I’ve been with Tank for just over three weeks now. I feel like our bond is growing stronger everyday. He is a very intelligent dog, picking up on new commands in less than two days. We had our training yesterday where Lindsay gave us two new Cues: Down and Stay. I started out having to hold a treat in front of his face while he sat, bringing it to the floor three times saying, “Down” before he laid down. Now, I just have to say down once and he does it. We’re working on stay. Tank stays where I sit him until he decides to sniff around the room when I walk away. He likes to grab Aleah or my wife’s attention to pet him. He’ll get it down soon enough, I have faith in him.
I’ve started noticing how my emotions are when I’m around Tank versus when I’m not. It’s like when he’s sitting at my side letting me pet him, my head feels normal, like a huge weight just lifts off. It helps with my anxiety and anger when I’m out in public. I’ve also noticed I’m not short tempered with my family and I’m able to talk to them without wanting to go off and be by myself. As soon as I leave the house it feels like a dark cloud comes rushing back into my head. Driving and being out in public alone or with my family makes me high strung and extremely angry. I don’t try to be, I hate it, but as soon as I drive out on the road I feel like smashing into every car that can’t drive. I can’t wait until I can bring Tank wherever I go to keep me calmer.
I can certainly say that I can tell a deference within myself when I have Tank with me and when he’s not. I was so used to being stressed out all the time with high anxiety; thinking bad thoughts about everyone and everything. I can’t actually remember a time before now that I was able to stay calm on my own. Now that I have Tank to keep me calm when I’m stressed, I feel mentally and physically ill when I have to go into public alone because of the anger and rage that rushes back inside of me. I hate it. I know that’s not the person I grew up being. I don’t feel comfortable in it anymore.
I woke up exhausted today. Felt like I hadn’t slept all night, dreamt that I was back in the military training for war.It felt too real, sometimes I can’t recognize the difference between sleeping and being awake. Aleah had school off today, I felt bad that I couldn’t play with her because I kept nodding off. She played in her playroom while I slept for 2 hours.
Tank slept right next to me on the floor. I woke up a few times to Tank dreaming with Aleah in the background playing with her dolls. He was whimpering and growling while his paws jerked back and forth like he was chasing something. He jerked awake in the middle of one and looked straight at me. I told him it was ok and placed my hand on him while he laid his head back down and feel asleep. He reminded me of myself and the nightmares I have on a daily basis, except when I jerk awake my shirt is usually drenched in sweat and I have no one to tell me it’s ok. I hope in the future that Tank can be trained to wake me up with his paw or a gentle lick to the face to wake me up.
Tank has started to whimper when I leave him in his crate. I can hear him crying out to me as I’m putting my shoes on as if something is wrong with him. I’ve tried to ignore him, but I feel like he is hurting somehow or sad to be in the crate. I took him out to relieve himself, but he didn’t. I brought him inside and waited for him to drink or eat something but he didn’t. I figured he just didn’t want me to leave, but I had no choice but to leave him in his cage whimpering while Aleah and I grabbed lunch.
Later, I asked my trainer Lindsay what Tank’s problem was and she sent me an email explaining that he was just fine. He was trying to test his limits to see if I would stay with him. She explained that now he is comfortable with me and the house so he doesn’t want to be in his safety area. She gave me a few suggestions on how to help him not for a habit of whimpering while inside of his crate because he will need to be in it at times.
Overall, I feel safer around Tank every day and I know he feels the same about me. He follows my cues on time and learned new cues in days. I’m proud that I was able to pair with such a smart and beautiful dog. It’s amazing how much anxiety a dog can help a person relieve. It’s an extra bonus that he gets along so well with my baby girl.