We started leaving our dog, Penny, at home everyday while my wife, Robyn, and I, Mike!, go to work. 99% of the time we’ve had her this hasn’t presented any problem. There have been a couple accidents, which is why my mind is never totally at ease, but for the most part it’s not an issue. She’s a great dog that does very well in most situations, even if she’s still basically a scaredy-cat about tons of things.
This new behavior of leaving her at home everyday only started last week, as Robyn often takes her to work with her, mainly because we think she gets lonely and would rather be around people (also, if she needs to go to the bathroom, it’s much easier to handle). When Penny is at work, though, she seems more on edge and likes to bark at people, no matter her level of familiarity with them. It’s somewhat more stressful for Robyn to take care of her and also get work done. Thus, the plan to just stop doing that came up randomly lately.
Our routine with Penny has not changed much in the nearly 2 years we’ve had her. This last week that routine has only gotten more…routine. As long as we keep to that schedule, my mind is at ease and things go well. Of course, Penny likes to just up and randomly break that routine by, say, not going to the bathroom when I take her out in the morning. For the most part, this probably just means she really doesn’t have to go and leaving her in a house for 9+ hours won’t result in a messy carpet.
However, because of those isolated incidents in the past, my anxiety hits a peak when she does this. It’s hard not to take it personal, like she’s just being randomly bratty, or there’s too many people around, or the grass is too wet, or there’s a weird noise somewhere that’s bothering her. She may be low-maintenance, but she is not low-awareness and conditions feel like they have to be perfect for her or she gets nervous and just kind of “turns off”. You can often tell when she’s distracted or acting on edge, and it always (to me) seems like nothing and so I read it as being weird or annoying. Then I get angry and frustrated with her and am a grump until I get in the car and leave for work. Sigh.
You’d think after all this time Penny would not be able to still get my goat like this and I could just relax no matter what she does. I think I’m a LOT better than I used to be, but some things never change. Now begins the wait until Robyn gets home to see whether we have a surprise or not!