Adding an Animal to the Balancing Act

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

This year, on New Year's Eve, we came home from the Humane Society with a puppy. Dasher was three months old, super-cute and appeared to be the shyest and calmest of his litter. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Our previous dog, Bebe, had died in August, and I assumed it was time for the click-clack of nails on hardwood again. This was an incredibly dumb assumption.

My wife and I got Bebe as an adult dog, so we weren't fully prepared for the onslaught of puppy-ness. Our youngest was sleeping through the night, but suddenly I was waking up at 3 a.m. again, taking my freckled pooch out to the back lawn.

Dasher quickly got bigger and much, much more energetic. Despite training classes, in-home training, frequent walks, trips to the dog park and so on, he remains a huge handful. As most of you know, keeping the kids and the job and the household in balance is a constant challenge, and it doesn't take much to disrupt that balance.

Dasher is nothing if not disruptive. First it was the whining through the night. Then it was the housebreaking. Then it was the chewing: first our couch, then the woodwork, then the rugs. And -- throughout all of this -- there has been his constant need for attention. This amuses the baby to no end, and they take great delight in tormenting each other.

The rest of us have decided mixed feelings about the dog and the attendant stresses -- stresses that we can expect to last at least another year. And unlike PTA meetings or personal blogging, animals can't simply be ignored when things get busy. But giving up a dog is no simple thing. There is no guarantee that "surrendering" the dog will lead to a happy ending for anyone. So we're toughing it out.

As someone pointed out in the comments the other day, the commenters here have a special interest in our furry friends, so I'll put out my usual call for advice: Have any of your had your life knocked for a loop by a pet, and how did you get back on track? Dasher and I are eagerly awaiting your wisdom.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  July 19, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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Get a cat.

First.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 7:04 AM

Are you training Dasher?

Puppies are active and a challenge, but, like children, can be trained.

It may be with small children that an older dog would have been a better choice as you can overdose on youth. But since you've already got the dog I think the best approach is to invest some time training the dog. Whether you do it yourself or attend a school is up to you, but I think attending lessons sometimes sets the time aside and gives you feedback that can be helpful.

Posted by: RoseG | July 19, 2007 7:30 AM

Third, dammit!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | July 19, 2007 7:40 AM

Kids love dogs. They will have fond memories for the rest of their life of their faithful companion. Who ever hears someone say they had a dog as a kid and didn't like it?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 19, 2007 7:49 AM

How about me for a pet?

Posted by: Mako | July 19, 2007 7:50 AM

"Despite training classes, in-home training . . . "

Did you even read the column?

Posted by: To RoseG | July 19, 2007 7:55 AM

The challenges you face from your puppy are nothing compared to what you will go through when your kids are teenagers. The best thing about pets is that when they become pregnant, you can sell their children.

"But giving up a dog is no simple thing.There is no guarantee that "surrendering" the dog will lead to a happy ending for anyone. So we're toughing it out."

Will you toss your kids to the gas chamber when things get tough? Is this a pattern in your life? Did you make any kind of real committment to this dog? Are you setting a good example for your kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 7:55 AM

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Posted by: Great job Brian! | July 19, 2007 7:58 AM

It's very difficult raising a puppy, but please hang in there as they do seem to calm down a lot by the time they're one. Ours is still very energetic, but we noticed a huge (positive) change right before her first birthday. Experts seem to agree that dogs hit a few more calming down phases within the first couple years.

Does Dasher have enough chew toys? Also, don't ever cave to his whining and constantly discipline him every time he chews something he's not supposed to. He'll eventually get it. Good luck!

Posted by: WDC Denizen | July 19, 2007 8:01 AM

We always had cats when I was growing up. Well. Mostly one cat. Her name was Cleo - born the same year that the movie Cleopatra was released. Cleo was a long-haired tiger-striped tabby, with the traditional markings around her eyes. Ever the wag, my dad insisted she reminded him of Liz Taylor! Cleo was born in our basement and went on to rule the neighborhood with an iron paw for the next 18+ years. Everyone on the block knew who Cleo was and where she lived.

I'm sure there were times when it would have been easier not to have a cat around the house, but you know what? It's not the frustrations or the inconvenience we remember. We remember the good things.

Posted by: Murphy | July 19, 2007 8:01 AM

Read the book "Marley and Me" for some perspective.

I guess the puppy is 9 months old now? Hate to tell you but most dogs don't get out of their puppy stage till they are approx 18-24 months old. Ours just hit the 2 year mark and he is a different dog then he was last summer. Hang in there.

Posted by: cmac | July 19, 2007 8:02 AM

The best thing about pets is that when they become pregnant, you can sell their children.

Bob Barker is right: GET YOUR PETS SPAYED/NEUTERED.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:04 AM

We adopted a one year old girl who is nothing like what her foster mom described. She is destructive and bully to our other cats, but we would never consider giving her up. We made a commitment to share our life with her. Humans would never give up their offspring despite their developmental issues, addictions, or leeching off the parents as adults. Don't forget that Dasher is a living being and has feelings too. Giving the dog up is in essence teaching your children that animals are disposable when it is inconvenient for you to be responsible.

Posted by: Cat Mom | July 19, 2007 8:15 AM

This reminds me of words of wisdom from a friend who knew. "Cats are easier than babies but babies are easier than dogs."

Posted by: Rockville Mom | July 19, 2007 8:16 AM

Is Dasher a member of your family or another possession to bolster your already inflated ego? How you handle this situation will provide the answer to your kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:16 AM

1. Breed? Or how mixed? Breeds of dogs were bred for specific purposes. If your dog is mixed dauchund, he'll be a digger, if your dog is mixed golden retriever he'll be reasonably laid back.

2. What kind of training? Doggy socialization classes are very important, training to help with separation anxiety (not that you dog has that, but it could develop), training for obedience, and training to put the dog in his place. He is the dog, not a child. You are the Alpha. Love him, but do not allow him to run the household. Dogs want to know their place in the pack.

3. Again, depending upon the breed...how much exercise? If he's from a larger working breed, he's going to need a lot. Sporting hounds need stimulation. There are doggy sports (like Coursing) that dogs can enjoy. Small breeds need...attention.

4. Get him neutered when he's of age.

5. Yeah, puppies take about 2 years to chill out - if ever (depending upon the breed) Stick with him. It is very damaging to dogs for them to be dumped every time they have some behaivoural or discipline issue, it breaks their ability to form bonds and trust - thus making their behaivour worse.

Posted by: Xrys | July 19, 2007 8:16 AM

Xrys

"It is very damaging to dogs for them to be dumped every time they have some behaivoural or discipline issue, it breaks their ability to form bonds and trust - thus making their behaivour worse."

Right, getting dumped can be damaging for people, too. But Brian doesn't give a da#m about the dog; everything is always all about Brian! Don't see a happy ending here. But if there is, as usual, Brian will portray himself as some kind of hero.

Sickening.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:22 AM

Bob Barker is wrong and a moron. First training doesnt end with a class or two. Where did you go for training? Petsmart/Petco is not the answer for training since their instructors arent that great. Check out the A Click Above near Lessburg, VA. They have a website. Training is done every day until either you or dog croak! Are you insisting on the correct behavior? Are you rewarding the dog for the correct behavior?
I dont train with treats but for the great majority of pet owners this is the only way they can succesfully train a dog. Do you have any clue as to what breeds are in this puppy? Pictures please. If it has any terrier or toy breeds in it forget training. Pups are trying and you have to remember they are puppies. If it has any of the herding breeds in it they dont mature until approx 3yo. And bubba you really dont have a clue until you have a high energy, intelligent herding puppy to train! Find a quality trainer for more classes, two insist on the correct behavior, remember he is only a puppy, he will get better at this but you still facing the terrible teenage months/years with your pup, give the pup plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and attention, remember its a puppy until it is 2 to3yo and contact A CLick Above.

This isnt that difficult if you devout the time to it and again you need to insist/demand the pup behaves. You dont use violence but the pup needs to know their will be consequences for misbehaving and that it needs to listen. You are alpha get a pair and be the alpha your dog and family needs. You dont negotiate with the pup. The pup must do as its told. You SO will appreciate the change! If us rural living Mericans can do it with multiple dogs a bright overeducated, surburban/urban dwelling liberal Dem journalist can! Come on Ann Coulter can train a pup why cant you!

Posted by: vaherder | July 19, 2007 8:25 AM

Sell the puppy to a Chinese restaurant...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:25 AM

Amen Cat Mom - well said. I don't get people who treat living things as disposable. I take the obligation we have made to our animals very seriously. When you have kids and pets - you aren't going to have a perfect house. Ruined furniture and scratched up hardwood are the price you pay for the licks and kisses.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 19, 2007 8:27 AM

"Come on Ann Coulter can train a pup why cant you!"


I don't have Ann Coulter's Adam's apple.

Is she really a woman? Yuck!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:28 AM

"Dasher and I are eagerly awaiting your wisdom."

I'll bet Dasher is! He's wondering if he's going to be shipped to the minors or get slammed with the death penalty! Nice work, Brian!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:31 AM

While training a dog properly is always important, a working dog on a farm is in a different situation from a household pet in a city or suburbs.

Posted by: To Vaherder | July 19, 2007 8:33 AM

Ann Coulter is really a truck driver in drag.

Posted by: To 8:28 | July 19, 2007 8:35 AM

Brian, I trust you'll continue to ignore the rock-throwers that don't have the courage or talent to do what you do.

Having said that, Dude, what are you, nuts? Given that you managed to get one pet behind you, that should have freed up a little time for you to do other things. Sounds like you really goofed by replacing that with an even more high-maintenance pet. Those who say that kids love pets and will have years of great memories are neglecting to factor in how much the dog will negatively impact the parents and whether that negativity will ultimately trickle down to the kids somehow.

Proud Mama wants a dog. I know this, and I'm ducking and dodging it like an undefeated boxer. I went out and got us 3 goldfish and a 10-gallon tank, which I suspect will buy me a year's worth of breathing room. No, I don't love cleaning the tank, but it's certainly less work than a puppy. Still, my wife bought home a hermit crab from the beach last week (slaps forehead) so I know the dog conversation will continue.

Unless you have a large lot for the dog to exercise/relieve itself, it's going to put more on your plate (okay, just speaking for myself) than it would add to the children's experience.

2 Cents.

Posted by: Proud Papa | July 19, 2007 8:35 AM

Proud Papa

"Brian, I trust you'll continue to ignore the rock-throwers that don't have the courage or talent to do what you do."

Huh? What courage? What talent?

Posted by: Jake | July 19, 2007 8:38 AM

"I'm sure there were times when it would have been easier not to have a cat around the house, but you know what? It's not the frustrations or the inconvenience we remember. We remember the good things."

Thanks for making me cry so early in the day!

Beautiful sentiment and well said.

Posted by: to Murphy | July 19, 2007 8:39 AM

"First it was the whining through the night. Then it was the housebreaking."

One of the best 'inventions' for both of these is a crate. I know, it seems cruel and unusual punishment to put the puppy in a crate. Think of it as their room. Dogs are den animals. Dasher will love his crate. It is his own space. Make sure there is water and toys and a blanket.

Crate training is invaluable for house breaking. Being a den animal, dogs don't want soil where they sleep. A crate will teach Dasher to hold it until the appropriate time and place. This is where you have to be diligent. When he is let out of the crate immediately take him outside and praise him when he does his business in the right place.

My two girls have the run of the downstairs at night and every morning when I get up to let them out they are in their crates with the doors wide open!!

Good luck. I have had Siberian Huskies for over 27 years and don't think I could live happily without a dog (or two or more).

Posted by: GT | July 19, 2007 8:40 AM

It's also bad for dogs that we keep seeing photos of Britney and Paris carrying tiny dogs as fashion statements, then casting them aside before they (the dogs) are out of puppyhood.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 8:41 AM

Having effectively raised two dogs (because my parents were very poor at it), I can say that it is always a challenge at first comming to terms with the personality quirks of your dog. They are, however, great companions if you learn to treat them correctly.

There is a very very common error among new dog owners that they should follow the same rules when raising a dog as raising a child. I have seen this many many times (including my own parents 1 year old puppy who I was not there to train for them) and invariably this leads to spoiled but unhappy dogs. I generally followed a method that paralelled the work of Patricia McConnell and others which basically boils down to the idea of forming a relationship with your dog as the alpha of their pack. In my experience, dogs are best behaved and seem happiest when they know exactly where they stand on the totem pole, and when that role is reinforced regularly using models drawn from natural pack behavior. Dr. McConnell has a pretty good book on the subject (which I think is called Leader of the Pack) that explains this a lot better than I can.

I also second the poster who advised spaying/neutering as soon as possible. Though most shelters require that you do this in any case so I would be surprised if Mr. Reid hasn't done so.

Posted by: David S | July 19, 2007 8:45 AM

No major (or minor, for that mattter) newspaper would want to publish a column by you.

Posted by: To Jake | July 19, 2007 8:46 AM

Agility! Trust me, I have a "high-activity-level" dog myself. She sleeps beautifully after an agility class.

Lots of fun, activity, treats, doggy friends, dog-loving friends and the potential to compete too.

Oh, and Brian, here is the dog-owners maxim:

3 years a young dog
3 years a good dog
3 years an old dog

Actually, given the improvements in food, veterinary care and the elevation of dogs to pet, rather than employee, make that 3-7 years a good dog. Unless you have a giant breed (Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, etc.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 19, 2007 8:47 AM

Commentaries such as this really renew my support for pet adoption organizations or rescue leagues. Most I know of are very dilligent in placeing animals with people to ensure it's a good match and to decrease the chance an animal will end up being "cast aside."

For instance, when we adopted our second kitty, we had to fill out an information sheet and provide references. The kitty's adoptive/foster dad stopped by our house before handing her over to us.

Some people might think that's a tad intrusive, but I couldn't disagree more. I appreciate the fact they care so much for these animals and make every effort to ensure their safety and happiness.

Posted by: Just wonderin' | July 19, 2007 8:50 AM

"But giving up a dog is no simple thing. There is no guarantee that "surrendering" the dog will lead to a happy ending for anyone. So we're toughing it out."

"I'll put out my usual call for advice: Have any of your had your life knocked for a loop by a pet, and how did you get back on track? Dasher and I are eagerly awaiting your wisdom."

It doesn't sound to me like Brian is flippant about his commitment. He's looking for wisdom from those who have been through this.

Before kids, I had become charmed by a particular breed of small dog. I thought that I'd want to get one when the kids are older. Now that we're getting to the stage where outings/trips with the kids are more manageable, I don't want to give up the freedom.

I also don't want to add to the housework as it's different cleaning for two people who are gone five days a week than it is for a family with young children--now we're home using bathrooms, kitchen, etc. I know the limits of what I care to do--I'd also be the one with the sole responsibility of taking the dog out to do it's business, taking it to the vet.

As much as a companion animal can be a wonderful addition, we just don't want to commit the time or expense. I'll continue to admire charming dogs at the park.

Posted by: lurker2 | July 19, 2007 8:55 AM

Brian,

Xrys is right. What breed of dog is this? Behavioral problems can be breed-dependent, so it is best to train your dog with their natural instincts in mind, i. e. herding dogs versus hunting dogs. Find someone, a vet, a trainer, another responsible owner of the same breed, and get some advice as to how best to train your breed of dog. Also, is your dog food-motivated? You can get a dog to do just about anything if they are easily motivated by food.

But as far as general advice, CRATE THE DOG!!!!! It doesn't matter what kind of dog you have, crating the dog when you leave the house, at night, or just for some quiet time for your family will cut down on a HUGE amount of stress for you, and naughty behavior by the dog. It also gives the dog his own place in the house, a safe zone if you will, that belongs just to him. Also reduces the amount of chewing/destroying valuables time the dog will have, and if the dog ever has to stay at the vet or a kennel, will make them much more accustommed to being in a cage or run, reducing the stress for the animal (I used to work at a vet, the best behaved dogs were always crate trained).

But a few notes on crating: do not send the dog to the crate as punishment. The crate is supposed to be the dog's safe place, find another area of the house for time out. Do not let the kids taunt the dog while in the crate, again, takes away the safety and alone time crating is supposed to create. Also, if the dog cries to be let out the first few times he goes in there, let them cry. Letting them out will reinforce the crying behavior, and then they will never stop crying.

Puppies are supposed to be wild, get into trouble, and misbehave. They are the toddlers of the dog world! But crating is one way to make your life and their life easier, and also reduces the chances of the dog chewing on something dangerous, like electrical cords, or getting into poisonous household items while you are out or asleep.

One more note (sorry for the long post!) but make sure both you and your wife are seen as alphas by the dog, it will make his training a bit harder but his future behavior will be much better if he obeys both of you, instead of just one. Good luck Brian, don't give up, eventually it will get better! And I hope you get some constructive, useful advice from this discussion today (other than the 'get a cat' nuggets of wisdom. boo)

Posted by: Charlietown | July 19, 2007 8:56 AM

Oh, and crate-training is a good thing.

So is providing treats that require Dasher to work for it.

Get hollow marrow bones, fill with his brand of moist food, freeze it. Puzzle cubes that dispense kibble are good too.

Don't make treats easy for him--the more he works to get it, the happier he is and the longer he will be happy. And busy. And quietly not chewing on anything inappropriate.

Seriously check out some books on teaching him tricks. It's fun, it's training, and yet it doesn't look or feel like training.

Time, mostly.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 19, 2007 8:59 AM

It sounds like Dasher is a larger dog. The larger, the more trouble. Any puppy needs lots of companionship. He might be happy with a kitten (least trouble for you) or a compatible smaller dog. Why not get a house-trained older dog to keep him company?

Posted by: Linda Braun | July 19, 2007 9:00 AM

On the pet training thing...

Enroll him in another training class. 9 months is actually a really good time. He'll be a little more receptive to the idea now that he's advanced in his housetraining, probably lost most of his puppy teeth (so the furniture/shoe chewing thing should stop soon if it hasn't already), is used to you and the way you live, and is simply a little more ready to focus.

I also recommend the "All About Dogs" trainers. http://www.allaboutdogsinc.com/ My Mom has never enthused about a trainer as much as she did about Robin.

As for balancing...well, my dog is my training child. Everyone assures me that my illness and accident-prone English Bulldog is far more work intensive than a toddler. I'm pretty sure a toddler won't sit on my feet and lick my calves while I work, though ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 19, 2007 9:02 AM

We adopted our older dog when my husband and I first started dating (Hannah). It turned out that she has a serious heart problem that needed expensive surgery. She's okay now, but still needs to stay calm.

We adopted our younger dog last year (Ruby). She is only 1, so she still has a lot of energy that she can't really take out with Hannah. She destroyed a couch to give us the message.

We could have gotten rid of her, but like the other posters said, we made a commitment to care for her that we take very seriously.

So now we exercise her 45 minutes a day. She is too tired to chew anything, and she's a great dog.

Consider 45 minutes of exercise a day (long walks/runs, the dog park). Your family will get more excersize too!

I agree with the poster about the crate. Ours love theirs (probably because they're not locked in them 9 hours a day while we're at work).

Posted by: Meesh | July 19, 2007 9:03 AM

I would actually suggest getting a second dog as a companion. IME, single pets are much more destructive than pairs, and not nearly as happy.

I would also recommend hiring someone to come walk the puppy during the day, if you are not doing that already. I think having a dog at all if you are going to be out of the house all day is not a good idea, but at least if you have someone to come over during the day and ease the tedium a bit, the dog might not be so bored and depressed while you're gone.

Posted by: va | July 19, 2007 9:08 AM

My point is to defend the importance of direct caregiving, to remind readers how important is the loving presence of a parent in the life of a child. It is the most important thing aside from food and the most basic necessities of life.

People First has spoken!

How, oh how, could we have forgotten (or did not learn) that the loving presence of A parent is important. How short-sighted of us. How fortunate we all are that she appeared and opined.

We are the blessed.

[genuflects]

Posted by: for People First | July 19, 2007 9:10 AM

Totally off topic from yesterday:

dotted, you must find that curry laska recipe. It is a matter of life and, well, life without curry laskas, which so far is like death, but I may be exaggerating.

Posted by: Meesh | July 19, 2007 9:12 AM

Brian, thanks for pointing out to people that adding an animal to the family is not all cuddles and kisses. Just like having kids, having pets means cleaning up a lot more messes, including some gross ones; emergency medical care, sometimes expensive; and being tied to a feeding & care schedule.
I am SO disturbed by the number of pets that are euthanized each year simply because people did not fully understand the demands of caring for them.
Both of my cats were abandoned by their previous owners--one because she was pregnant, and the other because he had an infection which the owners apparently did not feel like treating. They are such affectionate and well-behaved pets. It breaks my heart to think of all the others out there who did not find a second owner.
All those people who say "don't have 'em if you won't raise 'em", remember it's doubly true for pets, in a strange way--there are a lot of people willing to help neglected kids, and a lot of laws in place to make sure they don't get neglected in the first place. Neglected pets just get killed.

Posted by: worker bee | July 19, 2007 9:16 AM

I also strongly suggest crate training, it is hard to ignore the crying, but you MUST do it. Buy the household ear plugs and keep the windows closed at night.

I have a 2 yr old male Lab, who was the calmest, sweetest puppy, until he hit 7 months. He then proceeded to go crazy until around 20 months. Did I hate him some days? Yes, but those were the days I laced up the running shoes and off we went. The more exercise he got, the calmer he was in the house.

Another way to keep Dasher from getting into trouble is tying his leash to your belt. This way he'll be at most 6' from you and can't get into much trouble, you'll know immediately when he needs to go outside and it'll help you form a bond which will aid in training.

Posted by: fed worker | July 19, 2007 9:18 AM

"Everyone assures me that my illness and accident-prone English Bulldog is far more work intensive than a toddler. I'm pretty sure a toddler won't sit on my feet and lick my calves while I work, though ;)"

The one large benefit I see of a dog over a child is that you are legally allowed to crate the dog. As for the toddler licking your calves - toddlers have done stranger things. Look out.

Posted by: Moxiemom | July 19, 2007 9:19 AM

This topic is a bummer...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 9:22 AM

@all: Yes, we're keeping Dasher. Yes, he's driving us nuts at times, but -- yes -- we made a commitment, and we didn't make it lightly. And yes, he's been fixed.

@cmac: Yup, 10 months. I can't wait to make it to 24 months. (Almost) everyone tells me that's the magic age.

@Xyrs: Mixed breed. Mostly coon hound, we think. And we've done both the cut-rate training and the professional training. It helps, but there are no magic bullets. The more we work with him, the better he gets.

@GT: Yup, we've crate-trained, too (not as punishment). The whining and peeing were solved in relatively short order.

@lurker2: Thanks for getting my point.

Posted by: Brian Reid | July 19, 2007 9:22 AM

Get Dasher some puppy Prozac.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 9:24 AM

My previous dog had separation issues. The trick for him was to distract him as I left the house. One quick trip outside to pee then a bleached marrow bone filled with a tablespoon of peanut butter (most dogs love peanut butter)on his bed far from the door was the perfect thing.
I also have a deal with any dog - they meet me at the door when I come in and go immediately out. Even if I have only been gone for 30 mins. That way they know that when I come home relief is on it's way.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 19, 2007 9:25 AM

www.warl.org has great advice about crate training, housebreaking, etc. and offers good basic obedience. Training is something that is ongoing--maybe not through classes, but reinforcing rules every day is part of the deal. Of course, how many people actually do this with their kids on a daily basis? Very few.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 9:27 AM

If you don't like it, give it back to the humane society or have it euthanized. It's just a dog. Why get all stressed about it?

Posted by: joe | July 19, 2007 9:27 AM

We have two dogs, a 10 yr old and a 11 yr old. Both are over 75 pounds. One has had two cancer surgeries, two knee replacements and is facing terminal liver cancer. The other has had nothing more serious than ticks. Do we regret the cost, time and commitment? No, because we look at them and see our great vacations at the beach, both of them dressed in tutu's with sequined crowns and a kid with arms wrapped around both of them saying I love you soooo much. We feel that, while different in some ways from our children, our dogs are family. Hang in there and get a crate!

Posted by: nc mom | July 19, 2007 9:28 AM

Can anyone suggest a good book on crate training--my family had a puppy when I was a kid and we obviously did the crate training thing completely wrong, because the dog hated the crate and wouldn't go in it. I can't remember if my parents used it for punishment or long periods although they probably did, which I'm sure explains a lot of his reluctance. But anyway, if anyone knows of a good book on crate training I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: teaspoon2 | July 19, 2007 9:30 AM

We got our current dog when our other one (now passed) was getting older.

I didn't want a puppy since we had just redone the house. So we got an older dog we were supposed to foster for a 'few months'. That was 4 yrs ago.

He is a golden mix (wouldn't retrieve anything ever) and is the calmest dog ever. And loves the kids. He came to us already trained but traumatized -he used to poop in the middle of the floor when we had guests.

DHwants a second really big dog now (since our attempted break in in the middle of the night a few wks ago) he wants a german shephard or a rottweiler. But having two dogs was so much more work...sigh

Posted by: atlmom | July 19, 2007 9:34 AM

We got our current dog when our other one (now passed) was getting older.

I didn't want a puppy since we had just redone the house. So we got an older dog we were supposed to foster for a 'few months'. That was 4 yrs ago.

He is a golden mix (wouldn't retrieve anything ever) and is the calmest dog ever. And loves the kids. He came to us already trained but traumatized -he used to poop in the middle of the floor when we had guests.

DHwants a second really big dog now (since our attempted break in in the middle of the night a few wks ago) he wants a german shephard or a rottweiler. But having two dogs was so much more work...sigh

Posted by: atlmom | July 19, 2007 9:34 AM

Brian,

Well, it looks like you have already done most of what the group has suggested, so here's another that might speak more to the balance issue: get your kids to help in the training. I'm not sure how old your kids are (I'm only a sometimes lurker in this chat) but if they are old enough to help out, it will also give the kids a place in the pecking order, in regards to the dog's perspective. If Dasher has the basic commands down (sit, stay, come) then maybe you can move on to more fun commands (speak, roll over, shake, play dead) that your kids may find more entertaining. And like another poster suggested, you can try more fun tricks with the dog (if you are at that stage) like dancing, jumping through a hoop, or others. When I was a kid I used to train my dog to do weird tricks, then would put on dog shows for my family and friends. As a result, the dog learned to obey me as well as my parents.
So while Dasher may be challenging now, he can become more fun for the whole family the more training he gets.
The agility suggestion is good also, and a hound dog mix would probably be pretty good at it.

Posted by: Charlietown | July 19, 2007 9:35 AM

I am really lost here. Dasher sounds like every puppy I've ever known. Is anything out of the ordinary here that a dog training book wouldn't cover in more detail. Did you or did you not get a dog training book out of the library the week you brought the puppy home? Where are you taking obedience training classes? Through a private instructor or through a pet store? Do they really not cover all this stuff in obedience classes anymore?

This blog posting has me completely confused. How can obedience classes not cover these issues in 2007?

Posted by: DCer | July 19, 2007 9:38 AM

KLB SS MD - that's what I give to my dogs, only it is a Kong, the red rubber things. When they see them in my hand, they each go to their respective bed to wait for their treat. I have had my oldest does for 4 1/2 years and my youngest for a year and I can attest you never stop training, it is daily. Both were rescues, one had been abandoned, the other rescued from a horder so I have had to learn a lot of patience, but it has paid off.

Posted by: 2dogs | July 19, 2007 9:38 AM

KLB SS MD - that's what I give to my dogs, only it is a Kong, the red rubber things. When they see them in my hand, they each go to their respective bed to wait for their treat. I have had my oldest does for 4 1/2 years and my youngest for a year and I can attest you never stop training, it is daily. Both were rescues, one had been abandoned, the other rescued from a horder so I have had to learn a lot of patience, but it has paid off.

Posted by: 2dogs | July 19, 2007 9:38 AM

Anybody an Atlanta Falcons fan?

Posted by: Mike Vick | July 19, 2007 9:40 AM

Not any more!

Posted by: Who let the dogs out? | July 19, 2007 9:47 AM

"Read the book "Marley and Me" for some perspective."

The author of this book and his family were on an episode of the Dog Whisperer. Have you seen this show? It may help.

Posted by: MV | July 19, 2007 9:48 AM

Wrong to vaherder. If you dont have a clue dont offer advice. Sorry a coonhound mix is going to very difficult to train. Coonhounds are not the most trainable breed out there. The concepts of training a dog are the same no matter where the dog lives or what its job is. Consistency and establisning yourself as alpha are the two most important things. Crate training you dont give in when the dog whines. My collies love their crates but if let them out when they whine. They win. Whine I get out they learn fast. Its a lot more difficult to train a dog to herd than it is to train a dog to be a good companion dog. With a coonhound mix it is going to take a lot more than normal effort to train than say a lab mix or a german sheperd mix. Coonhounds are not very biddable. Are you sure of its ancestry? Most non breed specific rescues dont have a clue. I have friends who have herding dogs in townhouses, condos in suburbs and the city. they ahve no problems. You need to be alpha and in charge. This isnt like the current fad of raising a dysfunctional child. You have to establish who is in charge. Right now Brian your puppy is alpha in the house. I can see a visit from that the Dog Whispere in your future if you dont correct things. Not that I believe in his methods. And a word of advice before you rescue or get a puppy do your research on the breed. Discover what it was breed for? A Bichon is going to bark at anyone walking by your house because thats what it was bred to do! This isnt rocket science bubbas. You need to be able to read dog.

Posted by: vaherder | July 19, 2007 9:55 AM

to teaspoon2

Some dogs simply will not take to crate training.

Every time I put my Bulldog in her crate as a puppy, she would - without cease - howl, cry, bite the bars, and try and dig her way out of the crate, no matter how many treats or commands I gave her.

However, if I locked her in the kitchen using gates and walked away, she'd stand at the gate and whimper pathetically for a few minutes (I'd peek) and then go take a nap. It was kind of a no-brainer from that point on. If she was being punished, we locked her in the kitchen and ignored her - for a Bulldog, that much separation was punishment enough.

The only time she used her crate was at bedtime...and even then I had to let her fall asleep outside of it and tuck her into it as a small puppy. Then she'd be so tired she wouldn't resist it.

Only major cajoling and a Kong filled with peanut butter made her go into it as an adolescent dog. Now that she's 2, the crate sits in our bedroom with a comfy pad and an open door. She sleeps in there at night (with the door open, her head and paws hanging out the front). If we didn't keep her in the bedroom with us, she'd probably find somewhere else more comfortable to sleep on the main level of the house.

(For anyone who is going to ask, she wears a harness attached to one of those leashes that clips into the seatbelt for car restraint.)

The dogs we had growing up were locked in the kitchen as puppies and had their own bed in the kitchen (when they were bad, they were told to "get in your bed", and they complied). Worked just as well as a crate. If a dog wants to be in a cave like area - trust me, they'll find one themselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 9:57 AM

Interesting. I don't recall any of our puppies whining in the night. Probably because the pups slept in the kids' beds.
Good times!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:01 AM

Sorry about Bebe.

We got a second dog (a 1-year-old mutt) right before our first child was born, because our first dog (best. dog. ever!) was quite old and feeble by then (she passed away less than 2 years ago). Our young mutt is now about 5, and both our kids adore him. And we think the feeling is mutual--he's so good with them both, even the baby.

I think it's important for kids to grow up with at least one dog. It teaches both empathy and responsibility, I think. It's so important that it outweighs the annoyances/difficulties that can accompany four-legged children. Best of luck to your family!

Posted by: APL | July 19, 2007 10:01 AM

to MoxieMom:

:D I'll keep an eye out if we have a child....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | July 19, 2007 10:02 AM

I'm allergic to dogs and cats, thank goodness, so I have a lifetime excuse for avoiding owning one. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs and cats, but the hassle/headache of owning and taking care of one seems tremendous, given that I already have two children. And the heart wrenching loss when they die is tough too. I do feel a little bad that my kids won't own cats/dogs as pets. But oh well. They will probably get one as soon as they get to college.

I see so many couples get a dog, as if in preparation for having a child, and then have a child. They almost universally regret having got the dog.

Posted by: Jim | July 19, 2007 10:03 AM

Hang in there, Brian..

I got a second cat to keep my older-feline 'company.' Turns out he did not want company & the fur flew for several months afterward. I consulted with a vet, an animal behaviorist, and countless pet-training manuals (yes, they even have them for cats)---which much loss of sleep (and a little bit of sanity). It has gotten better over time, and I am glad I added a second pet to my home.

I think pets have developmental stages & your puppy is still a puppy. Does he have the opportunity to play with other dogs during the day?

Good luck!

Posted by: Deb | July 19, 2007 10:07 AM

If you don't like it, give it back to the humane society or have it euthanized. It's just a dog. Why get all stressed about it?

Wow. I guess you think what that slimeball Michael Vick did was funny? People who make comments like these, and have such indifference for other beings around them make me sick. Anyone who has such disregard for any being or abuses them should have the same things done to them.

You're just a a**hole. Maybe we should take you and get you euthanized. One less a**hole human in the world.

Posted by: To Joe | July 19, 2007 10:09 AM

Read every book by Jon Katz, Patricia McConnell and Jean Donaldson that you can get your hands on.

And I echo what so many others have said - exercise, continual (for the rest of his life) training, exercise, a crate, exercise, interactive toys (look up Kongs and Buster Cubes on PetsMart.com), and even more exercise.

Coonhounds are big, energetic and independent dogs. You will have your hands full for some time. Perhaps others who read this blog will learn that you REALLY need to research your breeds even if you're getting a dog from a shelter or rescue. A fun tool to check out is the breed selector at AnimalPlanet.com.

Enjoy your puppy and remember that this too shall pass!

Posted by: LabMamma | July 19, 2007 10:10 AM

If you truly want balance (and have kids) DO NOT get a pet. They live a long time and require a lot of money and time. sorry no more fidos for me, it was a huge relief to be free

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:13 AM

Ya'll got any dogs you need a home for, give me a call, i love dogs and can use all i get.

Posted by: Michael Vick | July 19, 2007 10:16 AM

Kudos to you for adopting from your local Humane Society. There are so many dogs (and cats) who are put to sleep because of pet overpopulation. You don't need to purchase a purebred to get a great dog.

Try reading (and watching the tv program) The Dog Whisperer.

Hang in there!

Posted by: Rockvill | July 19, 2007 10:17 AM

"If you truly want balance (and have kids) DO NOT get a pet. They live a long time and require a lot of money and time. sorry no more fidos for me, it was a huge relief to be free"

Or just have pets and no kids. Kids live a really long time too. And drain bank accounts, wreck cars, talk back, do drugs, and make you grandparents before you're 50! Ah, the American Dream!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:17 AM

We had a dog when I was pregnant. We had to find her a new home as ds is allergic to animal dander. We got alot of grief MIL about it which angered me. I am an animal lover but I won't risk my childs health. If he is lucky enough to outgrow this allergy we would be more than happy to bring home a pup for the family.

Posted by: 2xmami | July 19, 2007 10:21 AM

Or just have pets and no kids. Kids live a really long time too. And drain bank accounts, wreck cars, talk back, do drugs, and make you grandparents before you're 50! Ah, the American Dream!!

True but they tend not to crap and pee all over your house. I can instantly tell if someone has an animal in the house. It always smells and the owners always deny it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:21 AM

People should not get pets unless they are prepared to take care of the pet for its entire lifetime. PERIOD. If you both work full-time and are having trouble juggling a busy schedule then don't get a dog in the first place.

You never know exactly what trouble an animal will bring but they always bring some, especially puppies. So if you aren't prepared to deal with that completely and fully you have no business getting an animal.

What Brian really needs is a second dog. Maybe one a little older and calmer. Dogs need compaionship -- full-time. If you can't give them that, don't get one.

Posted by: free bird | July 19, 2007 10:23 AM

"True but they tend not to crap and pee all over your house. I can instantly tell if someone has an animal in the house. It always smells and the owners always deny it."

I'd rather have a ruined carpet than a ruined life. But if you take the time to train an animal the right way, they won't do that.

Oh, and there's no guarantee that kids won't crap on the carpet. I've seen several do it, and it's not pretty.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:24 AM

WE have a fenced yard and we have kept our dog outside for most of the day since she was a puppy. She has adequate food, water and shelter from the weather. We bring her in on extremely cold and hot days. She stays outside while we are at work and comes in when we are home. Less mess in the house. Less walking required. More yard cleanup needed. Not the best lawn in the back. She gets plenty of exercise while outside so is content to be with us indoors without needing a lot of play.

Works for us.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:26 AM

Brian - as many people have posted, hang in there. As puppies get older they get much, much easier. The important thing is to pay attention to the training early on, and you will thank yourself. Crate training and regular walks are simple steps that can do wonders. Really - it can be that basic!

I strongly suggest you read Cesar Milan's book "Cesar's Way." It gives you a refreshing perpsective on dog behavior. It's surprising to learn that many things that are appropriate for raising children are just not appropriate for dogs. Cesar's book goes waaaaay past the "alpha dog/beta dog" school of thought.

Here is an example. When we moved, our dog was for some still unknown reason terrified of our staircase. We spent loads of time trying to coax him up the stairs with treats, physical reassurance, and sweet talking. The dog just got more and more terrified! Cesar's book taught us that dogs need calm, assertive leadership. So, we started a different approach of saying strongly "let's go!" and not allowing ourselves to indulge in the human coddling. The dog now goes up the stairs just fine (he's still a little nervous, but it's amazing to watch him screw up his little courage and head up the stairs).

Also, having the will to ignore a dog is also powerful. I would suggest you try that with the whining. It's hard but it works! We actually taught our dog not to disturb us while we're sleeping by completely ignoring him while we're in bed. I think he honestly thinks we can't see or hear him while we're in bed! This works wonders for sleeping in. :)

Good luck!

p.s. you probably know this but there is a bitter apple spray you can try on your furniture for the chewing.

Posted by: Zim | July 19, 2007 10:26 AM

I've never posted before... but your message compelled me to tell you CRATE TRAINING! You won't believe how effective it is. Even as an adult and into his old age, my dog always used and loved his crate. We just left the door open and he walked in and out as he pleased.

Posted by: crate training | July 19, 2007 10:27 AM

I have to say I would have three more kids before I ever got a dog. I am not a dog person. Proudly, I am no longer a person who's stomache ties in knots and breaks out in a cold sweat whenever I see a dog. Progress is important. However, I implore all dog owners to keep track of their animals. I understand I would never leash my child, cage my baby or tie my kids to a post in the yard. But I ask that your dog stays in your yard. Never poops on my grass, does not run up on my deck and beg for food whenever I choose to eat outside. And I do feel I have the right to leave my family's wet shoes on the deck to dry and your dog not eat them or hide them. Just a few of the things I deal with from neighboring dogs who's owners believe animals should run free. Why I see the validity of that point, I just think it is more practical on a farm then in the burbs.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | July 19, 2007 10:28 AM

"I'd rather have a ruined carpet than a ruined life. But if you take the time to train an animal the right way, they won't do that.

Oh, and there's no guarantee that kids won't crap on the carpet. I've seen several do it, and it's not pretty. "

And babysitters for pets are a lot easier to find...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:31 AM

I'd rather have a ruined carpet than a ruined life. But if you take the time to train an animal the right way, they won't do that.

This person is probably one of those gatherers you hear about. 14 dogs in an apartment and crap everywhere. Yuk!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:31 AM

Brian,

This may seem overwhelming, but if you invest some time now, you'll have a wonderful dog! Don't give up -- it gets so much better.

"Marley and Me" is a cute book, but please don't look for any serious lessons there. The author clearly was a *horrible* dog owner who took no responsibility for his dog's behavior. To paraphrase Barbara Woodhouse, there are very few bad dogs out there, just bad owners.

If you see kids running around screaming in the supermarket, you'd blame the parents, right? It's really not that different with dogs, except in my experience they are far easier to train.

Your puppy is a teenager with floppy ears. Like teens, dogs need the alpha dog of the pack (that's you) to set limits and enforce them. Unlike teens, dogs actually want to please you more than anything else.

So, as others have helpfully suggested, set the limits and enforce them. Keep up the dog training and practice basic commands every day. It takes persistence and consistency. Never give the dog a command that you can't enforce immediately (be close enough to make the dog sit if he doesn't sit). Never say the command word more than once, or dogs will wait for you to say it several times before obeying. You kids can help with this. Reward good behavior with praise, and play time after training.

Use the crate for sleeping (the screaming does stop after a while if they're getting adjusted to sleeping alone) and for while you are out. Most dogs actually like having their own "den," so this not only helps set limits, but also gives them a space of their own.

It sounds as though your dog needs more exercise. Big dogs need at least two long walks per day -- and socializing. Dogs want to run, chase things, and romp with other dogs. Hopefully you are nearby a dog park and/or doggie day camp -- both great for tiring out the growing puppy. If you have a fenced yard, invite over some neighbor dogs for a "play date."

Exercise should cut back the chewing, but also make sure your puppy has things of his own to chew. Safe toys that are his alone, the occasional treat. This teaches him to channel the chewing instinct into things he should chew, not just random things that taste good, like your sneakers.

Dogs need attention, but again, you set the limits. For instance, don't allow him to hassle you while you're sitting down at dinner. But do make sure your dog feels part of the family. Don't crate him when you are all around to supervise. Give him plenty of affection and play time. Make sure he comes with the family when you go to the park, or on a hike, or walk down to Baskin-Robbins. Don't underestimate the importance of the pack factor for a dog.

Finally, I've found that giving a very small treat when I leave for the day makes this a positive event rather than a negative one, and it cuts back on the separation anxiety that can cause more chewing. Leave the radio or TV on while you're gone to give him companionship.

Others have suggested a second dog, but it doesn't sound to me as though that's a good idea for your household right now. I've found that one dog is a totally different ballgame from two.

Good luck!

Posted by: Dog Owner | July 19, 2007 10:32 AM

i have a coonhound. they can be stubborn and they're scent driven. create games where the dog has to hunt for his treat/toy. they love this and keeps them from stalking the neighbors cat.

if you can swing it, look into cageless dog daycare. 1 day a week is a great way to let them tire themselves out and give you a break. plus it helps with their social interaction.

Posted by: coonhounds | July 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Brian, I have four cats, two large dogs, an adorable infant, a husband, a job, and an old house that needs constant attention. I love all of them (but not necsessarily in that order). I focus on what I enjoy about all of them, and try to minimize the amount of time I spend thinking about what I don't like. For me it's mostly that simple. When the dog pees in the floor you give yourself approximately 5 minutes to clean it up and be annoyed and then you move on. I have chaos in my life that would drive most people crazy. But this is how you build emotional muscle, you just keep pushing along until you build up the coping skills to handle it all comfortably. I think this is how people have six kids and don't go crazy, they commit themselves to handling it and just focus on how much they love their kids. Weren't you complaining recently about not finding the time to work out? I'm sure Dasher would love to oblige you with that. A dog who is a bane of your existence could become the exercise muse you have always needed. Turn this dog thing into something positive, and set a great example for your kids in the process.

Posted by: rumicat | July 19, 2007 10:36 AM

Brian:
Your comment: "But giving up a dog is no simple thing. There is no guarantee that 'surrendering' the dog will lead to a happy ending for anyone. So we're toughing it out."
I have a lab/shepherd who was 5 when we rescued her and I have a Peek-a-poo who was 8 weeks old when we bought him (he's two now), so I can relate to what you're going through. The difference between you and I is that you have a lot of other responsibilities such as a baby to deal with. My children are grown. I admit, I had no idea raising a puppy would be so difficult. But when I visited the litter, I said, "I want that one" because he was the most rambunctious one of the bunch (and he still is!). There have been times when I've gotten so flustered and frustrated and fed up with his constant barking and need for attention that I wanted to give him up to another family, but hesitated because I honestly love the little guy. Whereas your dog is a whiner, mine is a barker. But we have him crate trained now (not the traveling kind that he can only see out of the front, but one that's more like a cage where he can see everything and walk around in). He still barks when he wants to go outside, he still "cocks" his little leg up and tee-tees in the house sometimes, he still plucks a nerve occasionally, but I could never give him up. Hang in there, Brian!

Posted by: luv2laff | July 19, 2007 10:39 AM

A house is not a zoo. Why do some people insist on making it one?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:40 AM

That Doggie in the Window?

How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
The one with the waggely tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale
I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog he won't be lonesome
And he doggie will have a good home
How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
The one with the waggely tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale
I read in the papers there are robbers
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark
I don't want a bunny or a kitty,
I don't want a parrot that talks,
I don't want a bowl of little fishies;
He can't take a goldfish for walks.
How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
The one with the waggely tail
How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)
I do hope that doggie's for sale.

Posted by: That Doggie in the Window | July 19, 2007 10:42 AM


How much is that doggie in the window? (Bark! Bark!)


Whether your dog came from the pound or the best breeder in the country, it is the day-to-day expenses that cost the big bucks over time - not the purchase of the dog. Do the math and look at what it takes to be a responsible dog owner. Now, look back and think: "Can I really afford a dog? Can I afford an emergency? Can I afford training and the time it takes?" Dogs, even just pets, are not a cheap investment. If you spend that average of $600 per year and your dog lives to be 15 years, the cost of the dog is $9,000. If you add in emergencies, illness, medications, if you are involved with canine sports, the cost can be easily over $10,000.

Posted by: that's how much | July 19, 2007 10:45 AM

I had a cat long before I had kids. He is older now (12), and of course cats are pretty self-sufficient. He was a stray living near a restaurant when I got him as a kitten, so he has always been an indoor/outdoor cat, but as he gets older, he stays inside a lot more. It's not that he takes a lot of my time, but I regret that he doesn't get as much attention as he used to get. When he dies, I hope not to get another cat until the girls (now 6 and 8) are much older (out of college, hopefully). I might not ever get another cat.

My girls would love a dog, but I am stretched way too thin as it is. There is no way a dog is living in my house.

Posted by: cat person | July 19, 2007 10:47 AM

Why does this guy keep getting featured in this column?? Certainly Leslie could find somebody who's actually able to kick off an interesting discussion about a parent-relevant-topic that's not FMLA or breastfeeding. Brian's a bore.

Posted by: Why??? | July 19, 2007 10:50 AM

Give Brian a break, he's done just as well as any of the other spares, Leslie trots out.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Coming soon to a bookstore near you: Pet Wars: How I survived by Brian Reid

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 10:54 AM

He chewed up your couch, etc? Buy a crate. Crate training is not cruel or anything close to "caging" your animal. Feed him in it, give him treats when he's in there, give him acceptable chew toys and it will become his "den," that he will actually like! This saves not only your house, but the poor dog too, who might chew up and eat something that will kill him. It helps with housebreaking, too. We have two hound puppies, a 12 month and a 4 month old, and life would not be possible without crate training.

To echo others, depending on the breed he may be destructive because he is bored. A working dog needs a job. Train him to carry things for you, or to fetch, or anything he can feel useful doing- as a constructive outlet for his energy.

Or, I know this sounds crazy, you could get another dog. He will have a constant playmate to tire him out and make him use his brains and his body. He probably won't be so needy for attention, either.

Good luck!

Posted by: Jaimie | July 19, 2007 10:56 AM

"Extreme Boredom - How I survived Brian Reid"

Seriously, he seems like nice enough guy, but just can't write an energetic, captivating column.

The "other spares", at least, don't get featured EVERY week.

Posted by: Why??? | July 19, 2007 10:58 AM

Time. The dog will get older, settle down a bit and act like a responsible member of the family. Don't worry, it won't be long. Maybe another 6 months or so. It'll be ok. They all start out as puppies but they never stay that way forever.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | July 19, 2007 11:01 AM

What did Brian do before he became a SAHD?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:09 AM

I have a coonhound. Good news Brian -- once they pass the puppy stage they are the laziest dogs on earth. Mine is happy to lie at your feet or in the sun all day, as long as he gets two long walks. They are extremely food and scent driven. Kongs are the greatest toys in the world for them. Stuff them with peanut butter adn smelly treats, freeze them and then hide them. They will keep him occupied for hours. The bad thing about cooners is they are REALLY stubborn. You have to be dilligent about training and asserting yourself as the alpha. They'll never respect you if you don't. That said, they are wonderful, funny dogs.

Posted by: coonhound advice | July 19, 2007 11:09 AM

Some things only time can cure. Youth is one of them.

Brian, you have my sympathies. I'm a cat person, so I can't offer any advice, but I do remember the "joy" of having a kitten. Sure, she was cute and fun and playful. She also left a trail of destruction (thus, the name Storm). I don't know how many times I gritted my teeth and muttered to myself, "It's only a year. She'll be like this only a year. Soon she'll spend her days as a couch potato and you'll wish she was more playful. It's only a year."

Alas, I think it has been too long since I've had a kitten and the bad memories are fading. My last three cats were adopted as adults. Kittens are starting to look cute again.

Posted by: WMA | July 19, 2007 11:15 AM

"I don't want a bunny or a kitty, . . ."

Posted by: That Doggie in the Window | July 19, 2007 10:42 AM

Maybe *you* don't want a bunny or a kitty, but our No. 2 son and his wife just brought home a kitty -- 8-week-old Arthur -- who is getting along just fine with Sammy the bunny.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 19, 2007 11:15 AM

This may have been said before, since I haven't been through all posts yet, but a few bits of advice ...

1) BE THE ALPHA DOG,

2) Crate training. Can be controversial among pet owners, but worked very well for us, and

3) "A tired puppy, is a happy, well-behaved puppy"!

Doing these things has worked wonders for us ... especially the crate training. We basically never gave the pup the opportunity to "be bad". When she wasn't supervised, she was crated, and quite frankly never had the opportunity to eat a couch.

Crating is never to be used as punishment, but rather to provide a safe place for them to nest and den. Our Vizsla is 4 now and is very rarely crated anymore (she can be trusted to not destroy the house when we are away), but she still loves being in her den on occasion.

FWIW, we have owned Vizslas, Springers and Labs.

Posted by: Balt Dad | July 19, 2007 11:19 AM

You should the book "Living with Kids and Dogs without Losing Your Mind," by Colleen Pelar.

Posted by: CanineHeroTahoe | July 19, 2007 11:19 AM

@all: Yes, we're keeping Dasher. Yes, he's driving us nuts at times, but -- yes -- we made a commitment, and we didn't make it lightly. And yes, he's been fixed.


Keeping the dog may not be what is best for the dog. It's painful but you should think about what is best for the animal not your commitment to keeping it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:23 AM

As everyone else has said, make sure you crate train him ASAP! My SIL has a young Mastiff puppy who is nearing 100lbs at 11 months, and crate training is the only thing that can keep him out of trouble!

Also, make sure that you get him fixed ASAP. Intact dogs can have many more behavioral problems than neutered dogs.

Posted by: Caroline | July 19, 2007 11:23 AM

Have I ever had my life knocked for a loop? Yes - when I was 17 I was told I had cancer. How did I get my life back on track? Thanks in great part to a great cat. My faithful Siamese never left my side all the time I was bedridden except when she went to the bathroom or ate. We were inseparable companions for 20 years. When I moved to DC I adopted two cats from a breed rescue. They are the loves of my life, which I have adapted somewhat to fit their needs (which do include attention) and they, in turn, have adapted some of their lifestyle to fit into mine. Any relationship - yes, most people have a relationship with their pets - requires give and take. That's because pets aren't accessory items. Puppyhood or kittenhood only lasts a certain amount of time - and it requires patience. I would imagine most parents view childhood the same way. In one way it's tiring; in another way it is finite and precious.

Posted by: Jean | July 19, 2007 11:30 AM

Please do not put any stock into anything that fool Jon KAtz's says in his books. He knows nothing about dogs and even less about border collies. The man is a complete fool and moron. He put down one of his border collies down for no reason other than it was being a typical border collie. In the herding community Mr Katz is a phariah and we put him in the same group as PETA. Mr Katz should have all his dogs taken from and the income he derived from their suffering sent to border collie rescue.Then he should be drawn and quartered! The man is scum!

Posted by: vaherder | July 19, 2007 11:35 AM

I hear you, Brian! We have a 9 month old son and a 2 year old boxer. We have a picture of the baby and the boxer when baby was a day old - boxer resting chin on baby's blanket adoringly. But he wasn't always a good dog - feeling gentle and protective of the baby made him better. When he was 1 year old he was a bouncing, licking, butt-wagging terror.

And when baby was born we had an old pup, too, who swifly developed spinal arthritis and lost ability to move well and became incontinent. For three months my devastated husband carried the old pup outside to pee 5 times a day...while I changed diapers and we both mopped up accidents. And there was a cat to clean up after, too. I thought if I had to care for one more breathing, pooping, needy being I would explode.

The old pup died and we cried and were relieved. Young pup has calmed down since he doesn't have the older one to rile him up.

Not much wisdom to offer, aside from just loving all the needy beings in your house, and knowing the madness is temporary. We rolled up all the carpets for the duration and bought cleaner in bulk. Looking back on it now it seems like madness that we had an incontinent dog and a brand new infant at the same time (in addition to a pup and a cat)- but we loved them all, so we delt.

Posted by: Mommabean | July 19, 2007 11:36 AM

Coonhounds are tough, I've also had Chessies. I think they are WAY tougher to train, personally.

Time, exercise, time, more exercise, frozen chew toys, how about finding other hound people and setting up a scent course? If they're gonna find you, might as well make it a game.

What do you think, Coonhound Advice? Is it really tough to set up for a dog?

Posted by: to Coonhound advice | July 19, 2007 11:38 AM

I mean to say, I think Chessies are even tougher to train.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:41 AM

"a young Mastiff puppy who is nearing 100lbs at 11 months"

"For three months my devastated husband carried the old pup outside to pee 5 times a day..."

We also have a dog who must be carried because she can no longer walk up or down stairs. Medication has caused her weight to double. If you saw her, you would think that she was overweight, but you wouldn't know that anything was wrong. Still walks fine, just the stairs are trouble.

When you are choosing a dog, keep in mind that someday you may have to carry them. We would not be able to keep our dog if she were a larger breed. If we ever get another, it will not be a big dog.

Posted by: lurker | July 19, 2007 11:47 AM

I always love to hear from new pet owners who are oblivious to animals. Go to their house, house chewed up, backyard full of crap, pee smell in the house. The look of shock is priceless.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:48 AM

Every once in a while, I long for a dog, but then I remember the work that puppies come with. We often dog sit for my mother's rottie, who was quite a handful for the first two years, and that seems to satisfy my desire for a dog. It's enough. For the time being, I like having a clean floor and carpet and not worrying about the furniture or shoes or other assorted items being chewed on. I like going on vacation without having to worry about what to do with the dog. Dogs are a huge responsibility and require lots of time and attention. You also have to spend a good amount of money on pets to maintain their health. Before I had a child, I had a small dog that lived for 17 years, and whom I dearly loved. During the last two years, she was a diabetic and I gave her insulin injections twice a day. So I know what it means to make a commitment to a pet. Which is why I would not make the decision lightly. Right now, I am happy pet free, with an occasional visit from my mother's dog. Maybe later, when my children are grown, I will want a pet again. Right now, I just don't have the time or the energy.

Posted by: Emily | July 19, 2007 11:49 AM

Al Gore's Personal Energy Use Is His Own "Inconvenient Truth"
Gore's home uses more than 20 times the national average

Last night, Al Gore's global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore's mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh--more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh--guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore's average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore's energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore's extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore's mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:51 AM

I agree, crating is not for every dog. When I first got my beagle/bassett mix, I crated him...he hated it and he showed his displeasure by destroying anything in the crate, anything near the crate, by peeing and pooping in the crate. I tried keeping him in a room, first the bathroom and then the bedroom, see above for the results of that fiasco. Finally, I allowed him free rein and he was fine.

Posted by: 2dogs | July 19, 2007 11:54 AM

I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 11:56 AM

I twenty-fifth the crate training. I was dubious (my partner's idea when we got a dog) but the dog likes her cave. We also spent a lot of time training her to respond to both voice and motion commands. Our dog is very intelligent and energetic, so we keep teaching her new things to keep her occupied.

The thing we didn't do well that I really wish we had (and I haven't seen people really push) is leash-train her. She gets lots of exercise. She walks well with her people off the leash. But she hates walking on the leash, even though she likes going places, and that makes city walks more of a chore than a pleasure. Next time we get a puppy, I'm going to spend a lot more time on that.

Posted by: Gay mom to be | July 19, 2007 11:57 AM

When I was a kid, we got an Irish Setter puppy. Much cajoling of the parents went into this acquisition, but, as relatives in another state had a couple of Big Reds, my folks were persuaded that they make great family pets.

Maybe so, but they're dumber than bricks. The only canine stupider than an Irish Setter is an Afghan Hound.

In the short five or so months Maggie was with us, she ate coffee grounds, purple ink, and a roll of dimes. As I recall, she also had her way with a large chrysanthemum plant.

Since our house was empty during the day (parents worked, kids in school), there was no getting her trained. Everyday we'd come home to a new atrocity, and Maggie would be proud and excited to show us her handiwork.

Ultimately, we all agreed that, while Maggie was a lovely dog, she wasn't the right pet at that particular time for our home.

Her very happy ending occurred when we air-shipped her cross-country to a relative who had a long history with Irishes and had recently lost one to old age and infirmity.

Thirty-five years later, I'm confirmed cat folk. I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude.

Posted by: pittypat | July 19, 2007 11:58 AM

Animals, like babies, should not be brought into a family on impulse. Brian didn't know anything about puppies, or much of anything about dogs, generally, and now the dog suffers and Brian whines. It's not as though there aren't plenty of resources out there - both personal and books - that can give you enough information before you make a commitment to a dog about whether you have it what it takes and the relationship will be good. Even if you blow it, as Brian has, plenty of rescues and trainers are around to set you straight. The thing is, you have to actually take and implement their advice before it will do you any good.

and for those who respond to Brian, get a cat, you've got to be kidding. Maybe some owners go both ways but most of us are either cat people, dog people, or non-pet people. These pets are not interchangeable. They have different needs and provide different payoffs (at least I assume there must be some payoff to owning a cat, although I've not personally observed that they add anything to anyone's existence other than fur).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:01 PM

Thirty-five years later, I'm confirmed cat folk. I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude.

You will love the people on this blog then

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:01 PM

"I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently"

Why bring it up now? This is OLD news.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:02 PM

Brian didn't know anything about puppies, or much of anything about dogs, generally,

Jeez. The man owned a dog, he got her as an adult. He may not have really known much about puppies, but he is trying. The dog has been to obedience classes, etc.

He has also stated that they are committed to this dog, they are not sending him down the road or anything.

Amidst all the postings is plenty of good, solid, hands-on advice.

Spare him the scolding for a problem that he is addressing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:06 PM

"Thirty-five years later, I'm confirmed cat folk. I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude."

"You will love the people on this blog then"

These are the kinds of people that get things done!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:06 PM

I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 11:56 AM

Are you a paragon of environmental virtue, or would do live even more extravagantly than Gore, given half a chance? The latter, I'd bet.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:07 PM

Perhaps you may want to put the dog in doggy-day care a few days a week. Your situation is a perfect example of why people need to very carefully consider whether they are really ready to devote the time and effort needed with a pet and the best type of pet for their lifestyle BEFORE they adopt. Animals are a lot like children and require time and attention - some more than others. Don't adopt a pet unless you are ready for a long term commitment to a living being that does not grow up and leave home!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:07 PM

We had two dogs before we had our son. We love our dogs, they are a permanent and valued part of our housefuld, and they get along great with my 8 mo. old. But I would never recommend a dog for anyone with a baby or toddler. The hair and the dirt they track in were fine when we were sans baby, but now that we have to care about cleanliness and have less time to actually care, it's a lot of work. And they have to be constantly supervised around the baby - they would never harm him, but are big enough to knock him down but dumb enough not to know it.

Oh, and they protectively bark whenever someone nears the house, which is great except when the baby is sleeping. It's all so much easier for our friends who don't have dogs.

So if you're expecting or anticipating a baby in the near future, or if you have a baby or a toddler, don't get a dog. If for some insane reason you're compelled to do so anyway, don't get a puppy. If you get a puppy and you're suprised that they're a lot of work and potentially destructive - duh! If you have a dog already, it's training, discipline, and affection - and keep the dustbuster handy.

Posted by: kali | July 19, 2007 12:08 PM

I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude.

Posted by: pittypat | July 19, 2007 11:58 AM

Funny, the reason we have dogs is we like having companions around us who think are are not self-centered, manipulative or full of attitude. Go figure.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:08 PM

"I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently"

Why bring it up now? This is OLD news.

Not only is it OLD news, it's not true. This was disputed months ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:09 PM

"I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently"

Why bring it up now? This is OLD news.

Not only is it OLD news, it's not TRUE. This was disputed months ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Sorry, didn't mean to post twice

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:11 PM

Not only is it OLD news, it's not TRUE. This was disputed months ago.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 12:09 PM

My mind's made up. Don't confuse me with the facts.

Posted by: Baba Booey | July 19, 2007 12:11 PM

A few pieces of the best advice I got when my now-6-year-old fabulous dog was a raging lunatic Dalmatian-mix pup (my first):

1) Dogs don't understand right and wrong, just acceptable and unacceptable. Don't waste time trying to explain morals.

2) Dogs are hierarchical, not democratic. You and they will be happier if you, and all other humans in the house, are their undisputed alpha. Walk through doorways and up and down steps before them (putting them on lead to practice this works well); if they are blocking your way, walk right through, not around, them. Always make them perform a command to get a reward (either treat or praise). One trainer said to me, "Don't just love her up! Make her earn it."

3) Use a crate for a pup, for housebreaking and anytime you cannot watch them every second. Crate for no more than 6 hours at a stretch, 12 hours in a 24-hour period. Put a few super-indestructible toys in the crate; it gives them a very clear understanding of what's theirs. If you stuff a kong, it will also keep them busy and make the crate a very fun place to be. Alternative is to have them on lead and tethered to your belt if you are doing household chores or gardening, etc. My girl was a ferocious chewer; I had good success spraying her lead, furniture, shoes and rugs with Bitter Apple.

4) Only reward the behaviors you wish to continue. Infractions are fabulous training opportunities, to show them what you DO want. If they're crying in their crate, ignore them completely until they are quiet then praise them. If they are jumping up, have them sit and then praise them, and teach them the command to jump OFF the couch. I figure it's fine for them to exhibit a behavior as long as there's a reverse command.

5) Tons of exercise and training. >>Yard time is no substitute for walks.<< They need physical and mental stimulation. I don't do formal training sessions with my dogs anymore, but we execute about 100 individual commands in a day as we walk and are in the house and yard. Don't repeat commands; say it once and if they don't do it immediately show them what to do.

I always tell people dog training is easy...show them something a couple thousand times and they pick right up on it!! Good luck!

Posted by: Dog Mom in Hyattsville | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

"I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude."

Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

"I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude."

Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

It applies quite nicely to children, particularly teenagers, no matter what their partner preference.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:28 PM

"I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently"

Why bring it up HERE? This thing called the Internet can be used to find POLITICAL BLOGS, too?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:34 PM

We had a similar problem when my wife brought home a billie goat. Oh, yeah, it was all fun and games for several months, but eventually, its horns grew out and it started goring the children, requiring three trips to the emergency room in two months. We were definitely faced with the decision as to how we should handle it.

We decided that crating the children would be best. Oh yeah, sure they cry and cry, but we're the alpha leaders of the pack and they need to know their place in the house: parents first, goat second, children third.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:36 PM

Not only is it OLD news, it's not true. This was disputed months ago.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Umm, no it wasn't despite the liberal media's best attempt to spin it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:36 PM

Hounds can be difficult to train. They say that you should expect a 15 second delay on command to response time for hound dogs. We have a foxhound which, like a coonhound, is a scent dog. He is most happy when he gets time to explore, although we could never let him off leash while walking (he could easily catch a scent, take off, and run in front of a car). Hound dogs are runners and so if you want a healthy happy non-destructive dog you MUST take him on at least 2 long (45+ minute) walks a day plus a walk in the middle of the day. You can make this family time if you want in order to balance time. Just be careful with overheating this time of year. A walk on a wooded trail would be ideal rather than on hot asphalt. Trust me when I tell you that this will make a MARKED difference in your dog's home behavior. Keep him in training and keep your patience. In the end, hounds are super loving dogs.

Posted by: lca | July 19, 2007 12:38 PM

"I am glad someone brought up Al Gore and his hypocrisy. Do as I say not as I do apparently"

"Why bring it up HERE? This thing called the Internet can be used to find POLITICAL BLOGS, too?"

I was busting out all over with excitement to share the news.


Posted by: June | July 19, 2007 12:41 PM

Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Why Elaine are you looking for an introduction?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:41 PM

I want to add a comment on crate training. While a great training aid, be aware that puppies haven't developed the ability to hold their waste for very long, and if you try to keep them in the crate overnight (or too long) without a bathroom break, they will go in the crate and defeat the purpose (of the crate as a safe haven and nest, and housebreaking tool).

Posted by: CJB | July 19, 2007 12:45 PM

Hound dogs are runners and so if you want a healthy happy non-destructive dog you MUST take him on at least 2 long (45+ minute) walks a day plus a walk in the middle of the day.

Gee that should bring alot of balance. Life hectic? Need balance? get a dog and commit to over 2 hours every day of walking him split up into three walks!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:45 PM

Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Why do you always ask if everything that you've never heard of is a gay thing? Curious?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:48 PM

Gee that should bring alot of balance. Life hectic? Need balance? get a dog and commit to over 2 hours every day of walking him split up into three walks!

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 12:45 PM

At least it will keep people active, rather than sitting on their posteriors, eating ice cream.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:48 PM

"Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

Why do you always ask if everything that you've never heard of is a gay thing? Curious?"

Obviously..........

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:53 PM

Brian,
I have a bulldog/boxer mix who is 3.5 years old. He also was a handful early on (we got him at 4 mos) but the absolute lifesaver for us has been an attachment to my bike that allows our dog to run safely with us when we bike.

Here is the website (I am not connected in any way to this product).

http://adogsbestfriend.com/prototype/productlstR.cfm?cat=K9%20Cruiser

I recommend it 100%. We generally run our dog for 10-15 minutes every day (building up his stamina first, of course). It is important to NEVER run your dog in intense heat or on very hot pavement. Check his paw pads regularly to make sure he is not getting any abrasions from running on the sidewalk. Do not start out racing down the sidewalk but build up speed slowly (in other words, treat your dog like a human!).

Our dog loves this.

Posted by: Rebecca | July 19, 2007 12:53 PM

So if you're expecting or anticipating a baby in the near future, or if you have a baby or a toddler, don't get a dog. If for some insane reason you're compelled to do so anyway, don't get a puppy. If you get a puppy and you're suprised that they're a lot of work and potentially destructive - duh! If you have a dog already, it's training, discipline, and affection - and keep the dustbuster handy.

Posted by: kali | July 19, 2007 12:08 PM

To each his own, we loved having our dogs around when we had our babies, and as they grew into toddlers. Our Golden would lay across the steps just in case our daughter was tempted to fall down them. Our dogs are very protective of our children and our children are trained to be considerate of our dogs as well. Actually, having both makes teaching respect and discipline a focus for both parents.

If you are obsessed with cleanliness, perhaps you don't want to bring kids into your household in the first place. Accept that your kids will try to drink out of the dog bowl and feed your dogs cheerios, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM

"Is that a gay porn thing?"

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 12:17 PM

"Why do you always ask if everything that you've never heard of is a gay thing? Curious?"

Why do you notice?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM

I had a dog that had way too much energy and the bike thing was perfect! He ran it all out and i just tagged along.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM

Go buy the Monks of New Skete book (not the puppy book, but the whole book) and read it. Its really good. You've got about 18 months until sanity returns. Crate training and some good walks and lots of rawhide will help, but I have bought more copies of Monks of New Skete "How to Be Your Dogs Best Friend" than I want to admit to. It was recommended to me by friends at shepherd rescue when we got my older puppy mix, and people are amazed at her sanity now. (She was a maniac) Its really an establishing boundaries, and order thing. If I took my dogs crate away from her she would never understand (I haven't closed that crate door in ages, but she knows its her personal space, it totally weirds me out, and she hated it at first)

Posted by: ljb | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM

lots of rawhide will help

Be careful with rawhide. You would be horrified to know how many dogs have to have surgery to get that stuff out.

It's a nice thing to give them for no more than 15" at a time.

NW Vet, this is your cue!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:58 PM

We had a dog that like to have diarrhea
on our kitchen floor, cleaning up foul smelling crap at 3 am will cure you of the wanting a dog syndrome . FAST! I sleep through the night now and my house is not used as a toilet. don't know or care how mr. crap all night is doing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:59 PM

"Gee that should bring alot of balance. Life hectic? Need balance? get a dog and commit to over 2 hours every day of walking him split up into three walks!

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 12:45 PM

At least it will keep people active, rather than sitting on their posteriors, eating ice cream."

I highly doubt that sitting on your posterior eating ice cream is the only option for filling your time if you are not dog-walking.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 12:59 PM

"I highly doubt that sitting on your posterior eating ice cream is the only option for filling your time if you are not dog-walking."


Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 1:01 PM

12:48, 2 long walks a day is not so hard to do - you just need to schedule it in and (again) you could make this into family time. You could also get a dog walker to take care of the middle of the day walk. If Brian wanted a couch potato dog, he should have gone with another breed. My understanding is that he is committing to keeping the dog and, as such, I am suggesting tips to keep the dog better behaved at home.

Posted by: lca | July 19, 2007 1:02 PM

"Those who say that kids love pets and will have years of great memories are neglecting to factor in how much the dog will negatively impact the parents and whether that negativity will ultimately trickle down to the kids somehow."

Wow, Proud Papa. Our dogs impact us only positively. We don't associate being dog-free with freedom. We associate it with a lonely, empty house. We wanted each dog, wanted each kid, and our kids love our dogs. They are family members. In families where both parents are not on the same page with the idea of having pets, I can imagine there might be negative impact, though. I cannot imagine having a pet that only one of the adults in the house wants. These are the pets that get turned into outdoor dogs as soon as a child enters the picture. So sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:03 PM

Re: Al Gore (sorry) There is a reason that the article doesn't mention the square footage of his home, that's because it is at least 3 times the size of the average home. He also runs his office out of his home with staff. Also I believe the energy source, though environmentally friendly, costs more. I just don't see Al Gore preaching "Save the Environment" and then going home cranking the AC to 60 and turning on all the high wattage light bulbs in his larger than average home. Come on, basic common sense should have figured this out, unless you're a republican, you don't have any.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:03 PM

"I highly doubt that sitting on your posterior eating ice cream is the only option for filling your time if you are not dog-walking."


Is that a gay porn thing?

It is for Elaine. Cue porn music...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:03 PM

"Why do you always ask if everything that you've never heard of is a gay thing?"

For some people, that passes for wit.

Posted by: Gay mom to be | July 19, 2007 1:03 PM

"We had two dogs before we had our son. We love our dogs, they are a permanent and valued part of our housefuld, . . ."

Posted by: kali | July 19, 2007 12:08 PM

There was a time when the Vice President of the United States had two dogs, Coconut and Shiloh.

Does anyone know what happened to Shiloh, the Labrador retriever? As of September 2000, Shiloh was suffering from arthritis. Shiloh's master, then Vice President Al Gore '69, said in August 2000 that it was costing him $37.80 a month to give Shiloh the animal version of the anti-arthritis drug Lodine. Did Shiloh ever get over his arthritis?

Also, what happened to Coconut, the Gore family's poodle? In 1994, a uniformed Secret Serviceman found Coconut wandering around the Vice President's residence and brought her to the vet, where she was found to be suffering from "maggot infestation of the muscles, resulting from an open, untreated wound." Mrs. Gore explained that the family had been having construction on the house and Coconut got out and was missing for a couple of days. That's when poor Coconut must have been injured. After the vet treated her, the Gore children nursed Coconut back to health.

Now, Coconut was 16 years old in 1994, and Shiloh was 14 years old in 2000. Is either of these fine dogs still among the living?

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | July 19, 2007 1:04 PM

"at least I assume there must be some payoff to owning a cat, although I've not personally observed that they add anything to anyone's existence other than fur"

Is there ever a payoff to owning pussy?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:04 PM

12:48, 2 long walks a day is not so hard to do - you just need to schedule it in and (again) you could make this into family time. You could also get a dog walker to take care of the middle of the day walk. If Brian wanted a couch potato dog, he should have gone with another breed. My understanding is that he is committing to keeping the dog and, as such, I am suggesting tips to keep the dog better behaved at home.

Posted by: lca | July 19, 2007 01:02 PM

I know that. It's not an unreasonable amount of activity, particularly if people would "give up" their television addiction and take their dogs for a walk.

Good for the people, great for the dog.

Posted by: 12:48 | July 19, 2007 1:05 PM

Also I believe the energy source, though environmentally friendly, costs more. I just don't see Al Gore preaching "Save the Environment" and then going home cranking the AC to 60 and turning on all the high wattage light bulbs in his larger than average home. Come on, basic common sense should have figured this out, unless you're a republican, you don't have any.


I see, it's ok to have a large mcmansion as long as you are an important enviro lefty, doing important things. But if you are just a hardworking person, who wants to live as your hardwork has allowed you, you are a selfish republican. That's rich!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:06 PM

Now, Coconut was 16 years old in 1994, and Shiloh was 14 years old in 2000. Is either of these fine dogs still among the living?

They were cremated to heat Gore's pool and give him a much needed carbon "credit"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:08 PM

Is there ever a payoff to owning pussy?

YES!

Posted by: Pimp Daddy | July 19, 2007 1:11 PM

Sorry 12:48! I meant that for 12:45.

Posted by: lca | July 19, 2007 1:12 PM

I did the long walks, I was fortunate to live near a large park and within 10 minutes from work, so I could come home at lunch. But as for as hounds being runners, not mine, although he loved hunting rabbits, his bassett personality prevailed and they are stubborn, there were many a time when he didn't want to walk any more, he would just lay down and wouldn't move until HE was ready. Even though he's older now, and doesn't need the long walks as much, he's still stubborn.

Posted by: 2dogs | July 19, 2007 1:12 PM

Speaking of dogs, who thinks Michael Vick should go to prison?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:13 PM

I DO, I DO

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:15 PM

Speaking of dogs, who thinks Michael Vick should go to prison?

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 01:13 PM

Me too. What kind of person takes pleasure watching innocent animals being tortured and killed and bets on it? The Falcons should can his a$$

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:18 PM

If you are obsessed with cleanliness, perhaps you don't want to bring kids into your household in the first place. Accept that your kids will try to drink out of the dog bowl and feed your dogs cheerios, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM

I will admit there are in fact many positives to having both dogs and babies. I like never having to pick up any of the food my baby drops. My son will grow up knowing how to treat animals and loving them as his parents do. Our dogs are also protective of the baby, which is really heartwarming.

We had dogs for years before our baby, and are used to them being messing and dirty and embrace them in spite of it. Just trying to warn those who may still be sensitive about dogs licking their children after licking "down there." If you've never had dogs, it may be a bit of a shock. We're just used to it (we haven't gotten to the drinking out of the dog bowl and eating the dog's food part yet!).

Posted by: kali | July 19, 2007 1:19 PM

"I highly doubt that sitting on your posterior eating ice cream is the only option for filling your time if you are not dog-walking.""

Yeah, making more sprogs!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:23 PM

"Just trying to warn those who may still be sensitive about dogs licking their children after licking "down there."

Is that a ..... thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:24 PM

I haven't read everything, but wanted to reinforce the crate training idea. Dogs get nervous when you leave the house - that has a lot to do with their chewing. Putting them in the crate when you leave is putting them in a safe place. Our dog loves his crate, and will often go and lie there with the door open when we're all there.

My puppy turned 1 on April 15. He's a labradoodle - 55 pounds - largish breed. He is the calmest, most loving dog I've ever had. I think the real reason is that I work from home 4 days a week, so he's only left alone all day 1 day a week. When he was younger, I had a dog-walker come in for 1/2 hour during the day. Now, he just sleeps 'till we're home.

My pup started chewing the house. Literally - modling off the wall - along with numerous shoes, reading glasses, jewelry - anything he could. Oh, and we've gone through 6 remotes. The thing is, once we started crating him when we left - he stopped chewing when we were home. Except the other day - a pair of slippers got munched - don't know why. When we started crate training, we used food. Peanut butter, actually - smeared a little bit on the inside of a marrow bone chew toy. He'd go running for his crate after the first time when he saw the peanut butter jar come out. Turns out he's allergic to peanuts - now we use cheese occassionally, but usually nothing. We tell him "Aussie - crate", and he goes in. Simple as that.

Love this dog, enjoy the walks as time for yourself also, and try a crate. He's worth it.

Posted by: Puppy Mom | July 19, 2007 1:30 PM

I haven't read everything, but wanted to reinforce the crate training idea. Dogs get nervous when you leave the house - that has a lot to do with their chewing. Putting them in the crate when you leave is putting them in a safe place. Our dog loves his crate, and will often go and lie there with the door open when we're all there.

My puppy turned 1 on April 15. He's a labradoodle - 55 pounds - largish breed. He is the calmest, most loving dog I've ever had. I think the real reason is that I work from home 4 days a week, so he's only left alone all day 1 day a week. When he was younger, I had a dog-walker come in for 1/2 hour during the day. Now, he just sleeps 'till we're home.

My pup started chewing the house. Literally - modling off the wall - along with numerous shoes, reading glasses, jewelry - anything he could. Oh, and we've gone through 6 remotes. The thing is, once we started crating him when we left - he stopped chewing when we were home. Except the other day - a pair of slippers got munched - don't know why. When we started crate training, we used food. Peanut butter, actually - smeared a little bit on the inside of a marrow bone chew toy. He'd go running for his crate after the first time when he saw the peanut butter jar come out. Turns out he's allergic to peanuts - now we use cheese occassionally, but usually nothing. We tell him "Aussie - crate", and he goes in. Simple as that.

Love this dog, enjoy the walks as time for yourself also, and try a crate. He's worth it.

Posted by: Puppy Mom | July 19, 2007 1:30 PM

I WISH I had time to read all the comments today! You all know I love animals, and if I get a chance, later tonight I will read everyone's comments, hoping to read a few stories of favorite family pets.

We always had pets. They came along before we did, and they were a natural addition to our homes. For this reason, it seems to me that a home is not complete without a pet. I know, I know, they're not for everyone, but I would prefer a household with pets. We always had cats, and usually a dog or two, but at one point my family had ducks, pigs, cattle (okay, those weren't pets), horses, birds, etc. I had a rat once and two iguanas. After I graduated college I helped a friend take care of some animals he was fostering (he was a reptile expert and was asked by Animal Control to identify and care for some exotics that had been illegally smuggled in), and took care of two iguanas, fourteen turtles, and two snakes, along with my two cats. That was a lot of maintenance, but a lot of fun too.

I'll have pets for the rest of my life, and hopefully not become a crazy old cat lady (but who knows? it could happen). It's possible that my affinity for the animal world has made me slightly anti-social among humans, but it has certainly made me more compassionate and caring. I hope to pass these traits onto my children, if I have any.

Oh, yeah, and tarot cards. I'm sure they're going to be mentioned at some point by a troll, so I figured I'd just give him/her the day off and do it myself.

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 1:38 PM

"Some people might think that's a tad intrusive, but I couldn't disagree more. I appreciate the fact they care so much for these animals and make every effort to ensure their safety and happiness."

Just wonderin', any agency that makes me jump through hoops to adopt an animal is a worthy agency in my eyes. If I have to go through that, everyone else does too, and I believe that is the best way to ensure the animals will go to a good home and weed out those who are not really committed.

On another note, my cats HATE going to the vet. They also hate taking medicine. The scratches on my arms and legs will attest to that. They'll be groggy when I get them home, so they won't be quite so scared in the car then. And after a dental cleaning, at least their breath won't be so horrible!

And yes, I am still dreading the plane ride with them next week!

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 1:44 PM

"They also hate taking medicine. The scratches on my arms and legs will attest to that."

Have you tried wrapping the cat in a towel so that only the head is free and pinning it between your legs on the floor? We've got a couple of cats and this is how I dose them. Not that they like it any better, but it's fast and at least they're not sharing the pain.

Posted by: Gay mom to be | July 19, 2007 1:51 PM

"Speaking of dogs, who thinks Michael Vick should go to prison?

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 01:13 PM"

Me! And what do you think about the Redskins player who said, "Well, they're his dogs, it's his business." ::sigh::

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 1:55 PM

Michael Vic should be pumped full of steroids, kept in a dark room and tortured, and then forced to fight one of his quarterback buddies. If he tries to syop fighting, we should taser him. Then, when he's lost a few fights, we can shoot him in the head. We can always get a new quarterback.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:56 PM

Oh, yeah, and tarot cards. I'm sure they're going to be mentioned at some point by a troll, so I figured I'd just give him/her the day off and do it myself
=========================================

thanx mona, i am tired today.

Posted by: A Troll | July 19, 2007 1:56 PM

LOS ANGELES -- The co-founder of semiconductor maker Broadcom Corp., under scrutiny in a federal stock options probe, was accused seven years ago of building an underground hideaway at his estate to indulge in drugs and sex with prostitutes, according to court documents.

In a draft complaint made against Henry T. Nicholas III, a construction crew claimed the billionaire failed to pay them millions of dollars for work performed between 1998 and 2002, and used "manipulation, lies, intimidation, and even death threats" when anyone threatened to quit.

The illegal network of tunnels and rooms underneath Nicholas' Laguna Hills estate was kept secret from his wife and city officials, the documents said.

The purpose of one secret room was to allow Nicholas to "indulge his appetite for illegal drugs and sex with prostitutes," the crew claimed.


Now if just had had a nice dog to walk, he might not have gotten into trouble. ;) Corporate thief

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:59 PM

Wasn't it that DCer guy that thought all these billionaires hung the moon?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:01 PM

Watch Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer (National Geographic)....Be the calm assertive pack leader....Excercise, discipline, affection in that order.

Posted by: BrindleBoxergirl | July 19, 2007 2:01 PM

Gay mom to be, thanks for the advice. I did try that and it would have helped if I weren't such a darn pansy (censored myself). The little one kept clawing her way out of it. I have this fear of hurting them so I let them walk all over me. Last night was pretty easy because I (duh) prepared the droppers of medicine out of their sight instead of bringing it all into the room with me, shaking and opening and dosing all in plain sight so they knew what was coming. Getting them into their carriers this morning was fun. I have to trap the older cat with a heavy blanket and stuff her in and then slowly pull the blanket out. She howls as if she's been injured, and I hate that sound because it seems like I'm hurting her (yeah, I know, I'm pathetic. I hope I'm not this big of a pushover if/when I have kids). Next week, getting them onto a plane, will be a real trip. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it goes. :-)

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 2:02 PM

We are a 2-dog family and my advice is to be patient. Our Ruby, a large hound, now 3, was a terror as a puppy, wild as a 1 year old and a loving, wonderful pet as a 2 year old. Be consistent with your training (also I love the Dog Whisperer TV show) and get the whole family on the same track as far as discipline. Then wait. You wild puppy will chill out.

Posted by: Samney | July 19, 2007 2:03 PM

Dog Mom in Hyattsville

Your tips could also apply to training human babies...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:06 PM

I am happy to report that the house tax infomation that was posted on Tuesday (52 and used up?) was finally taken down. I also noticed that a post today concering Brian and Leslie was very properly taken down almost immediately.

Posted by: Fred | July 19, 2007 2:08 PM

Young, energetic dogs need lots of exercise...much more than you think. Training alone will not sap the energy of a rambuctious puppy/young dog. Tired dogs don't generally chew couchs, carpets, stairs, etc.

Try longer walks, running, or biking with your pooch. If you don't have the time, find a dog walker who specializes in running and/or exercising dogs (there are a few in the area).

Puppies mature around 2 or 3 years of age, so you can look forward to spending a 'little' less time/money working off their hyperactivity in the future.

Posted by: lovablepooch | July 19, 2007 2:25 PM

If the puppy is just driving you crazy, particularly with all that energy, why not try sending the dog to daycare a few days a week. Doggie daycare is signficantly cheaper than child daycare and it is worth it to have them come home fully excercised, socialized and worn out. Even just 2 times a week may be enough to take some of the puppy edge off.

Posted by: SS | July 19, 2007 2:28 PM

"I am happy to report that the house tax infomation that was posted on Tuesday (52 and used up?) was finally taken down. I also noticed that a post today concering Brian and Leslie was very properly taken down almost immediately."

Inappropriate comments about Leslie are always removed promptly. It's the inappropriate comments about others that take forever.

Posted by: gutless coward anon | July 19, 2007 2:37 PM

Fred

"I am happy to report that the house tax infomation that was posted on Tuesday (52 and used up?) was finally taken down. I also noticed that a post today concering Brian and Leslie was very properly taken down almost immediately. "

Thank you, Hall Monitor!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:37 PM

"I also noticed that a post today concering Brian and Leslie was very properly taken down almost immediately. "

I must of missed it. What was it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:39 PM

Does anyone else think doggie daycare is totally absurd?

Posted by: me | July 19, 2007 2:43 PM

Thank you, Hall Monitor!

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 02:37 PM

You are welcome. If you feel that badly about it, you are more than welcome to post your tax return here.

Posted by: Fred | July 19, 2007 2:43 PM

"Does anyone else think doggie daycare is totally absurd?"

Yeah, just like kiddie daycare. Take care of your own damn kids. Or, don't have them in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:45 PM

--"Does anyone else think doggie daycare is totally absurd?"

Yeah, just like kiddie daycare. Take care of your own damn kids. Or, don't have them in the first place.--

No, it's not just like kiddie daycare. dogs can be left home alone, kids can't.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:47 PM

No, it's not just like kiddie daycare. dogs can be left home alone, kids can't.

Hence the part 'Take care of your own damn kids. Or don't have them in the first place.'

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:49 PM

"Speaking of dogs, who thinks Michael Vick should go to prison?

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 01:13 PM"

Me! And what do you think about the Redskins player who said, "Well, they're his dogs, it's his business." ::sigh::

The orginal post was from me. I forgot to sign my name. I think he is scum and he is lucky that none of those dogs got away and attacked a person.

Posted by: scarry | July 19, 2007 2:54 PM

Thank you, Hall Monitor!

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 02:37 PM

You are welcome. If you feel that badly about it, you are more than welcome to post your tax return here.

Tax returns are not a matter of public record, unlike the house information that was posted.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:57 PM

I watched a Doggie Daycare for awhile once (once I get in PetSmart, you can't get me out), and most of the dogs seemed to be having a blast, but a couple looked pretty intimidated. One older-appearing beagle just kind of moped around (though probably that's what she'd do at home too). Word to the wise: make sure your dog is highly socialized and comfortable in settings with many other dogs. Otherwise, I'd totally go for DD (if I had a dog). They seemed to take pretty good care of the dogs, with plenty of water, food, and regular playtimes with humans. If I worked at PetSmart, I would totally want to be in charge of DD. How fun would it be to spend eight hours getting paid to play with dogs?!

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 3:00 PM

I think he is scum and he is lucky that none of those dogs got away and attacked a person.

Preferably Michael Vick himself. Not kill him, just maim and mutilate him so he has to live a long life as an ugly person who can't move without excruciating pain. And before anyone posts to say I'm not nice, FU.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:01 PM

OR maybe just enough that he is no longer able to play football and must work at minimum wage job because the law suits/fines too all his money.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 19, 2007 3:05 PM

Mona,

I have cats too and I'll post my hard-earned tips on pilling cats, treating ear infections, etc. tomorrow.

Hopefully one of them will be new and will work for you!

(I've found cat sacks more helpful than towels, particularly for treating individual limbs all by my lonesome.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | July 19, 2007 3:06 PM

Should read the law suits TOOK all his money.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 19, 2007 3:06 PM

"We had a dog that like to have diarrhea
on our kitchen floor, cleaning up foul smelling crap at 3 am will cure you of the wanting a dog syndrome . FAST! I sleep through the night now and my house is not used as a toilet. don't know or care how mr. crap all night is doing."
Did you ever think there was a medical reason behind the diarrhea? Our dog had the same problem and adjusting her food was all it took. The difference--we loved her and didn't just dump her at the first sign of a problem. What an absolute jerk!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:07 PM

"We had a dog that like to have diarrhea

No, the dog didn't LIKE to. The dog couldn't help it. Diarrhea is a symptom of something physically wrong, that's your responsibility to get cured or managed.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:12 PM

"We had a dog that like to have diarrhea"

I doubt he liked the diarrhea anymore than you did.

Posted by: Mona | July 19, 2007 3:15 PM

"We had a dog that like to have diarrhea."

Yet another shining example of someone who should not be a parent, but probably is.

Eugenics, anyone? I'm a big proponent!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:16 PM

No, the dog didn't LIKE to. The dog couldn't help it. Diarrhea is a symptom of something physically wrong, that's your responsibility to get cured or managed.

She managed it alright, right out the door.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:21 PM

Oh my gosh, we jsut went through the diarrhea thing at our house. Luckily our pup woke us up at 3am to take him out when necessary. However, it took multiple vet visits, two food changes and antibiotics (turned out he had bacteria in his stool). This all took about 4 months. Now, we have what we affectionately call "A+ poops". Dogs don't want to feel horrible - and diarrhea is just a symptom that they're off. Take care of them, you're their only advocate.

Posted by: Puppy Mom | July 19, 2007 3:22 PM

OT:

Meesh, I'm on it. I plan on making Curry Laska Friday night so I need to dig it out tonight! It does require a trip to our nearest Asian food market, but that is easy to do.

Posted by: dotted | July 19, 2007 3:22 PM

Oh, and as I mentioned earlier - turns out he's allergic to peanuts. Who knew? That was part of the issue.

Posted by: Puppy Mom | July 19, 2007 3:24 PM

Is anyone in the pile-on expecting the original diarrhea opponent to slap their forehead in horror and exclaim what an idiot they were for thinking that the dog enjoyed being sick, and then open an animal hospital for the care of incontinent dogs in a fruitless search for atonement for their sins?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 19, 2007 3:25 PM

Brian-
I brought home a 6 month old mutt about two months ago. I can definitely sympathize, although the crying through the night business was over before he joined me. I like what Doggie Mama and Labmomma said--Patricia McConnell and Jon Katz are great sources. I particularly recommend McConnell's book "The Other End of the Leash" and Katz's book "Katz on Dogs." Someone in the herding community was making rude remarks about Katz, but he's been very valuable (and he put down his dog because it was biting people seriously without provocation, not because he's a nutso, so don't stress.) His earlier books are much less useful; I think he's learned a lot since he began writing about dogs.

Other advice? Let the dog find a place where he's happy to be alone, and give him plenty of time there. The crate's the classic choice, but anywhere he can veg is good. My pooch has a torn-up couch that's his area. Put lots of chew things there and leave him be when he's entertaining himself (without trashing anything.) Use the dog for your own excercise, since that kills two birds with one stone, and find a dog park next to a human park where you can watch the dog and supervise the kids simultaneously (don't remember how old the chilluns are, sorry, but if possible, obviously.)

As far as training, remember that the dog's going to eventually be more obedient than the children, but not while he's a puppy. You need to get his attention and convince him you're more fun than whatever is distracting him. Food is a great motivator, but keep in mind that if he's chasing something, he doesn't want a snack, he wants a toy to chase. So vary your rewards according to what's on his mind. Keep him out of situations where he's going to do something annoying--it's good if his crate is in the room with you, since supervision is what will keep him from eating your carpets, not moral training. Research his breed and keep him far away from anything coonhounds have been bred to do, since breed behavior is harder than anything to control.

Remember that dog training theories are just theories and don't go overboard with the alpha dog thing. Too many people engage in abuse that makes the dog agitated and fearful, rather than compliant. The boss gives you a paycheck, he doesn't challenge you to fistfights--so try to be your dog's boss, not some unpredictable bully in the home. (You don't come off that way, but there's some truly wacky stuff being encouraged as "training." Please ignore it.)

My pup's still a complete nut, but my home life is much less stressful, and he's been a great pleasure as well. I particularly appreciate that he gets me out of the house to hike the trails here and to sit in the sun at the dog park. And his puppyness can come out in spades at the dog park, where it makes me laugh, instead of at home, where it makes me want to pull my hair out.

Good luck. If you loved your old dog, and she added to your life, then sticking with the puppy is the right thing to do for yourself and your kids, not just out of obligation to the dog. And ignore the trolls; here, we discuss the minutiae of daily life and the way to balance it with the big things like work and children--you're right on target, and always interesting.

Posted by: krasni | July 19, 2007 3:26 PM

"No, the dog didn't LIKE to. The dog couldn't help it. Diarrhea is a symptom of something physically wrong, that's your responsibility to get cured or managed."

"She managed it alright, right out the door."

Darwinism takes its course.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:27 PM

Can someone please shovel, bag and dispose of the anti Al Gore dog crap?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 19, 2007 3:33 PM

"She managed it alright, right out the door."

Probably did the same thing when the children got diarrhea too.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:35 PM

Can someone please shovel, bag and dispose of the anti Al Gore dog crap?

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 19, 2007 03:33 PM

yes, unpleasant facts upset tender souls

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:36 PM

"She managed it alright, right out the door."

Probably did the same thing when the children got diarrhea too.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 03:35 PM

Or when her elderly parents became incontinent.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:37 PM

"She managed it alright, right out the door."

"Probably did the same thing when the children got diarrhea too."

Again, Darwinism takes its course.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:37 PM

Oh, and as I mentioned earlier - turns out he's allergic to peanuts. Who knew? That was part of the issue.

How much did all that cost 500-600 bucks? The amount of money wasted on pets is ridiculous

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:38 PM

Michael Vick is a disgusting human being.

Those of you who are wishing that he was attacked and maimed/killed by a dog are no better - actually, quite a bit worse.

Posted by: Nutso | July 19, 2007 3:39 PM

How much did all that cost 500-600 bucks? The amount of money wasted on pets is ridiculous

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 03:38 PM

Not true, becacuse they're a lot nicer than you are.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:40 PM

Those of you who are wishing that he was attacked and maimed/killed by a dog are no better - actually, quite a bit worse.

Posted by: Nutso | July 19, 2007 03:39 PM

Only a Nutso would think that.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:42 PM

I have some sympathy for the devil in this case, you wake up several nights to disgusting diarhea and I bet you change your tune. Puns not intended

Posted by: Devils advocate-but not THE devils's advocate | July 19, 2007 3:43 PM

being a vet is a license to print money with some of you nutbags

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:45 PM

Are there others in your home that can assist with in home training? I can understand your plight. I too was once in your position. I took my dog to training classes and continued with training in home and my dog is now 5 years old and I can say very well mannered with a few outbursts. But I say stick it out. If there are others to help take the "chores" of walking the dog and helping with the training it won't seem that bad. If they are only around to play with him/her then its not very fair now is it. They all should be scolded!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 3:47 PM

"How much did all that cost 500-600 bucks? The amount of money wasted on pets is ridiculous"

Not even close. Here's what we used: common sense. If the pet is having gastric problems, cut out anything not necessary 'till the problem goes away, then reintroduce one food at a time - just like kids.

Yesterday I gave my dog peanut butter as a treat again (hadn't since we started trying to get those A+ poops). He immediately went down to a C- poop. It's not rocket science, and it doesn't cost a fortune. Just pay attention.

Posted by: Puppy Mom | July 19, 2007 3:49 PM

When my dog was old and sick (thereby costing a lot of money on vet and medicine, and also giving us a lot of work), my MIL suggested that I get rid of her. I simply responded that I would no more get rid of my sick dog as I would get rid of a sick parent or in-law. She did not like the comparison, but it did shut her up.

Posted by: Emily | July 19, 2007 3:53 PM

Don't worry nutso, it is usually the old lady in her back yard picking flowers or the little girl down the street who get mauled by the mean dog, not the nasty owner. I could care less what they did to him, if it involves a good bite to the balls so be it. He is a horrible human being.

By the way, pitt bulls are banned in my area for the above reasons. Dead grandma and mauled little girl. It is sad and I feel sorry for the dogs to, but not enough to want one living by me.

Posted by: scarry | July 19, 2007 3:55 PM

"unpleasant facts upset tender souls"

Lucky for me I'm not tender. What does upset me is people like you doing bad Divine imitations and eating rightist dog crap.

But I guess it's a treat for you.

Posted by: Mister Methane | July 19, 2007 3:57 PM

eating rightist dog crap.

that's funny coming from "Mister Methane"

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:05 PM

"that's funny coming from 'Mister Methane'"

Wow! You recognize wit when you read it!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:08 PM

Brian --

We just had to put down our 13-year-old chocolate lab. 9-year-old DD was devastated. We are adjusting, but hope to get another dog one day.

The puppy years are really tough, and probably tougher when undertaken along with your children's puppy years, LOL. But you will look back fondly at this time, especially as Dasher becomes a senior citizen.

Cage training really worked for us -- it kept the dog contained at night and when we weren't home, which minimized damage. If you can use your toddler gates to block off access to the room with the good furniture, it might lower your blood pressure some. Note I said room -- put it all in one place! Close door to master bedroom if you have good things here.

Potential bonus -- kids will learn to pick up and put away their precious things, lest they be turned into doggie chew toys!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | July 19, 2007 4:09 PM

You will hear Michael Vick invoking racism at any moment.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:10 PM

"eating rightist dog crap."

Hey! I picked up all the dog poop during my run in the "Jews for Jesus" marathon to raise funds for the soup kitchen at the local mosque!

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 4:10 PM

"eating rightist dog crap."

Hey! I picked up all the dog poop during my run in the "Jews for Jesus" marathon to raise funds for the soup kitchen at the local mosque!

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 04:10 PM


Is that a gay porn thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:11 PM

"How much did all that cost 500-600 bucks? The amount of money wasted on pets is ridiculous"

And so is the amount of money wasted on sex.


Can't forget
Won't regret
What I did for love
What I did for love.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:17 PM

You will hear Michael Vick invoking racism at any moment.

People are already saying this.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:17 PM

Can't forget
Won't regret
What I did for love
What I did for love.

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 04:17 PM

This song, from "A Chorus Line," has NOTHING to do with sex. It's about the character's love of dancing.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:21 PM

"Hey! I picked up all the dog poop during my run in the "Jews for Jesus" marathon to raise funds for the soup kitchen at the local mosque!"

"Is that a gay porn thing?"

In my dreams...

Posted by: Elaine | July 19, 2007 4:22 PM

Just got out of the hospital. I'd say about $500 - 600 for meds, but my master says I'm worth it.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 19, 2007 4:23 PM

When the PETA piranhas get done with Vick you won't know whether he was black or white.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:24 PM

if it involves a good bite to the balls

Maybe Lorena Bobbitt could take care of him.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:24 PM

Welcome back Lil Husky.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | July 19, 2007 4:25 PM

"This song, from "A Chorus Line," has NOTHING to do with sex. It's about the character's love of dancing."

No one said it had anything to do with sex. They were referring to what they did for LOVE of a pet.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:25 PM

Just got out of the hospital. I'd say about $500 - 600 for meds, but my master says I'm worth it.

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 19, 2007 04:23 PM

Just don't poop on the floor or bark all night, Lil Husky!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:26 PM

"Just don't poop on the floor or bark all night, Lil Husky!"

And you're going in for a snip-snip, Lil guy!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:28 PM

Did the vet neuter you? No more pups?

Posted by: To Lil Husky | July 19, 2007 4:28 PM

Is anyone in the pile-on expecting the original diarrhea opponent to slap their forehead in horror and exclaim what an idiot they were for thinking that the dog enjoyed being sick, and then open an animal hospital for the care of incontinent dogs in a fruitless search for atonement for their sins?

Posted by: Just wondering | July 19, 2007 03:25 PM

Just wondering, I see your point, but I really don't know how to educate this kind of person. I think it's more of a hope that calling out this idiot might make someone _else_ think.

Posted by: worker bee | July 19, 2007 4:29 PM

I like having companions around me who think...even if they're self-centered, manipulative, and full of attitude.

Posted by: The dog | July 19, 2007 4:32 PM

Truthfully, worker bee, I assume that anyone who says anything that inflammatory is trolling for comments (same goes for the people making the "it's just a dog; get rid of it if it's a nuisance" posts). They were probably very disappointed that their original post got ignored for so long and highly gratified by its later resurrection.

Or maybe you're right. And karma exists and they'll come back as an incontinent dog. One can always hope. :)

Posted by: Just wondering | July 19, 2007 4:37 PM

Jul 19, 3:09 PM EDT
Woman Gets 25 Years for Killing Grandson

MONTAGUE, Texas (AP) -- A 62-year-old woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing her teenage grandson while he slept, then setting their mobile home on fire.

Jamie Larue Holmes had pleaded guilty to murder and arson. She will be eligible for parole when she's 75, prosecutor Jack McGaughey said.

Firefighters found the body of Brock Holmes, 18, inside the burning trailer near Nocona, northwest of Dallas, in June 2006, and police found his grandmother hiding in woods nearby.

She said she shot the teen in the back of the head while he was sleeping at his desk the morning after they had argued about his getting a job, McGaughey said. Holmes told authorities she planned to shoot herself but ran out of bullets.

Investigators never determined a motive, but McGaughey said Holmes indicated a conflict with her grandson that she did not want discussed during a trial.

"It seemed to be very important to her that her grandson's conduct toward her not be an issue brought out in court," the prosecutor said.

Posted by: Family values? | July 19, 2007 4:42 PM

To Lil Husky: Who let the dogs out?

Woof! Woof! Woof-woof!

Posted by: catlady | July 19, 2007 4:43 PM

I am going to have to side with Vick and Portis on this one. They are just dogs. Personal property. Why should the government care what he does?

If you are not a vegetarian, then you are a hypocrite because you promote killing animals everyday.

Posted by: tdd | July 19, 2007 4:45 PM

"Did the vet neuter you?"

I have a joke about that. maybe I'll post it tomorrow.

right now I'm supposed to be laying down with my hind leg elevated and avoid strenuous excersize. What constitutes "strenuous excersize" , is debatable, but I doubt I'll get my walk tonight.

And if I get caught on the computer, I most certainly will find myself in the doghouse.

Woof!

Posted by: Lil Husky | July 19, 2007 4:50 PM

They are just dogs. Personal property. Why should the government care what he does?

Because it's against the law.

Posted by: To tdd | July 19, 2007 4:52 PM

And if I get caught on the computer, I most certainly will find myself in the doghouse.

Woof!

Is that a dog porn thing?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 4:54 PM

Lil Husky,
I certainly hope your hind leg is feeling better soon. Best to lay back and enjoy being waited on.

Posted by: Emily | July 19, 2007 5:02 PM

Lil Husky, Be sure to follow all the vet's orders now that you're home. Good dog.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 5:16 PM

Dawg!

Posted by: Randy Jackson | July 19, 2007 5:24 PM

a dog and kids are just too much in this world... Maybe the STHM/STHD have more time, who knows. I have 2 cats, when they die, that will be it for maintenance pets (fish are easy) for quite a while. We have a 14 month old, and I would rather spend the time wiping her ass than picking up crap from some other animal. Dont get me wrong - I love animals of all kinds - but the day to day work involved with a dog is too much when my beautiful daughter wants to play hide and seek.

Posted by: too much | July 19, 2007 5:39 PM

Too much is a slacker.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 6:04 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(I just laughed division)

Is that a dog porn thing?

Posted by: | July 19, 2007 04:54 PM

Don't recall if the Creepy Van (tm) has ever had a dog in it but sometimes it smells like one!

Posted by: Fred | July 19, 2007 11:59 PM

Get a cat next time. Just put down a litter box, food and water and they're happy. No 5:30 am walks in the dark and cold. My 15-year-old cat is diabetic so he has to get insulin each morning. When he goes to kitty heaven, there will be no more pets. I want to get the litter box out of the house, cat hair out of the furniture, and the vomit stains out of the carpet.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 10:13 AM

We have friends who have 2 dogs, 2 kids, cleaning lady, nanny, in the end nobody gets enough time to enjoy anything. The front of the house looks large and luxurious, the inside is out of a magazine all looks well. Once you step inside and view what goes on you see it is not. They do not need to have 2 dogs, they do not need the nanny, they need to focus their attention on the 2 kids and the marriage. All this other stuff is filling up the wrong hole.
"Keepn up with Jones is killing me............"

Posted by: bergen8 | July 20, 2007 10:28 AM

http://www.doctordog.com/catbook/cathand.html

http://www.calvetsupply.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=295

Posted by: Anonymous | July 20, 2007 1:47 PM

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