Archer – 36 Hours In
We are 36 hours in at this point and it’s a living hell, interspersed with the occasional moment of respite. There’s a lot the intelligence community could learn about interrogation techniques from a puppy. There are times where waterboarding might actually be a more humane option, than the 10th visit to the latrine to watch a puppy just eat pebbles.
Top 5 problems in priority order:
- he eats everything – grass/straw, stones, bugs, dirt, paper, cat food and his favourite dried spikey holly leaves – I think we need to call him Dyson he’s doing such a good job. My fingers spend more time in his mouth than his own tongue, as I try to scoop out whatever new morsel he’s found. I have visions of being at the vet looking at an expensive x-ray of the contents of the garden in the near future.
- toilet training – not surprisingly toilet training, his accuracy rate is about 50% at the moment, he started off well hitting the pads and using the latrine. But we’ve yet to tell the subtle difference between I want to play and I’ve got one in the bomb bay doors. I’m thinking of getting a utility belt with cleaner, wipes etc and wearing it 24/7 as I think an NHS nurse with OCD is not washing their hands as much as I am at the moment. We are also going to need a LOT more kitchen towel, a lot more!
- night time – it was clear from the first night he was going to whine for longer than the neighbours were going to be able to put up with it, especially as everyone has their windows open because of the heat. Last night wasn’t too bad, gave him supper just before 10 and I took him to bed. We tried to get him to sleep in a dog basket on the bed. He wasn’t interested far too warm to be curled up in that – so he planted himself horizontally across the bed. We managed to get through to about 2pm, I noticed he was getting a bit antsy, moving around the bed. So I took him down for a quick toilet in the dead of night in the garden. We went back to bed until about 4 at which point he was wide awake, so an hour-long play session, more toilet trips before he was dozing again and we went back to bed from 5 to about 7. Not too bad, but not the solid 8 hours I’m used to.
- the smell – he gives off is a somewhat unpleasant whiff that is now my new eau de cologne. I stink of puppy and I’ll be enjoying one of those few moments of calm before the storm, and the fan will blow it across me.
- separation anxiety – he’s already imprinted on me, much to the annoyance of Wen and if I’m out of sight for more than a minute he starts whining even if Wen is in the room comforting him. Which is frustrating for her because it just makes her feel like he’s not bonding with her.
And to balance the post out a little here’s a few good things:
- he is cute as hell, especially when he’s asleep and I have an hour to myself. His routine at the moment is:
- wake up
- pee(100% time)/poo(50% time) – 10 minutes of messing around
- play for 20-25m
- fretting 5m, when he doesn’t know what to do with himself, he’s getting tired but he doesn’t want to sleep and he can’t seem to find the optimum place to sleep
- asleep again – 1-2 hours (repeat like a metronome).
- the cats have been amazing with him, neither of them has attacked him in spite of his provocation and not understanding the cat for “sling your hook mate”. They have hissed at him when he’s backed them into a corner and then doing the play jump towards them. Which is fair enough he needs to know there are boundaries. Other than that I think they get it, god knows they been watching him like a hawk since he got here. What they’ve learned so far:
- when he is asleep he is totally out, completely soundo and they know they can get very close to him. Proof of the pudding was me, Wen, Archer, Itchy and Scratchy all in the same bed at 5:30 in the morning.
- he currently can’t get up on the side of anything – sofa, tables, cat towers etc, he only works in 2 dimensions, as opposed to the 3 (or more) the cats do. So they’ve taken to leaping over the gate into the front room and over the sleeping puppy. For that matter he can hardly get down anything either – a stair is a complete novelty.
- he is definitely getting preferential treatment, at the determent to their human time.
- he is completely hopeless at running, his legs go in every direction and the net result is hilarious, and you know how cats thrive on the misfortune of others.
- ultimately they know he’s an adolescent, he’s a bit of a strange kitten but one they sense they have to get used to.
- in spite of his accidents he does have the basics of toilet training, his mum at least taught him the basics. Most of the time he’ll try and head for a pad or make a noise to indicate he needs to go and like all of us he pees if he gets over excited (just me then?).
- Did I mention he’s cute? It is his only redeeming quality at the moment. If I’m honest the ratio of upside to downside is not in his favour, but that’ll change as we get into a routine. He thinks he is good at helping clean up his accidents, he helps by taking the kitchen towel and running away with it, or the pissy rags, he doesn’t care.
Things to work on today (this week):
- get into a routine on toilet training, we are trying to train him to go to the dog latrine in the garden but for a puppy, it’s a long old walk. So he also has an emergency pad in the front room.
- we need to get him crate/cage trained, at the moment his time in the cage has been less than 30 seconds to fetch a toy (we keep throwing them back in there). I’ve been inching his food/water towards his cage and his next feed will be with the food in the front of the cage. I’m hoping to get him comfortable with the crate. The only issue is it’s so warm in the cage compared to the cool breeze in the doorway.
- we’ve “agreed” myself and Wen (you can imagine how that conversation went) I’m going to sleep in the back bedroom with him for the next couple of weeks, for a number of reasons:
- primarily it’s too disruptive having a puppy in the bed, between the worry of him having an accident or just being squished, that and Wen is working and it’s not particularly conducive to a good nights sleep. We can’t just go cold turkey and stick him in the crate all night, given it’s a semi-detached property with plenty of neighbours.
- the back bedroom has a single bed, we can get a mattress protector for it, more importantly, it’s mostly empty already as I was using it as a gym room and it has padding on the floor rather than carpet which is easier to clean.
- I can set up another crate up there, being at the back of the house I can get away with him whining a little more without annoying the neighbours. I will have to just let him work it out over time.
- the goal will be to get him going through the night in his crate in the next few weeks before Wen is on holiday. And then we both might be allowed back in the master bedroom 😉
- start getting him used to the basics:
- his name and coming when called
- get him to bond more with Wen so he doesn’t see my absence as the end of the world and Wen gets some time when he’s being cute as opposed to defecating for England.
- good boy vs bad boy – and NO, means NO
- get him acclimated to the TV, we are having to stick to PG stuff at the moment as the cacophony of grown-up TV is a little bit scary.
Lot’s to do, did I mention he is cute!