Bringing a new puppy home is never a small decision, at least at our house. We had an amazing dog, Creed, that we got when we were first married. With all my free time – I was only working one full-time job so I had all this extra time – I trained him well. His good behavior and quick obedience made him a wonderful companion for our family. When he passed away two years ago, it left a hole in our hearts and our home.
There were several reasons we didn’t go out and get a new dog right away.
1. We had a three year old. Smaller children tend to grab a dog’s hide and hang on tight. This hurts the dog and they nip or bite to get free. I didn’t want to subject a dog to the pulling or my daughter to the nipping – so we waited.
2. I have four children, two of which were still pretty young. I was busy training kids and didn’t have the patience to train a puppy too.
3. Whereas I was only working 1 full-time job when we got Creed, I am now working two part-time jobs and have four children. Life needed to calm down a bit before a puppy came home.
4. Finally, we just weren’t ready to have a new puppy. We loved Creed so much that it took time to mourn him.
This summer was a better time for us in many ways.
1. The kids are older. I can send most of them out to walk with the dog and not have to supervise.
2. My kids can now dress themselves, make their lunches, pour milk, and take showers. Can’t tell you how much free time that gives me. (Okay, not really that much, but enough.)
3. I’m still working all those jobs, but they have become routine and manageable.
4. I wanted the kids to get a greater sense of responsibility and I was also ready to take it on. Getting a puppy is a lot of work. Managing children when you get a puppy is a lot more. 🙂
As you can see, she’s beautiful.
We named her Lady Morgan. She is a pure bread border collie and smart as a whip.
The first week she was home, the kids would fight over who got to walk her and who got to hold her. Now that the novelty has worn off, they grumble a little about having to do it, but when they take good care of her, their affection grows.
We started out setting the timer so that they would know when it was their turn to take the care of the puppy. Now we set the timer so they stick with her. We are currently house training her, but she will be an outside dog. We feel it’s important that she be inside for the first few weeks to bond with us and that necessitates house training.
A small puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. When we got Morgan, she was a month-and-a-half old so she had to go out every hour-and-a-half. She’s now two months old so we’ve increased the time to two hours. As long as we stick with that schedule, we don’t have accidents. I’ve been encouraged that she has whined a couple of times indicating she needs to go out before the two hours are up.
Another thing we’ve done is keep her attached to one of us while she’s in the house. That way, the kids don’t forget to watch her and she’s much less likely to sneak off and wet the carpet.
Giving her an eating schedule has helped quite a bit. At six weeks, she was fed three times a day. Her first meal was after her walk in the morning. Then she had lunch, and then dinner was about 5 p.m. The early dinner made it possible for her system to go through the digestive processes to a point that she could make it through the night without needing to go out. I’ll tell you what, after not having a baby wake me up for over three years, I was not happy to get up with a puppy.
I’m sure there will be other items that pop up as we go and I’ll keep you informed of her progress. In the mean time, if you have any puppy training tips please let me know in the comments section below.