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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Post #18: Adjusting to PD

PD’s first few weeks with us were difficult. 

While we had agreed that PD would be an inside dog, we had not agreed to let him sleep in our bed.  We had bought a crate for PD to call home.  The books we had read had advised that crate training your dog was a good thing.  The crate gave the dog a “safe place” to go when things got scary.

So, the first night, we put PD in the crate and we went to bed.  The plan was to keep the crate in our room, so that PD would know that he had not been abandoned.  We also knew we would be getting up out of bed a couple of times to take him out. 

He began to cry.  We tried to ignore him for a little while.  I felt sad for him.  This poor little puppy spending his first night without his mom or litter mates.  And by this time we had realized he was younger than they had told us.

I slept on the floor.  Next to his crate.  With my arm in the crate.

PD tried to nurse on my arm.  Now I was really sad.  PD had not even been properly weaned, and he had been taken away from home way too early.

PD and I bonded quickly.  I’m pretty sure he believes I’m his mother, now.

One of the sad consequences of his young age was that we probably were not feeding him the proper food.  PD developed vomiting and diarrhea in the first few weeks.  I’m not sure if this was because he wasn’t ready to digest the food we fed him, or if it was a reaction to some of the shots he had.  He got really sick.  The vet was able to help us, and we were able to keep poor PD alive.  I sometimes refer to PD as our “miracle dog” because he has been near death several times, and always survives against the odds.

PD never really learned how to be a dog.  I’m sure there are a lot of doggy lessons out there that his mother just didn’t have time to teach him.

But he did learn how to attach himself to me.  I took PD to work with me and kept him in a crate in my office under my desk.  How strange this must have seemed for my counseling clients.  I’m sure they could hear him move around and see his little bright eyes shining out from behind the crate door.  Only one client ever asked me about what was in the crate.

I had a small pen built for PD so that I could let him go outside for a little exercise, and as a place he could go to take care of business.

PD quickly took up residence in my heart and in Wife’s heart.  We bought him stuffed toys to snuggle on and to play with.  That was fine for a while.  But PD would also try to suckle them.  And then he developed the disturbing habit of humping on them. 

Before we bought PD, we had read a couple books on raising dachshunds.  One of the books suggested we get down on the floor to get an idea of what the house looked like from a dachshund’s point of view.  There wasn’t much he would be able to reach.  We knew that ramps would be coming into the house to help him up on the couch.

I began to wonder about house breaking PD.  We lived in an old house on pier and beam.  The house sat about four feet above the ground.  The steps were really tall.  And PD was really short.  We figured that we would just carry him up and down the steps until he got tall enough to climb the steps himself.  But before he could go outside, PD had to let us know that he wanted to go outside.  I wasn’t at all sure how he would communicate his needs to us.

I shouldn’t have worried.  PD, it turns out, is a great communicator.  He quickly figured out that outside is where we wanted him to do his business.  Then he learned how to knock on the door.  Really!  PD would go to the door, and scratch or knock.  If the door was partly opened, it would bang against the door frame, and it sounded like he was knocking to be let outside.  PD can also open doors if they are partially open.  He’ll use his paw or nose to get the door open.  If he knocks, and no one lets him through the door, he knows to escalate to the next level.  PD barks.  One thing about being an only puppy, you get used to getting all of the attention.  And you get used to having your way.

Is PD spoiled? Oh dear, what have we done?