I got a puppy... now what?
Hi there, I’m back again! My last blog went into detail about the first few months with a puppy and how to prepare yourself & your house, however lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions saying now what? How do you train your dog? What about neutering? Is it too soon to pull out all my hair? Which basically means you’ve entered the “Terrible Two’s.” This article is going to address the good, the bad and the ugly and some hardships I’ve had with Cosmo. This serves more as a reflection piece rather than advice note like my last article, because honestly I’m still learning along the way on how to become a better dog mom!
The reason I refer to this stage as the “Terrible Twos” is because everyone as toddlers was very mischievous and because we were cute, we got away with it. This same rule applies to puppies- everyone talks about how great it is to have a puppy but barely anyone addresses how they also can drive you crazy. Whether it’s taking trash out of the garbage and running away with it, biting the leash while trying to go on walks, or just humping my leg- I’ve had my fair share of annoyances with Cosmo. It’s been nice that he’s finally potty trained so at least we don’t have to worry about accidents in the house, but now it’s been trying to correct his bad habits which is the hardest part. So here’s a list of training methods I used and Cosmo’s response:
Potty Training: Something I regret we had done was used this training bell on Cosmo. If you train your puppy to ring the bell every-time they have to go pee or poop, your life will be so much easier in the long run. Unfortunately, we introduced this bell too late so now Cosmo is trained to do his business whenever we go on walks (which is about twice a day) and I’ll take him out occasionally to pee. https://www.amazon.com/CandyHome-Doorbells-Housetraining-Training-Doorbell/dp/B01DDIV18K/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=dog+training+bell&qid=1607971249&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&smid=A26HVGK7P1DZ75&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzSTFXWUFNU1lTNkNCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNDM2MjM4UldTRVpRVDRLVFJGJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA5Nzc5NTExODJHWEhOMk1DNFo4JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
Leash Walking: I really underestimated this one. Nobody tells you that you actually have to train a dog to walk on a leash and there isn’t an instruction manual on how to do it!! I struggled with this one a lot cause Cosmo was just not having it and would keep biting the leash or my legs. I got so frustrated and I tried so many different techniques. Trainers told me to use treats and walk side by side with him and reward him every time he walks well. I tried doing that but then he would get distracted and unamused with the treats. For a while I used to carry around a spoonful of peanut butter and hold it by my side and give him licks to motivate him to walk but then I soon realized when there was no peanut butter, there was no chance of him walking. I also tried the “stop walking when he pulls method” which is when you just stop walking if he pulls and continue walking when he behaves and walks properly. This worked for a bit, but then our walks just got long and tedious and ended up being like an hour. Now I don’t have a real solution to this dog walking problem but I can say that Cosmo is a decent walker now and the main thing that I owe it to is this harness linked below. It is more on the expensive side but it transformed Cosmo’s walking significantly, his walks definitely still need some work but this harness helped so much. I think the key is just try to keep your puppy on a short leash next to you at all times unless they have to do their business. The harness is attached here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0072BAWOO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Training in general: I did a training session at Petco with Cosmo once and honestly don’t think it was that worth it. I had taught Cosmo on my own how to sit, go down, and other basic commands and felt like that one session just reiterated what I had taught him. However, now that Cosmo is older (about 9 months), he’s developed some new habits that I can’t seem to train him out of. We are going to be hiring a professional trainer to come to our house next month to address 1 main thing- the uncontrollable and excessive barking. I’ve tried distracting him, shaking a can of coins, giving him a time out but nothing seems to work. Hopefully this trainer has some solutions or if anyone else does please let me know! I would only suggest hiring a trainer if your dog has some bad habits (like Cosmo’s barking) and google doesn’t seem to help.
I was waiting until Cosmo got neutered to write this blog post just so I would have first hand experience to write about. We’re on day 12 post surgery and I’m super happy to say he is thriving!
Before the surgery: I would prepare by getting a cone (linking the one we got below) rather than the one the vet provides you just because this cone gives your puppy so much more mobility than a normal cone. Cosmo hasn’t ben fussy about it one bit since he’s had it on and can rest his head properly when he sleeps and eat well too! Also, I would suggest making sure you have the stairs blocked off because they are not supposed to be active / go up and down the stairs for the next 10–14 days. https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/contech-procone-soft-recovery-collar-1558323?cm_mmc=EML-_-EMTRX-_-CCY-_-BPS-_-PET-_-MUL-_-0-_-PET_ORDCONFPICK+-+With+Order+Summary-_-DE_PET_ORDCONFPICK-_-product-name&kxconfid=tbc1h9h8v&kxcampaignid=PET_ORDCONFPICK%20-%20With%20Order%20Summary&kxadvertiserid=sfmc
The day of: You’re not supposed to feed your puppy anything the day of surgery and just bring him into your vet. We dropped off Cosmo from 9am-4pm (per vet’s instructions); the surgery doesn’t take that long but it was just easier for them to have him ready along with the other dogs there. Once we brought him home he was a little drowsy and just inactive (which was good). Holding him was completely fine because I was nowhere near the stitches so that wasn’t an issue at all. He was super hungry that night, ate his food, went a lot of pee and then went to bed.
The next day: I think the hardest part about the surgery was making sure he wasn’t active cause it could open the stitches. I gave him the antibiotics with a syringe in the morning after his breakfast and he took it just fine and continued to lay around. Once he got active, I had to give him the Acepromazine medicine (1/2 tablet every 8 hours) with a treat to make him less active. I always struggle giving Cosmo pills so I just crushed up the medicine and mixed it in with a treat and gave it to him. It takes about 2–3 hours to kick in and once it did, he was knocked out. He could barely walk because he was so drowsy. Then I did the same at around 8pm after dinner and he slept fine through the night.
Day 9: By Day 9 his stitches had closed up but we still decided to keep the cone on until day 14 just so he wouldn’t lick the area and get an infection or anything. For the 9 days, I did have to give him Acepromazine twice a day because he just wanted to play and I needed to control his energy. By Day 9 I had let him go up and down the stairs and started taking him on short walks. The short walks were hard because I couldn’t put his harness on because of the cone and I was scared to take off the cone because he might pick at the stitches. So we went on super short walks until he started biting the leash- that was my cue that the walk was over.
Humping: If you want the humping to stop, neutering is definitely not the solution. Your puppy will still hump his bed and your leg post neutering so be prepared. Things that have worked for Cosmo is just a distraction- I give him a new toy or bully stick to chew on and take away whatever he is humping. If it is my leg then I give him a timeout and say NO very sternly. So far this has been working, but let’s see if he’ll learn to grow out of the humping stage!
Downside: The only downside to this surgery was Cosmo had 2 accidents in the house. We never trained Cosmo with the bell so his walks would be his time frame for using the bathroom. Even though I did take him out often, sometimes he just didn’t need to go. Since we couldn’t let him run around in the backyard either, he ended up going poop twice inside the house. He still has 2 more days of being in a cone, but hopefully these last few days didn’t take us a step back in his training and we can get back into routine soon.
Overall: Overall, the surgery & post surgery wasn’t bad at all. It’s just tough not to play with your puppy and see him just laze around the house. I’m thankful cosmo is doing better now and also recommend buying a lot of bully sticks or bones to keep them busy. Without his walks, Cosmo has been getting the zoomies every day!!
That’s it for now, but if you have any tips on the uncontrollable barking, please let me know! Or if you have any other questions/concerns definitely reach out. I am no expert at all but I will be genuinely honest and say the good, the bad, and the ugly.