Thinking of getting a dog? Thinking of getting a young dog? A puppy? There’s something you should know: puppies are exhausting.
You’ll think you’re ready, that you know what to expect. How bad can it really be? After all, puppies grow up so the puppy-like behavior will end.
That’s true, but let me warn you — unless you’ve owned and raised a puppy, you won’t know how exhausting it will be until it’s too late.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m head-over-heels in love with Riley. He’s been a part of our family for 2 weeks at the time of this post. And I’m forgetting what pre-Riley life was like. That’s not completely true. I look back at my memories of PRL with great fondness.
We didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to take Riley outside. We didn’t follow Riley around the house every time he left our sights. We didn’t find new places to keep most of what we owned, safe places where Riley wouldn’t explore the world with his mouth and teeth. No one sat on the coffee table.
My PRL evenings were spent reading or watching TV. Riley likes to read with his mouth when I try it.
Watching more than 10 minutes of TV is difficult unless Riley is also exhausted and curls up next to me. Any show is interrupted by following him into the bedroom because I can’t take all the sheets off the bed every day to keep them out of harm’s way. Or maybe he’s exploring the kitchen counters. I’ve already moved anything there back out of his reach, but he needs to be taught “Off!”
Maybe my night is interrupted because I had the temerity to turn on the living room lights at night. As one does when it’s dark. Our living room has a large picture window that takes up most of the back wall. Riley can see his reflection in that window. Riley isn’t sure about other dogs and that dog in the window — even though that dog is also timid and unsure of other dogs — needs to be barked at. Maybe after barking, Riley will pee on the carpet. We tend to sit in the dark now. It’s safer for everyone.
We’ve actually been pretty lucky. Riley is good about doing all of his business outside. We’ve had the occasional accident but (knock on wood, fingers crossed) nothing like 2 nights last week when Riley let loose. Maybe it was a result of being crated for large portions of the work day, but to celebrate his first week in our house, Riley peed on the carpet 3 times in 8 minutes! After having done what needed to be done outside only 10 minutes before! Three times in 8 minutes!!! The following day he at least spaced it out over a 20 minute period.
We can usually tell when he has to go out, but this … vengeful peeing for lack of a better term … this happens without warning. If it’s a form of submissive peeing (because he is shy and timid in some ways), we fight not to yell at him lest that lead to more of the same. Picking him up and taking him out mid-pee means we don’t have a discrete spot to clean up; we have a trail.
I’m very tired. I miss parts of my life before Riley. But then he curls up next to me or starts to learn “sit” or “down” and all is forgiven. He’ll run toward me because he’s starting to recognize me and I’ll give his back a good scratch or rub under his chin. I love him. He returns that affection by biting my ear or nose or chin and I sigh, still happy that this dog is our dog.