There were a number of things I wanted to write about in this post. I wanted to tell you about my new classes (which are great, by the way). I wanted to tell you about Austin’s new job. I wanted to tell you about my clients and my work schedule and how busy (but fulfilled) I am. I wanted to tell you about some big lifestyle changes I’ve made.
But all of that pales in comparison to the conversation we need to have about my puppy.
I need some advice.
Lately, I’ve felt like the worst pet parent ever. My guinea pigs don’t like being held, so I hardly ever hold them. I talk to them and hang out with them and pet them. We spoil them with lettuce and unlimited hay and food and a million water bottles. They have nice hidey homes and 27 square feet of space.
But they don’t get time to run around the apartment like they used to. The goal of the big cages was to give them room to run around whenever they want. I think they do, but I can’t be sure. We moved them into Austin’s office to get seclusion from the puppy, so I don’t get to see them as frequently as I did when they were in the living room.
I know I said I wanted to talk about my puppy, but my anxiety is snowballing this conversation.
I’ve already been assured by my friends and family that I’m a good pig parent, even if they don’t get to run around my apartment and even if I don’t force-hold them.
Peanut, though, is something else.
This little pup was an angel when we brought her home. She was quiet, well behaved. She slept most of the day. I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s normal, right?
Besides, I shouldn’t even be complaining. She’s never (not once) gone to the bathroom in her crate. She rarely whines or cries when she’s put in her crate or the kitchen. She sleeps through the night without needing to go out (which is almost unheard of for puppies younger than four or five months – especially in smaller breeds). She’s even good with people, other than being a little scared. She loves car rides and behaves during them. She just curls up and falls asleep in her crate once we hit the highway.
Not to mention we can take her to public places without her going crazy. And that should only get better after she spends a week in Doggy Day Care at the end of June.
So why am I writing a post about her? I should just shut up and stop bragging about how great my puppy is.
Except that she won’t stop biting me.
Peanut has a biting problem. It’s hard to play with her. She gets so excited that she nips. Sometimes hard enough to draw blood. She isn’t being aggressive in the slightest, but her puppy teeth are sharp!
And training her has been difficult. She only recently began to respond to the word “no.” Sometimes, if I call her, she ignores me completely and runs in the other direction. It’s hard to get her to sit still long enough to train her to do much else. She knows “sit”, “lay down”, “shake”, and “come” – but she hasn’t mastered them. She does it when she feels like it. I’m working on “leave it”, “down”, and “off”. It’s probably not hard to imagine why. She’s a very energetic puppy.
We actually haven’t been able to let her sleep on the bed because of it. She gets so excited that she starts nipping our faces and trying to play with us – even if she was just sleeping in her crate. And all of that would just be cute, honestly, if it wasn’t for the nipping.
We’re also having a barking problem. Not an insane “I hear or see people so I’m going to go crazy” or “I’m wailing because you put me in my crate.” She doesn’t do either of those, thank God. She barks occasionally when she sees another dog or a person, but more because she wants to go say hi or because she’s scared. Not full-on alert mode. And we’re socializing her, so that’s going to be normal.
It’s the barking when she wants attention. I’ll be on the bed, trying to work, and she’ll just start going off. I’ve been told that ignoring her is the best plan. That way, she doesn’t learn to get her way by barking. But she has a very piercing bark. I’ve tried saying “no” firmly. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Again, it’s when she feels like listening.
I’ve also been told to give her a “time out” if she gets overexcited, but that’s especially hard. Why? Because I also feel guilty about not spending enough time with my puppy.
I take her for at least four walks a day. Nothing extensive, but we go on a nice hill or walk up and down the sidewalk for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes longer, if I have time. And, as long as she behaves, she stays outside her crate during the day (other than her “afternoon nappie”). But she gets very upset because I can’t play with her during the day. I have to work. And Austin works ten hours a day, four days a week. On those days, Peanut spends more time in her crate than I’d like.
Then again, I’ve been told that, in most families with two working adults, puppies are left in their crate while everyone is at work – eight or nine hours a day. And then they sleep all night. I could never do that to Peanut, though.
I have anxiety. That means I’ll probably never think I’m doing enough. It’s hard sometimes, because I never feel like I’m doing enough for all the different parts of my life. I’m a mother to five animals. I’m a fiancee myself. I’m a student. I’m a freelance writer. I’m an individual who needs exercise, healthy food, and a clean apartment. I’m a homemaker. I’m a gardener (who needs to go water her plants).
The day is never long enough.
Tips and tricks for puppy training? Leave them below or send them to me.