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Well, Lucy is growing, and not just in size, but in so many ways. She has had to separate from her canine family including her mom and siblings, and her breeder parents who let her play in their family room. Most people don’t think about this when they see a puppy with its new family, but I have thought a lot about it.
Lucy with WESLEY, the sibling who she sees off to school each day. She sits on the driveway and watches him drive away, looking forward to 3:00. He is a conscientious overseer of her daily needs as well as a great playmate.
CHLOIE took Lucy down to the dock (with a leash) on her first day with us - much to the dismay of Wesley, who was more concerned with getting her a cozy, safe place to settle in inside our lake house. Chloie is a do-er with Lucy - she is not afraid to introduce her to new things.
We tried to be very sensitive to this when Lucy came to live with us. We took turns sleeping on the floor next to her kennel so that she wouldn’t feel alone - first my high school-age son, Wesley, then our college-age daughter, Chloie, and then I would lay by her kennel for the first week until she went to sleep.
After several days of little sleep with her kennel in our master bedroom, we exercised tough love! My husband and I couldn’t operate any longer on no sleep. We put the kennel in our laundry room and shut the door. It worked! She was ready for this, and the only thing is that she would bark to wake us up at her usual early 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. - how she was raised.
The good news is - Lucy is settling into becoming a true Costello. Last night she went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and was still snoozing when I woke her up at 7:00 a.m.!!! Yes!!!! This is a major accomplishment as my husband and I could not go through much more sleep deprivation. It only last a couple of weeks though.
Her potty training has been very smooth, and I believe it is because we have used the crate method. When a puppy is in a small space like a crate they do not make messes because they will not sleep in it. Our breeder said they should be able to sleep in the crate comfortably if it’s the right size so that we can get things done. They literally learn how to “hold it” by this method. But really two to four hours should be the limit.
Potty training is ultimately up to the owner. A puppy needs to go out when she wakes up, and quite frequently during the day, especially if she is getting water when she comes in from outside. Lucy goes out when she wakes up and right after she eats breakfast. She also goes out before dinner and right afterwards. It may seem like a lot, but I notice it is getting less even in the month that we have had her. She is getting so trained that she goes right when she gets on the grass and it’s a quick process!
One really awesome tool we have been using is the house training Potty Bells. They are essentially jingle bells attached to a belt that hangs on your door to the outside. It only take a few times showing your dog how to ring them every time you take the dog out by nudging them with the dog’s nose and they will start telling you when they have to go. I can be sitting at my desk in my office, and I hear Lucy ringing the bell. I know she has to go out!
NELSON came in from Dallas to meet his newest sibling. He wanted to see her before she got too much bigger. We give him moment by moment updates on what Lucy’s up to.
It has been important for Lucy to meet all the members in our family. Of course, Wesley, our high school junior, is her main sibling care taker. He spends time with her after school, does the late shift putting her to bed and much time on the weekends. Her sister, Chloie is a college senior nearby and sees Lucy every chance she gets. She meets us at the lake house and last weekend had Lucy to a sleepover at her apartment - which is another blog post to come.
Dad = Playtime and Snuggles
And then there’s our oldest, Nelson, who lives in Dallas. When we got Lucy, we Facetimed Nelson and his girlfriend, Claire, on the way home in the car, and they saw our first hour with her. He was worried, saying, “ But she will never know me.” I said, “Nelson, she will have known you from the beginning of her life!” He and Claire came to Kansas City a couple weeks later to meet her.
Mom = Discipline and Love
All of us contribute different things to Lucy’s upbringing. Wesley - a great overseer of needs. He provides fun and games when he’s home, but he also is very tuned into how she’s doing overall, making sure she has enough food, outings and discipline . Chloie - from the moment we got her, took her down to the dock to get fresh air and dug out the baby pool for her first experience with water. Wesley and I were shocked! She did what?!? That’s too much, we thought, but it turned out fine! And Nelson, when he’s here, loves holding her and playing. Of course, he’s much stronger than me and able to hold her the bigger she gets! David and I, well we do everything. I am the main caretaker and he is my back up. We make sure she gets her shots and has every need fulfilled including food, water, crates, day beds, exercise, and now the big one….TRAINING. Stay tuned for Part 3 - Puppy Training. It was a necessity and it’s making such a difference in our lives and hers.