Monday, September 24, 2012

Pure Joy?

I had to laugh a couple of posts back when one of the comments was something about me experiencing pure joy.  Ha!  It is definitely not pure joy at all times.

Okay, so Maddie is cute and fun, but some of this is really hard work and sometimes frustrating.  The hardest part is definitely the work versus puppy potty schedule.  Full time jobs just do not mix well with small puppy bladders.  They have to pee... a LOT.

Normally, I work from 6 AM to 3 PM which is great because I beat traffic and it gives me several daylight hours to play with the dogs after work.  But my husband and I work about 20 miles from home so running home at lunch is not very practical.
So my plan was to work at home for a few  hours each morning and then head into the office for 5 to 6 hours.  This gave Maddie plenty of time to eat, drink, and potty several times before I left.  Even so, 5 or 6 hours is too long to expect a puppy her age to "hold it".

I decided to apply Ian Dunbar's suggestion from his "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" book. (Excellent book about raising a puppy with good behavior, by the way)  He suggests setting up an ex pen.  Inside, you place the puppy's crate with the door secured open.  And outside the crate you provide a potty area.  He uses a piece of sod so the puppy is using the exact surface being used outside.  I opted for a portable dog potty that employs a fake grass surface.
You then provide the puppy with a stuffed Kong and you tie it to the inside of the crate so the puppy can only enjoy the stuffed Kong inside the crate.  Brilliant idea in theory.

Well, it worked for a few days.  I honestly think that Maddie was so distraught over being left home alone (with 5 other greyhounds) that she finally collapsed in sadness and went to sleep (took 20 minutes when I videoed her).  Her Kongs and bully sticks (and everything else) went untouched.

A few days passed and Maddie got more comfortable and was fretting a much shorter period of time if at all.  She started to work on her Kongs and chew her bully sticks.......... and dismantle her portable dog potty.  I would come home to find that she had taken apart the potty, plucked out some fake grass, and peed on the floor.  Dang it!
I can fix that I thought.  I got industrial strength velcro and used it strategically to prevent puppy vandalism.  And it worked!  Except that she thought the grass was a nice place to sleep.  So I would come home to find that she had freed her bully stick from its tie in the crate and had been sleeping and chewing on her toilet.... and peeing on my floor.

I was not about to be outwitted, outplayed, or outlasted by a greyhound puppy.  I am a survivor!  By this time, Maddie was comfortable with me leaving the house and no longer vocalized or stressed about it.... she was too busy chewing or Kong extracting.

I decided that maybe Maddie wanted a bigger crate so I got out my 36 inch long crate.  The benefit to this crate is that it has a side door so I have it turned in such a way to take up an entire side of the ex pen... the side that also has the best view of the front door of the house.  So with new larger dwellings, a soft bed, a good view, and two Kongs and a bully stick.... how could anyone not want to spend all of their time in there.

And for good measure, I decided to make outside the crate as uninviting as possible.  It is much smaller now.  The view sucks.  I ditched the the fake grass and the entire (small) space is covered with a washable peed pad.
And we have a winner!  And the winner is me!  It has worked for two days now.  So I am going to go ahead and get this post and my win up on the blog ASAP before Maddie overturns it.


What Remains Now said...

I bust out laughing as soon as I saw the title of your post. Nothing like a post on pee and poo to break the hypnotic trance that cute puppy-ness puts us in. Sounds like you came up with a great solution and you gave me some chuckles offer Maddie's attempts to interpret and redesign her area. That is one clever girl. Fortunately, you're cleverer.

cleptogrey said...

seespinshe hasn't jumped the fence yet??? that should be next on her agenda(just wait and see)! i used a huge piece of oil cloth type vinyl material as a floor cover for the x-pen. somehow felix didn't manage to get it out from under the edges of the pen. as to wee pads...they should be shredded by the end of the week- those pups get very creative! they do acclimate to their crates pretty quickly, but those sorryful eyes are put into action very early in life-beware. once their bladders mature a tad(after teething) their crate becomes their best friend. to this day felix LOVES his crate and won't get out of it. that day will come...maddie should be taking flying lessons pretty soon- she's most likely starting to practice her take-off...LAP be ware- a flying gh puppy will be launched into it momentarily!

jcp said...

Great post. Thanks for snapping us back to reality :)

Hiking Hounds said...

LOL! I remember feeling your pain. :-) It's really hard to work and have a puppy! Zephyr did climb out of the x-pen and when he was old enough to stay free in the house I came home to find him stretched out on the kitchen table a couple times. I think at that point he thought he was just like one of the cats. When Z and A were babes I often had someone come over and let them out, but that sure added up. I work close enough to come home, but I have a short lunch and if I come home can only stay 10 minutes max. Luckily when Astro was a puppy a friend let me bring him to her house and play with her dogs a few times a week. Puppies are a huge amount of work, but luckily they are so darn cute and fun. Oh no, I feel more puppy fever coming on, must go.

Tasha Miner Salsido said...

I LOVE the idea of tying a yummy to the INSIDE of the crate. Will have to do this with my new puppy!

We already had an ex-pen crate system set up... still waiting for our potty patch, though I hope she doesn't dismantle it! That hadn't even occurred to me.

Maddie is adorable. She's so lucky to have you. I'm really happy she's black, too. :) Love the stories.

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

Whew. Thanks for reaffirming my decision to stick with adult hounds. Now if they could only bottle that puppy smell...

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

Hmmmm... the more posts I see the more I'm afraid of puppies. It's been so long since my last foster pup I'd forgotten what a bundle of joy they are! Great work outwitting the puppy!

And on a side note... holy dog crates! They're everywhere!

Claire Krigbaum said...

Pure joy!
Amber was my first puppy (or dog) ever and I didn't really know what I was doing. I left her in the bathroom with her crate for the first few days. She dug a giant hole in the dry wall. I was lucky then that I had a job watering plants, driving around town and decided to take her to work with me. And by the time the weather was warm enough not to be able to take her anymore she was fine loose in the house.
I somehow can't imagine Indi ever being trustworthy though!
Yay for the winner!

houndstooth said...

Oh, I am laughing SO hard! We went through trials and travails with Kuster and his potty training, too. Puppy Wonder learned very quickly that if he pooped in his crate, we had to open the door to clean it out and he could have free run for a few minutes. So, we'd go outside and walk and walk and walk and then he'd come in and poop for his free pass! Oh, I thought I'd kill him, but he was so friggin' cute! Anyway, after almost a month of being frogmarched to his crate while the ex-pen was cleaned up, he finally decided to give it up. Dang it, he's too darned smart! I see Maddie has a similar problem. All I can say is that the year will go fast. That puppy phase is way too short!

Catalina said...

I think it all depends on the puppy. Girl puppy took almost a year to potty train. Boy puppy came home at 8 weeks and hasn't had an accident yet -18 weeks old today. Maybe I am being rewarded for the year long lack of sleep and destroyed carpets from raising the girl puppy! LOL!

I had that same set up when I brought my puppy home in July - except I made a little wall around the potty pad, so he couldn't roll toys/himself into the potty area. I ended up taking the whole thing apart after a week or so - when I realized he didn't need it.

Good luck! Just remember it's not the end of the world and they learn eventually!

I'm sure she will pick it up very quickly. :)

After a year I resorted to diapers with the girl dog and that finally and quickly potty trained her, so there are always different ways to try.

gyeong said...

I would have to be a stay-at-home dad to have a puppy :)

S said...

Please don't take this the wrong way as I love your blog, and your maddie posts, but i am surprised to hear she is being left for 5/6 hours a few days a week (don't know what you work :)). I am also the new owner of a GH pup who is now 5 months old and I have been using doggy daycare for when I work as everything i read, and everyone i spoke to, said you simply couldn't leave a pup alone for so long (5/6 hours.) My adult gh's stay home with no problems for this time and happily sleep after their morning, pre-work run. They have kongs and chews and are lazy, well adapted adults. In some ways I would love to think i am being over the top with my daycare arrangements for my pup (it's extremely expensive so it'd be awesome if i iddn't need it, or even as much!) but i am not sure about leaving a pup alone for so long, though i wouldn't have the option of going to work late in the day which you do, and i do think that makes a difference. Love to hear more opinions on the matter and looking forward to reading more Maddy news :)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi S,

Actually, Maddie's first daycare session is tomorrow! :-) I'm going to try it 2 or 3 days a week.

I find that people who can revolve their schedules around puppies can't imagine leaving them 5-6 hours. People that can't, leave them up to 8 hours, and everything works out.

Yeah, I don't like leaving her that long, but it is life. I feel blessed that I can work 3 or 4 hours at home everyday to shorten it as much as I have. The main thing, per Ian Dunbar, is making sure they have a toilet area, but he did not specify a number of hours and he is a behaviorist that specializes in raising puppies and I consider him the authority on it. I would feel terrible if she were all alone, but she isn't.

So yeah, I agree with you, but that's all I can do about it.