I know, another boring puppy post. Please don’t hate me, he’s all I’ve got.
As I’ve documented here before, life with a puppy is harder than it sounds. I love Milo, he’s eye-wateringly cute and my heart swells when he falls asleep with his little perma-sad face on my lap, but he’s ruining my social life. Well, him and Eoin’s job.
We literally don’t get out much these days because of the hours Eoin is working, but on the rare occasions we do, Milo has to be kept safe in the apartment. To make sure he doesn’t chew any more electrical cables, or eat what’s left of the rental furniture, I’ve been crate training him. It’s been going well so far; he sleeps in his crate quietly with the door closed every night and I pop him in there a couple of times a day so he can learn to entertain himself. He tends to moan about it but once I go in and fire some verbal abuse his way he normally just shuts up and falls asleep. His crate is warm, cosy, full of his favourite chew toys and well-stocked with treats, but as far as Milo is concerned it’s missing once crucial thing – me.
About three weeks ago we went to see The Coronas downtown. We left the house, and Milo, at about 7.30pm and were home just before 1am. He stays quietly in the crate for longer than that every night so we hoped he would simply curl up and go asleep while we were out, since that’s what he’s used to doing when we’re there. Boy, were we wrong.
Two days later, I received a phonecall from lovely Lissa in our leasing office to say there’d been a complaint that Milo had barked pretty much the whole night long. And since we were home well after “quiet time” started at 10pm, we were in troubs for breaking the rules. I apologised profusely, explained that we were in the process of training him, said it would never happen again and then kicked Milo to a pulp. Well, I apologised. The complainer, who obviously has a dog too, suggested we but a blanket over the crate to make it even more inviting and den-like for him. What a nice complainer, I thought, and did just that.
Since then, and I’m not being smug here, Milo has come on in leaps and bounds and is learning a lot. In six days he’s only had one pee accident, he can sit on command and we’ve started a puppy obedience course to help him learn more manners. I’m not the type of dog owner who lets him walk all over me. I’m not his “mama” and I treat him like an animal, because that’s what he is, and that’s our trainer’s philosophy. The aim is that he’ll see me as someone he wants to please and he’ll do that by being a good little dog.
But even though I’m trying to be a mega-bitch when he’s not pleasing me, Milo still doesn’t like us to be apart. Eoin and I were at a dinner last night for three hours and when we returned at 8.30pm, this was stuck on our door:
I was incensed. What kind of a MORON can’t spell the word ‘hear’? Then I felt bad. Not for Milo, he was just being bold, but for the note-writer. Then I felt annoyed. He’s a small dog and has a bark to match. The neighbours might have been able to hear him but he was hardly disturbing them, and we were home early. Then I felt guilty. What if they were trying to meditate? Then I felt disappointed. Now we can’t go out to celebrate Paddy’s Day next week with all the other ex-pats. Then I felt desperate. I do everything the books suggest before crating him: I walk him for hours, make sure he’s, er, empty, leave a radio on and keep his crate in the room where my scent is everywhere. But still Milo can’t bear to be apart from me. There’s only one explanation: I must be a really great person.
If you have any advice on how to help Milo get used to being alone, or a magic pill I can give him, please do share. I’m getting desperate.