I’m not going to lie to you, taking care of a boisterous puppy is no picnic. The problem is, my one is just so cute that I would literally wade through pee for him. In fact, I have done. Several times today in my stocking feet.
We had an appointment to see Milo and his six littermates yesterday at a breeder’s house just outside Portland. (Look, I know buying a puppy from a breeder is worse than stamping on a kitten, but after the infamous Mini Aussie debacle of 2011 these were the only dogs Eoin and I could agree were cute. I’d just like to state for the record that I would have been happy with any shelter puppy, but certain other people are harder to please. I got major bitchface from two pontificating girls in PetSmart yesterday for my sins so consider me punished, thanks.)
Anyway, I had been perving on the breeder’s website and lookswise, Milo was definitely doing it for me (although his white and tan brothers are all painfully cute too). When the nice lady brought us into the puppy trailer and opened the gate, seven shrieking little furballs came at us like torpedoes, but he was the one I kept my eye trained on. When they eventually calmed down, after ripping my arms to shreds first obviously, I was finally able to pick him up for a cuddle. Yes, he was Milo alright. We also got to see his ma, a fawn puggle (that’s a pug beagle hybrid for all you cat people) and his dad, a tri-coloured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, in situ too. You might recall me previously mentioning that Cavaliers (as they call them over here) are my favourite dogs of all time. They’re good people, ya know?
And so, after doing some awkward money swapping, we were free to leave with Milo and a gas gift bag, containing his papers, vet info and, er, birth announcements, in tow. (Remind me to send one of those to the New York Times, will you?) I had planned on holding him on my knee in the passenger seat for the 35-minute journey home and had cleverly (nay, luckily) brought a towel to put between us in case of accidents. So with Milo, who is 12 weeks old and weighs 13 lbs, freaking out, off we went. Let me tell you, the dog can squirm. He howled, he cried, he tried to jump on Eoin and eventually he puked twice before we got to the apartment. Let’s just say everyone was a little distressed by the time we’d unpacked his bed, food and new toys and were waiting for him to relax his proverbial cacks.
But Milo never relaxed those cacks. Instead he barreled around the gaff for several hours, peeing and pooping on the beige carpet as he went. Eoin and I helplessly trailed after him with wads of newspaper but he didn’t, as I had hoped, instinctively know to use it as his toilet. In an effort to be The World’s Most Patient Puppy Trainer, I brought him outside for a little walk every hour, again assuming that he would know what to do once we got there, but no. In fairness, he was excellent on the leash, and learned how to negotiate the stairs on the first try, but he had no interest in relieving himself outside. He did puke again though, which was something, I told myself.
As it got later, and bedtime loomed, I started to get worried about what to do. My initial plan was to move his bed, toys and water bowl into the bathroom and leave him there with the door closed overnight, but he couldn’t hack being separated from us for more than 30 seconds. He bawled his head off. Plus I felt bad, it had been a traumatic day for the poor little feller. Also, our neighbours would have us evicted and maybe even jailed. So we resorted to Plan B. We dragged his bed into the bedroom, the one room we vowed would be off-limits to the dog, and shoved it up against my side. In doing this, I decided, I could comfort him if he cried, plus he would be getting used to having his own bed, the one place a puppy apparently won’t soil. It was a genius plan, but since Milo is the most unpredictable person I’ve ever met, I expected it to fail.
But fail it didn’t! After half-heartedly trying to jump up on the bed a few times, Milo barely cried at all, he simply settled down and (mostly) slept through the night like a perfect little puppy. And the best part is he didn’t sneak out of bed to go elsewhere in the bedroom either. He held in his business! And when I took him out for a walk at 6am, he actually peed on the grass for the first time. Although, despite going on numerous walks today, he still generally prefers to evacuate on the beige carpet. He is a (very cute) work in progress.
If you have any advice on house training a puppy, cut me some slack and share, won’t you?