Adulting Take One:  Raising a Puppy

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When people tell you getting a puppy is like getting a baby, they are being serious!  Lexi has been my puppy (aka fur-baby) since June 20th.  It has been a roller coaster of a few months.  When I first brought Lexi home, she didn’t want to leave my side.  I don’t know if she was missing her brothers or if she was just freaked out by her new surroundings.  It made taking her outside without a leash very easy, but bedtime was a nightmare!  Every morning at 2:30am, she would start whining, and if I didn’t come running, she escalated to crying.  It’s a blessing that I had not started working yet.  During these early morning/late night bonding sessions, we would watch some Netflix and nap on the couch.  After two weeks, I realized her sleeping arrangements weren’t going to work.

In preparation for getting Lexi, I set up my apartment similar to how my parents set up our house when we got our first puppy.  I invested in an indoor/outdoor toddler playpen.  It was big enough to have a potty section (covered with puppy training pads), food and water section, and a bedding section.  Since the playpen was so large, she stayed out in my living room.  Now, while my dog has her dumb moments, she is pretty freakin’ smart.  I mean she taught herself how to fetch at 11 weeks old.  11 weeks old.  That being said, she took to potty training fairly quickly.  I would take her outside roughly every hour, and if she needed/wanted to go out she would bring me a flip flop.  Once I felt confident she wouldn’t pee in her bed, I got a crate, bed, and blanket and set it up in my bedroom.  Needless to say, the 2:30am crying fits moved to 5am, and that was mainly because her bladder was tiny and she really had to pee!

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The other big hurtle we are facing is teething.  I’m not sure how much is normal for a dog, but she always has to have something in her mouth!  The only exception is when she is asleep.  Even on our walks, she’ll find a stick and chew on it while walking.  As of now, Lexi is 5.5 months old and teething usually ends within the 6 month age range.  I am hoping she calms down.  The chewing became an issue when she hit about 13 weeks.  It was so bad she chewed a hole in my wall!  I found her with a chew toy sitting beside her, but she decided the drywall was more fun.  Luckily, the bitter apple spray deterred her from the wall.  Then she started targeting my cheap flip flops.  Why?  I have no freaking clue.  Sometimes she would try to chew on them while I was wearing them.  We went through lots of band-aids because she also mistook my fingers for rawhide bones.  Anyways, the best thing you can do is find a type of toy your dog loves.  Lexi is obsessed with rawhide bones, though she does occasionally switch it up and goes after her stuffed toys, like Giraffi.

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I also recommend getting training classes as soon as you can.  My vet recommended I wait until Lexi was fully vaccinated, which I was 100% on board with.  I took her to PetSmart for the puppy level training class.  She came out knowing how to sit, shake, lay down, stay(ish), leave and drop it (when she wants to), walk loosely on her leash, come when called, and sit while greeting (which is meant for people, but Lexi does it for dogs too).  These classes helped with her behavior issues, but it also taught me how to teach her other commands.  For instance, after her last potty trip, all I have to do is tell her “Go to bed” and she runs into and lays down in her crate.  I can’t wait to see how better she gets when we start the intermediate level class next week!​Sitting here, writing all this up gets me a little nostalgic.  It’s been three and a half months and she went from being this little fluff ball weighting three pounds and now she’s for the most part fully grown at nine pounds.  Where did all the time go?


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