We kind of have an unofficial dog sitting business at our house. P started it several months ago by posting a flyer at his office. Not only was it a way to earn some extra money – this started when we were buying/renovating the house, planning the wedding, and I was starting a business with no real knowledge of how successful we’d be from the first – but I think P also saw it as a way to convince me that we don’t want a dog. Well, we have been super lucky to have only had older, house trained, calm, cool, and collected dogs stay with us over the last year and his goal of proving I don’t want a dog hasn’t been all that successful. Until this weekend.
We agreed to keep a new dog. Most of the ones we keep are regulars. They know us, our house, etc. I know their routine. They are easy. Sam is a different story altogether. I was a little nervous when I saw the original email from his owner: 1 year old, likes to chew, sleeps in crate at night. But, we are trying to pay off some credit cards and also save up to replace our carpet so I was like okay. Then we had two of our regulars need a sitter too. We said okay. As you can see, Sam is a beautiful dog, probably part chocolate lab but unsure totally of his genetic make-up. And he is very sweet. I like a dog to give a little love. But he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t understand “no.” He doesn’t understand any commands actually. He actually was fine during the day, in fact, after Lucy showed up and they got to know one another, it was a very peaceful day.
But then nighttime came. P and I decided to use a Living Social deal we had for dinner and go see a movie with a gift card. Sam is supposed to be crate trained so we put him in his crate so we could leave. I have never heard such awful noises come out of a dog. It was like we were torturing him. I thought he was going to break his crate into pieces. P assured me he would calm down once we left and hopefully he did but I think Lucy may be traumatized from the experience.
When we got home we decided to try letting him sleep in our room (on the floor) like Lucy does instead of being in the crate again. He’d already been in there 4 hours while we were out and I could not handle the barking/whining/screaming. He did pretty well until about 5:45 am when he landed his paws right on top of me. Okay, I will take them out. Took the dogs out, was ready to crawl back into bed but Sam wanted to play. Lucy didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to play. Sam didn’t care. He kept trying to leap up on the bed so P put him in his crate. Once again, screaming bloody murder ensued. It was awful. And it continued. P finally just got up around 7 and took the dogs downstairs with him so I could sleep before having to keep the nursery at church.
After church, we ate lunch with some friends who are expecting their first child and I was like, I think I can kind of understand what it is like to be up all night with a baby. Now there are a lot of differences in this situation but it did give me a whole new appreciation for what they are about to encounter with an infant… at least the baby will be theirs, can be cuddled, and won’t be stronger than you… Luckily P was able to nap a bit that afternoon but I did not. Sam did not want me to nap and kept jumping on me and honestly, he is stronger than I am so I pretty much stood in the rain all afternoon so he could tire himself out outside. I tried walking both dogs that afternoon but we got caught in the rain so our yard on a leash was as good as I could do.
Sunday night P left for a business trip. I am pretty sure he was glad to be leaving the dogs behind. Mace, another regular, came over shortly after and I’m pretty sure he did not want to stay after being greeted by the circus. After some time on leashes outside I put all three dogs on the deck (door open to the sunroom where I was) and let them play around a bit. Despite Mace being much older, I think he enjoyed the play time and established his role as alpha male.
Thankfully it had stopped raining and by the time it started again, they were ready to settle on the floor with me and watch So You Think You Can Dance. (After I mopped.) At about this time P texted me with some advice that would change the course of the evening with Sam. His owner emailed him and told him a squirt bottle with water will keep Sam from barking! This was a game changer and luckily we had an empty one! Sam went from crazy, insane puppy to…
Calm. Or at least afraid of being sprayed with water. Thank you Lord. I seriously was running low on patience, on sleep, on warm feelings. I’m usually such a softy with dogs and don’t like to yell or discipline but I was seriously on a short fuse. Luckily I was able to get him to sleep in his crate last night and with help from my friend, the water bottle, he settled down after about an hour. And with the help of ear plugs, Benadryl, and a glass (or two) of red wine, I slept pretty well last night until around 6:45 when Lucy barked to let me know she needed out.
After taking 3 dogs outside, feeding them, giving them their meds, and putting them in their respective rooms for the day, I made it to work this morning almost on time, despite getting up about an hour earlier than normal.
It is only Monday. I have all three until tomorrow and then will have Lucy and Sam until Saturday. I am hoping we can get into a rhythm and the rain will stop so I can take them for a walk/run and tire them out! It’s hard being cooped up in the house all day! Wish me luck making it through this week. Pray for me and for patience and for the state of our house…
Any other tips, like the water bottle trick, to help get puppies to calm down?? Looks like another night without a walk or run after being cooped up all day. Momma needs her rest.