Monday, September 17, 2012

Going to the Dogs: Crating Puppy and Teaching Couch Potato Old Dogs and Owners New Tricks

We have had our puppy, Roxy, since mid March.  She is crated on a regular basis in our downstairs bathroom.  We've wedged her crate into the shower stall and made the inside of her prison as cozy as possible.

There were many opinions on how a puppy would effect our 13 year old collie lab cross, Kiki.  She is basically the most quiet, well-mannered dog you can ever hope for as a family dog.  She doesn't require much, she is basically a house dog.  She goes out for walks, but she has always been a happy couch potato--so somehow, she got into the proper couch potato family.

Roxy has fit in well.  We've determined she is at least half couch potato dog, as she is a snuggler.  She thinks Kiki is her mama, but there will be therapy down the road for Roxy, because Kiki feels in no way any maternal urges toward the pint sized pain in the butt puppy.  Mostly, they peacefully co-exist, but if Roxy gets a little to much in Kiki's happiness zone, watch out!

When we leave the house, Kiki is calm and happy to hang out.  Roxy is happy to use a chair as a chew toy, so we've been faithful kennel trainers and put Roxy in her kennel when we leave.  When Roxy goes in, we say "Kennel Time!" We throw a yummy assortment of treats into the kennel, and Roxy happily jumps in.  Of course, there are treats for Kiki at kennel time, too.

Today, I came upon Kiki in the bathroom.  She was wistfully staring into Roxy's kennel.  It has a fleecy, comfy pad, oodles of toys and it smells like treats from the doorway.  As Roxy is 15 pounds and Kiki is 65 pounds, Kiki can only hope to get her head in the doorway of the kennel.

This scene really made me think about whether we've cursed Kiki, or made her life more interesting.  A bouncy, Tigger-like toddler puppy is like me at a pre school mom coffee--there is nothing more sure to quickly make you feel whithered, tired and old.

Yet, Kiki has had more petting, more walks and more treats than she's seen in her life since she was a puppy.  We've had to drag our couch potato selves out with the puppy to get Roxy out in the world and wear her energy down.  There have been benefits for everyone, whether it's a walk for Kiki or mother daughter chat.

At that quiet moment, I snuck into the bathroom and gave Kiki a bone.  Good dog, Kiki.


Cindy Huber said...

This was so sweet! We are going through the same thing here in Milwaukee with our old bichon, and "tigger" Malti poo...It's now been two years and I'm glad now that we did it, but oh boy, especially in the beginning! I wish you and your puppies much happiness and joy.

Deb said...

Thanks, Cindy, our pets really do bring us so much joy and love. I can't imagine a life without pets in it. Enjoy your thanksgiving!