minutia press.
Life with puppy

We've had Koko (short for Koko Pelli Cytron DIND) for a week now, so I thought I would offer an update on how she's doing. She went to the vet for a routine, initial check-up, and she passed all her exams fine (I think she crammed the night before though). At the humane society, she claimed to be australian cattle dog, and while she does perk up if I make "moo" sounds, her canine composition is somewhat in question. The vet deferred to his assistant, who thought she saw beagle but definitely something else in there too. She didn't enjoy being at the vet's too much, but then I'm not that crazy about going there either. The vet is very nice and so are his assistants, but a trip there usually involves transporting a reluctant cat.

At night, KoKo's sleeping generally from 11 PM until 4 AM, which isn't so bad, but at 4 AM she needs to go outside to do her business. She'll come back in and go back to sleep, so this seems like a good thing. We're told that when she is 3 months old, she'll be able to sleep through our night without having to go outside.

The training part is going fairly well. At her young age, you can't really scold her for "accidents" but you can praise her a lot when she goes in the right place (outside). So when she goes outside, I give her a treat, tell her what a good puppy she is, and that if she keeps this up, she'll probably win the Turing award. I guess first I'll have to nominate her.

I've been receiving (sometimes unsolicited) advice from my mother-in-law about how best to housetrain her. Apparently somebody sells something called "Pee Paper" and it has some kind of chemical that entices the puppy to pee on the paper. (What fun it would be to bottle that chemical in a spray so it could be applied easily to any surface.) But from what I've read, the crate approach is the best because it leverages their natural inhibitions concerning relieving themselves in their den.

I'll take some more pictures soon, and post a link to them.

To conclude, the best thing about Koko for me is watching the delight in my kids' faces when they interact with her. I have always wanted a dog, and for (non)reasons I could post about endlessly, I didn't have one as a kid. The dog loves my kids unconditionally, doesn't ask them to wash dishes, and (so far) hasn't found a way to fight with them. It's a win all-around.


I also wanted a dog when I was younger, but my parents would never let me have one. Of course, as soon as I went away to college, they went ahead and got themselves a dog, and are now canine semi-experts. They go to dog shows, they can recognize all the different breeds, and they enjoy watching dog shows on TV. Its kind of weird.

Also, my understanding of dog training is that the crate approach is definitely the right way to go. The paper approach is a bit outdated, I believe.

Posted by: david at October 27, 2003 12:49 AM

I can see that you're discovering one of the unsung woes of new puppy ownership: everyone who currently or previously has cared for a dog will point out what you're doing wrong and how they could do it better.

I find myself on the other side of that fence right now. My girlfriend just picked up a dog from the humane society, and it takes Herculean restraint to not correct her bad behaviors. By "her" I mean my girlfriend's, not the dog's.

Posted by: Chris2 at October 27, 2003 1:07 AM

David, that's a shame they waited so long -- can you have a dog where you live now?

Chris(2), what kind of dog did your girlfriend get?

Posted by: rkc at October 27, 2003 6:09 AM

Hailey is a 6 year old, Labrador/Beagle mix. Heidi refers to Hailey as her "second hand, senior discount dog" (the pound takes half off of their usual adoption fees for dogs that are over 5 years old). Hailey is a great pup, very sedate and gentle indoors and very playful and fetch oriented outdoors. She also gets along well with both Heidi's cat and my cat. I'm happy that Heidi found such a good dog. I have pictures up at http://www.ckhoge.com.

Posted by: Chris2 at October 27, 2003 1:08 PM