Puppy training for dummies. Teaching Charlie not to crap on the floor.  

If you know anything about me you know our house is a never ending temporary home for foster kids of the four leg kind. Fur babies. Mutts. The lost. The lonely. The sad but insanely cute critters who need a temporary bed and extra tummy rubs.

Also the occasional demon kitty or batty bird. None of which are as much work as a puppy.

In all my experience I have still yet to fully understand the mind and manners of puppies. I’ve read and researched, I’ve studied and I’ve tried every different approach ever suggested.

Still. This pup is an asshole. He’s cute though, so cute I can barely be mad.

Charlie is a dachshund lab mix … a dashador? A doxalab? I don’t know the fancy hybrid name but I do know he has short little legs, long silky ears and the body of a cartoon wiener. He also has sharp demon like teeth. My sympathy to anyone who makes the mistake of playing on the floor without proper precaution and / or body armor.

He’s ridiculous. He is 8 pounds of pure badness.

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At 9 weeks old he has stolen our hearts and our sleep.

He’s also stolen my patience.

Ever stepped carefully over a warm pile of fresh puppy poo on your bedroom floor at 3 am? How about accidentally landing a bare foot on one of those nylon bones with puppy chew marks hundreds of tiny razor edges? Or what about the chill of fear when you realize there is dead silence in the room and no puppy in sight?

No? None of this? Well. You’ve obviously never been a puppy parent.

As soon as I think he’s got this learning thing licked (navigating stairs, not eating trash, not chewing USB cords, not snatching bites of cat food … ect)  he surprises me with a pile of puppy poo in the hallway or a strap chewed off my flip flops.

Precious.

Crate training is torture. For all of us. He screams until he cries and then he can’t stop. Like a child over exhausted and heaving to catch a breath after a tantrum. That’s Charlie. We can rescue him from the evils of a closed crate door but he is so worked up he continues to cry as he’s being cuddled. It takes a good minute or 12 for his breathing to return to normal and the whimpering to stop.

He actually has to be settled like a human baby. Cuddled and kissed until he’s quiet again.

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Alright, maybe sometimes we go overboard with the snuggles but he is pretty cute when you get past the puppy breath.

Mind you my youngest child is 13 this month. I haven’t had the pleasure of a screaming baby in ehh … 12 years. Nor do I wish to but sadly I have yet to figure out how to tell those soulful brown eyes “no”.

The wife, not the puppy.

She finds these lost souls and insists on bringing them home to be nurtured. She’s made it a mission. Damn anyone to stand in her way.

The last lost and needy dachshund we brought in ate my couch under the watchful eye of the house sitter. True story. She wasn’t even a puppy.

We also took in a shelter pit. She was the sweetest dog, just under a year old and already a neighborhood nuisance. Besides eating the blinds off the windows in the spare room, chewing a hole in a door and eating the legs off my bar chairs she was easy enough to train.

On goes the work in progress. Maybe one day Charlie will be a good boy. Maybe he won’t eat the furniture. Maybe I can teach him to not eat food off my plate. Maybe he won’t chew every shoe in the house and if I dare suggest the possibility …. maybe I can even teach him to do his doggy business outside. 

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One day at a time. But first a nap. For both of us.

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