It has been a few months since I wrote confessions of a frazzled frenchie mom. So many things have changed in my life over the last few months, which can be challenging with a puppy, a dog, and two cats. It is always a struggle to balance everything but more with a new house, selling a house, a broke-down car, and also a broken computer. Although my pets have been just as weary as me, we have been adjusting differently to our new surroundings. Phoenix, who is now six months old, requires more care and attention than the other animals due to his young age. How is he adjusting, and how has it impacted me, the frazzled frenchie mom?
Phoenix has continued to have a learning-curve in learning his boundaries with the other animals, which has been interesting to watch. Considering there are two cats in the household, brown cat has been curious, timid, and patient with Phoenix. Considering brown cat is also a very strong bengal who can be aggressive, I was most worried about the interaction between these two when adopting Phoenix. To my surprise, both cat and puppy mingle together, even walking together on occasion. However, when Phoenix begins to perform his playful hops across the floor towards brown cat, kitty retreats to higher ground for safety (usually on top of the table). Sometimes, their relationship is ultimately tested when Phoenix jumps on top of brown cat’s back with his two front paws, practically pinning kitty to the floor. I cannot imagine why the cat is not more aggressive or vocal in setting boundaries with Phoenix. With each episode, kitty continues to retreat, find safety, and wait until the coast is clear to stroll the house once again. Phoenix is always confused when kitty rejects playing with him but he quickly recovers by finding a toy to play with instead.
White kitty is not very patient or tolerant with Phoenix. After three months of living together, white kitty is still hissing, swatting, and going out of his way to make sure that Phoenix knows that the whole house is his territory. Phoenix has learned quickly retreat to a different area in the house if he sees white cat on the prowl. No area of the house is safe! If there is one thing Phoenix has learned is that he needs to be vigilant of white cat at ALL times! In fact, the only time that I have seen kitty call a truce is when Phoenix is deep in sleep. I guess there is an appreciation that no harm can be done if one is asleep?
Considering that white cat loves to play, it has been surprising to see that the two animals do not get along. I see Phoenix trying to break down the barrier between the two of them by initiating play with hops towards the cat but kitty is not humored. He continues to be a grump when you can clearly see he wants to play. There is still hope for the two of them to work it out but at this point, it seems there is an understanding between the two of them. The house belongs to white cat, and Phoenix is a guest, not a resident.
Cooper and Phoenix has been enjoying their time together, running up and down every hallway in the house. The biggest problem between the two of them is that Cooper seems to forget that Phoenix is half his size, usually punching Phoenix in the neck as they run down the hallway playing keep-away. Of course, reprimanding Cooper does not get very far since he stops playing and pretends like he did not do anything wrong. Phoenix quickly forgives his brother by getting Cooper out of time-out so they can chase each other again, usually followed by more punches between the two.
All of the animals are tolerant of Phoenix, and maybe a few of them even love Phoenix, but there has been a touch of jealousy amongst all of the animals. Brown cat is used to snuggling with his mom at bedtime and although he can still snuggle, he has to share the bed with other animals, which he has accepted. White kitty is the oldest amongst the animals so rather than jealousy, maybe he is establishing dominance amongst the animals so they know that he is in charge? Cooper can be very jealous of Phoenix by stealing his toys, sitting on him, or punching him, which results in time-outs for Cooper. No matter which animal has been aggressive towards Phoenix, he continues to be a playful, happy pup who learns from his experiences and attempts to make friendships again the next day.
As you can imagine, trying to watch the dynamics and interactions between all of the animals has been a challenge in itself. I cannot play mediator all the time due to limitations of working a full-time job, moving us into a new home, and trying to develop a new schedule for both me and the animals. It has been difficult to say the least. Broke down cars, crashed computers, late nights due to unpacking, and dog’s pee/poo messes on the new rugs in the house have been the breaking points.
Adopting a new animal may have not been the best choice during my circumstances but I also knew that I could make it work . . . I mean I HAD to make it work! I have barely slept for months due to trying to keep all of us on a schedule. During all of my sleepless days, it never fails that when I am about to sit down for dinner, Phoenix has peed on the rug only minutes after taking him outside. Just as I am about to sob while cleaning up the mess, Phoenix wanders into the room with the most apologetic eyes letting me know he is sorry. There is no way I could stay mad at the tiny pup but trying to stay patient takes every ounce of energy within my sleepless body.
So while there is bad, there is also good. Phoenix has continued to excel at puppy class by completing two skill courses, which proves to me how much he wants to impress me. He has been an excellent student, paying attention in class, as well as repeating his skills in training sessions at home. No matter how tired I am after working all day, Phoenix repeats his training sessions to ensure he can recall his new skills. Working on Phoenix’s homework not only makes a better puppy but it has strengthened the bond between Phoenix and I. We are learning each other’s mannerisms, working on patience, as well as learning the power of positive reinforcement.
I believe that our dedication to each other, even during this trying time, has been the glue that has held us together. Through it all, Phoenix has adapted quickly, continues to learn new skills, and will not give up on making friendships with the cats. If anything, Phoenix has taught me new skills for how to handle life.
For example, hopping through the house like a bunny can cure a bad mood very quickly. Just give it a try sometime when you are feeling frustrated. Learning a new skill is easier when you have treats! Sad eyes get you everything you want. It is okay to be scared but you can still try as long as mommy is there to help you. Snuggles are essential to making any day better. Lastly, never give up on making new friends, even if you have been rejected over and over again.
As we continue to transition into our new lifestyle and routines, it has been a struggle to get schedules adjusted. I feel that all of us have worked hard in our own ways to make our move a success but Phoenix has had it a bit harder than the others. As he continues to learn new skills and commands, he is also learning boundaries with the other animals. Never being one to give up, Phoenix continues to try to be the best puppy he can be, and in doing so, he brings a smile to my face. I guess being a frazzled frenchie mom has its perks because no matter how frazzled I am, I still make time for my little nugget. In doing so, my puppy has taught me some amazing life lessons. So next time that you are feeling frustrated, just start hopping across the room and see if your stress melts away. In doing so, you may learn that being frazzled has its perks and rewards. Who knew that a tiny 6 month old Frenchie would be serving up life lessons to those closest to him.