Friday, July 4, 2008

Help...I'm not adjusting to the dog very well.

Calling all dog loves and those who didn't used to be dog lovers but now are. So here's the thing. Lo has a dog and I'm visiting her. I am very grateful it's one that isn't known for having a lot of dander. And I am not supposed to be very alergic. However my whole live I have been alergic go cats, dogs, birds etc. I also have been bitten by a small dog before.

I think considering all this I am doing fairly well but it is actually hard for us. Any and all advice about how you adjusted to a dog or heard about someone who had a fear/alergies of dogs and then overcame it welcome. Seriously. I need help.

I feel bad that I can't just be fine and love the dog. I want to. I just find it so overwhelming. And since I am here and the dogs here I am just going to have to adjust as fast as I can.


Meghan said...

I'm allergic to cats, and when I go to my in-laws' house, I dope myself up on Claritin during the day and Benadryl at night. I also drink Airborne or Emergen-C during the day to keep my immune system up.

The unfortunate thing about animals is that they sense your dislike/fear of them (I hate my in-laws' cats), and they get up in your business as a result because they want you to like them. I'm sure Lo understands that they process is overwhelming for you (particularly if you're also allergic) and hopefully she can help maintain some boundaries for the dog while you both get used to each other.

Good luck and have fun in NC.

(no subject) said...

i was attacked by a dog when i was 18 months old and was deathly afraid of them until around the age of 6 and now i can't imagine my life without dogs. the biggest thing that i remember about over coming my fear of dogs was that the dogs i was exposed had owners that understood my fear and were ALWAYS making sure that they controlled their dog when i was around and that if i was over and couldn't handle the dog that they put it elsewhere in the house. they also made sure that i was the one that was slowly reaching out to the dog instead of forcing it on me. and something that i think everyone should learn, but especially those afraid of dogs, is dog etiquette.

i'm sure you have, but you should definitely talk to Lo about your fears and about how you would like to learn to love and not be afraid of her dog and have her help you out. as meghan said, boundaries can be very good. and here's a site that might help:

have fun with Lo!

Zuzu said...

i'm in the 'love me, love my dog' camp. so until you actually love the dog, act 'as if' you love the dog and I'm sure the dog will win you over. Maybe the place to start is to think about the dog's needs when and as you plan and propose activities. Even when I first got my dog, who I adore and love and is the best dog on the planet, it was an adjustment to consider her needs - walks a few times a day, feeding on some kind of schedule and other outings to relieve herself. Before you fall in love with the animal, these activities can be viewed as a chore and a pain in the butt. Once you've fall'n for the critter, they're just the things you do for something/someone you love. If you start by just focusing on the nurturing part of the human-dog relationship - the accommodation for feeding, playing, attention, walking, etc., the rest will likely follow.

I write this and I should qualify that I'm a "one dog woman." What that means is I adore my fantabulous spectacular dog, but really don't adore other people's dogs (they just don't measure up and often they have certain qualities or habits that I find annoying.) In this situation, if I spend any reasonable amount of time with a dog, I have to deconstruct the specific behaviors about the dog that bug me and see what can be done about them. For example, I don't like dog's that jump on me. So I just train the dog not to jump on me. I don't like black dogs that shed - makes my house look dirty. At my house, I don't let those dogs on my bed or furniture.. when it's unavoidable, I put blankets on the sofas and wash them promptly when the dog leaves. I don't like dog's that slam into my legs while walking/hiking. This is a alpha issue - the dog is trying to alpha you - it's a total "no, no." Both you AND the owner should intervene in that behavior immediately, don't allow it. I don't like dogs that slobber and drool on me. I can still like the dog, not the behavior. You can't train a dog not to drool, but you can train them not to rest their head on you during times they're apt to drool (eg. when you're eating.)

It will help to learn how to control the dog. Have Lo teach you some of the dog's commands. What's her command for sit, stay, wait, heel, roll over, laydown, etc. etc. Practice those commands with the dog (with treats - like cut up hot dogs... cheap dog treat!) Once the dog is listening to your commands, when it is doing something you don't like, you can positively redirect behavior. You're better off redirecting a behavior to a positive behavior you like rather than punishing a behavior that you don't like, bother, invoke fear or annoy you. So first question, what bugs you?

Anonymous said...

Awww! I almost don't know what to tell ya here. I didn't like dogs for a while, then my family got a puppy when I was 14 and dogs slowly grew on me. It takes time. Liking, loving, or simply accepting and tolerating the dog won't happen over night. And ya know what? That's perfectly OK!! You don't have to like the dog. There is nothing wrong with that.

Now my family has had 5 dogs over the years. Some dogs we instantly loved and others had pesky issues and no one seemed to like those particular dogs for a while. My folks got a poodle about 5 months ago and I will admit to you that I HATED this dog for the first three weeks: she smelled, she wouldn't leave me alone, and she would incessantly whine when put in her crate (whining so bad it would keep you awake at all night long). Then, the dog started getting adjusted to the rules of the house, had a few baths and we started getting adjusted to the dog's little quirks. Now... I LOVE this little dog and couldn't imagine life without her. But it didn't happen instantly. It seems she just sort of grew on me little by little when I was least expecting it.

I'm sure that because of your allergies to most animals and fear of dogs you've never had a chance to bond with any critter (there may be an exception in there somewhere) and ya don't know where to start. Just let it happen naturally. I agree with Zuzu that Lo should teach you some basic dog commands so that you know how to communicate with the dog. And don't be upset if the dog doesn't always listen to you, but listens to Lo better instead. You're still a stranger and it could take a while for the dog to realize you are also an authority figure (my dog still ignores my mother). And don't force any bonding. It works better if it happens slowly. Have Lo let the dog know to respect your space and approach it gradually as you feel comfortable doing so. If the dog can learn to respect you and you can learn that the dog is a trustworthy companion, then the bonding WILL happen. But expect that it may take a long time.

Well I guess that's all I can think of and hopefully things work out.


Cheryl said...

As far as the allergies go, Zyrtec (now over-the-counter) is great for pet allergies. Also, make sure that you wash your hands after petting, because the dander is not usually so much flying around the house as it is tranferred from hand to eye or skin.

As far as loving, you can't force that, and you may never be a "dog person," but you can certainly learn to be around one if they are being well-behaved. If Lo's dog is NOT being well-behaved, you'll need to address that with her.

I have two dogs who are outdoor dogs, and my partner has one who lives inside. It took me a while to get use to having an indoor dog, but he grew on me. I love my dogs (and hers), but I'm still more of a cat person. So yours, not yours, someone else' might never come to "love" a dog, but try to be relaxed around them. Like someone else said, they sense uneasiness. When you chill, so will they. :)

Good luck and have fun!!