One Year Old

Baxter will be one year old this Tuesday. Since I’m getting a dental implant that day and wasn’t sure I’d feel up to celebrating, we decided to celebrate over the weekend.

To start, I baked him a dog-friendly cake with ingredients like applesauce and pumpkin, complete with a frosting made from peanut butter and Greek yogurt. For the humans, I made cake mix chocolate chip cookie bars. We sang Happy Birthday and ate our respective treats, which everyone enjoyed. Then I gave him his presents. He got a split elk antler and a birthday balloon toy with rope.

I have to admit I have been struggling lately, vacillating between great affection for Baxter and incredible frustration with him. Now that we are not under a stay-at-home order anymore, I reached out to a few dog trainers and found one that is willing to do positive behavior training for a very reasonable price. So I have her starting this week.

If we can get to a point where I can take him for walks without being pulled every which way, that would go a long way towards helping the situation. If we can get him to stop bothering the cat, that would be amazing. Those are my top two complaints right now.

Hopefully I will be feeling better about things by the time we hit one year since the day we got him, which was September 7th. Until then, I’ll keep trying to take one day at a time. 🙂

Ten Months Old


Today Baxter is ten months old and we have had him for seven months.  Although he is peacefully napping in this photo, in actuality he is just as hyper as ever and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!  The stay at home order has been hard on him as the dog park is closed, and he lived for his time there.  But Joe is taking him on walks every day after work, so that helps.  I can’t really take him on a walk because he pulls so hard on the leash, and he is too strong for me to handle.  Sometimes it is difficult even when I take him out in the backyard to go potty.

Speaking of going potty, he seems to be lengthening the time between trips outside.  It has been every two hours during the day, but he is going more like every three-four hours now.  He does still occasionally have an accident, but most of the time he lets us know when he needs to go out.

Training classes are canceled, of course, and will be rescheduled when the stay at home order is lifted.  I have tried to do some training at home with varied success.  The main thing I want to work on is heel, so that I can walk him, but it is very slow going.  I still think we may need a private trainer to help us get things under control, but I will wait until we finish the classes and see how things are going then.

20200112_095328The other thing that is an issue is him wanting to chase our cat, Peanut Butter.  He doesn’t always do it, but a lot of the time he does.  Peanut Butter spends a lot of time either in our bedroom or downstairs on the cat tree.  Sometimes if Baxter is resting, Peanut Butter can come over to me to be petted without being bothered, but it’s not often enough.  That’s another issue I would like a trainer to help us with.

So, how do I feel about having Baxter in our lives?  Well, I love him a lot and would hate to give him up, but I don’t think I will get another dog after he is gone.  Or maybe I would get a small dog that is already an adult.  Hopefully, Baxter will have a lot of good years with us and we won’t have to think about a decision like that for quite a while.



Settling In

It’s been a while since I posted an update on how things are going with Baxter. He is now 8 1/2 months old, and we have had him for 5 1/2 months. I am feeling much more calm about the whole situation now, which I think is partly due to the fact that I am once again taking my Prozac regularly. I had stopped and started it several times due to difficulties with the delivery method, but now I have figured that out.

Since I last wrote, Baxter has been neutered. That turned out to be an expensive proposition because the doctor was concerned about the way he was coughing and wanted to do blood work and an x-ray before sedating him. Everything was fine, but it all added up. The procedure went well, and he didn’t even have to have a cone. They said we could get one if he was licking the site excessively, but he pretty much left it alone.

Potty training is going much better. He almost always lets us know when he has to go out. Every once in a while he will pee or poop on the floor, but it is rare. He does still want to go out every two hours during the day, but I’m not sure how much of that is just because that’s just the routine we got into. It’s probably good for me to get up from my desk every couple of hours anyway, so that works out okay. In the evening, he will usually go every three-four hours.

I had mentioned wanting to get a trainer in my last post. When I talked to Joe about it, he wanted to try the intermediate and advanced classes at PetSmart, so we are now doing that. We have had two classes so far. The first one was starting to learn heel and settle. Settle went okay, but heel was not good, and I couldn’t get him to do it during the week either. But when we went to the second class, he did much better with heel. We worked on heel with sit and down as well as wait and stay. I really need to make sure to practice with him during the week so he will get them down.

Leash pulling is still an issue, so I need to work on let’s go and this way as well as look at me while we are walking. So many things to work on, it feels a bit overwhelming.

We are planning a vacation in July, so my friend Kim is going to come and watch Baxter for me while we are gone. She is bringing her dog (a husky), so Peanut Butter is going to go stay with Bob (along with Michael who isn’t interested in going with us because it is a lot of historical stuff) during that week.

Speaking of Michael, he is doing well. He picked his classes for his senior year, which will be Inclusion English, Financial Algebra, Chemistry, Blue Print Reading, and Economics. Of course he will also have his electronics shop. He will be 18 in a couple of weeks, so we are applying for SSI for him. Hopefully he will get that and will be able to keep his Medical Assistance. This Sunday we are having a birthday party at Dave & Buster’s for him. I told him this would be the last big party we would throw him and that we would do something special for his birthday in the future but just not a party. He was a little disappointed to hear that and we talked about how people sometimes have a party on special birthdays, so he felt a bit better about that.

That’s about it for now. This winter has been quite mild so far, and hopefully will continue that way. I have been enjoying my new schedule of 7:00-3:30, although my boss had mentioned me switching back to 7:30-4:00 once it gets past daylight savings time. I guess we’ll see how she feels about it then; maybe she will change her mind.

Until my next update, take care, everyone!

Mixed Emotions

It’s Christmas Day as I write this, and I am officially 50 years old. Seems like I should have a better handle on life by now, but I still feel like I am struggling to get through the day sometimes. My son will be 18 in a few months, which seems impossible to believe, but is true.

Life with the puppy continues to have its ups and downs. He is six months old now and growing bigger everyday. Sometimes I look at him and am filled with regret that I got him because he makes me question my sanity, but other times I am overwhelmed by love for him and thankful for the joy he has brought to my life already. On a sleepless night recently, I went so far as to read the surrender information page on a rescue website and found myself sobbing at the painful thought of giving him up, although I still don’t know how I am going to make it through puppyhood.

A lot of the day is okay. He still takes frequent naps, and a marrow bone will keep him occupied for up to an hour. He gets hyper around 3-4 pm and usually enjoys a trip to the dog park as long as it isn’t raining. It’s hard for me to take him places because he pulls so hard on the leash and jumps on people as well. I took him to the pet store recently and it was a disaster!

Potty training is still hit and miss. He sometimes whines at me to take him out, but other times will just do his business on the floor in the kitchen or the family room. If I catch him, I tell him to stop and then take him outside immediately. I know I should keep him with me at all times, but it is difficult to do that. It would help if we had a way to put a gate at the top of the stairs between the kitchen and family room. But that would require replacing the existing half-railing with a pony wall, and I’m not sure if my husband is interested in doing that.

Other issues include chasing the cat sometimes (although sometimes he will leave him alone), barking incessantly when he is tired of being in the office with me or wants me to play with him instead of eating my dinner, and more recently peeing in his crate when we go out. We don’t use the crate for sleeping, only for when we are out of the house, and it’s not going so well.

I’m sure most of these problems are due to my lack of ability as a trainer. I am considering a private dog trainer to help me learn the skills I am missing and get things under control. We did a group class at the pet store for puppy skills and he did learn a few things but it was difficult to concentrate because he was too distracted by the other dogs. I’m thinking some one on one time with a trainer would be helpful.

So that’s my update for now. I still have hope that I can make it through and keep my sanity intact.

A Little Less Blue

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.

Puppy Blues

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.

Our Week



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.

Thanks for reading!