Puppyhood

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This is Zoë (be sure to follow her on Instagram! @zoe_the_auz). This little bundle of joy has graced my girlfriend and me with what hopes to be a lifetime of memories and laughs. So far? The laughs seem few and far between.

When we were in the beginning stages of puppy scouting, we were thrown all of the typical new puppy-parent questions: the ever infamous “are you sure you want a puppy?” as if we were telling our friends and family a joke, just to see what they said; “do you know what nurturing a puppy consists of?” as if we were being introduced to the dog species for the first time; “are you ready to take her into considerations when making plans?” as if we have the schedule of Kanye West, etc. All we were thinking of were the nights cuddling her on the couch watching a movie, enjoying a nice adult beverage; the cute puppy-kisses waking us up at a reasonable time in the morning; the easy-for-you-but-impossible-for-her tug-of-war games we’d play with mommy’s socks. Then we woke up…at 3:00am.

I’m here to give those of you who have ever considered getting a puppy some classified information on what puppyhood really consists of. If I wanted to be like everyone else and say, “it’s a lot of work”, my blog post would end here. Lucky for you, I’m not like your mom/dad/sister/brother/friend/garbage man/mailman/dentist/financial advisor or even Mary down at the gourmet donut shop. This is first hand experience.

Say good-bye to your sleep schedule

We were prepared to be woken up early in the mornings to take Zoë outside for the good ole’ one-and-two combo. What we weren’t prepared for were these awakenings to occur every three hours. I would love to see the security camera footage of our zombie walks at 3:00am, while Zoë is prancing around, squatting down to say “these four strands of pine straw belong to ZOË THE AUZ! ‘psssssssss’ ” then darting in and out of the bushes.

Then, when you finally bring her inside, be prepared to a) play with her for a little while, hoping the three rounds of stuffed-toucan fetch tires her out (it won’t), or b) try to sleep through the screeching howls and screams of her in her crate.

Best thing to do before bed? Make sure your soon-to-be pile of fluff doesn’t nap before you’re considering going to bed. Try taking him/her on a nice long walk before settling down. (Be sure to have a fast enough pace so they can run, ya bums.)

Crate-training is worse than wet socks

The first night we brought Zoë home, we were already in fear of putting her in the crate that night. We were told to section off the crate with a divider, so she only has room to sleep and not move around as much (i.e. pee). We tried to make it as comfortable and appealing as possible with pillows, blankets, and toys.

Out go the lights, and in comes the loudest, most bloodcurdling screeching and howling (and other noises we still can’t put into words) we’ve ever heard. It literally sounded like the divider fell on her and she was being pierced by the hooks. (That may or may not have happened, minus the piercing, due to faulty configuration…) The sounds were so loud, my girlfriend and I were expecting to hear a knock on the door and be taken to puppy-jail for being complete idiots.

Tips for crate training? Introduce your soon-to-be puppy-scent puppy to their crate as soon as possible. Try putting little treats in the crate, and having them eat and finish it while in there. Then, open the door and let them out, giving them soft compliments. Keep doing this until you deem it necessary. Oh yeah, and make sure it’s sturdy and configured correctly.

You don’t need a “Kanye West Schedule” to feel the pain of planning

Need to go to the bathroom? Make sure you know where your puppy is. Need to take a shower? Make sure you know where your puppy is. Need to close your eyes for just a second because you got 2 hours of sleep last night? Make sure you know where your puppy is.

Wait a second…Kanye West does these things too! I’m pretty much Yeezus!

These were the things Mary from the donut shop was talking about. You don’t have to have meetings scheduled with Adidas, nor be consumed with ACTUALLY keeping up with the Kardashians to experience the drawbacks of having a puppy. Simple, everyday things are harder when you’re a humom or a puppy dad (dad’s don’t have cool pet names).

Tips for scheduling around a puppy? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Thanks!

Nothing is safe come teething time

As I sit here and write this, I can see Zoë chewing on the hand strap of my monopod I used at the beach yesterday for taking pictures. I had to stop her because she moved onto biting the foam handle off in little pieces. When I got up to take it away, she ran straight to her crate. Yay crate training! Here’s a treat!

Puppies will chew on anything that isn’t one of their toys: shoes, blankets, any type of strap/string, wires, their crate, any part of your body, you name it. I even saw Zoë chewing on the couch one day. Not something chewable, such as the corner of the couch, but the side paneling of the couch. How she’s able to position her snout and actually get a tooth on the couch panel is something only Einstein himself could solve, but he’s dead, so it will remain a mystery.

Tips for teething puppies? When you see your soon-to-be cuddle-butt chewing on something they aren’t supposed to be chewing on, simply clap loud enough to get their attention (try not to startle them). Then grab one of their chew toys and calmly let them know this is what they should be chewing on.

You may want to invest in some rubber boots

Your soon-to-be mommy’s little angle will pee in your house. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I don’t care if you’re Cesar Millan himself, it’s going to happen.

We have hardwood floors in our apartment, and it’s kind of bittersweet in the sense that it’s an easy cleanup, but you can’t see any of these treasure puddles pooling in the one spot you’re about to step in unless you’re at the right angle. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve walked to the fridge to grab something to drink and stepped in a cold puddle left behind by Zoë, and wet socks are worse than crate training, as previously explained.

Tips for potty training? Whenever you see your puppy start sniffing around as if you dropped a piece of food somewhere, stop what you’re doing and take him/her outside. Chances are your puppy is ready to mark their territory. Congratulate him/her with a pat on the head and a small treat, while acknowledging what he/she did.

Now, I’m going to sound like a complete dad, but even with all of the hassles I’ve encountered in the two-plus weeks of having Zoë, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being able to see her grow up and be a mature, smart dog, accomplishing all of her life goals of barking at squirrels, fetching tennis balls, and running behind me while I skate is going to be awesome. So, go out there and get that pup you want. Even though there are a lot of troubles that come along with pups, you’ll be happy you did when you see them sleeping peacefully next to you. Also, you can use some things to your advantage!

  • Having the worst dream of your life? Only three more minutes until little Daisy will wake you up to tell you she has to pee!
  • Stuck on the phone listening to your mom talk about holiday plans? “Damn it, Rover, don’t pee there! Sorry, mom, gotta take Rover outside!”
  • Can’t go out on Friday because you have no money, but too embarrassed to admit it? “Sorry, man, can’t come out tonight. Gotta be here for when Buddy has to pee!”
  • Conversation getting awkward with Mary at the donut shop? “Sorry, Mary, gotta go. I don’t want Lucy to pee in your shop!”
  • Blog post dragging on? “Sorry, guys, Zoë just woke up from her nap, gotta take her to pee!

I’m sensing a peetern here…