Having a puppy is not easy yall! There is change in routine, the other dogs are displaced, you have another being to keep an eye on. Puppies get into things, they pee in the house, they chew stuff, and try to kill themselves by leaping off the back of the couch. If they weren’t so cute, no one would ever survive puppy-hood. I’m not even kidding!
So how have my first 3 weeks with Tower gone?
My schedule is now the puppy’s schedule. I get things done when the puppy sleeps and play when the puppy is awake. If i have to go somewhere I have to keep the puppy awake until I leave so he will sleep in the kennel while i am gone. When we leave, I have to make sure I have puppy cookies, and lunch or dinner depending how long we are gone, I need puppy toys and an extra leash just in case puppy chews his. Thankfully puppies need about 18 hours of sleep a day so if I am strategic enough, I can get everything done that I need to.
I am trying really hard not to wish away the puppy hood and be present in the moment. House training in January is not fun, and since Cargo is trying to squish him, I really need him to be a bit bigger. That means we are living with lots of gates and separation, which Tower has big feelings about. Everyday is spent getting him used to barriers and that being separated is not a panic situation. I am officially training a dog 12 hours everyday. Sometimes it’s your dog and all the others it’s this puppy.
Other than the crate, what else are we concentrating on during puppyhood?
We are going places. All the places. Because of the crate issues Tower rides with me to appointments in the car crate. This gives me the opportunity to expose him to as many different people and places as I possibly can. At this age, I want him to think that all the people are amazing and safe. Cargo had some wariness of strangers so I did not let her approach people the way I let Tower. We watched the people from a safe distance and got lots of cookies. Tower likes the pets from people and leaps right into their arms so I let him visit and then come back to me for cookies. Train the dog in front of you. Socialization is not about meeting all the things. It is learning how to navigate life successfully.
Meeting the other dogs
Y’all know I have a bunch of dogs now. Opie loves a puppy, but he is having some old man pain issues so he cannot babysit. Cargo wants to play with Tower like she plays with Toad and well, Toad is the size of a linebacker so that’s not a good idea. Toad wants nothing to do with the puppy and very clearly avoids him. That’s okay! For now we are out with leashes and meeting behind gates where everyone feels safe, and as Tower grows up, everyone will figure out life. I am a huge advocate of slow and steady so everyone learns to be friends for life.
Yes, I am a dog trainer who has my puppy in class during a pandemic. I am not there for the instruction, although class is taught by a friend and the instruction is awesome. We are there to learn to work together with distractions. Cargo at this age was very aware of all the other things that were going on so we sat and watched and got cookies. Tower wants to work and explore and that is exactly what we are doing. I have the rest of his life to teach him to sit and heel but I need to build the foundation that I am super awesome to play with now.
This also gives Tower the opportunity to play with other puppies in a controlled environment. Playing with adult dogs and playing with puppies are different experiences, so this allows him to get his rough and tumble out while my older dogs are teaching him to be respectful of his elders. I am also careful to match Towers playmates with dogs he is either equally matched with or dogs he is going to see for most of his life, like Callie’s Pele. My dogs do not need to be friends with every dog on the planet but they do need to be able to function if other dogs are around.
Three weeks down, and many more to go. I expect to be displaced and adjusting my life to this puppy for the next year at least. Then we will have a decent routine, and everyone should be friends. Puppies are not easy, so make sure you are ready for the challenges that come with bringing home a puppy!