Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Puppy is a lot of work

So, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with our puppy housetraining and other discipline issues (mainly mouthiness). I think there are a few phases with getting a puppy:

  1. The excitement of bringing a puppy home and all the initial bonding.

  2. The stresses of training a puppy: waking up in the middle of the night to take them out to pee, following them around to make sure they don't pee or poop in the house, cleaning those messes when they do, making sure they don't chew on wires or anything they shouldn't be chewing on.

  3. Asking yourself whether this will ever end: will she ever figure out that she isn't supposed to be biting my hands and feet, and hanging onto my pants' leg? Will she ever figure out that she needs to go out to pee?

  4. The sheer joy the first time she walks to the door to be let out to pee! And when she heeds your reprimand of her misbehavior and moves onto something else.

This has definitely been a great experience. Firstly, I understand why there are so many misbehaved dogs out there: people just don't devote the time and effort to properly train the animal. You get easily exasperated with the lack of progress.

What this has also made immensely clear: why there are so many misbehaved children out there: we have only had her 2 weeks, and we were already becoming frustrated with her lack of progress, the lack of sleep and the cleaning up of much work is a child? I mean, after a year, you have barely scratched the surface. My mother has always said about parenthood: "there are many deposits, before you get any returns."

There are also loads of funny moments: this morning, I was folding laundry and Susie sauntered over and decided she was going to jump into the laundry basket and chew on clothes. I told her to get out, and removed her, but she jumped right back in and continued chewing, so she went into time-out in her pen. Usually when we put her into time-out she will mope and whine, and then settle down. Well, this time, she settled down, and then just sat there and barked at me. It was pretty clear that she was giving me the doggie version of: "oh, yeah? Well, I don't love you anymore. So there!" It is so hard to not laugh during moments like this.

Or the other night she was on what we call puppy crack: she got hyper and started running around the house at warp speed. We were in the livingroom, and she was tearing through from room to room, making one point when she was in the hallway that leads to my office, we hear a *thud* and realized that she ran full speed into the closed door of my office (which is usually open). It didn't seem to slow her down, because she came tearing out of the hallway, and made a dash under the coffee table, but in jumping over the bottom support of the coffee table, she managed to hit her head on the coffee table. She started yelping like crazy, but kept on running. My husband and I were both worried, but also laughing.

And your realize why small dogs are so often really neurotic and undisciplined: because everything they do is "so cute!" It's so cute when Mitzy jumps on you, or barks like a maniac at the mailman, or snaps at your ankles...but really, you have to picture Mitzy as a 100lb dog, and then that behavior isn't so cute anymore. But because Mitzy will never be 100lbs, Mitzy's owners just think it's cute. But it's really not.

We have to catch ourselves that we don't fall into that behavior with Susie. My husband thinks it's cute that she digs little holes in the backyard...but maybe he won't think it's so cute once our backyard looks like a 32 hole golf-course. I think it's cute when she sasses me with her barking...but really it's obnoxious.

Anyhoo...we have our first puppy training classes tonight, and not a moment too soon!


Blogger liberal army wife said...

Cesar Milan... that's a great source for training. and chewing - Bitter Apple spray (at the pet store) no smell, tastes truly awful and she'll not chew there again!

Puppy crack - yeah, they are so funny when they do that, but unfortunately I was told its that they didn't get enough exercise outside that day... but I would take Lexi out and run her/me ragged, and after a nap (hers) she's be flying around again. so I think that's a myth.


12:41 PM  
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

LAW, We have become addicted to the Dog Whisperer, before getting a puppy I didn't really get it...but now we feel like total yuppies, because we are always questioning ourselves and our behavior and wondering if we are behaving like pack leaders,'s funny. And the Bitter Apple...yes, it's my daily perfume for my feet and fingers, and anywhere else she deems chew-worthy...she almost has a Pavlovian reaction now when she sees the bottle come out...she sulk away with a "spoil-sport" look on her face.

Yeah, we were trying to figure out why she gets so hyper, but she does run around a lot, and play a lot, and we are training her in the moment, so she does "work" a lot, so we can't quite figure out why she gets into those moods...but as long as she doesn't bite us, or hurt herself horribly when doing it, we just let it go.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

We had our dog before the Dog Whisperer was even a gleam on the cable... *grin*

Puppies are LOTS of work, basically if you can't be watching them, you can't have them running about (they get into too much trouble). I did over 2 years of training with our Border Collie because she loved it so much. I never did shows or trials, just the training which was so much fun.

She was a fabulous dog and I can't count the number of people who thought they should get their very own BC because ours was so wonderful... even though I warned them... Heh.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Here's what can happen if you don't nip that hole digging thing in the bud. I have a husky and they can dig CRATERS in a backyard.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Stacy Kaye said...

A lot of work, but OH so adorable! And I love the name...Susie! So Cute!

3:05 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Yes, you can count me in as one of those people who probably didn't always put in the time and effort with the initial training. It took Lucy about three months before she absolutely quit having accidents in the house. We're still working on the jumping thing because goldens are puppy-like until age 3 and she gets super excited at the sight of any human. She whines when we put her in her kennel (which, I've been told, is supposed to be the safe haven) so I guess I didn't crate-train her quite right. She's very imperfect but she's mine! I love Cesar's show, and I'm pretty sure he would consider Lucy and I great candidates for a future episode. :)

8:35 AM  
Blogger Butterfly Wife said...

My Moo dog was a puppy for a good two years. And then somewhere around the time she turned 5 (about 10 months ago) she became a real dog and now acts like she is supposed to. Bear, who is the same age, well, he is a crazy doggie (shhh. don't tell Jack Bauer I said that). Hey, at least they are super cute when they are sleeping ...

Good luck with the training. :D

1:15 AM  

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