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the baby (puppy post!)

June 15, 2011
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Hey wow, what time is it? What day is it? Are we still alive?

Housetraining and crate training are no joke. The barking! The whining! I actually don’t mind getting up to take her out (and she is really good about just getting down to business quickly), but the barking is insane. She’s getting better but last night she went on quite a spree. It was seizure-inducing. I finally went over and stuck my fingers through the crate and that eventually calmed her down and she slept without a peep for the next five and a half hours. So that was good. Was that the right thing to do? I have no idea. But pretty soon the neighbors were going to come knocking at the door, and we didn’t take her out of the crate, so I’m guessing it’s okay. It worked, anyway.

We are all learning so much. We’re having a trainer come over for a session just to get us off on the right foot. We have lots of questions, and want to make sure we are sending a consistent teaching message to her. This morning I was wondering if crate training was really the right thing to do for her and for us, but then I put her back in it while I went to take a shower. A couple minutes of barking, and then out like a light. So. Maybe it’s working. What’s so hard is that you want to take her out and comfort her when she’s in distress, of course. But then everyone says, “NEVER TAKE THE DOG OUT WHEN SHE CRIES OR YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!”

Can I just take a moment to say that right now, I’m pretty glad we have a puppy and not a real human baby?

Aside from the insane barking sprees, actually it’s going pretty well. We’re really tired, so it’s hard to see that it’s going well, but it is. Minimal accidents in the house (and zero since we started putting her on a leash and in a play pen in the kitchen when we can’t be actively playing with her). She is already learning Sit and Down and we’re working on Come, Off and Leave It. And, of course, Go Potty. She’s really good at that one. She’s also already learning that, when in doubt, try “Sit.” Pretty cute.

What else? Aside from the insanity of crate training, she is an absolute joy. Smart and cute and fuzzy and playful and licky and darling. We are teaching her to Love The Tennis Ball so we’ll have a good way of wearing her out before bed. Watching her bound after it is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And then she goes and flops in the day-lillies to cool off. We need to bring the camera out next time, get some Maggie Action Shots. She also has this little pink stuffed octopus that she LOVES. It’s her baby. And what else can I go on and on about?

While the crate training is hard and not really fun at all, I’m trying to remember that pretty soon, it will be fun. We’ll all be sleeping again and she’ll be able to hang out in the house, and then it will all be fine and we’ll be so glad we got her.

The thing that worries me the most is the mornings. Terri has limited energy and really needs to sleep as much as possible. I’m encouraged that Maggie seems like she’ll settle back in after breakfast (and after I leave) and sleep for a few more hours. If that happens, all will be well.

Tonight we’re going to try taking her out at around 8 pm and throwing the ball to really wear her out. I think it’s good that we got her at the beginning of summer, when we can use the long summer nights to tire her out before bed. She’s too little yet for a walk around the neighborhood or dog park, but she does need to start meeting new people, so maybe tonight we’ll take her for a walk around the block just holding her, so she can meet some new faces and dogs.

So. Puppy trainer tomorrow, and puppy class in a few more weeks, and then hopefully smooth sailing through summer. We have had many moments of thinking that we made a huge mistake (seriously, I think we lost our minds with grief about the two girls we just lost), but I think if we just give it a few more nights she’ll start settling in with the crate and it will start to get easier. As long as she doesn’t chase Thomas and starts sleeping through the night, all will be well.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 2:04 pm

    Have you tried stuffing and freezing a Kong, then giving it to her when you pop her in the crate? It might give her something to do other than bark! 🙂 What you do is just take some of her daily kibble, mix it with something yummy and sticky (like peanut butter, yogurt, etc.), then fill the Kong with that. Popping it in the freezer is optional but makes it last a lot longer! Before I tried this, I was skeptical that it would make a HUGE mess, but it really didn’t.

    Also, if the puppy’s hyper when Terri needs to be resting, look into ‘puzzle games.’ These are toys that make the dog work to get their food; when I had Colette, who was really high energy, my puzzle ball ( saved me. She loved that thing and would bat it around as long as the food lasted(it is a bit noisy when it smacks into a wall, but it let me go back to sleep after I got up in the am to let Colette out). (I think the instructions say use treats, but I just used some of her quota of dry kibble so she wouldn’t get overweight.) Or you could save the stuffed kong for then!

    Basically, look into ways to make feeding her more interesting and time/energy consuming for her! 😉

    • June 15, 2011 4:55 pm

      Thank you! That’s a really great idea. Once she is potty trained (I think she’s doing pretty darn good but she hasn’t been tested yet, not really) we’ll definitely do that.

      We switched her crate to her travel crate, which she seems more comfortable in, and she has been sleeping in it for the past two hours without a peep. I hope that, combined with some ball-playing tonight, will be a turning point in the crate-training. Also we moved it *right* next to the bed and that seems to be helping too. Poor little lonely girl! I have to take some photos tonight.

      • June 15, 2011 4:56 pm

        Oh, and we have a Kong (a couple of them) and she’s JUST starting to figure it out. I was thinking of stuffing it with kibble and wet dog food tonight since she’s not eating a ton yet.

  2. June 16, 2011 8:28 am

    Ah the joy of a new puppy. They are so much more work than you imagine beforehand. It will get better though. Having a trainer out will help. Plus Maggie’s adorableness cancels out all sorts of puppy sins 🙂

  3. June 16, 2011 8:41 am

    puppy fun. sometimes my kids ask for a puppy and i always say no because it really is like having a baby and you have to have the reight mindset for it and i just dont have that mindset right now.

    and i agree with everyone, the crate training thing will get easier. when our last dog was a puppy, she didnt have a crate but we would keep her in our enclosed back porch, leaving the door to the house open, and having a baby gate up. so, it was like she was in the house with us, but confined to her own space. at first she hated it but eventually she saw it sort of as her ‘room’ and shed go there without being told.

    hang in there.

  4. June 16, 2011 4:33 pm

    She is so beyond cute.

    Over the moon cute.

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