When we adopted Stitch, I had several friends check in with me to verify my sanity. After my first day alone with him, I needed to check it as well.
Following a day filled with continuous couch jumping, biting, and inability to simply sit still, I crated him, and sat beside him thinking, I was not made for this.
On a particularly obnoxious day, pretraining
Cute puppies should come with a disclaimer which says something like this: True personality will not exhibit itself for a minimum of thirty days. In the meantime, it will feel as though you birthed quadruplets with very sharp teeth.
Despite how exhausted, confused, annoyed, and insane I had become, paying for training was a thought far from my mind. I Googled. I ordered books. I did not, however, look into training programs. I figured, we could do it on our own. It couldn’t be that hard.
Stitch + wrapping paper= mess
During the day, I wasn’t able to focus on anything but Stitch. At night, when Hubby and I wanted to relax and watch TV, Stitch refused to sit still. It became obvious that Stitch hadn’t gotten enough attention in his previous home and therefore hadn’t been taught basic training principles. He knew sit, but had no understanding of stay, lay down, or off.
And, have I mentioned he was* obsessed with food?
*And still is.
So, while I continued to piece together bits of research in attempt to make a larger picture of how to create the perfect dog, Hubby had already completed his own research…for the perfect training program.
The program consisted of three weeks of Stitch living in the trainer’s home where drills would be worked on continuously throughout the day. Though we could have done a once a week training which didn’t entail Stitch being away from home so long, this program allowed for us to not have to kennel him or hire someone to watch him while we were away on our family cruise.
The week before he was to leave, his behaviors calmed down. He was biting less, he was sitting calmly next to us at night, and I thought, Yes! He’s finally adjusted! and secretly I thought, Maybe he doesn’t need training after all.
Then I had a tumble while walking him* and knew his curious spirit needed a little more control.
*I haven’t yet decided if I can bring myself to share this embarrassing tale with you. More on that later…maybe.
One month later and Stitch can sit, stay, and lay down. His biting is almost completely gone* and he finally knows how to be cool and chill.
*Except when he gets a little excited and decides to get a little mouthy with the couch.
Stitch in his ‘place’
I know I only have barely three months experience in owning a dog, but what I’ve learned so far is:
- Eleven months old is still a puppy.*
- Puppies need attention, a lot of it.
- Puppies need training, a lot of it.
- It will take around 30 days for a puppy to adjust to his new environment.
- Eventually, things get better.
*Who would’ve known?
A month ago, Stitch couldn’t sit and cuddle with Jon–now he can!