notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Puppy Lessons

Twenty-five days ago, Theo joined our family.

theo 9-19 framed

Theo Roman – The Official Portrait

We had been a cat family. We’ve had as many as five at a time. We currently have three.

We’re good at cats.

We have a lot to learn about dogs.

I had a dog many, many years ago (like 45). But although I did a lot of the puppy training, I had loads of help from my parents and my brother and sisters. And to be honest, Sarge was an extremely sweet dog, but not exactly the best-behaved. (“Wanna Go For A Ride?”)  So I can’t claim to be an expert.

My husband had a dog – very briefly – more than sixty years ago. So he’s not much help.

But we’re learning.

Here’s what we’ve learned about dogs in the last 25 days:

  1. There is no such thing as sleeping in. Five AM is now late. Late on weekdays. Late on weekends. I jump out of bed and throw on my sweats and my waterproof shoes and run to Theo’s little pen in the kitchen. I pray to reach him before it’s too late. I’m getting better at it. Thankfully, he is also getting better at it.
    *
  2. Likewise, there is no such thing as turning in early. No early bedtime after a long day. Theo is a night owl, and he has to pee at 11:00 PM  in order to make it through the night. Eleven is late for me. I’m a 10:00 PM baby all the way. (My husband is more like 9:00 PM.)  I am learning that there are actually TV shows after ten. I never realized.
    *
  3. My pockets now contain food. Dog treats. All my pockets. My coat pockets. My jean pockets. Food-filled. I have learned that it is a very good idea to check all my pockets before throwing my clothes in the wash.
    *
  4. Speaking of the wash – the amount of laundry has tripled. And the little guy doesn’t even wear clothes. However, we use a lot of my husband’s stack of shop towels. Wiping muddy paws, wiping muddy floors, wiping up “accidents”. And of course, I wear clothes. I am a very clean person. I can wear my jeans several times before they need to be washed. Until three weeks ago, that is. Now after one wearing, my jeans look and smell like wet dog, muddy paws, and sometimes pee-pee paws, and sometimes worse. I do lots of laundry. And I check the pockets.
    *
  5. We’ve lived in our house for eleven years. I thought I knew it well. Including our big yard. But now I know it intimately. I know where the long grass is – and the dip in the lawn that can sprain an ankle. I know where it stays wet all day. I know how many acorns we have. Thousands. I know how to take thousands of acorns out of a puppy’s mouth.
    *
  6. I am also no longer grossed out by taking a worm out of puppy’s mouth. At least twice a day. Once he is bigger and has a stronger constitution, I intend to let him eat the worms. Handling dog-saliva’d worms is a job with a time limit.
    *
  7. Fourteen pounds is huge when it is all squirmy. Fourteen pounds can make your wrists ache. And your back. And 14 pounds will soon be thirty-four pounds.
    *
  8. Cats don’t care if there is nothing to do. In fact, cats prefer it. But dogs need something to do. And they will find something to do. Like chew shoes. I thought my house was quite neat. It is amazing what is lying around. A dog will find a bobby pin, an umbrella, a rather important piece of mail. Lesson:  Put your things away.
    *

    theo oops

    Oops

    *

  9. Cats are quieter (Yea!), but dogs are happier to see you. Cats sometimes notice you have come home. Dogs go berserk.
    *
  10. On the other hand, there is ‘happy to see you’ and ‘TOO happy to see you’.  See #4 re: pee-pee paws.
    *
  11. Dogs do not have brake-lights. They can be running ahead of you, and you are both having a grand old time, and then…FULL STOP.  See #7 re: wrenching your back.
    *
    theo oct4 outdoors*

12. I see everyday tasks in a whole new way. I appreciate a new set of accomplishments. I have a tendency now as I leave the bathroom to say to myself, “GOOD GIRL!”

68 Comments

  1. You’ll all get the hang of it, I’m sure. And he is adorable. Is he a particular kind of dog or did you get really lucky at the pound?

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo – an ancient Italian breed that is the ancestor to the Standard Poodle. Smaller than a Poodle though – medium sized – about 30-35 lbs full grown.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jae

    hahaha! these are all so dead on! i got a puppy last christmas and man…i did not realize the work that goes into having one. so many people make it look so effortless but it’s a lot of work! thankfully they get the hang of it…but there are times Sophie still will just do whatever she wants haha hang in there!

    always,
    jae
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • At 14 weeks old, Theo is already stubborn and headstrong. Usually at night. He’s sweet as can be during the day – but he seems to turn into Cujo in the evening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jae

        oh no, so sorry to hear! best of luck 🙂 doggy treats are my life saver! haha

        Like

  3. Alex

    He is so darn cute!
    I can really relate especially having dog food in all of my pockets and becoming very familiar with the yard. Sounds like you are becoming real dog people. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And Theo now pees and runs right to my pocket.

      Like

  4. The bathroom schedule gets easier as he gets older, so that at least will change for the better. The practical issues are totally outweighed by the huge love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s already a tiny bit better. And I love how joyful he is when he sees me. No one has ever been that happy to see me.

      Like

  5. Puppies are so completely adorable and wonderful — especially when they belong to someone else. Duncan at 1-1/2 years is still a handfull. And there is still a lot of laundry, and a lot of vacuuming. And sweeping.

    If you want to sleep later and train him faster, I recommend a crate. I’d never used one before Duncan, but it worked well for many things. Potty training — a dog won’t go in his bed. He learns to hold it (unless he is sick and then it is contained, and easily cleaned). It is a place to leave him when he is in the chewing phases — no ruined furniture, for example. It is good for time-outs.

    I always thought crates were cruel. But Duncan loves his — it is his secure place. It’s where he goes when he feels insecure. It is where he cuddles with his security blanket. It’s where he takes the one pair of my shoes he still steals so I know where to find them … Now the crate doors stay open and he can come and go as he pleases. And it makes traveling with him easier, as we can be sure he won’t destroy our friends’ houses or a hotel room …

    Theo is an adorable, lucky little guy!

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    • We do have a crate, but it is in his little pen. I’ve only shut the crate door one night, and he was fine. But I haven’t had the heart to do it since – because he is happy going in and out of the crate to the pen. And he’s been pretty good. But I know I should. It’s proven to work.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really thought it was cruel. But so is having your mom and dad curse your early morning wake ups! And Cooper, who was kept in our tiny kitchen in Switzerland, took SIX MONTHS to house break. And while some dogs are better able than others, I wasn’t willing to clean the floor repeatedly for six months!

        Like

  6. Hilarious, and oh, so familiar–from raising 2 babies and 2 dogs. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never had kids, but I do wish I could slap a diaper on the dog.

      Like

      • Why don’t people diaper dogs? It’s seems like such a sensible solution until they’re trained. But then you’d need to wipe his butt at every changing, which could prove hazardous to all involved.

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        • I can’t imagine a puppy keeping the diaper on for more than 10 seconds.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’d have to put rubber pants on top of the diaper.

            Like

  7. I have two new kittens, so I can relate to some of what you are saying. Kittens can have pee pee paws as well. They can have pee pee body when they lie in their litter box. They need to be entertained. Cats may not, but kittens do. They jump on furniture and knock things off. Theya re also fun and delightful, just like puppies. Congrats on your new family member!

    Liked by 1 person

    • i almost forgot those kitten days! Yes, they can make their share of mischief!

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m sure the housebreaking phase will soon pass but as he gets bigger you may have to add “Don’t leave food unattended” to your list. Our current dog is larger than her predecessors and we, or rather Hubby, found out the hard way that she was quite capable of getting food off the kitchen counter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I definitely will need to add this to my list!

      Like

  10. Aw….he is TOO precious! I’ve always been a kitty person, too, although I had a couple of dogs for pets when I was a child.
    Cute post – made me laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was a dog person when younger, but I have been a cat person for so long now, I had forgotten how crazy but fun it is.

      Like

  11. Oh wow! Congratulations on the new addition to you family and good luck. He is so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Roberta! We also think it is the most adorable dog in the world – when we aren’t saying “What the hell did we do????”

      Like

  12. Christine

    A lesson we learned from a dog trainer that proved invaluable: buy lots of chew toys. Every time you catch your puppy chewing on something he shouldn’t, put a chew toy in his mouth. As the trainer said, you can buy a lot of chew toys for the price a new couch. Also, Woody slept in a crate every night and it was very useful when we traveled with him. We could set up a portable crate in any hotel room or rented house and he would feel at home and go to sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do have a crate, and it’s inside the pen. We’ve only shut him in the crate a few times. But we know we need to do it more. We have lots of chew toys. He likes the ones with the loudest squeak – lucky us.

      Like

  13. Theo’s so cute! We have always had cats, never dogs. But, I’ve been dating a dog person for five years and love them now. We just visited the grand dog this weekend and will be dogsitting him for a long weekend in about a month. A 1 year old Corgi that never gets tired, EVER! How can he run after a ball for so long? I’m exhausted at the end of the day but he just wants to keep playing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I recommend a Kong for those times when you need pup busy while you have things to do. Stuff it with peanut butter and bits of kibble or dog bones. They’ll spend hours getting the goodies out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of our friends recommended that too! We’ll have to try it.

      Like

  15. Amen sister! My life every day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping my life won’t have to revolve around poop for the next 15 years. Not completely anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Welcome to the joys of dog ownership! It’ll be worth it, honest!
    Maggie has never chewed, but then Hubby was home with her all the time in the early days, which is why he did much of the training.
    We only had a couple of accidents indoors, though I confess one of us would get up around 2am to take her out back for a wee. House training was taking her out every twenty minutes / half an hour or so whether she wanted to go or not, and praising her like crazy when she performed, so she soon got the message.
    Do your Pet Stores sell such a thing as a Nylabone? It’s great for keeping a dog’s teeth occupied in preference of your shoes/clothes/furniture. There are also balls available with different shaped holes for putting in treats that are a challenge for Doggie to get out (Becomingcliche mentions a Kong, which is similar).
    He’s gorgeous by the way! 😀

    Like

    • He’s the cutest dog in the world – just an objective observation.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. He is adorable and your lessons are so true of a puppy. LOL.

    Like

  18. Hilarious – well, not the sprained ankle, but all so true. Dogs are so busy. Puppies like kids do get overly tired and get completely manic. I highly recommend a toy called “Jolly Ball”; a big heavy ball on a rope they can play with by themselves and is so big that they can’t really get their jaws around it to chew it apart.)
    Just hang in there – a little age and they eventually calm down/adjust to human schedules…we can sleep until 7am now!…except the German when visiting gets up punctually at 5:30 am and is wide awake afterwards. Our Molly is not a morning person and is now lolling longer in bed – after that 10 pm. outdoor trip….but I wish my husband hadn’t let her on the couch…she’s big…and now she wants the bed….
    (Dog TV. Watch for the free watch weeks!)

    Like

  19. Great, fun post! My dog goes for the acorns too…so I can sure relate to number 5! I just love his cute expression in the oops picture!

    Like

    • I left the broken pot there, and when he walks by it, he barks at it. “Bad pot!”

      Liked by 1 person

  20. He sure is pretty. Starting with a puppy is such an adjustment. We JUST adopted a rescue dog (like less than 48 hours ago), and he’s full-grown. Must have been well cared-for because he’s just about perfect (so far). Watch for my pupdate blog post soon!

    Like

    • We seriously considered a rescue. But my husband loves this breed, and we had also read that if you want to add a dog to a house full of cats, you are better off to start with a puppy, because the cats will put the puppy in its place quickly, and all will adjust that much better.
      Can’t wait to read about your doggy experience!

      Like

  21. I’m grappling on whether to get another dog and this reminds me of all the reasons I’m hesitating! I love living with fun dog energy, but not sure I’m ready for all the work. Time will tell. I know I’ll weaken.

    Like

    • It is a LOT of work. But no one has been that happy to see me when I walk in the door for a very very long time.

      Like

  22. We got two puppies last year after not having a dog for over 15 years. It was a wake up call, but now they have settled in, and they are wonderful.

    Like

    • Oh, he is certainly wonderful… a wonderful little monster.

      Like

  23. If you aren’t sure you are cut out for children – get a puppy first! It’s like taking care of an infant almost. ~Elle

    Like

  24. Oh, Theo is so cute! Congrats on becoming dog parents! We made sure we got an adult dog when we were looking for our special addition to the family. We knew we didn’t want to go through puppyhood. But you know it will be worth it in the end. 🙂

    Like

    • We considered an adult rescue, but everyone told us that when you have a house full of cats, a puppy is easier, because the cats will immediately take charge and put him in his place, and everyone will get along better. The cats were completely pissed for a week or so, but now they have (sort of ) settled in to the new reality.

      Like

  25. what a cute little chap. you will soon be turning your back on cats for good 🙂

    Like

  26. He is way cute. I had never heard of the breed, does he have fur or hair? I am with Elyse on on the crate training, it really will help. My dog is still crated during the day, she runs right to it when she sees me getting ready to leave for the day, it is her safe place. When she tires of my two cats she runs there as well. Now days she sleeps in my room, but now and then she will voluntarily crate herself at night rather than come into my room, don’t know why.

    Toys, give him plenty of his own toys. Squeaky toys, furry toys, hard toys, soft toys. He will learn the difference between what is his and what is yours if you always replace what is yours with what is his.

    Onwards with training, it is so worth it.

    Like

    • I am trying to be more consistent with the crate training. I put him in the crate last night. He peed in – but I think only when he heard me stir in the morning. He has lots of toys – he is one spoiled little boy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, and I guess you call it hair and not fur when they don’t shed. That’s Theo.

      Like

      • Very cool! Theo, is very very cool. I grew up with a poodle because he had hair not fur.

        Like

        • This breed.the Lagotto Romagnolo, is the ancestor of the standard poodle and the Portuguese and Spanish water dogs. So there is a definite similarity in coat.

          Liked by 1 person

  27. You are a fantastic dog owner! The world would be a better place if everyone followed your routine. Well done!

    Like

    • Thanks. I’m so out-of-practice when it comes to dogs, but he’s teaching me.

      Like

  28. I love this post! My husband and i also refer to our dog’s paws as “Pee Pee Paws”! The first year of having a new dog can be tough, but after that it’s a kind of joy i never imagined, and I previously loved and adored my cat. I own a small boutique company based in San Francisco called Boo Boo’s Best, and would love to send you some super healthy and delicious dog treats for your new addition!

    Like

  29. tricia martinez

    “Puppies For Dummies” saved our lives w/our puppy. Aside from the Kong, I recommend potty bells (from Amazon) they hang from the door knob and each time you take him out-day or night-tap the bells w/his nose. Our Buster is 4mos old, no accidents in weeks now. BTW-a soft crate next to the bed is infinitely easier than trying to make it to the kitchen in the middle of the night.

    Like

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