Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meditating on routine...

...because it's my favorite fucking subject, of course.
Let's talk about my dog. He and I were doing a pretty good job of living a nice routine little life together, until about a month and a half ago. Prior to that we were learning all about walking on a leash, and going potty outside, and getting socialized and learning to come when called.
Then he hit the 6-months old mark and turned insane. Suddenly my sweet, smart, quick-learning pup became a challenging, obnoxious, loud menace, pissing on everything in the house marking his territory, which of course set off a territory marking war with the cats...which was as spectacular as it was disgusting (and frustrating when my notebook I was using to keep me organized became a casualty).
And I'll be honest, this would be a challenge for anyone, but for me as an ADHDer, this was a little painful. I had been working to be as attentive and routine as possible, taking the dog out constantly, taking him everywhere with me, trying to be really consistent with training commands...but I felt really discouraged by this turn of events, even though everything I'd read had warned me that this would happen. It's the puppy teenage years. They suck. It's inevitable. And you have no control.
Alrighty then. Attempts at routine fell apart...and I kept telling myself that after he was neutered, perhaps he would mellow out and we could hit the reset button.
He got neutered last week. THANK. GOD. Even ADHD boy, who is really pretty endlessly patient juggling three children, finally cracked at the puppy's contant aggressive chewing and tornado-like presence. Suddenly one night the look on his face was a little bit like the Hulk just before he turns green. Have I mentioned that the dog weighs 5 lbs? Yeah...5 lbs. 5 lbs of TERROR.
In the days since the neutering, indeed, he seems to be mellowing out just a tiny bit already...still energetic, but the "edge" seems to be ebbing away. Which means one thing...I have to draw the line and start training and being "routine" again.
Sigh. Okay. I'll do what I have to do...but...but...but...ADHD boy said he would be happy to help me think through it all and set some routines. As he put it, with three children he can't really NOT have routines. The kids have certain school times, and activities times, and dinner time and bed times and bed time is its own elaborate routine in and of itself. So he understands the importance and power of routines.
Before I enlist his assistance though, I'm going to do something really simple...put "dog alerts" in the iPhone calendar so that I have little alarms going off during the day. Things like "pee time" and "pup breakfast" and "pup lunch"...and remembering to always take him out after meals...and maybe next week we'll try some new commands...we haven't learned "sit" yet because puppy inattention and ridiculous biting and other obnoxiousness had gotten in the way. A calmer, NEUTERED puppy should mean the going should be a leeeeetle easier.
At least as easy as it is for an ADHDer to stick, long term, with a routine :) The alerts will help a LOT. And hopefully over time he himself will become an "alert" as he gets the routine in his head and can let me know when he needs stuff.
Right now, he's sitting here on my lap, all a-snooze and peaceful. Awwwwww. Time to go out for one last pee and then, to the crate and to bed...

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