Puppy Update: Mid-September

Well here we are: September 18th. Ferris Drooler is now just over 12 weeks old, and he’s been with us for a bit more than a month. How are we doing?

The first few weeks were rough as you’ll remember from the blog. We had issues with him barking and biting and peeing and pooping all over creation. None of this was really surprising to us. He’s a puppy, and we knew that came with the territory. However, there’s definitely a difference between knowing the theory of something and seeing that theory in practice.

Those first few weeks were quite stressful. There was just so many other things going on, and a couple of times I really wondered if we would be able to sustain puppydom for the long term. I’m a fan of animals, but this felt like too much. The worst was when he regressed from being clean in his cage every night to suddenly pooping it and refusing to sleep.

Since then, however, we’ve learned to adapt, and things are going very well with Mr. Drooler. What did we change?

  • We take him on walks now. Not extremely long walks (usually just 15 minutes or so), since we’ve read it can take puppies some time to work their way up to being able to handle longer distances. But walking with him gives him an outlet for his energy. (True, this means there’s another thing to teach him, as he constantly needs to be reminded that he is not a sled dog, and I am not a sled. He also has a penchant for acorns, and there’s only one spot on the walk where he can get his fix. He looks forward to that spot a great deal, and would happily stay there for an hour if we let him.
  • We’ve got him on a regular eating routine. Food at 6am (we’re hoping to move that to 7am eventually), noon, and 6pm. This generally lines up with his sleeping routine, as well. We let him nap during the day, but after about 6pm, no more naps. Then he goes to bed at 8:30pm and wakes up (hopefully) at 6am. We’re working on that. The middle of the night poop walk has been eliminated. (Yay!)
  • Tomas and Daniela handle Ferris detail in the mornings and at night. This lets Denisa and me sleep, and that’s hugely helpful in keeping me sane. I do feel guilty at times that I’m not doing more with the dog each night, but I know my limits, and I was already past them. Thankfully our kids are old enough and responsible enough that we can all tag team as necessary. (And it’s often necessary.)
  • We have been working on training him consistently. Setting boundaries for what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and figuring out ways to communicate with him. (To make sure he understands us and we understand him.)

Thankfully, it feels like we’re making a lot of progress, and that we’re getting closer to having a normal routine again. What’s still missing? We still have him confined to just two rooms of the house. The rest isn’t really puppy-proof. (Honestly, the office isn’t either, but it’s got junky carpet, so we’re letting him there supervised, working on training him for what’s acceptable in normal living areas of the house, as opposed to the kitchen.) Once he’s proven reliable there, we’ll spread out to other rooms. It would be lovely to get him comfortable up in the movie room, so we might be able to start watching some shows as a family again. I think that’s not too far off.

So now we’re at the point where having a dog is beginning to feel like it’s paying off. It’s lovely to see him get so excited to see people come home from work and school each day. Nice to sit with him and play or pet him (when he isn’t in one of his biting moods, that still happen.)

I think the worst part (so far) of having a puppy was that uncertainty. Doing something where we didn’t really know what to expect. In hindsight, it was just two or three weeks of really rough waters. You get through that, and everything starts to go easier. But when you’re in the middle of that rough water, you feel like it might not end, and that’s scary.

We might not be out of the rapids completely yet, but the waters are definitely getting much calmer. Hooray for that, and thank you all for the excellent advice and support you’ve given. Very much appreciated.

Have a nice weekend!


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