This isn't a progress report on how the PUPPY is doing so much as I suppose, what you might expect if you are to GET one of these puppy things and attempt to continue to live your life and whatnot. The PUPPY is doing fine – he's 14 weeks old and healthy and he eats a lot and he does 95 percent of his business outside and 5 percent when we are doing things like cooking dinner or giving children baths and have turned our backs. Then he does that 5 percent in the hallway or on the rug downstairs (WHY THE RUG WHEN THERE ARE MILES OF HARDWOOD FLOORS) and frankly the rug is pretty much a loss at this point, though I am strangely comforted by the fact that it was $99 at Lowe's and that even back then, I'd planned to eventually replace it. I am so glad I never bought a rug I loved. SO GLAD.
People will tell you that having a puppy is like having a newborn again, but this is wrong. You can bring your screamy newborn to Target or to Walmart or to the dentist ALL YOU LIKE. This is generally frowned upon if you have a dog, unless you are one of those people who thinks small dogs don't actually count as dogs even though THEY ARE TOTALLY STILL DOGS, so quit bringing them into Target. Also, on PRO FOR PUPPIES side, you cannot lock your infant in a crate for hours at a time. Actually, I take that back – you most certainly CAN do that, and it probably wouldn't even be all that terrible if you're as committed as I am to getting my puppy out of the crate after only two hours. Also if you stay home with them. I do not plan to lock the dog in his crate and stick around. I'm LEAVING if he's in that thing.
So while it's nice to be able to go to Target alone (something you cannot do with an infant), the prep work involved in getting the stupid dog into the crate is a real serious pain. For starters, the dog eats THREE TIMES A DAY. Like people do, except that he also needs to evacuate his bowels about 45 minutes after he eats. THIS REQUIRES TIMING. I can't feed him and then shove him into his crate for two hours; likewise, I feel bad making him miss a meal, too. So I've got to feed him and leave enough time for him to get a little exercise and poo before I can throw him in there and set out to run an errand or two. I also have to lure him inside with treats and then try to run out of the house before he finishes chewing or he tends to alert the neighbors that he can bark loudly and for greatly prolonged periods of time. IS STRESSFUL. I always forget to put my coat on BEFORE I put him in the crate and then he sees me and starts barking and whining and OMG MAYBE I SHOULD JUST STAY HOME. (I never do.) (Sorry I'm not sorry.)
In the mornings, sometimes the chaos of two small kids getting ready for school PLUS a wild puppy who has been in a crate all night sleeping and is acting feral pushes me over the edge. I yell A LOT in the mornings, and it isn't really AT anyone so much as IN FRUSTRATION. Ideally the kids would put their clothes on while on the top bunk, because the puppy pulls EVERYTHING they put on right back off. He LOVES underwear. And it's funny to the kids but it makes me want to pull my hair out. He is VERY mouthy in the mornings because he's excited and energetic and he bites too hard too often. At breakfast the kids sit at the table and I circle and patrol, pulling the dog down when he jumps up and tries to grab their food, while I should be packing lunches and eating my OWN breakfast. Then we all get our coats on and walk to the bus stop, and while this aspect is improving with Rocket, it still requires me to pull him for a good portion of the time. For Rocket to be comfortable with our pace, it would take 20+ minutes to walk and sniff our way there. Unfortunately, we need to do it in four.
I think the solution to our problem lies in getting up and taking him for a walk before everyone is up and getting ready for school, but it still takes 45 minutes to take him on the short loop (it's like a half a mile and the majority of the time I spend coaxing him out of the neighborhood) and it's dark in the morning and this dog (LIKE MANY TODDLERS) is scared of the dark. He ain't leaving the front yard if he can't see what's out there. The earliest I could walk him is 7:30ish, and HEY, HA HA HA, that's exactly the time I need to start shoving children up on to the top bunk to change their underwear.
So it is challenging. On one hand YAY ME for not spending hardly ANY money in the month of January; on the other hand I HAVE BEEN TRAPPED IN THE HOUSE FOR ALL OF IT. And I am not getting the quality time I thought I'd be able to get – I'm spending an hour of that time teaching a dog how to walk on a leash without wigging out and then I'm usually exercising because I can't do it before the kids get up (too cold, too dark, dog barks) and I don't want to do it when everyone's home and WATCHING ME (they still make fun of me occasionally) and then add in a shower and lunch and HEY! It's PICKUP TIME and now I have to spend my last 20 minutes making the dog poop so I can lure him into the crate and leave.
There. That was a nice vent. I know the work will pay off, and it IS starting to feel more normal and I AM figuring out ways to cope but HOLY YOU KNOW WHAT, a puppy is no fricking joke. Let's end on a good note – he does sleep all night in his crate without whining or crying and he is very relaxed in the early afternoons and late evenings, which means Lucy and I can play on the floor without him eating toys for a good portion of the afternoon, and Dave and I can watch television in peace after dinner. BUT THAT'S IT.