New Daddy...7 week old Black Lab
So I'm not new to pets, but I am new to doing it right! I was raised with dogs in my family when I was younger and I was taught INCORRECTLY how to raise dogs/puppies.
I feel like this is the confession part of my story just to get it out of the way and to give some background.
This is MY third dog since I moved away from parents house. It's been nearly 10 years, but I haven't had much success and I know why!
1st dog - Tasha. A black lab puppy that I got at 4 weeks old. She had been dropped off with her littermates at the animal shelter and they didn't have her mother. She was a really smart, great lab and I had her for about a year. At the time I didn't know how to raise puppies properly so I scolded her AND praised her alot. At the time that I got her as a puppy I was working like a madman and my significant other was "bored and lonely" and wanted a companion. I obliged her being that I have always loved dogs. Well, she grew tired of the "puppy" and I scolded the puppy alot and well the relationship wasn't very good between our 12 month old lab and us. She was skiddish and she was scared all of the time and I didn't really understand why. My (now ex)girlfriend was attempting to crate train her but clearly liked to half-read or half-do because it wasn't done properly. She HATED that crate and hated being there.
Well it got to the point where the pup and I had a working relationship and I could play with her all day on the weekends, we would go to the park, she LOVED fetch and we had a great time, but when I was busy during the week my ex-girlfriend wouldn't hold up her end of the bargain and show the dog much love. I would ask her if she took the puppy out when I got home from work and everytime she would say "yeah, twice". Basically when I investigated into how much she plays with the dog it was down to about 30 minutes a day and the dog was in the crate for 23 1/2 hours /day.
I was too busy working to really take on this kind of puppy/dog on my own and begged and pleaded for her help, and she would make me promise after promise, but as you can imagine she would let the now 70lb puppy out of the crate and she would go ballistic and was too much for my ex to manage, so her solution was to keep her in the crate.
I had a family friend who had two young boys and another chocolate lab and they were willing to take the puppy from me. I told my girlfriend that we couldn't keep her and that it was inhumane to keep a beautiful 70-75lb LABRADOR in a cage 23 1/2 hours/day and she wasn't happy about it, but I gave the dog away. I have visited her many times and she's always excited to see me and she's a great and happy dog, but I clearly made a lot of mistakes.
This dog was also a rescue, but I was living on my own at this time and had more free time and not working nearly as much. She was an adult dog already and was very easygoing, very trainable. Already housebroken, just a joy to have around. I ended up giving her to my mother because her and my mother ended up like two peas in a pod after a short period of visiting. It was clear that my mother was dealing with "empty nest" syndrome having all her boys grown and this dog was PERFECT for her. Not mouthy, a wonderful sweetheart that is low maintenance and doesn't require as much excercise. She was a mix and only about 15 lbs so she was very manageable. Her and my mother are still BEST friends and I see her alot too. She gets very excited to see me and I miss her, but it was for the good of my mom.
3rd (and current) dog-
I now have a 7 week old Black Lab named "Lucille". She is a wonderful sweetheart so far (I know she's faking) and I joined this forum and read and read and read BEFORE I got this puppy this time and I couldn't be happier that I did! She's doing well with her crate training and she LOVES her crate!
I am still single and live on my own and this dog is MY responsibility. This dog is also going to be my best friend. I don't work long hours anymore and I have all the time in the world for her. I do work, so she is crate training right now, but she's in the crate from 8:00am - 11:00am (lunch break) then I put her back in after we eat and play at around 12:00pm. I have employed the help of a friend over the next couple of weeks with strict instructions to only let her out for her potty break and to give her specific treats upon her elimination outside. I get home at 4:00 and we are glued to each other until she goes to bed @ 10:00pm. I set my alarm on blackberry to wake me at 1:30, 3:30 and I get up in the morning @ 6:30am. I am hoping this won't last too long, but until she can control her bladder. I don't want her living in a mess and she can't seem to hold it any longer than that.
My current girlfriend (who doesn't live with me) and my friends are all given VERY specific instructions about how we handle the puppy and how we reward her for good behavior and correct her bad behavior (correct, not scold).
I have been a member of many online forums for other interests in my life and I have found them to be the BEST source of information so I joined this one. I want to say "thank you" to all who make this community so great. I spent weeks and weeks, reading, and following threads. Following links to resources and sharing in peoples experiences and stories and you all have opened up my eyes and educated me to properly working with Lucille and having the right perspective. I'm also sharing this with my girlfriend who is just loving the whole thing and she loves to play with the puppy and everyone is just so happy.
So far her temperament is really good and she's just cruising around doing puppy things like chewing chords (attempting to, but she gets corrected and she gets a wonderful chew toy to try), chewing the furniture, biting hands, biting toes and falling down stairs. She's adorable, I love her and she's destined for greatness because of the GREAT people on here who I'm sure I can turn to for guidance and a place to vent frustration when she's decided to bonkers in a few months! I've forewarned my girlfriend and everyone else that she will seem like she's being defiant or that she has "selected hearing", but she's just a puppy with no attention span. I am prepared for world war III with this dog, but I want her to come out the best possible!
And here she is:
She's gonna make that racquetball look aweful small REAL soon.