August 5

So when I moved into my house last summer I put in all new carpet. I picked out a nice, neutral frieze that I thought looked nice and would wear well. I liked the texture. It’s reminiscent of the old “shag” type (now called “twist”) which I thought looked a little modern, yet casual. Well, it turns out that frieze is just another word for grass. At least to a puppy. Apparently I have filled my house with a very neutral indoor bathroom for dogs. On so many fronts, my puppy has acclimated very well to his new home. He doesn’t bark at the neighbors. He gets along with the cat (ignores him). He has learned his name, how to sit, sleeps through the night, goes out his doggie door, and doesn’t jump on the furniture. He doesn’t have accidents on the kitchen tile where he’s usually confined. But expand his area to include that beautiful frieze and it’s like he has lost all sense. And I thought my kids being home would speed the potty training process along since there are more of us to keep an eye on him. But I forgot how their eyes get glued to electronics, which makes it easy for the little puppy butt to get into trouble. I’m not sure why I thought potty training would be easier. My oldest kid was three years old before she was trained, which I reminded her of last night when she was complaining about the dog. So that’s a problem that still needs to be solved. Crate training has been Googled. Again. The other is teething. I was prepared for the chewing and the many stuffed animals and bones and random items in his toy bucket can attest to it. What I forgot about was the addition of puppy playing. The proper formula goes something like Teething x Energy + Moving Objects/morning,evening = Painful Puppy Bites. He’s not aggressive, just eager to play. He usually doesn’t actually bite so much as try to nip in an effort to get someone to wrestle with him. At 6 am or pm mostly, which happens to be my least favorite time to play. I’ve Googled this as well. One article I read encouraged playing along until the puppy bites too hard, at which point one is supposed to simply stop and “be a tree.” Um…I’m pretty sure if a tree could move or swat at whatever was gnawing at it, it would. Trees would become Ents pretty dang quickly if they could feel dog teeth. Instinct is, of course, to jerk the hand (or foot or leg) away from his eager puppy mouth, and I have ninja skills when it comes to that. He’s not broken skin, but he’s pinched me pretty good a few times. I have the bruises to prove it. I imagine the neighbors are amused in the morning when I start dancing around the deck in my bathrobe trying to avoid his teeth. Usually he stops pretty quickly with the distraction method. Therefore, I try to keep toys nearby to thrust between his jaws and a few minutes of tug of war helps. I’m grateful he’ll eventually grow out of some of that. I know we’ll also, eventually, get the potty training done. He’s a pretty smart dog and I’m not 100% exhausted yet. And thankfully for him he’s got his cuteness going for him. It’s hard to stay mad for too long.

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