Dash is FINALLY getting used to us and we are finally getting used to him. Getting Dash has been one of the most frustrating events in my life. I've posted about this quite a bit, but I don't want it to seem like all I do is complain about him. The most frustrating thing about bring Dash into our home was the fact that he was a surprise. No offense to my in-laws who surprised us with Dash out of great intentions. We just had no warning -- no time to make sure our routine was ready, no time to prepare Dewey, no time to buy puppy necessities. Mentally, we were ready for another dog but we weren't prepared at all for a puppy's needs, especially a high-energy Jack Russell puppy.
Our first big hurdle was to get Dash to sleep all night. This was actually a pretty easy one. We put him in a crate next to our bed, gave him a treat, and let him cry it out until he went to sleep. It only took a few days of him crying for a little while, now he whines for like 10 seconds and is out. Note on the crate - we only crate at night and we have to be in the room with him or he flips out. For times we are not in the house, he stays in the bathroom with his dog bed.
Next, we had to get our routine down. Especially our morning routine. Dash still hasn't fully learned how to let us know he needs to go out, so if I'm not paying attention to him we have accidents. He usually goes out three times in the morning while we're getting ready. That means we all have to get up about 30 minutes earlier than we are used to. Also, we all have to make time for playing. This is probably the hardest for me. I like dogs that are glorified throw pillows not ones that needs constant exercise and attention. Dewey plays sock ball (a sock with a tennis ball in it) for about 10 minutes a night when it is his idea. Otherwise, that's it. Dash on the other hand will sit and bark at me until I find him something to do and then he wants to play for what seems like forever. That cuts into my crafting time like crazy! And I know he will still want to play a lot when he gets older. This is something I will have to adjust to.
Here are some of our tricks for beating the new puppy blues:
- two tennis balls. He runs around chasing both of them and we don't constantly have to throw them for him. We do have to spend a lot of time getting them out from under the couches though. Has someone invented under-the-couch gaurds yet? I'll have to look in sky mall when we fly to Denver next month.
- The puppy kong. He loves to chew on this thing when there are a couple of treats inside and maybe a little peanut butter under the rim.
- We turn feeding time into a game with the Kong wobbler. This thing is AWESOME and Dash loves it. He chases it all over the living room and gives us at least 15 minutes of free time.
- Our last resort toy is the sock ball. Remember, Sheldon's parents had him for two weeks before us and this was the only toy that he had with them. This is by far his favorite toy and he'll run himself around for hours with it, but it also turns him into a lunatic, making him forget all of his manners and he tends to get pretty aggressive with it.
- School: When he's being pretty calm and not running around, I get in the floor and have school with him. He learned to sit in about 10 minutes and each night we work on something new and practice what we learned last time. I was tempted to enroll him in obedience school, but I'm cheap and know how to train a dog so we do it at home. It's amazing how fast he learns. I've never had a dog as smart as him and I know he'll learn more than the common "sit " "speak," "lay down," and "shake" drills.
- The Spray Bottle- We tried every trick in the book to keep Dash from biting. Everything was either making him bite harder and get aggressive or think it's a game and keep trying to bite. So we started spraying him in the face and saying "no" when he's biting and not listening. It really works! Now he's associated the "No" and we don't really need to spray him, but we keep it nearby just in case. He still tests his limits with us constantly!
Now I know I told you all that Dewey wasn't doing so well with Dash in the beginning. We read up on introducing a new dog and took some advice we read and decided to keep them completely separated for a few days. We brought them together when Dash was sleeping and calm, but all other times they were separated. Sometimes one of us went in the room with Dewey so he wasn't always excluded from the family (he wasn't in trouble after all). This really helped Dewey get used to all the new puppy behaviors without getting nervous about them. I'm happy to say that this Saturday we let Dewey out for some supervised co-mingling and he did really well. He played with Dash and never once tried to snap at him. We still separate them for meal times, and when Dash is being super spazzy, but we're ok with them being together for the most part now.
Oh and I have to say, thanks to the in-laws, Dash is an angel during the day. They trained him to stay in their bathroom all day without any accidents and he does the same for us. He sleeps the day away and never potties in his room.
All this to say, we have adjusted. Dash is officially part of the family, and we love him like crazy -- even when he is being a little monster. I'm sure as he grows we'll have more hurdles to jump, but right now we're all one big happy family :)