This is the latest column from North Bend resident and pet trainer extraordinaire at Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant. Over the past year she has dealt with the passing of her dog Lola and starting over with new puppy Bee – and shared the journey with local readers.
I tip my hat to you nine to fivers with well-adjusted puppies. It was hard to get through those first months with a new puppy. I know now I had a preternaturally calm dog before. Lola was calm, careful and dainty. Bee flies through life as if her tail is on fire and only speed and noise will put it out. Who knew I had it easy before? Well I do now.
Bee has more energy than the sun.
The first month I had a strict socialization schedule. We drove all over the place meeting and playing with new dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, fat ones, thin ones, old ones, young ones…and she was tired and messy. She spent those first months shaved nearly bald. It was September and October and it was raining. We’d meet a new friend and play until she was soaked through to the skin. I’d pop her in her crate in the car and we’d go meet another dog friend.
And on and on and on….and you know what? I conditioned my little dog like an Olympic athlete. Soon she required so much exercise that I almost couldn’t keep up. I had to find new ways to keep her little growing body busy. This is where my new-found respect for regular job puppy owners came in. How do you do it? Puppies are time-consuming its true, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much energy this puppy would demand.
These are the steps I took to keep up with my high energy puppy:
- I’m fortunate to be a dog walker some of the time and could take her on three to five walks a day. No, not a week. Three to five walks a day. I got a Fitbit about the same time and was logging six to ten miles a day. Rain or shine we went and if we didn’t there was trouble. More than once when I didn’t exercise her properly she exercised herself and usually in a way I wasn’t so keen on.
- In addition, I incorporated intensive exercise or playdates along with her daily walks. If you know me, have a dog and a fenced yard I was probably begging you daily to come over and play. Sorry about that friends but I had to do it. (Expect a call shortly after reading this article)
- I had to find indoor activities to keep her busy when I just couldn’t get out. More than once I sat on the floor for long periods of time and played fetch. I’d collect a small pile of toys and get her running the length of the house over and over and over until she was panting hard. We’d rest for a little while and then do it all over again.
- Explore the new world of interactive dog toys. There are many treat dispensing toys that can keep a dog busy for a time when you can’t entertain them. Remove that food bowl and replace it with a buster cube, tug a jug or Kong. I fill and freeze two and three Kong or marrow bones so I have them ready when I need a little me time (ie shower)
- Training can also stimulate your puppies mind and help wear them out. While admittedly the Bee-st is still quite wild in public (I’ll get to it! I swear!) She is quite accomplished with many commands at home where its quiet. She can sit, down, stand, shake, roll over, touch, come and fetch and we work on it daily.
At first I really missed my calm old dog and wondered what I had gotten myself into. Now that I’m used to Bee’s wild style I wonder how I ever lived without her energy in the house. Sure she ate a 118-year-old doll shoe, chewed through a couple dozen cords and stands on the dining room table to bark at bunnies (push in those chairs!) but she’s a part of the family now and I wouldn’t have her any other way.
Happy first birthday Bee!