At the end of October, we brought home a 9-week-old cocker spaniel puppy whom we named Sadie Rose. It is hard to believe that she has only been a member of the family for over three months. It feels like she has been here for longer. The kids love having a puppy. They love playing with her and walking her. As for cleaning up during potty-training, well, not so much.
Integration with the cats
One reason we wanted a puppy rather than a full-grown dog was to have a better chance of integrating the puppy with our three cats – Nikki, Tails and Spooky. It was our youngest cat, Spooky, who accepted Sadie Rose first.
Spooky showed no fear of the jumpy bundle of tan fur and soon was “training” Sadie Rose with a couple of claw-less hits on the head and showing her who was boss. The other cats tolerate her but would rather she not jump and try to lick their faces. Sadie now is about the same size as the cats and can’t understand why they don’t want to play with her.
It amazes me that I forget how hard it is to potty train a puppy. This is my third puppy and let’s just say I don’t like potty training. We have never crate trained our dogs. With each one, we have just kept them in the kitchen which probably is too big of an area in the beginning, especially when you are looking at potty training. And I am not sure if the dog door helped or hindered the learning process.
Sadie Rose was getting better but not trained by mid-December, especially at night. So we bought a play yard that had an opening that we could face to our pet door. Each night, we locked her in the 3 foot x 3-foot area and that took care of the night issue.
Puppy Obedience School
At the end of November, we signed Sadie Rose up for a six-week puppy obedience class at Petsmart. She was in a class with just one other puppy, so we got a lot of individualized attention. She did pretty well. It always amazes me that the puppies pick up things so quickly and of course do what the trainer wants. It is a different story when I have her – especially when we get home. But she did learn: sit, leave it, drop it, come and how to walk on a leash without pulling (Ok, we are still working on that last one).
The key, of course, is to keep up the training. I am making an effort to take her for a walk (working to get rid of her desire to be at the end of the leash at all times), and we practice sit quite a bit. But there are a few more commands (including giving us a high-5) that we need to keep working on. I don’t know if we will continue her “official” training with the next class or not but do consider the $109 fee well worth the first set of classes.
At the end of January with Sadie Rose at five months old, I knew it was time to have her spayed. The kids were all for letting her have puppies. They thought it would be fun. I tried explaining about the over-population of unwanted animals and how as responsible pet owners this was the thing to do but those words didn’t seem to sink in – not even with photos of homeless animals from the Internet. They assured me we could find home for the cute puppies. I didn’t give in, and we had her spayed. She was gone for just one night. The kids were fine with it and Sadie rebounded nicely from her surgery.
So looking back, even though I was hesitant to add a puppy to our house, I am very glad we brought Sadie Rose into the family. She certainly is fitting in well.