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From Dog-Hater to Puppy-Lover in 30 days

August 5th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Daily

Ok, so it’s been far fewer than 30 days since I made the very quick transition from “Hell no, we’ll never get a dog!” to “OK, OK, you win! We can get a puppy! Shit, we’ll get two, or a hundred, just please, put down the electric carving knife!”

It’s kinda like a shotgun wedding. Tradition foretold it, violence immanentized it, but love will (does) perpetuate it. Yes, we have puppies. In our house. In the middle of our street. They’re fucking precious, and if you say otherwise, we know where the electric knife is.

A little history, in case you aren’t aware: We got the girls (Niecy/Bernice and Nadine/Bernadine) from a rescue group. This rescue group is too busy trying to save a bunch of puppies from being killed to worry about making the same, ever-growing bunch of puppies sick. Doc says they have distemper. There are two phases to to canine distemper: Snotty, and then Crazy/Disfigured/Dead. We’re doing all we can to see that they avoid the horrors of that second stage altogether.

Nadine, caught in a rare moment, is playing with a toy.

Nadine, caught in a rare moment, is playing with a toy.

I wrote an email to my sister, who may or may not puppy sit for us at some point, since she has been the most closely interested in how our girls are doing. It occurred to me that this email was the first time I had written at length about my puppy parenting experience so far. Below the next photo is the part of the email where I ramble on about all the stuff the puppies have trained us to do. If you read something that makes you wince and think we’re doing it all wrong, then tell us gently or keep it to yourself. We don’t rub their noses in anything, and ask only the same courtesy of you.

You think Niecy hears something, Niecy thinks youre seeing things

You think Niecy hears something, Niecy thinks you're seeing things

Farris’s Observations after ~2.75 weeks of being a Puppy Papa:

  • They’re usually ready for bed by 10pm or 11pm. Outside to “evacuate” one last time, then a bit of lovin’ when they go back to their bed/crate. Sometimes they stay up late with us, with no problems.
  • They don’t bark or whine or cry at all during the night, and we haven’t had any accidents either, so they know that sleepy-time is until whenever Daddy lets them go outside in the morning before breakfast.
  • So far, they’re OK with eating breakfast anytime between 6am and 9am. I say 9am because that’s the very latest I’ve fed them. This isn’t a strict routine, and I don’t see a need to have a strict “feed them at this time or that time” routine. They’re dogs. When they were wild wolves, they ate whenever they found food.
  • Niecy does tend to bark and whine quite a bit during the day whenever we’re not giving her our undivided attention. She’s DEFINITELY not ready to have her run of the house, so when we do let them out of the crate by themselves, the door to their room stays closed if we can’t watch her to make sure she isn’t ensuring said attention by chewing things up. The more we ignore her barking, the more she’s learning that we won’t abandon her, and that being calm inside is the way to get our attention and get to go OUTSIDE where it’s not necessary to be calm. :)
  • Nadine is very mellow and doesn’t like to play very often. She’ll run around a bit when enticed with a toy, or if Niecy insists on playing tug of war or something. But after a while, she just wants to curl up in Daddy’s lap and either take a nap (she’s my nap buddy) or watch her retarded sister chase her tail. We’re hoping she’s just tired from growing, and that this isn’t distemper-related lethargy.
  • Dinner has been anytime between 5 and 7, mainly because that’s around when we eat. They get plain yogurt around lunchtime some days, and they love it. It’s supposed to help them fight off infection. Between lunch and dinner, they share a whole can of puppy food every day. Since they’ve been growing but are definitely not overeating, we’ve started mixing in some dry food with each meal. They usually finish it all, but if they quit before it’s all gone we don’t give them any grief or try to make them eat the rest. A healthy puppy will not starve itself to death.
  • We’ve found that they like apples and carrots better than the meaty salty store treats, so we keep bite-sized chunks in a container in the fridge. It’s cool because it’s better for their teeth, and it takes them longer to chew, so they have plenty of time to absorb the “I did something good” association. They never get treats unless they’ve JUST done something good.

So there you go, that’s what I’ve learned about puppy parenthood in the last few weeks. Pretty laid back. I never yell at them, though I do use the “Daddy is not amused” voice when they’re doing something they ought not, and give them treats and scratches when they do stuff that makes me happy. OH! Niecy has “sit” down, and doesn’t even need a treat anymore (though she still gets one every now and then, so she won’t forget).

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