So, when I woke up this morning to find that my shoes had become Margot’s latest victim, I really blamed myself more than Margot.

Of course, I am obviously still holding Margot accountable for her actions, and I’m very disappointed that her destructive behavior seems to be getting worse.   I also HATE that we’re going to start crating her again, but we really have no choice at this point.  My biggest fear is that she’s going to start destroying her crate, which doesn’t even belong to us.  Justin and I borrowed it from our friend, Brett, when we first brought Margot home, and I was hoping to be able to return it to him soon.  Unfortunately, it looks like we may need to keep it for a little while longer.  Even though I’ve read some things online about this “Doberteens” phase and was sort of prepared for Margot to start misbehaving, I still can’t help but feel like we’re taking a big step back by having to crate her at night again, especially since we haven’t crated her for several months.  I guess you just do what you’ve got to do, though.  I’d rather go back to crating her at night than keep waking up to piles of carnage each morning.

While reading about what to expect during a dog’s puberty stage, I have also read a few stories from Doberman owners who said that their dogs seemed to regress with their housebreaking at this stage, as well.  Margot still has a few accidents here and there, but lately it’s always been whenever Justin and I weren’t home to let her out.  I felt that this was normal and didn’t really consider it to be “Doberteens” behavior.  A few nights ago, however, Margot was playing in the living room while Justin and I were both sitting on the sofa with our laptops.  Suddenly, I thought I heard water hitting the carpet, so I looked up and found Margot peeing right in front of us on the living room rug!  I was so shocked that I yelled, “Margot’s peeing!” which startled her and made her stop.  I immediately got up and yelled, “No!” and then lead her towards the back door while saying, “Margot, go pee!”  She was very confused by my angry tone, which she really doesn’t hear very often, so she was reluctant to follow me to the back door.  Justin, who was also using a rarely-heard angry tone, nudged her from behind until she finally went outside.  We closed the door behind her, and Justin kept an eye on her through the window while I cleaned up her mess.

She's sorry.

We were both so disappointed and also confused about why Margot hadn’t given any indication that she needed to go out before she decided to just pee on the rug, but when Justin reported that Margot had just finished doing #2 in the yard, I told him that we HAD to praise her when we let her back inside, despite how angry we were at the moment.   I wanted Margot to understand that peeing in the house resulted in an angry reaction from her parents, but using the bathroom outside makes Mom and Dad VERY happy.  So, we praised her like crazy, saying, “Good girl!  Margot go pee!  Good girl!” and even gave her a treat when she came back inside.  Even though we didn’t yell at her anymore after that for peeing on the carpet, and despite the fact that we had just praised her for using the bathroom outside, Margot seemed a little shaken up by the whole experience.  I know that sounds kind of silly, but I swear it’s true.  Usually, whenever Justin and I praise her, she gets really excited and wound up, but this time all she wanted to do was cuddle.  She even sat next to Justin on the couch, bowed her head, rested it against his, and stayed like that for a very long time.  Of course, I HAD to take a picture of this moment because it was just so pitiful.  I mean, seriously, how can you stay mad at a puppy when they’re so obviously sorry for what they’ve done?

Anyway, I plan to start doing more to help Margot release some of her crazy puppy energy, which I know will really help curb her bad behaviors.  This puppy needs EXERCISE, and, let’s be honest, so do her parents.  It’s been bitterly cold here for the last week or so, but for the past couple of mornings it has been much nicer.  So, I think I’m going to start checking the weather each night before I go to bed and try to set my alarm accordingly.  I think that a brisk, 30-minute walk each morning might help keep her calm during the day, and then hopefully another walk after I get home from work in the evening will make her sleep better through the night.  The problem is that my schedule is a little all over the place, and I almost always have a bunch of editing and photography work to do when I get home in the evenings.  So, I’m not always going to have time to walk her after work, and Justin doesn’t get home until almost 7:00 p.m. after the sun has already gone down.   This is why Justin and I are both counting down the days until daylight savings time begins again in March, because then I can start taking Margot back to the dog park after work (schedule permitting) and she’ll be able to run and play for HOURS before the sun goes down.   Oh, how we miss those days!

Margot’s aunt, Kristy, has been very anxious to make Margot her new running partner on the weekends, which I wrote about in my last blog; however, Kristy recently did some research about running with Dobermans and discovered that it’s actually not recommended until after the Doberman is around 18 months-old.  The reason is because constant running on hard surfaces, like sidewalks, at a young age could have a long-term effect on the dog’s skeletal development and cause joint problems.   Therefore, Kristy has decided that she may start taking Margot for long walks, instead, as part of Kristy’s warm-up before a long run.  Then, after Margot’s a little older and her growth plates are fully developed, they will start running together.

In the meantime, another thing I plan to do in the very near future is sign Margot up for obedience classes.  I know I’ve been saying that for a looooong time, but I haven’t had extra money lately because I’ve been purchasing things for my photography business.  Now that I’m at the point where I don’t think I need to buy much else for my business for a while, I’ve still got to wait until after I’ve shot a few photo sessions before I’ll be able to afford the obedience classes.  The classes aren’t THAT expensive, though, so I doubt I’ll have to wait much longer.  The reason why I’m so anxious for Margot to start obedience training is because it’s just as important to exercise a puppy’s mind as it is to exercise his/her body.   It’s like Cesar Millan always says, first exercise, then discipline, and THEN affection.  That is apparently the key to a happy, well-behaved pup.  We’ve definitely got the affection part down, so now we just need to work on the exercise and discipline, and then put it all in the correct order. 

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