Looking in the corner of the photograph of the new puppy, I couldn’t help but laugh at the tiny little teeth marks. I remembered my first puppy 22 years ago who ate everything in my house, not just photographs but treasured record albums and precious books, oh, right, AND clothes, blankets, noses off of stuffed animals, and anything that wasn’t close to the ceiling. In 1990 I didn’t know about puppies or management or peaceful training or any kind of training for that matter. I knew Lassie and Astro, I knew Duke from The Beverly Hillbillies and I knew not to watch Old Yeller and Cujo. That was my dog experience in a nutshell, but now, well, now I know some things. Well, so far that one photo with the tiny teeth marks is the only sign that there’s a puppy in the house. Well the only sign of damage, that is. You see, around here, these days, it screams “PUPPY” everywhere.
First of all, when you walk into my house and look up you will find the shoes. They are on top of the wall unit closest to the front door, about 8 feet high. The rest of the shoes and sandals are on the window sill next to the back door. It’s cheap and efficient. The next sign is the small extra crate in the living room. This is the “extra” crate, which for my small dog can be brought around the house for the needs of the human. When I was cleaning the back room, we went in that crate and learned some cues when I cleaned the room. When I need to set up for a walk, the puppy can wait by the front door in his crate, so there are no accidents on the living room rug, while he’s waiting to go out.
In the family room is another crate with an ex-pen attached. This is called his “cave” and when we ask him to “go to your cave” he runs as fast as he can to get in there. He loves his cave, and now that he has a little freedom, he still chooses to hang out there with the door open. After all, his favorite things are in there. Toys that are safe for unsupervised play, his crate, his beloved water bowl, and he gets to have his favorite food treats, frozen KONGS in there. His Mom comes in the cave all the time for some cuddles AND he even gets to train in there, another favorite activity. The puppy loves his cave.
On top of the kitchen counter is “puppy central”. There lies a cloth box with treats, clickers, squeakers, bait bags, rescue remedy for dogs and humans, sticks he has collected, and leashes and harnesses. It’s important to know where the leash is at all times and to have others in strategic places for emergency “run outs”. That means when you have to run out the door because he’s sniffing, a lot.
Then observing more PUPPY around the house, you will notice little tupperware tubs in every room the puppy visits. They hold clickers and treats for that training moment that happens at least 457 times a days. It’s always good when the puppy steals something from the family room and runs into the bedroom to have a fair trade handy to retrieve your “item” back. It’s especially important if it’s your expensive watch, or daughter’s favorite stuffed animal to have an equally valuable trade option close and ready.
Speaking of him running into another room, that’s only possible when you forget to put the gate up or close the doors. Gates are a very important component when you are living in puppy daze. Here you can find gates between the bedroom and office, the downstairs and upstairs, and the family room and the living room. They are everywhere. A small inconvenience for a major gain in your training and management.
I know this all sounds overwhelming and expensive. So here’s the break down, the ex-pen I have has been used by at least three of my favorite puppies. The crate he came home in was from a friend and the gates have been in many homes. There are more dog crates and gates in friends garages than you can imagine. Talk to your dog loving friends and see what they have, beg, barrow and barter. About the overwhelming part, yes it is, and it’s also wonderful and fun and over so fast, you hardly have a chance to enjoy it.
So, get prepared. It’s even better if you do it in advance of the puppy. Of course that’s assuming you actually know about the puppy in advance. So get ready and set your puppy up for a successful life and in the meantime take a little pressure off of yourself. It’s going to be great.
I know, because this time,