If you want sleep, marital harmony, and kids who don’t complain – DON’T GET A PUPPY.
Oh, my goodness. Puppies are like newborns in so many ways, including the time-released amnesia that helps you forget how hard it all is in the first place.
Last Wednesday night, several days earlier than planned, my husband excitedly asked me “Do you want to bring the puppy home tonight?!” Our friends were picking up their puppy from the same litter (their older male dog is the father), and my husband thought we should go at the same time and scoop up our little guy, too.
We had no food yet, no toys, hadn’t pulled out the smaller crate. We were basically prepared in theory only, and definitely not in fact. And still I answered, “Sure! Let’s bring him home!”
Totally the amnesia talking.
Chewbacca has actually been a really good little boy. His mother is purebred Walker Coonhound, and he seems to have inherited her smarts and her…shall we say…vocal tendencies. That boy can howl! His father is a Golden Retriever/German Shepherd mix, and Chewie has definitely inherited his physical features, as well as the typical sweetness and “plays well with others” personality of both Golden and Shepherd breeds. And it’s all mixed in to one adorable, incredibly active bundle of puppy.
We discovered after the fact that he was just 5 1/2 weeks old when we brought him home. I wouldn’t say this is ideal, since as such a young, young pup, we’ve had to work a little harder with socialization and house training. But our older dog Lucy (she’s 3 1/2) is helping teach Chewie about appropriate play and bite inhibition, and I’ve been amazed at how well Chewbacca has learned about going potty outside. We take him out on an hourly schedule, but he’s even gone to the door independently a few times now and whined to be let out, immediately doing his “business” once outside. Very encouraging!
Also encouraging is that although Chewie had clearly never seen a crate before coming home with us, he has adjusted to his crate just fine. My husband had the genius idea to put Lucy’s crate next to his, creating a kind of “doggie duplex,” and I believe it’s given Chewie some security knowing he isn’t totally alone. He has started retiring to the crate on his own during the day, and going on command when I need him to.
The hardest part – aside from every day being so totally regimented between feeding, sleeping, and bodily functions – is the lack of sleep, and having to be 1000% aware of Chewie at every moment. Oh, and maybe having to train each of the kids to be consistent on all scheduling and use of Chewie’s commands. Again – puppy, newborn. SO alike!!
Having a handful of days behind us, though, and beginning to see our progress with him (he even met and licked one of the cats! the other cat wants nothing to do with him, though), I’m starting to feel a little more human. As opposed to the lumbering, sleep-deprived, I-hope-we’re-getting-this-right form of myself I have been since last week. It’s amazing how one little bundle of joy can knock you so totally off your game. I’m counting on the amnesia to kick in soon to help me forget.