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July 8, 2014

Tales from the Crate - How to Train Your Puppy in Three (not so) Easy Steps #puppyproblems - by Karilyn Bentley

I'm happy to announce we got a new puppy! Isn't she cute??
Our little cutie

Favorite sleeping place
She's seven months old, we were told a Lab/Border Collie mix (but she's not supposed to get bigger than 30 pounds), and came with the name Angel. Yeah, right, a misnomer for any puppy. We changed it to Arya, one of our favorite characters from GoT. The character carries a sword named Needle. Our puppy comes with teeth and baby claws that function the same purpose. The Hubster named her. The Hubster also picked her out.

We weren't looking for a puppy. Our jobs keep us away from home during the day and puppies are a lot of work. Not to mention the whole housebreaking thing (still working on that one. Maybe I can get new carpets???). A couple of Saturdays ago we were looking at a group of rescue dogs, I turn around and the next thing I know Hubster has Arya on his shoulder. She climbed over the other puppies in the pen and jumped up, reaching for him. We were like: but she's a puppy. Don't want a puppy. But she clicked with us so a couple of hours later (after a bit of discussion) we went back and got ourselves a puppy.


So, that brings me to today's topic. How to train your puppy in three (not so) easy steps. (WARNING: this is tongue in cheek and not meant to be taken seriously, folks).

1. Get a pen or crate (we got both, pen in kitchen and crate in bedroom). The puppy will view this as her den and want to keep it clean. This will help with housebreaking issues and give puppy a safe place to stay. In reality the pen (which we put puppy in during the day and is in our kitchen) offers a puppy much entertainment. Puppies are curious by nature and don't like to be confined. At all. Especially if they are problem solvers. After one day, puppy will learn that by jumping on crate she can unlock the puppy-proof locks. At this point you will want to use carabiner hooks to give the locks some support. This will also help your puppy gain much needed climbing skills for future escaping exercises.

A crate is excellent for creating a safe den for puppy to sleep in at night. But only after the puppy is so exhausted she has no opinion on where she crashes. Puppies often have opinions. They usually clash with yours. Stay firm when the puppy howls in her crate. Earplugs won't help. Violate the standing firm rule by picking up puppy.  Cuddling her will keep her quiet. It won't do much for the owner's  eight hours of beauty sleep.

2. Give your dog plenty of exercise. If you live in a place that rivals the temperature of Hell (like North Texas in the summer), mornings work best for exercise. Running (puppies only have two speeds: full throttle and off. Be prepared for sudden speed changes) will wake up the sleep-deprived human (see training point #1: crate) and help everyone stay in shape. It does nothing for tiring out the puppy, but humans will sleep better (until puppy howls to be let out of the crate).

3. Give your puppy plenty of toys to chew on. If you can't afford toys, towels and shoes will work well. Actually, towels and shoes will become the preferred toys of your puppy even if you buy out the local pet store. There is nothing funnier than watching a twenty pound dog carry around a size 14 shoe. Don't give in to the humor. Small pieces of the shoe might choke the puppy. While you are putting up the shoe, be prepared to sprint after the puppy who has now grabbed the newspaper or your magazine and is running through the house with it. If you are lucky enough to have no shoes, towels or anything made of paper, don't worry. Your puppy will see you as her chew toy. She might do this anyway. Be prepared for scrapes and cuts from teeth and nails which resemble small daggers.

Now that you know how to train your puppy, I wish you luck! <g> I wouldn't trade mine for the world. She's adorable and a snuggler and she gets along with Hell Hound (which is not an easy task). Bottom line: puppies are a lot of work, but worth every minute of it. Here's a pix of the old one teaching the young 'un how to guard the backyard from birds, planes, rabbits and bugs.
Fearless backyard guards
If you want more about canines, check out my werewolf anthology, After the Moon Rises, featuring two novellas of the London, Montana wolf pack.

Karilyn Bentley


Ilona Fridl said...

Love your post! We had a Border Collie mix and she was a sweet dog. Lived to be 18 years old.

Author Diane Kelly said...

She looks adorable! Sounds like it was meant to be. : )

Sandra Dailey said...

I'm a definite 'Dog Person'. Arya is beautiful and sounds loving and very trainable. You may have caused yourself a little extra work right now, but I think you made the right choice for your older dog. I hope you have many years to enjoy them both.

J C. McKenzie said...

omg what an adorable puppy!! Love the cute pics. She actually looks a lot like my fur-child, but mine's an american staffy and a lot bigger :-)
Great advice for new dog (and some old) dog owners.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Karilyn! Wonderful news about your new puppy. That first year... But after, lots of good stuff. Have great fun.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Ilona! Thank you for stopping by! You had a long time with your furbaby. 18 good years!

Thank you Diane!! :)

Thank you Sandra! Puppies are a lot of work. You don't realize how much until you get one! :) But she is the right choice for Hell Hound.

Thank you J.C.!!! Would love to see pix of your American Staffy. :)

Thank you Vicki!!! :)

Mary Gillgannon said...

This is hilarious. Loved every bit of it. Our puppy (now four) was actually pretty easy, but he's just mellow by nature.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Thank you Mary! I'm glad you got a chuckle! Dogs crack me up. :)

Marlow said...

OMG. This reminded me of a German shepherd we used to own. He was wonderful, but i would exercise him until we were both exhausted and then an hour later he would be ready to go again - me not so much.
Thanks for the chuckle.