Doggone

dogI know I’m gonna get a lot of hate mail (or at least hate comments) but I’ll just spit it out. We gave the puppy away. We had to.

We had so many reasons. The biggest one was that the puppy kept attacking the kids. Yes, the puppy was playing. Yes, we could have trained it out of her. But the problem was not the puppy, it was our daughter. The trainer told us to stand still when the puppy started biting and say “Off!” when she bit our bodies or our clothes. We told our son what to do maybe three times. When he started doing it, the puppy lost interest and left him alone.

We told our daughter what to do maybe three hundred times. She simply would not do it. Instead she’d jump around or run away, which encouraged the dog to play, chase her and bite again. When the puppy did bite, my daughter would kick her to get her off of her leg. We told our daughter that she’d hurt the puppy and the puppy would turn against her, but she kept doing it. Sometimes she’d whack the dog on the nose to get her back for biting. Again, we told her to stop. We told her the dog wouldn’t like her. And eventually it happened. My daughter would do something to the puppy and the puppy would fight back. And still, our daughter wouldn’t stop. read more

Dog Days

dogWhat a difference a week makes. Last week I wrote about our new puppy and how miserable I was since we got her. I was ready to give her up. I really was. But it’s getting better.

We met with a dog trainer on Sunday, and he taught us the ins and outs of crate training for housebreaking — how to do it right. The puppy doesn’t quite get it yet, but on the plus side, I’m not running after her with a spray bottle and a rag all the time.

The trainer told us that the kids should stand still when she attacks them. The puppy’s playing, but she growls and bites their clothes (mostly) and scares them. They dance around trying to avoid her, or they scream and run. Either way, the puppy thinks it’s part of the game so she keeps growling and jumping up and biting. We tried standing still and it works. Mostly. read more

Dog Tired

Bad dayI thought we could handle it. I thought it was time. I thought it would be fun, and cute, and therapeutic. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

My daughter’s been asking for a dog since she learned to talk.  She loves dogs. Every time we see someone walking a dog, she asks if she can pet it. Every time she sees a picture of a dog, she goes on and on about how cute it is. Every time she thinks about a dog, she asks when we’ll get one. And we’re dog people, so naturally we planned to get a dog.

We waited for the kids to get old enough. My daughter’s almost seven and my son’s almost four, so we figured they were ready. We made a plan. We would get a doggie door. We would build a fence. I’d done the due diligence. I was ready. We were ready.

I started to look for rescue dogs to adopt. I looked for a poodle mix that was medium-sized. We wanted a smart dog who didn’t shed and would be good with the kids. I would have loved a small dog but we have huge hawks in our backyard and they’ll attack any animal smaller than twenty pounds. It’s true. I looked it up. read more