Preparing for the puppy

This Saturday, I’ll be taking home my new puppy. After submitting a general adoption application to the Lawrence Humane Society and visiting the shelter last weekend, we picked out a 6-month-old puggle (pug/beagle mix) female. We’re ditching her shelter name and calling her Lily.

I’ve spent the past four or five days researching puppy behavior, training and crating. Seriously, at times I’ve thought, “This has got to be what it’s like having a baby.”

We’re making a trip to Petsmart to pick out her crate, toys, food, water dish, an ID tag, collar and other incidentals. My mother and I are spending Saturday, Sunday and Monday training her and getting her used to the house and the crate.

I’m glad I did research before getting her home. I want to give Lily plenty of structure and discipline, and we’re going to try to simulate pack behavior. She needs to learn how to walk properly (beside or behind us, never in front), when to eat (only when we give her food), where to potty (only in the yard), when to enter the house or a room (only after we do) and when she can get on our laps or the couch (only when we give her permission). The hardest part will be treating her like a dog, not a human.

My father’s kind of under the impression that this is draconian and will lead to an unhappy puppy, but I’m trying to convince him that a happy puppy is a calm puppy and one who knows her place in the “pack” (our family). I’m more worried about him slipping (sneaking her “people” food, letting her on his lap without permission) than I’m worried about her misbehaving. I’m also trying to convince him that a yipping, hopping, excited dog is an anxious and insecure dog, and that the “excitement” doesn’t mean the same thing it does in the human sense. I told him that Lily should signal happiness by acting calm, submissive and quiet, and he made some quip about her being “a stick in the mud.” Oh he’ll learn.

A lot of this will be down to trial and error, and I’m sure my patience will be tested. I’m just excited to get my sweet little girl home and have her get adapted to her new home.

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