Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gunner & Maddie

Gunner & Maddie

Put this under one of those “What was I thinking?!??!!” categories.  Having puppies has made me appreciate the listening skills of my child.

Now reflecting about why I would torture myself with not just one but two puppies, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve always wanted a puppy growing up and never had one. There was one brief stint in my 20’s when my mom had a dog at the house but I don’t count that as it wasn’t really my responsibility to take care of it and it was more a beast than a dog. It would wrap itself around a tree and then as you came to rescue it from its tangled mess it would magically untangle and jump all over you with it’s muddy prints thus causing you to curse and change your clothes, as it would typically do this trick prior to just leaving for work.

When this opportunity presented itself, going to actually see them in all their cuteness was just overwhelming and I wanted one. Being that we are away from the house for a majority of the day during the week it only made sense to get two. A brother (Gunner as named by Chris,) and his sister (Maddie named by Makenna). Maddie is all black while Gunner has some brown to him.

The mother was a relatively medium dog so we assume they won’t get too big but we don’t know who the father is. We think they’re a mix between a poodle and a Yorkshire terrier and maybe a Schnauzer. They are cute….when they’re sleeping.

When they are out and about, they’ve found that chasing each other around, growling, barking and making each other in pain is what fun is. But even more fun than that is driving me crazy by peeing and pooping everywhere! I keep telling myself it’s a learning curve and that we have to just be diligent in getting them outside. But holy cow! When I came home on Sunday from Church, Chris had already had them out once. I then took them out and within the next hour, they peed and or pooped four more times in the house! I feel like giving friends a stock tip and telling them to invest in Bounty paper towels and Resolve Carpet Cleaner.

Luckily the poop is usually small and easy to pick up with a paper towel and doesn’t leave a mess on the carpet. And yes, we do have newspaper down but they seem to use that when they feel like it. Short of putting a “new carpet” of just newspaper everywhere, we just try and put it in the spots they tend to go to the most.

Plus, I’ve bought them various chew toys and different types of bones to keep them occupied but it seems like everything else but those things are much more fun to chew. I swear I should lose a ton of weight just chasing them around to get them to drop whatever it is they picked up to chew or eat and or to have them stop chewing something. I sit down for five to ten minutes, I hop up to see what it is they’re now chewing on and make rounds inspecting that they haven’t left a mess anywhere.

A lady at the check-out at the grocery store said the best five cents she ever wasted was letting her dogs have a returnable plastic water bottle. I tried it yesterday and she was right! Besides the loud noise it makes as they are attacking and chewing it, it’s a great way to know what they’re doing. When it goes quiet is when I worry.

Maddie is the vicious aggressor. She beats up on her brother all the time. She’s usually the dominant, obstinate female…figures. Gunner is usually the one you hear yipping in pain. He’s usually on the bottom while she’s on top pummeling him into submission. Although he does chase after her and gives it back at times. The cat, who wants nothing to do with either of them, has whipped them into submission and they tend to cower near her. They got into her space about twice and after the second time they see she means business. The only time they tend to get more forceful around her is when they smell her food and realize it’s on the floor for the taking. I’m not sure how bad it is to have them eat cat food but they seem to like it a whole lot more than their own food.

They also are quite the escape artists. We put up a baby gate that we used to have for Makenna in an area in our bathroom so that they have a little room during the day to get out but they either squeeze out through the gaps or they’ve figured out how to climb the thing. They’ve gotten out a few times but we now close our bathroom door so that they can only do damage within that area. Yesterday I came home to find “presents” in our closet that’s attached to the bathroom and has no door. I was not too happy. Today I remembered to give them a chew toy that you put treats into to hopefully keep them busy. We’ll see if we were successful in keeping them contained.

We’ve also taken them for one round of their shots (they had some prior to us getting them). I decided to pick a place close to our house and it was expensive. As Chris and I left the appointment, he was already adding up the cost we’ve spent on the dogs. I don’t want to think about it.

Makenna enjoys them but is confused as to why when she wants to play with them and goes to get them, they run away. Yet, other times when she doesn’t want anything to do with them all they want to do is play with her. She’s helped a few times to take them out but with this cold weather and all the snow and ice she’d rather stay inside. So would I. I knew I never wanted to get dogs in the winter but that’s just how this worked out. We had a couple of snow days last week where Makenna had off of school so I just took off of work thinking it would be better for the dogs too as we hadn’t even had them a week yet and I could get some sort of schedule down with them. I found out I’d rather be at work. I was exhausted by the end of both days. They are so much more work than just having a child. I now see why my parents never had dogs while we were growing up.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they’d just go outside and not in the house. When we take them out, they don’t always go and then it seems shortly after bringing them in, they decide, “oh yeah, I guess I do have to go.” A lot of times they just fight each other outside and go digging around for cat poop or sticks, grass, leaves, etc., to eat.

I think I’m starting to catch on though. I think having free access to food is what’s causing most of our problems. We’d put out their dog dishes during the day while we’re at home and that just fuels their bowels. So I decided last night that after I get home from work, depending on the night and what we have going on, that after our first initial outing to do business, then they can eat/drink and I take them back out in about 20 minutes., then no more food or water until it’s time to go to bed. I was nervous about this thinking that I’d have a mess in their pen in the morning but it seemed to work out well. They were anxious to get out as usual this morning and I got them outside in time. Then I fed them some more and about 30 minutes later they went back out. Then out once more before leaving for work. I do leave what food was left from the morning meal in their pen for the day. So if I get this down, the next trick is to get them to stop escaping their pen during the day.

I’ve been working on getting them to sit and they seem to be getting the picture but once I start to give one a treat for sitting, the other jumps on top of the other to get the treat. One thing I know for sure, is that as soon as Spring comes, dog obedience classes are in store for them…and me.

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