Back on Track


Boy, I’ve been pretty absent these past few weeks, both from my blog + twitter.

The reason has mainly been Scout, our puppy. What the puppy books don’t tell you is just how hard  the first few weeks are. I’ve been in tears of exhaustion several times, and really questioned our want for a dog. Here follows a truthful account of our difficult start…

The first week was okay, Adam was off work, we were taking things in shifts (generally, night times have been good.. she was waking at 12.30am which we soon discovered wasn’t for a toilet break, but rather a ‘is anyone here?!’ fuss, and then again at 4.30am before wanting to be fully up at 5.30am).  When there’s two of you, that’s not so bad. The first few days were still tough, though, adjusting to a new routine, cleaning up pee (she’s never intentionally pooped inside, more on that later), and making sure the cats were getting the attention they needed.

During the second week, Adam had to go on a work conference for 5 nights. I’m not lying when I say those were the hardest 5 days of my life. Not that I’ve had anything particularly difficult in my past, but quitting my job? easy, my degree show? a cakewalk. I was getting no sleep, my patience was wearing thin, I was worried about the cats and tired of cleaning up pee. Trying to find even 1hr to get work done was proving difficult. She didn’t want to be alone, I could barely leave the room let alone the house without her (once, to the post office). For a few of the nights I found myself sleeping on the floor next to her crate just so I could get some sleep without her crying out.

It’s insane how much worse everything seems when you’re tired. Adam was receiving several teary calls from me each day, “I think we’ve made a terrible mistake in getting a puppy”, “I can’t do this!”. You guys know I’m not a quitter, but if I could’ve turned back time right then I think I would’ve.

I spent my days googling “When does a puppy get easier?”, “Finding new puppy really hard”, and a surprising number of results appeared. I wasn’t alone! Other people had felt exactly the same! Empathy, at last! Something I read struck me and made me realise what was going on, “You don’t know this puppy. They’re wrecking your life right now. Your routine has been destroyed, they piss, shit, go crazy, and you don’t even like them much yet. It gets easier, no one would own dogs if it didn’t”. I don’t now how single mother’s do it, this is a puppy forchrissakes!

When Adam got back I went for a nap. Best nap of my life.

Things started improving that night when I got a full and glorious 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Bliss! We started getting our routine back on track, and I finally started to become friends with our pup.

The past week got a little more difficult. Scout has a tendency to eat whatever-the-hell she wants in the garden, no matter how many times we pull stuff out of her mouth. She started with a poorly tummy on the Monday which (even with calls to the vet) hadn’t cleared by Thursday. It involved twice-nightly cleanings of her crate, and constant poop-watch. A trip to the vets on Thursday, a shot of antibiotics and some soothing medication later, she’s finally starting to get better. Our schedule is back on track!

A bumpy start, but things are 100% better and Scout’s a welcome addition to our family. The cats are doing a lot better with her now, but they’re hanging out upstairs (their domain) more than usual. With time, I hope they get more used to Scout (maybe when she’s over crazy puppy-dom?).

There was a bit of a shitty incident yesterday when an anonymous “neighbour” posted a note through our door about Scout barking in the morning (barely, she barks a couple of times to wake us up). Seriously, just come around and speak to us, anonymous notes? grow a fucking pair. People, eh?

Anyway, I’ll be back to regular blogging this week now we’ve got our routine sorted :)

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  • Tobes

    Yup I got a puppy this year too and so much of what you’ve said is true for the first few weeks with me too. For the first few days I had the weirdest depression wondering if we had made a terrible mistake. Pup would bite us, whine constantly and go crazy if we tried to leave even the room. However it gets better! Really and truly! My number one recommendation is to find a puppy socialising class as soon as possible, some accept dogs from as young as 8 weeks and you will see so much improvement as they learn from the other dogs, plus you meet people going through the same sort of stuff! Plus when you start going for walks it helps too when meeting other dogs. You’ve probably heard all of that already but you really should give them a go!! Also a puppy crate is a massive help too! They look awful but dogs do like feeling secure in them, and they’re so good for when you need a bit if space/ have to get work done. Again that’s something you might have already heard! As for the barking that’s my biggest fear (pissing off the neighbours) but I think if they’re the type of awful people who just put notes through doors you shouldn’t worry too much about them! Woah this is a huge comment, I could talk about puppies all day…

  • Jen

    I totally agree with the puppy class comment but I would wait until Scout’s had her second lot of jabs (which I think is usually 12 weeks). We took ours to a class that said they could come a week after their first jab but our vet recommended we waited until the second one was done. My piece of advice would be to not get lulled into a false sense of security once she starts looking like a proper dog! I keep on forgetting that our 8 month old puppy isn’t a grown up yet and that I can’t leave any clothes lying around where she might get hold of them! Just when you think you’ve nailed it and have a well-behaved puppy that you can trust around the house they will find some other mischief to make. But it’s totally worth it, promise :-)

  • I totally know what u mean, I found it really hard when we got our first puppy, I had a lot of tears! When we got our 2nd puppy I was a lot more prepared and found I didn’t stress as much. It does get easier.

  • em

    I saw this post when you posted it and meant to comment but then life, well, happened.
    When we got Flash he totally lulled us into a false sense of security and slept through for the first night. Then we had a week of hourly waking and crying and wee-ing and the likes – his crate was at the bottom of our bed And my boyf sleeps really heavily so I was the one waking up and it was killing me.
    And then, one night, Jim made Flash sleep down stairs. He set up a ‘run’ for him with newspaper and a puppy pad on it in case of emergencies and you know what, but he whined a bit and then, from what we can tell, he slept through with a few little wee’s on the training pads – and then we found a routine. We’d move his water about 7pm so he didn’t drink too much, we’d wake him up from his nightly nap at about 10pm and play training games with him to tire his brain out, then take him for a wee right before our bedtime and as long as I got up early, we started being able to ‘catch’ him in the morning too. Slowly but surely the puppy pads were wee free at night and he waited until morning. We also, and do so still at 16months old, treat him every time he wee’s or poo’s outside and this really seemed to work when he was little.
    And trust me, the minute you can get them to a park and exercise them properly it will change your life.
    Oh and for the teething – a colleague told me to use frozen carrots – they are good for them and they sooth the gums!
    Good luck. x