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.