Jul 25, 2008 General Nonsense |
I have not spent much time around dogs, so our new puppy is quite a learning experience. For example, I have learned to exist in a sleepless stupor that is neither living nor dead. My IQ has dropped about 60 points and I find myself forming strong opinions on topics I don't understand.

Puppies are essentially little factories that take in small pellets and convert the raw material into barking and poop. My job, as foreman of the factory, is to make sure the output happens in the designated grassy area. I'm sure I would have gotten a bad performance review yesterday, as little Snickers delivered a pallet of product behind the dining room table and decided it was a chew toy. I got the roll of paper towels, placed it near the hazardous waste area, and left to get my hazmat suit and chemicals. This was a mistake. When I returned, one minute later, the roll of paper towels had been beavered into confetti. The dining room floor looked like New Year's Eve in Times Square, assuming the mirrored ball is actually an exploding turd.

I have watched enough episodes of The Dog Whisperer to know that I must establish myself as the alpha dog. I do this by trying not to cry when she bites me. I think it is working. Yesterday when she took me for a walk, I saw a leaf and didn't pick it up with my mouth. And I'm getting used to wearing the harness.

I had no idea that a dog would become the organizing principle for the household. From now on, all decisions are based on what is best for the dog. I was already lowest on the family hierarchy behind my wife, kids, and cats. This latest demotion stings. I have tried to adjust to the situation by merging in my mind the concept "what I want to do" with the concept "things that won't happen." My strategy is to wait it out. A dog lives what, 15 years? I tell myself I can do that time standing on my head. Wearing a harness.
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Jul 25, 2008
we, on the other hand, had a "home study" today with the Siberian (cat) breeder with which we've already put down a deposit on a $900 kitten that's yet to be conceived (yes, I'm dead serious). I _DO_ need to read up/refresh myself on training kittens since our calico was 18 when she died back in March (i.e. HW was in office the last time I had a kitten)...
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2008
I just keep asking myself -

why is there a hierarchy in your home?

The humans ARE equal -

the animals are second.

Why have you chosen to live otherwise?
Jul 25, 2008
hmmm. Dogs can be fun, but not as fun as charidee. This guy is giving a piece of his degree to everyone who sponsors him. And he's also Canadian. Why are you still here?! http://www.3bucksforbrendan.com/
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2008
You don't HAVE TO keep the dog.

You don't HAVE TO be the one responsible for potty training.

Why have you chosen this path?
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2008
Best blog all day.
Jul 25, 2008
We got a dog when I was around 8 years old. I'm sad to say that for the first 8 years of her life we didn't treat her like we should have. We were completely clueless on how to raise a dog. We kept her outside most of the tie and she barked constantly. We never trained her beyond some simple "sit" and "lay down" commands that she rarely obeyed. The back yard basically became "off limits" to the family for those years because when we went back there she'd jump on us trying to play, etc. The dog was miserable, and so were we. Finally, 4 or 5 years ago we started watching the Dog Whisperer and realized that it was still possible to have a great family dog. We started taking her on walks more, and started crate training. That lasted about a week, then she didn't want to be in the crate anymore. It took her a few more weeks to be potty trained. But after a few months she became a GREAT dog. I love her now. She is much happier than she used to be and I am so glad we have made the last few years of her life a happy time. She just wanted to be part of our pack. She still has some issues, but all in all you couldn't ask for a sweeter or more gentle dog, especially not a large dog who is half-shepherd and half-husky. Her legs are getting bad and I don't know if she'll still be around by the end of the year, but I'm happy that we were able to resolve her issues and give her the love and boundaries she always wanted.

I was never a dog person, I prefer cats. But Cesar Milan's show showed me that it doesn't matter - anyone can control a dog and raise them to be a great companion. I look forward to getting my own dog in the future and am confident that I'll be able to deal with it this time.
Jul 25, 2008
When a dog is owned by someone who is not a "dog person", it is sad for both the dog and the owner. Dogs are social, heirarchical creatures, and they need a) a pack, b) a defined place in that pack, and c) a loving, understanding, and competent alpha. Dogs who are constantly separated from their pack (locked outside, in a specified room, or in the garage) are in essence in solitary confinement and will become neurotic about being separated from their pack (note that crate training, if done properly, isn't the same thing).

And the poor non-dog person sees absolutely no upside. If you don't *love* dogs, then the love that dogs give you is diluted or simply undetectable. It's like not having a sense that other people (dog lovers) have. We dog lovers hardly notice and certainly do not care that dogs are basically dogs, and the only thing they know how to do instinctively is, well, be dogs. That means that puppies shred things for fun, and poop and pee wherever they think they should. By the way, housebreaking your second dog is infinitely easier than your first, because Dog #2 will instinctively learn to do #2 where the other dogs do.

But if the love, joy, and happiness your dog brings into your life doesn't make all the hassle seem trivial, then you are not a dog person and you probably shouldn't have a dog. You'll just resent the dog and he'll just be a poor, confused, neurotic stranger in a strange land.
Jul 25, 2008
"My IQ has dropped about 60 points and I find myself forming strong opinions on topics I don't understand."
Nope - you,ve been doing that for years.
Jul 25, 2008
Now you know why "dog" is simply "god" spelled backwards. It's all that brown output...
Jul 25, 2008
Scott, you state that you are behind (among other things) kids in the family hierarchy. We all know about the wife, but is this some revelation that you've managed to keep hidden from your loyal fans?
Jul 25, 2008
Be glad your wife doesn't want to keep horses.
Jul 25, 2008
welcome to the wonderful world of dog ownership. I'll send Caesar an e-mail. He'll be expecting your call.

Our lab is 3 years old - so i've only got 12 years left of my sentence. If the last 12 are anything like the first 3, I will more than likely end my sentence with no shoes, belts and a garage that has no wood left in it at all.

You are probably crate training the beast, since that is the most popular approach now-a-days, but we let the dog sleep in our room. The problem is, I have four kids and each one wants the dog to sleep with them. Rather than going through the insanity of getting each kid a dog, I am in the process of creating a furry, schizoid creature (with sharp teeth) that, when it comes upstairs to go to bed, tucks its tail between her legs and looks at me like "can't i pleeeeeeease just sleep in your room tonight. Pleeeeeeeease?!?!?!" Then i pick the kid that's pissed me off the least that day and shove the dog in there with strict orders to stay. Luckily she is a sly beast and as soon as she hears snoring, actually slinks out of the room and back into mine.

By the way, I hear smaller dogs live longer...bwaaaaaaahahahahah.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2008
Hi Scott,

Sounds like fun. It will get better. If you have any pain medication left over from your surgery try slipping some to the dog. If you create a puppy junky you can have complete control. She will stand on her head to get a fix. Reward her when she does her production outside and you will have a trained puppy in no time.

Once she is trained things will seem better. Either you will be use to your new routine or you will have some control and life will be dog normal.

How well does your verbal communication work currently? Are you allowed to talk, yell, or curse yet?

Jul 25, 2008
As the designated puppy sitter (previously it was aging adult dog sitter) for a friend, the dog always takes my side in an argument and turns to me if being yelled at by her master (or so he thinks he's the master). I'm the one who give scratches on the belly, walks in the middle of the night, and treats just because (chicken jerky is a great treat and reward for good behaviour.) Block off rooms you don't want them in, don't wear good clothes around them, and roll on the floor and play. They require less care than an infant, but as much attention as a toddler. They'll get into as much trouble as a proverbial three year old. But doggy gates and doors being closed really do help contain them and their various deposits.
And be careful about taking a bath with them in the room. You just think you'll keep them out of trouble by closing them in with you - they'll actually join you in the tub if you're not careful! Unless you bathe with doggy shampoo you'll have to deal with washing them a second time.
But enjoy. And everything is a potential chew toy. And on a shelf where you think it's not reachable is not high enough. Closed drawers or cabinets are a safer hiding place.
Jul 25, 2008
And this is why I have never adopted a puppy. Their bladders and bowels just aren't quite there yet. The general rule of thumb is that until they are a year old they can hold it for as many hours as they are months old (a 6 month old should be able to go 6 hours once they are house trained).

If you haven't tried it yet I suggest "Simple Solution" to clean up after your dog. The stuff works miracles on the carpet and you can find it by the gallon at most pet stores. Even though both of my dogs are house trained I always keep a gallon or two and a spray bottle on hand just in case there is an accident. And the stuff works on just about any stain such as ink, blood, vomit, etc.

A fenced in yard makes house training much easier. Having to put the leash on the dog can sometimes inadvertantly trigger the bladder to release, I learned that the hard way.

And yes the easiest way to train your dog is to become the alpha dog and make sure they know it. They don't eat until after you and your family has, they shouldn't go out a door before you, and you should come up with a quick noise to stop bad behavior (I prefer to snap my fingers to get my dogs attention). It may not always work but it's a starting point. And as Dilgal recommended get your puppy into training classes early. I never got my dogs formally trained and it is noticable. Petsmart does have excellent classes if you live near one (I don't).
Jul 25, 2008
Dogs are much easier to train than kids or wives. You will soon find that out.

Unless you have an Australian Shepard or Border Collie. They will train you.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 25, 2008
Yep. I don't have kids yet so it was a complete shocker for me, but the dog rules the schedule. Want to go out for dinner? Can't - the dog just ate and will have to fertilize the lawn in :20. Want to get away for the weekend? Sure... what do we do with the dog?

Good luck.
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