Let me start by saying, I love Hula SOOO much. She is such a good girl, she’s beautiful, and she is a part of this family through and through. BUT…….she’s a little shit head. Yea yea, she’s a baby, but anyone who’s ever owned a puppy can vouch for that comment. Because let’s be honest, babies in any capacity are assholes. Fight me.
SO, as a new puppy owner, I just want to relay some fun tips and experiences to anyone thinking of getting a puppy, or maybe just for some comedic relief that you can relate to.
[I’ve had one dog growing up. But we got her when I was a little puppy as well. Being as I was 2, I obviously didn’t have any hand in training her. I’ve also worked with dogs at my previous job – as you know- and know a lot about animal behavior. But Hula is my first puppy that I’ve actually had the pleasure of training fully.]
DAY 1: Bringing her home
She was amazing and perfect, and went to sleep in her crate right away, and only woke us up 2x whining because she had to go potty. We thought, “Wow she’s such a good girl! She’s so smart! Yayy!!”
She cried in her crate for 2 hours before falling asleep and chewed her bed. Then we were like, “Shit. What happened to our perfect sleeper?” We cave and let her sleep in our bed.
DAY 3: We are weak asses, and cave yet again, and let her in our bed.
DAY 4: NO CAVING! She whines and howls for hours until exhausting herself.
DAY 7: We are sleeping in the living room because she is whining so loud because she hates the crate. I feel awful, but we can’t cave anymore.
DAY 14: She only whines for about 15 minutes before falling asleep.
DAY 28: SHE’S A GEWD GORL AND SLEEPS LIKE AN ANGEL!
Basically, your puppy will change daily. We got Hula at 10 weeks old & 14lbs, and had to work with her a lot on the crate training, as EVERYONE should. Crate training is HUGE if you want your dog to be good in the house. We’ve had her for over a month now, and she’s still learning to be ok in there. She’s great at night now (thank God), and will go to sleep within a few minutes, and then she gets up around 630am every day. It took her at least 3-4 weeks to get to this point, and she’s now waking up around 7-730 each day. She still whines or howls in the crate if we have to leave her for a few hours during the day, or if I’m busy in the house, or showering and can’t watch her. but this will improve with time as well. Just stay patient, and know that they need to get comfortable being in the crate, and that it is a safe space, and NOT a place of punishment (do not put your dog in the crate after you’ve scolded them for something. Wait at least a few minutes after the scolding to put them in the crate if you need to leave or go to bed).
Other fun stuff to note: It has taken me almost 3 weeks to write this blog because I really do not have any down time with her. While I am a stay at home pupper mom right now, she is 100% a full time job. Between her high energy levels, and her lack of knowledge on most things, it’s constant. So not only is she super high energy (hello, she’s a puppy), but because she’s a puppy, that means she’s still learning how to be a dog. She’ll chew on things, jump on the cat, pee on the floor, poop on the rug, eat the carpet, pull napkins out of the trash, hit her head on the table, you name it. She’s just a clumsy doofus who doesn’t know what anything is. And the Doberman in her makes her a little stubborn ass sometimes too.
So forget about putting your feet up and getting work done on your computer, because every other minute, something is going on that you need to correct. So it’s just one continuous set of hamstring curls, because I am constantly getting in and out of our recliner to go correct her for something #fitness. Whether it be stomping on Meeko, stealing my shoes or socks and taking off with them, trying to eat the Christmas tree, or if I can catch her, popping a squat in the middle of the living room to pee, it’s always something. Did I mention puppies can only hold their bladder for about 2-3 hours at a time (max)? Fun fact: go by the age of your dog in months to base their bladder holding skills on. Ex. She’s 3 months, so she can hold it for about 3 hours. This also doesn’t mean she wont go 3x in 3 hours, that’s just her max capacity. 😉 Once a dog is full grown, they can hold it for up to 12-15 hours.
Hula has her days where she’s a shithead all day, and is just in a mood, which then puts ME in a mood, and sometimes I just want to cry. BUT she also has very good days most of the time, and is still my best girl regardless of what goes down on any given day. A new puppy will push your buttons, stress you out, overwhelm you at times, and test your patience every day. But the love they’ll bring you is unmatched. And once they start to pick up on training cues, and actually learning and retaining the information you’re trying to relay to them, its the most exciting and rewarding thing in the world! (I’m sure people say this about their actual human children, but one step at a time for me. Thank u, next.) But seriously, seeing them grasp what your teaching them, or seeing them actually thinking about what they’re supposed to be doing, is quite amazing.
With Hula, I mentioned she is very high energy (that’s the Doberman in her), but that energy has to come down sometime, and it normally comes and goes multiple times a day. We try to keep her on a pretty steady schedule of:
630-7am: wake up, potty, walk, run in the park, then breakfast.
After breakfast she’ll play and be crazy for about an hour and then she’ll pass out for about 1-2 hours. This is when Payton and I normally go to the gym, around 10-11ish, so she can sleep in her crate and it’s no big deal.
She gets lots of play time, and trips outside, and will sleep off and on all day.
Normally around 4-4:30, I’ll take her on a longer walk, and when we get back from that walk, I’ll feed her at 5:00. She gets fed 2x a day, 1.5 cups each time. We buy her the Blue Buffalo Puppy Kibble and she seems to love it. So much so, that we’ve also switched her to a maze bowl, so that it slows her down while she’s eating. She was eating so fast before that she wasn’t even chewing, and gave herself the hiccups every time she ate.
After she eats we normally take her to go potty 10 minutes afterwards. Again, just trying to get her on a normal potty schedule so she knows.
She normally gets her 4th-5th wind around 8-9pm and gets the zoomies when everyone’s getting off of work and getting home. She’ll get to play with Thor (my roommate’s 1 year old husky) and work off some more energy. Sometimes we’ll take them to the park at night (it’s right down the street).
Then once she goes potty one last time, we normally take her to bed whenever we go to bed between 10-12.
And then it just repeats. Not super strict scheduling, because we want her to be able to adapt to change, and because our schedules change too. But for the most part, that’s what her days look like. Lots of playing, sleeping, getting into shit she shouldn’t, and going potty. Not a bad gig. But she’s exhausting.
It may seem like so much fun to stay at home with a puppy all day, but it is so hard. The accidents, the stuff that gets ruined, the lack of time to do anything, it adds up and will drain you. It’s one thing if you have help, but I am home alone with her most of the day, everyday. Payton does a lot with her, don’t get me wrong, because he’s the one that takes her on her morning walks every day, and we BOTH train her. But like I said, it is very exhausting, and I’ve cried more than a few times about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, and I’m not embarrassed to say that this little girl has bested me on more than one occasion. You just gotta stick with it, try not to get frustrated, and keep moving forward.
MORE HELPFUL TIPS:
CRATE TRAINING: Every time we take her out of the crate, we let her out to potty immediately. This creates a common theme so that she knows she gets to potty when she’s OUTSIDE of the crate, not in it. This is the main reason for crate training, so that they learn to hold it, until they are let out. Another great tool for this is to get a crate that has a separator. You put the separator in the crate to section it off. Your puppy should only be in a section that is just big enough for them to lie down in but nothing else. This creates a space for JUST them, because if you give them a huge area to sleep in, then they can go potty on one half, and still have room to sleep on the other half. This is not good. As your puppy grows, move the separator back until they fit in the entire crate. Once they’re fully crate trained and potty trained (could be 6-9 months) you can choose to either have them continue sleeping in the crate or get them a bed or your bed. Whichever you prefer.
WALKS: I suggest getting a retractable leash and a harness to train your puppy. The harness gives you more control, with less strain on their neck. The retractable leash helps you train your puppy to stay close to you. Your dog should be walking at your side, not 15 ft in front of you. The retractable lets you shorten the leash to be just at your side so they can learn to stay close. Then once they learn to walk on the leash a little better, you can give them a little more room to explore and learn how far away they are allowed to be from you. Even given a longer leash, they should eventually learn that once they get to a certain distance away from you, they should wait for you, or catch up to you if they were sniffing something. But as you are first starting out, keep your puppy close and give them a quick tug when they stop to sniff. Walks are walks, not time to stop for 10 minutes at every tree. Your walks should be constant walking your first few months. so that they can learn to let go of distractions like cars, other dogs, cats, and people. If your dog starts to go a different direction than you are, turn around and make them go a the other way. Every time. You may look dumb turning in circles on the street, but this is to teach the dog you are in control, and they go where you go.
TREAT MOTIVATION: Carry a little baggie of your puppy’s kibble with you at all times. (Puppies can’t have treats normally until all of their shots are done so just their normal food). Use these when they do something that you want them to continue doing. We’re training her to sit at the door before she’s allowed out for her walks or potty. So we take her to the door, make her sit, giver her a treat and then open the door. Over and over. This goes with anything. Show them (place them in the position) the command with the verbal cue, give them the treat. Then try with only the verbal cue, and reward immediately after they do it correctly. We also teach her commands in German because none of them sound similar, and are all one syllable. Sit=Sits. Lay down=Plots. Stay=Blibe. This is preference, but works very well.
POTTY TRAINING: if you live in an apartment, definitely invest in some potty pads for the first couple weeks. But do not rely on these, because you still don’t want her to get used to going inside the house. Also, the proper way to train a dog does involve touch corrections to correct or stop unwanted behavior. These range from a 2 finger jab to touch correct small things, or a slap on the butt. Do not bop their nose or face, as it is a very sensitive area. But if there is a potty accident, DO NOT touch correct. Simply show them the mess (hold their face close to it), tell them no, and then take them outside. Do not let them watch you clean up the mess either, because then they will think it’s ok because you are showing it attention. Another thing that has been helpful for us, is potty grass on our patio. We have an upstairs apartment, so sometimes we’re not always quick enough to get her all the way downstairs and over to the grass area. So we have a patch of grass we put on our patio so that she has something right there anytime she has to go. We just leave our screen door cracked when we’re home, and she’ll walk out there and go if she needs to, or she’ll just sit at the door.
Bottom line: as long as you train your puppy, you’re doing great. Puppies are the best, but they’re also shitheads. And whatever works for you, is a good way to do it I guess. These are just things that Payton and I have experience with from previous dogs, my old job experience, and lots of research. Hope this helps!
Hula is scheduled for her final shots tomorrow, and she will be getting spayed soon after Christmas. And then once I FREAKING GET ANOTHER JOB we’ll be able to take her to Payton’s Dad’s house during the day so she can run around his backyard and what not until one us picks her up after work.
We are also looking into getting OUR first house pretty soon as well so that WE can have a backyard for her. Our hope is to find a place close to where we are now (within 10-15 minutes), before the end of March. Payton leaves for baseball season end of March, so it would be nice to be able to do that while he was still here. But again, I kind of need a job to be able to get a house.
Alrighty, time for her dinner. Byeeeeeee