Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Terrible Chews - Are You Ready for a Puppy?

Like children, puppies go through many phases of development; unlike children (luckily), the phases pass very quickly - sometimes in just a day or two; some over the course of a few weeks.

For the past few days, Vinson's chewing evolved from the initial exploring-with-the-mouth to more of a need to really chew or lick. Some of this activity may be brought on by his reduced exercise following the leg break.

Having carefully puppy-proofed our house prior to his arrival, we have no exposed wires and we put shoes out of sight; but a puppy in chew mode can find and chew, mouth or lick just about anything.

Recent additions to his chew/mouth/lick list include:
  1. Brass fireplace door
  2. Stone fireplace hearth
  3. Floor-standing lamp base
  4. Lathed wood table base
  5. Magazines
  6. The metal transition strip between a tile and wood floor
  7. Grout around the tub
  8. Paper Towels and tissues
  9. A simple spot on the wood floor - just a knot in the wood!
  10. Entry mat edges
  11. Rungs of a metal dog gate
  12. Anything smooth or cold
Dandelions, wildflower, grass, leaves and sticks are still favorite outdoor targets.

This is the reality of raising a puppy - whether it's for a program like The Seeing Eye or as a family pet, you need to realize that you will be spending a lot of time correcting the puppy, consistently repeating the corrections, constantly moving things, vacuuming daily, raking debris from the yard, moving dog gates, etc.

Sarah and I are diligent about correcting unwanted chewing and behavior; and it can be a lot of work. Add to that a broken leg, Vet appointments every six days for the next six to eight weeks, special precautions to keep his leg dry outside, etc. and you can see that you have to be prepared for anything and committed to the process - the workload can be a lot. Of course, to us, the process and the mission is worth every sacrifice!

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