February 14, 2022

10 lessons from the first 3 weeks of pup

The first 3 weeks of baby dog have been...a lot !!

We're lucky to have a puppy that is curious, engaged, observant, smart, personable; the flipside is Ziggy requires huge amounts of attention, touch, entertainment, engagement, and challenge. We've heard a lot of advice around "a tired dog is a happy dog", and I want to scream, do you have any idea what it takes to make my dog tired?? Big shock here because we specifically picked a breed that's known as "fairly sedate most of the time and [that has] only modest exercise requirements". 

so I put together some guiding rules for myself, here's what I've learned the past 3 weeks:

1. Dogs create associations really quickly; distract away from unwanted behaviors, reward for good behaviors
my go-to distraction is squeaky toy plus some tug of war; and I get rewarded with a view of the cutest teef (but very! sharp! puppy teeth slice through skin like nothing else) 

2. if there's a burst of weird or chaotic behavior, check if he needs one of the following: pee, poop, food, water, nap/sleep
if ziggy nips peter's foot, it means z's gotta go doodoo

3. gradual, but early exposure to: being alone, having company over and not being the focus of attention, meeting new people, seeing the street and its loud sounds, other dogs
that last pic: Ziggy made it to the vet's insta

4. Provide him the tools to self soothe > licking, chewing, food puzzles
my brother and his GF sent us this chewing ring in a care package to welcome Ziggy and it has meant hours of distraction for our indefatigable pup

5. doggies are a mirror and a sponge for whatever you're feeling, so taking a few deep breaths before doing basically anything has worked wonders
at times he can be a sweet sleepy thing

6. training is a really good way to help him use his energy, help him feel connected and rewarded, and refocus him if he's out of sorts
he picks up training really frickin quickly

7. do not react immediately to whining or barking, count to 7 once he's silent before returning to him and addressing what he might need 

8. mealtimes are a really useful time to help with impulse control, barking, jumping
lol I got slanted food and water bowls to accommodate his flat face; not sure how big of a difference they're making

9. every day is different, and this is a long-term relationship project
resting grump face

10. in the words of our friend Saha: "just love him a lot and be consistent"