It has been one year since Baxter joined our family. There have been lots of ups and downs as I adjusted to having a dog, but today I can say that I’m glad he’s here with us.
I wasn’t so sure I would feel that way at various points over the last year. There were a few days where I felt like I had postpartum depression – the feelings of being helpless and overwhelmed were so strong. Sometimes I could not figure out what he needed – when he regressed on his potty training after I introduced some wet food when he stopped eating the dry food. Thankfully cutting the wet food back to a very small amount mixed with the dry fixed that issue.
Getting outside help has made things substantially better. First we hired a dog trainer once a week for a few weeks. She helped us work with him on some of the issues we were having. He still has a lot to learn, but she gave us some tips on how to train him which were very helpful. Another thing we did is start taking him to doggy daycare once or twice a week. That way he gets to be energetic and social with other dogs while I get a little break from him. He loves it there and gets excited when I mention going to daycare. Plus he is super tired and chill in the evening after he goes and even somewhat the next day.
One thing I can’t believe is how much money we have spent in the last year on him. I have only ever had cats before and spend very little money on them. Part of it was us going overboard buying stuff for him like treats and toys, but also he has needed to go to the vet more often and now we are paying for the daycare.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think I want to go through raising a puppy again, despite how utterly cute he was. But I am glad now to have him in our lives.
It’s been two weeks since I shared about the puppy blues and how overwhelmed I have been feeling. Things have been a bit better since then – I haven’t had another meltdown, which is a good sign.
I changed my work hours slightly so it would be easier to take Baxter to the dog park after work, and that has helped. He enjoys running around with the other dogs, and I appreciate how tired it makes him afterwards. 🙂
Potty training is continuing to improve as well. Although he has still gone in the house occasionally, there have been several times when he clearly signaled to me that he needed to go out. He is still going every 2-3 hours. I thought the time would be increasing by now, but at least it is getting easier to handle.
He is definitely still in the chewing phase, but he doesn’t seem interested in chew toys very much, unless they are brand new so the novelty is there. He will spend a good chunk of time with a bone that has some marrow on it though. My friend Kim shared with me that after her dogs are done with a bone, she puts peanut butter in it and freezes it to extend its life as a treat.
One good thing is that having to communicate my feelings and needs is helping me become a little more assertive, which is something that has always been a problem for me. It’s still not super easy, but I am forcing myself to speak up so that I don’t get completely overwhelmed again.
Let me start out by saying that puppy blues are a real thing. I am overwhelmed and anxious and crying at the drop of a hat.
I don’t seem to be able to manage having a puppy any better than I did an infant. At least he sleeps through the night, something my son didn’t do until he was around four and I discovered melatonin.
On one level, I realize he is just being a puppy. He needs more exercise and training time than I’ve been giving him, but I’m not sure what else I can do when I’m supposed to be working. I can’t just take him outside every time he whines or barks at me, and I can’t let him out of the office or he will potty on the kitchen floor no matter how often I take him outside.
I did change my work hours so I am done at 3:30 and can take him to the dog park before it gets dark. We went today and he seemed to enjoy it.
My friend suggested doggy daycare once or twice a week and that does sound heavenly – for both of us. I just have to decide if I can justify the expense. It would be really nice to have a break sometimes, especially on the days I have conference calls and am constantly trying to keep him quiet while I’m on the phone.
One other idea is crate training, which sounds good in theory but in practice is really overwhelming. Other areas that are really bad are leaving stuff alone that he’s not supposed to be chewing on and pulling very hard on his leash. For the one, he’s already big enough that I’m running out of places to put things where he can’t get to them and, for the other, I’m afraid he will pull me off balance and I’ll fall over.
I wish Joe could walk him because my legs acts up when I try to do it, but he gets home too late due to the involuntary overtime he has to work. Thankfully, Joe gets up with him in the mornings so I can sleep until 6:30. I am always desperate for more sleep and getting up early with the dog was adding more stress to the way I was already feeling.
Well enough venting for one day. Here are some pictures to remind me of how cute he is.
People aren’t kidding when they say having a puppy is like having a new baby! I am exhausted and overwhelmed by this experience so far. Because I work from home, he is with me all day long. And he generally wants to be where I am in the evening too, even if Joe or Michael is around.
We still can’t seem to get into a routine for potty breaks either. Today I started writing down what time I took him out and what he did. That made me feel a little more in control and we didn’t have any accidents in the house today.
I had forgotten how stressed out I was when I was a new mom, but this is definitely reminding me of that time in my life.
My friend Kim brought over her 8 month old Husky Ninja today to play with Baxter. They played almost non-stop for 3 hours and seemed to have a great time. After they left, Baxter collapsed for about a 3 hour nap to recover!!
I felt much better today, not as stressed out with him. I also have gotten a lot of work done the last two days, so that helps with my overall stress level as well.
Baxter was a bit whiny today and was barking like crazy during my conference call and I couldn’t mute him because I had to participate in the conversation. I think we are going to hit the dog park when I’m done with work. That way he can get some energy out before he has to go in the crate while we go to play D&D.
We were supposed to have trick or treat tonight but it was rescheduled for tomorrow due to the weather. I couldn’t believe how hard it was raining. Baxter didn’t want to go out in it and ended up going in the house. Other than that it was a peaceful evening.
Lots of barking and hyperness today. Cold and windy today but thankfully no more rain. Trick or treat was tonight. Baxter seemed confused that we kept opening the door for people but no one came in and we didn’t go out!
We had our final puppy class today. He’s really good at Sit and Down and Touch. Everything else is still a work in progress. He does okay on the leash for a regular walk but pulls like crazy when we walk around PetSmart. There are some other commands we learned that I haven’t practiced enough with him. I would like to take the intermediate class but I want to work on the things we learned in this class some more first. I’m thinking maybe we’ll do it in January.
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks since I last posted. Baxter was really not feeling well one night and had me super worried. His eyes were all red and he barely ate any dinner. Then he peed on the dining room floor and slumped to the floor a few minutes later. He also had two loose stools. By the next morning, he was doing somewhat better but I still took him to the vet to get him checked out.
The vet figured that he must have gotten into something in the yard that gave him an upset stomach. She wasn’t too worried because he was eating again and had more energy. She did find a yeast infection in his ears, though, so we had to put drops in twice a day for a week.
Puppy class last week was good. We started working on coming when his name is called. We had taken him to the dog park before class so he had expended some energy and was definitely better behaved during class. He is still one of the more hyper ones, but after seeing him so out of it just a couple of nights earlier, I can’t complain about his energy!
We’ve been to the dog park several times. They have two sides, for dogs under and over 30 lbs. Baxter is currently about 20 lbs, so we go in the smallest side usually. Once when our side was empty, the two people on the other side invited us over so he got to play with the big dogs. It’s great to see him running around with the other dogs.
I noticed this week that he is definitely growing. He is taller than when we brought him home and he is filling out. He still has a ways to go to grow into those paws though!
Tomorrow will be one month since we got Baxter, our boxer puppy, and today he is 17 weeks old. We took him for his last set of vaccinations today, so he is good on those for a year. After that, we took him to the dog park. It was drizzling outside but I really wanted to go so we did. One other dog came while we were there, a 3 year old who wasn’t really interested in playing with him, but he tried mightily to get her interest!
When we got home, Baxter ate his lunch and promptly passed out from all the activity.
Yesterday was our third puppy class. Last week we worked on walking with us on the leash. He didn’t do too well in class because he was more interested in the other dogs. This week went better; we learned leave it, drop it, wait, and take it. My biggest problem in class is finding high enough value treats that will keep his attention. Today I bought a couple new ones that he will only get at class, and I am really hopeful they will be good enough.
Potty training is still being worked on. He peed on the floor at the vet today, so that was fun. Things are good during the day when I’m working because he is in the office with me and we are in a routine of going outside. But it’s harder to control when we are in other parts of the house. I originally was going to use potty bells, but he was ringing them often, sometimes just a few minutes after coming inside. On the other hand, it did give him an easy way to communicate, so I’m wondering if I should try again. I’m really curious how other dog owners handled this.
Thanks for reading! Leave me your best tips on potty training or any other puppy issues you encountered.
So it’s been two weeks since we brought our new puppy Baxter home. It certainly feels like longer! He is a sweetheart but a lot of work for sure. Tomorrow he will be 15 weeks old.
The biggest thing is potty training. During the day we are taking him out every two hours. Even with that, he has still had a few accidents inside. At night we take him out every 4 hours, which seems to work well.
Baxter and Peanut Butter (our cat) are still getting to know each other. Baxter wants to play but PB isn’t really up for that. We got a cat tree so PB has some place to go besides behind the couch and under the bed.
Today was our first puppy class. We got a clicker and worked on sit, look, and touch. I really like the trainer; she was so good with him and very helpful to us.
It has certainly been a life-changer having a puppy. I had a couple of dogs as a kid but my mom handled the training and I just got the fun part of playing with them. I’m not sure I would want to do it again in the future. Once is probably going to be enough for me!