Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homeschooling, Dogs and the "S" Word

The biggest question people always ask about homeschooling is about socialization. How do you socialize your kids? Do your kids get enough socialization? I've never had a problem with my kids and socialization. My dog is another story.

Poor Ed has to go to doggie camp while we're on vacation. We tried and tried, but it really won't work to take him along with us; so he's got to go.

We found a place that looks like it should be fun for dogs. Apparently it's not fun for Ed. The dogs are divided into groups and spend the day playing in fenced in yards. They go on a hike in the morning; the take an afternoon nap. Sounds like lots of doggie fun. Not to Ed.

Ed doesn't like to spend the day with other dogs playing in a yard. Ed doesn't believe that he's a dog, and doesn't like the commotion. Now, we have four kids around all day long, so it's not the noise. I really believe that it's because Ed doesn't know he's a dog. He thinks he's a real boy (like Pinocchio).

So, here we are, a week before we leave, trying to help Ed develop the "coping skills" that he apparently lacks. I'm used to people having negative comments about my parenting skills - we do things outside of the norm. I'm confident that we are doing what's best for our children, and they are wonderful kids who have proven us right. Unfortunately, I'm not so secure about my doggie parenting skills. When the doggie place told me that Ed didn't have "coping skills" I was reduced to tears. Multiple questions about how to help him develop coping skills was always met with "We've got trainers who can work with you." I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars to change my wonderful dog. I just want him to not be so sad at the doggie camp.

The man I married and I have lost hours of sleep worrying about poor Ed. Will we be able to enjoy our vacation knowing that Ed is sad? Will Ed suffer permanent damage from this? Will our poor baby be mad at us forever for leaving him?

This morning I decided to Google "dog coping skills" to see if there was any helpful advice. Amazingly, it was all about "We've got trainers who can work with you." Finally I found a little article containing some helpful information. So today we begin the week long attempt at helping Ed to develop his coping skills. First on the list is a visit to Pet's Mart. The we'll drop by a restaurant that lets dogs on the patio.

Wish me luck. My poor heart just can't take the stress!

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