Friday, May 17, 2013

Tired dogs are good dogs

Sinead the Boston terrier sleeping in the sun
Sinead catching some rays.
When I first heard about Sinead, her owner told me that she was "rambunctious," and that she'd need an active family that was home much of the time in order to keep her busy, stimulated and happy. As this little puppy has settled into our home and our routines, her personality is beginning to show through and her Boston craziness is starting to come out. From the moment she wakes up in the morning until the moment she sets her weary body down to bed at night, this is a puppy that's always on the go, and it's likely she would do a significant amount of damage, if she wasn't provided with a lot of exercise and supervision.

In the morning, Sinead goes on a pack walk with the pug, my husband and I. She's little, so she has to take about twice as many steps as we do, but we ask her to keep up and keep going for the entire 30 to 45 minutes that we walk. Then, she has about 15 to 20 minutes of fetch to play while I brush my teeth and get ready for work. When all of that business is complete, she's ready to settle down for a nap.

When noon rolls around, however, this puppy is ready for business once more. She needs someone to throw the ball, play a tug game, walk with her or just chase her around the yard. She needs something to do. If she's ignored, she tries to engage the cats in tug games (which they don't really understand) or she jumps on poor Liam the pug over and over again until he snaps. She keeps up with this activity all afternoon, basically with no break. Between my husband and I, we manage to keep her occupied. I'm just glad we're both here.

In the evening, another walk around the block is in order and then another set of running, tugging and fetching. After dinner, she has time to gnaw and nibble on her toys until she puts herself to bed. And she does put herself to bed. At 9pm, we find her cuddled in her crate with her toys, with the door wide open. It's her safe place, and after a busy day, it's the best place for her to catch up on her beauty sleep.

When we're not able to keep an eye on Sinead, she's in that crate with toys and treats and a closed door. Puppies with energy like this could easily strike up fights with other lazy animals, or they could just destroy things in order to give them something to do. Keeping her crated is the best way to keep her safe.

Running a puppy ragged isn't something anyone can do. I work from home, so it's a little easier for me. But I do think that all of this running and playing is vital for little ones. Sinead is growing and learning and changing so much right now, and she has so much energy she needs to spend. By giving her constructive outlets for that energy, I hope to keep her from engaging in terrible activities, like beating up on the cats, digging holes in the yard, tearing up books or barking endlessly.

At least I can say I was warned. This is a rambunctious puppy, and at the moment, we seem to be providing her with what she needs.

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