paranoid puppy parenting.

As you all know I recently became a proud Puppy-Mama to little Grace Everton. She is now 14 weeks old.

dirty nose.

Having Gracie home for nearly two months has brought to my attention my scary potential to become an overbearing and overprotective mother to my future human babies. Gracie is a dirt-loving and adventure-seeking sports animal with endless amounts of energy. We have learnt pretty quickly that the ‘kelpie’ is strong in this one and as a result she at times talks back, nips at our heels to herd us and definitely has selective hearing; choosing only to respond to her name when it suits her. Gracie is also the most loving, cuddly, intelligent and eager to please pup that I have ever known and we couldn’t be more in love with her or proud to show off our girl.

Gracie showing who is boss.

However, the combination of my adoration and her adventurous personality has me on edge. I want to protect her from everything bad in the world but in doing so I risk passing my anxieties on to her (if you’re not a dog person or are yet to own an anxious pooch, then you might think this is ridiculous but it is a very real thing. Especially ‘separation anxiety’).

Gracie had her first paralysis tick over the weekend and this morning as we left for work she hit her head (somewhere outside while sniffing around for a good spot to dig) and cut herself pretty badly. She was unfazed by both accounts… CB and I on the other hand? We were pretty stressed. After a half hour of struggling to get Gracie to hold still, we managed to remove the tick ourselves but that didn’t stop us from worrying and monitoring her constantly.

Maybe it’s normal to worry this much. In fact, I’m certain that it is but I don’t ever want to stop Gracie from having fun or from being the independent dog we first fell in love with. Moving forward, we plan to socialise her with other dogs in puppy pre-school and take advice from dog owners there, hopefully helping to remind us just how resilient these gorgeous animals are. There is plenty of help out there as well online, in bookstores or even through friendly pet store assistants who have provided us with a wealth of knowledge they’ve learned over the years. We do a lot of reading and asking around and have been pleasantly surprised that any naughty behaviour is simply a sign of her adolescence and have found most of what we’re doing so far has created a positive environment for Gracie to grow up in. The important thing is that she is shown love and affection and that we treat her with plenty of time to play and activities to occupy her incredible brain.

So my advice to those with new pups that find themselves constantly worrying if they’re doing the right thing or keeping them safe enough (read: advice to myself) is simply to stop and breathe. Let them stumble and fall and yelp and play with other dogs and in doing so they will learn the right way to act and the safest way to play. Some little tips and tricks we would have been lost without include:

  • Don’t allow your puppy the opportunity to make mistakes. We keep her out of the rooms she’s not allowed in by closing doors or using a baby gate. If she is chewing something she shouldn’t, we replace the ‘forbidden object’ with a toy she is allowed to chew.
  • Keep your puppy entertained. We knew our girl would be smart, but we didn’t realise how easily this could lend to being destructive when bored. We rotate her toys to keep things different and interesting and recently invested in a Kong Genius toy which makes it hard for her to get to her treats. It has also provided plenty of entertainment for us as we watch her try new ways to figure the Kong out.
  • Puppies under two months can’t have any tick protection and even after that it can only be in the form of a tick prevention collar. Be scrupulous in checking them over for any ticks and make sure that if you remove them yourself, you get the entire tick out.
  • Socialise your pup from an early age with all types of humans and other dogs. It will help them to learn bite inhibition, manners and to stay calm in strange environments.
  • Allow them to have ‘me’ time. Puppies will become anxious when separated from you if they’re used to having you there all the time. If you aren’t actively playing with your pup then place them somewhere safe (we crate trained Gracie and provided her with a playpen) with plenty of toys to keep them entertained and they will learn that being alone is okay.
  • Stick to it! If you feel like a training technique isn’t having any effect then the best thing you can do is stick to it anyway. Changing tact will only confuse your puppy as sometimes it just takes them a while to adjust.

If you have a new pup and want to ask any questions or talk to a fellow paranoid puppy parent, then please don’t hesitate to ask me anything! I’m getting a tiny bit better every day in learning to stand back and have her learn her own lessons in time. I contemplated permanently wrapping her in cotton wool to keep her out of trouble… but when she did this to her bed yesterday I realised she was sending me a pretty strong message of how she felt about my plans to make her a cotton wool baby.

naughty puppy.

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8 thoughts on “paranoid puppy parenting.

  1. I just got 2 puppies today (I live in a home of 3 adults so they are going to get lots of attention), they are almost 2 months old and am I ever paranoid. A-I’m paranoid if I made the right decision of getting 2 (I’m hoping that the fact that we are a home of adults and have the time and will to teach them separately as suggested will turn in my favor since I read that you shouldn’t get 2 at same time due to bonding and such) and B-I’m paranoid cause one of the puppies is going to the restroom as I expected where as the other hasn’t done it in almost 5 hours. He’s only rotated between sleeping and playing, but haven’t seen anything come from him like his sister. So now I’m paranoid to go to bed myself until I see him go. Been searching the internet for anything to help relieve my anxiousness and came across your page. Hope things are still going well since this is from April. Have a good night! 🙂

    • You might like my other blog too then – princessgracekelpie.wordpress.com 🙂 Grace is a very special creature and is keeping me well on my toes but just know that all the initial worries do subside. The toilet thing still worries me a bit at night but pups will wake you if they need to go. Trust me on that! Haha. Are they siblings or from two different litters? And are they different sexes? Hope you slept well!! And all the best with your new furbabies! Grace is the best thing that ever happened to me ❤

      • I’ll definitely check that out as soon as I’m done typing. They are siblings, and one male and one female. The boy finally went I think around 11pm eastern and twice which made me happy, but that woke him up and him and his sister went into playing and such. I tried separating but the boy was whining and seeing that I live in an apartment I couldn’t just let it go on. But as soon as it happened I googled and saw that it needs to be done slowly so that they know it’s not some death sentence. I haven’t slept yet since they were bouncing around and starting to whine about being in their pen, but they have settled now so I might try sneaking away.

      • Having siblings I heard is a bit different to having two non-siblings, I think because they’re immediately aware of wrestling for top dog ‘pack’ status. But the fact it’s not two males is good. I would go to puppy preschool and check with your trainer how best to deal with siblings 🙂 And we read you’re supposed to leave them cry at night for however long it takes til they stop so we did with Gracie but have since wished she slept in our room at first and that we gradually eased her in to being alone. We were told that it is better after the fact haha. 🙂

  2. I physically snuck away but my mind didn’t. Can’t sleep if my life depended on it. I moved into my roomies room since he doesn’t get off work til 2ish, while they are in a playpen in the living room. I think I’m now paranoid the boy (who’s taller) will get out and get into trouble. So now I’m debating moving them in here, which would mean waking them. Don’t know if they’ll immediately go back or get wound up again. So now I sit and ponder my choices.

    • Oh dear – everything you say sounds so familiar!! If I managed to get Gracie through those first couple of days I promise you will too! She was scaling the walls of her pen and back flipping out of it within days of being home. Such a Houdini and SO mischievous. They’re resilient little things though and in a week or so you’ll be back to semi normal sleep patterns and they’ll be a thousand more times settled! I wouldn’t worry about risking waking them, they sleep at least 18 hrs a day at that age so they’ll tire out again pretty quickly 🙂 what breed are they?

      • I recently got up to get crackers as now I’m starting to get hungry myself and peeked at them by the kitchen light and their asleep. I’m trying to tell my mind to stop worrying cause obviously they aren’t if they are fast asleep like that. I’m just sticking it out til the roomie shows since the brother is his. As well as he can take watch and hopefully then my mind will say its ok. And I’m glad to hear that, it’s very reassuring and much appreciated. And they are a daushand and schnauzer mixed.

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