I finally understand what all those dog owners were warning me about when I naively told them we were getting a puppy. “That’s great!” they’d say (they love to spread the dogspel), followed by an earnest, “You know, puppies are a lot of work.”
“Ha!” I’d scoff to myself. “How hard can it be?” You train ‘em up and then you’re gold. As with parenting, I knew everything about dogs before I had one. I was the judgemental dog-less adult watching neighbourhood canines pull at their leashes, jump up on strangers and sniff crotches with abandon. Horrors! My dog would never do anything like that.
Well, not yet, anyway. Instead, Piper pees on the floor at least twice a day; tries to chew anything wooden in the house such as chair legs; has a penchant for nipping at hair, necklaces and fingers; and tears around the yard going ADHD on the rocks, wood chips and leaf mulch. You know how when you name your kid you make sure the name won’t rhyme with anything negative, like how Garth rhymes with barf? We forgot to do that test with Piper (hyper).
Also, Piper is like a baby in that we are now “sleep training” her. We put her in her kennel at 10 p.m., she whines and yelps for about five minutes until she falls asleep. Then, we set the alarm for 2:30 to take Piper (diaper) outside to go pee and poo. You have to actually say “Go pee” and “Go poo” and then give her a treat right after so she doesn’t take her time (because you’re standing there in the middle of the night shivering like an idiot, wondering why you decided to complicate your life by getting a puppy). After the pee break I put her back in the kennel (more crying) and then she wakes up at 5 a.m. and wants to watch Treehouse.
One day last week a dog-less neighbourhood friend popped over to see the puppy. I answered the door looking like a wreck — I hadn’t showered, there were dishes piled up in the sink and dog toys were strewn randomly around the living room. You’d think I’d had a newborn and wasn’t ready for company yet. In reality, she was our third puppy guest. “Everyone wants to see a puppy,” she said. “Too bad they don’t bring a baby gift and a casserole with them.” You got that right.
Well, our neighbours to the west (black lab owners) must have gotten the memo, because they showed up on the weekend with a gift bag full of dog toys for Piper and a bottle of wine for us. Needless to say I was happy to discover that, much like with parenting children, wine also helps new dog-parents cope with a puppy. Cheers to that!