Trouble Times Eight!

20 May

Now it’s all coming back to me: the things you forget about being a new mother, and about a new puppy! Sadie’s favorite toys were not those I bought her (and I bought her plenty!), but the spines of the books on the bottom shelf of my bookcase, and the rungs of the antique chairs in the dining room, and whatever piece of cardboard or paper toweling she could get her mouth on. Well, it’s not quite that bad – the puppies DO love to chew on the hard rubber toys we have left from when their mother was teething, and to run around with anything soft and floppy in their mouths. But right now, their favorite playthings are each other! They spend a great deal of their time wrestling and play-biting each other (and sometimes real biting, which elicits squeals from the recipient of the bite and scolding from me, but nothing but a nose poke from Sadie.) Yesterday, three of them teamed up to dismantle the cardboard barrier we had erected to hide the computer and printer cords. They did this with amazing speed and coordination. Since we do NOT leave them unsupervised (except when we turn our backs on one to check on another – eight puppies playing is a challenge, not a nursery rhyme!), we managed to rescue the cardboard and put it back in place and no real damage was done, except to my frayed nerves and the edges of the cardboard, which are already looking quite chewed.

Last night, Sadie seems to have decided that (a) she didn’t have enough milk for the 3 a.m. feeding, (b) it was time to get these guys to sleep through the night, or (c) she was tired of their sharp little teeth, but they made quite a ruckus until I got up and gave them some puppy chow and turned the night light back on. Oh, and everybody decided to poop at that point, so there was some cleaning up to do! I don’t want to scare anyone away, but if you possibly can, DO try to take a few days off work when you pick up your puppy! At the very least, plan to have a weekend for it to adjust to its new environment, and for YOU to adjust to the 24-hour responsibility for a small, totally dependent being! It really is like bringing a new baby home, only more exhausting, because you don’t have to schlep a baby outside to do its business in the middle of the night! (Well, changing diapers is no picnic, either!) The point is, the average human infant weighs under ten pounds, and so can’t take in enough food to sleep through the night and an eight-week old puppy weighs about the same. It’s not going to sleep through the night, and it is going to miss its mother and brothers and sisters. And DO prepare, so that you can enjoy playing together and it can enjoy exploring its new environment. Here are some of the toys Sadie enjoyed most when she was little, and as she was growing:

First of all, something like this is absolutely necessary for your new puppy. There are many good versions, just make sure that it is hard rubber, and pieces can’t be bitten off and swallowed:

Since labradoodles are so smart and curious, they love puzzles. This was Sadie’s first puzzle toy, and she absolutely loved it. As she grew, though, she found great joy and satisfaction in chewing the little bees apart to get the squeaky out, so be careful that the puppy doesn’t swallow or choke on it.

A version of this puzzle is still a favorite with Sadie, even though she ‘solves’ it in under ten seconds!

More tomorrow, unless we have another night like last night! Puppy shots on Tuesday!




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