Abbey and I have a historically love/hate relationship. I do like dogs - REALLY. But I think I loved them more before I became a parent. Abbey is wonderful for our kids. They love her and she loves them. I believe having a dog teaches them responsibility, and they receive unconditional love from her. But...
She is definitely a fifth child. She has managed to give me hours upon hours of extra work over the last year. You see, Abbey is a digger. In Arizona we practice drip irrigation for our plants. Sprinklers are only used on the grass. Because of Abbey I have become very proficient at replacing drip irrigation lines that she has ripped out over ... and over... and over again.
It became a source of contention between Mark and I. Was it really fair for me to have to keep spending hours in the 100 degree plus weather fixing sprinkler lines over and over again due to a dog that everybody wanted but me?
Thank goodness Mark found a solution. He spent an afternoon installing underground electric wiring. Abbey now wears a collar that warns her when she is too close to the wire. If she keeps going, she gets a little shock (don't worry, it's made for dogs and doesn't hurt them - but they don't like it). Now Abbey can't get in the flowerbeds to rip out anymore lines. It has been working for over 6 months. Our marriage is saved! It's amazing how when she's not wreaking havoc, I like her a whole lot more.
After tackling the digging problem, we had to tackle the barking problem. You see, our back neighbors have five cats who like to walk along the back fence. Yet those same neighbors call the city to complain when our dog barks at the cats. We now treat Abbey like a pet bird: she goes in her kennel on the back porch at night, which is then draped with a sheet. No more barking! It worked great.
Abbey is two years old. I've been told she is considered a puppy for one more year. Hopefully she'll grow out of all this stuff - but until then, we'll keep working with our puppy "teenager".