Week 12*, Day 1
So Sam and I brought this little rascal home Wednesday afternoon.
In my previous post, I ended with Sam heading to the city for a gig and J.J. and I were hanging out at home (with a brief, 10 minute visit from the pretty Sherri). Thankfully, J.J. was napping and I was researching how to raise a puppy. On his drive home, Sam gave me a call saying he was stopping at Wal-Mart to get a crate for J.J. to sleep in that night. Which was fantastic, because I was planning on suggest he do that very thing.We think the same way sometimes. It's quite frightening. That's right. The world should fear us.
Sam soon returned with a portable, collapsible kennel, like Suzy and Nick use for their dog, Toby. As soon as Sam set it up, Techie ran into it and declared it his new home, and woe unto the foolish mortal who tried to say otherwise.
I then pointed out Techie that he hates any kind of pet carrier. Techie explained I'd never got him a plush, comfy carrier; I'd always provided hard, plastic carriers that were scary to ride in. I then reminded Techie that he worships the ground I walk on. Techie was like, oh yeah, and decided to get out of the carrier.
(Speaking of the cats, Techie tolerates this new animal in their lives much better than Nala. The first night Techie went up and touched noses with the puppy and followed him at a distance. Nala took one look at the dog and ran under the bed until further notice, thank-you-very-much.)
Once we evicted Techie from the kennel, we persuaded J.J. to go in and go to sleep. Sam and I then followed suit.
*When we took J.J. to the vet, they wrote him down as being 12 weeks old. Based off of our research and observations, we think J.J. may be closer to 10 weeks, but for the purposes of this blog we will go with the "official" guess-timation. Also, I'm considering his first day with us as Day 1 of that week. FYI
Week 12, Day 2
About 5 o'clock in the morning, Sam and I awoke to J.J. yelping his little head off, and we figured the poor guy had to go out to the bathroom. Sam got out of bed and told me to go back to sleep, which I quite willingly did. I found out the next morning that sometime during the night, the collapsible kennel had collapsed in on top of J.J., and that as a result he'd soiled the kennel. Not a good start to the day.
First thing in the morning, we took J.J. out for his first pack walk. The trick is teaching him to walk on his leash so that he's walking either right beside or slightly behind us, and not pulling out ahead of us, as that would make him think he is Alpha over us. Being his first time on a leash, he did fairly well. Sam is pretty good at keeping the leash the right length. From what we've read and seen, when you're walking a dog you should have your arm hanging loose at your side so there's no tension, and have just enough slack in the leash for the dog to move about 6 inches in any direction before the leash pulls him.
We ended up having to drag J.J. a bit before he caught on to what was going on, and of course he kept getting distracted by anything and everything. Each time he'd start to stop or go after something different, Sam would make a "chhhkt" noise and tug the lease so J.J. would refocus on following us. It took us about 15 minutes to make it around the block, stopping at each corner and telling/showing J.J. how to sit and wait.
Once we got back, we fed J.J. and then took him immediately outside, as when a puppy is young, food he eats puts pressure on his colon and makes him have to go pretty much immediately. Unfortunately, Sam was feeling pretty horrid due to food poisoning from the Italian restaurant we stopped at the previous day, so he called in sick and went back to bed for about three hours.
During those three hours I was about ready to pull my hair out. It wasn't too bad at first, because J.J. just collapsed at my feet under the desk and slept for an hour. When he woke up, though, I petted him for a couple of minutes and then he squatted down and started to pee.
I immediately did the "chhhkt" noise and stopped him mid-pee, as I'd read that you have to catch dogs in the act for them to understand what they're doing wrong. If you wait until after they pee, and then rub their noses in it and say "bad dog," they learn that the mess is bad, but not that the act of making the mess is bad.
After telling him no, I took him outside so he could finish the job. We stayed out there for about 20-30 minutes and nothing happened, so I brought him back inside. Perhaps a grand total of five minutes passed before he peed, I mean, eliminated, inside of the house. Back outside we went. Another 20-30 minutes pass. Again. We go inside. Again. He eliminated inside of the house. Again.
Rinse. Lather. Repeat. About 2-3 more times.
By the time Sam got up again, I was becoming highly frustrated. Sam took him out for me, and I started doing some more research. Sam went around and started patching all of the holes in the fence, J.J. staying close to him the entire time. Before Sam had finished, I had a plan of attack, which I shared with Sam (he approved). We left J.J. in our newly fixed yard, and went to Walmart.
Once there, we returned the collapsible kennel that had tormented J.J. (ah, customer service, how I don't miss working in your field). We then went and bought J.J. a real, honest-to-goodness crate, a gate, a doggie bed, and some small rawhide rolls; the rawhide bones are too big for his mouth, unfortunately.
After suffering through Walmart's oh-so-fantastic check-out lanes (why, in the name of all that's good and holy, does it always take 20-30 minutes to check out, even when you use the self-check and/or 20-items-or-less aisles?), we came home and put up the dog-fence between the kitchen and laundry room. We set up the crate, put his bed inside of it, and J.J. fell in love. I think he could spend all day curled up in his bed chewing on his rawhide rolls.
Unfortunately, the laundry room is where we were keeping the litterbox, so we had to move it out into the front room for now. Nala had an accident in the bathroom because she couldn't find the litterbox, but once we showed her she was fine. (Hallelujah for accidents not happening on the carpet!)
As the day progressed, we got a better handle on what to do as far as housebreaking is concerned. After he woke up from a nap, and after he got finished eating, we'd take him out until he eliminated. When he did, while he was doing it, we'd tell him to "Do your business!" and then tell him what a good boy he was.
We also took him for his second pack walk. He did better this time around, though he was frightened by some of the dogs we passed by. Sam would gently tug the leash to take his attention away from the dogs when we passed them, and just stayed calm and confident. At one point Sam handed me the leash and marched our two neighbor dogs (little chihuahua terrors) back to their yard, and then we kept walking J.J. He seemed to be doing pretty okay.
That evening Sherri came over, and kept us and the puppy company for a couple of hours. He was doing much better by this point, and Techie and Nala would come up to the fence and look at the sleeping puppy. Once we put J.J. into his crate, Techie even hopped over the fence to say "hi!" to me and stare at the dog in the crate.
When we went to bed, the puppy started howling (a true-blue hound dog howl, too) because we'd left. Sounded almost like a tornado siren. Okay, not really, but it was high and annoying. Based off of what we'd been reading, we just ignored him and eventually he fell asleep.
Sam got up every three hours or so during the night to let J.J. out to do his business. Unfortunately, Sam was unable to get to J.J. quickly enough to prevent accidents in his crate, but thankfully we had a couple of different bedding options, so we could be washing one while he was sleeping on the other.
That morning we decided that I would take J.J. on his pack walk by myself, as Sam had to get a few things done before he went to work. Unfortunately, I'm not as good at it as Sam--I was keeping too much tension in my arm, which was making J.J. nervous. But, we managed to get around the block, and when I remembered to relax, he walked pretty well right beside me.
I started doing a routine with J.J. Before he goes outside, I make him sit, praise him, then make sure to walk out the door before he does, and once I'm out side I tell him "Outside, J.J., outside!" and have him follow me. I then tell him to "Go do your business!" At the beginning of the day I had to do it while he was actually eliminating, but by the end of the day, whenever I'd tell him to "Go do your business!" he actually would. In fact, he made it through the entire day (and night!) without having a single accident.
After Sam had left for work and J.J. had had his breakfast, I left J.J. outside for a couple of hours so that I could get some housework done. I'd check on him by looking out the window from time to time, and aside from almost getting his head stuck in a folding chair, he had a fairly uneventful morning; and yes, I did go fold up the chair so it was no longer a hazard.
After I brought him back inside, we did some work on the "Sit" command, though it's difficult to do with just praise and no treats. Thankfully I managed to pick some up today, so starting tomorrow/Monday I'm going to really focus on training him on the "Sit," "Stay," and "Come" commands.
Thankfully, he was tired out enough from his eventful morning that he spent most of the afternoon napping. One of his favorite "sleepy" activities is to lay down in my lap and chew on his rawhide roll while I hold it in place for him. It's a good together activity.
That evening we went on another pack walk, and Sam had to distract him from a couple of dogs that were aggressive towards J.J. However, we controlled our impulse to comfort J.J., and after a few moments he seemed as good as new. Sam's parents came over later that evening to admire our new puppy, and J.J. was pretty well behaved for it.
While Sam was bidding his parents goodnight, I was sitting in the laundry room with J.J., who was curled up in his bed. My hand was draped across his back because I'd been petting him, when Techie nonchalantly walked up to the fence and jumped over it. Regal as a king on his throne, Techie sauntered up to me to be petted by my free hand, completely ignoring the puppy. J.J. made one move as though he wanted to chase after Techie, but a quick "Chhhkt!" stopped him. Techie took three more pats before slowly turning, looking J.J. in the eye, and hissing. Before I could do more than snicker, Techie had turned his back with grace and poise and then jumped back over the fence.
Have I mentioned how much I love and adore Techie? He's the best black cat familiar a witch could hope for!
Nala, meanwhile, still wants nothing to do with "That Thing" in the laundry room.
Also of note, J.J. did not have one single accident that entire day/night.
Thank you for mulling this over. If you haven't finished this, well, I don't blame you. Though I suppose, if you didn't finish it, you didn't read that last sentence. Hmmm.... Well, thank you to those of you who did participate in this meandering, wandering post. I'll try to be more coherent in the future. As it is, it's now 10:45 and I'm going to bed.
Until next time!
Puppies are nature's remedy for feeling unloved, plus numerous other ailments of life.
--Richard Allan Palm