Thursday, May 23, 2024

There's No Biting on Tuesdays - Part 4 (The Land Shark)

A mini series about losing my beloved dog and getting a new puppy.

Part 4: The Land Shark

Although I knew that a 9 week old Cavalier puppy would weigh between 4 and 5 lbs., the photos made Willow look somewhat substantial. But the baby I took out of the carrier when I got her home was tiny and precious. She couldn't have been 5" tall at the shoulders and looked like a stuffed toy.

But this innocent baby was a land shark. She couldn't move an inch without sinking her puppy fangs into fingers, toes, shoes, furniture and anything else that was in her path of destruction. My first puppy nipped, as all puppies do. But was otherwise not a particularly destructive dog. Willow was pure chaos right from the start. I couldn't take my eyes off her for a second because she was capable of doing a lot of damage in a remarkably short period of time. She didn't nip, she bit. Hard. She even drew blood. And when I put her in her pen, as trainers advise, she destroyed it. She'd shred her pee pads, rip her bed and turn over her food and water bowls. My nickname for her was Jaws. Holy hell, what have I gotten myself into?

I provided teething rings, stuffed toys, Kongs and bully sticks to no avail. They distracted her for a short while but then she'd go right back to chewing the stuffing out of the sofa. I sprayed bitter apple on everything but it didn't slow her down at all. It took me 2 months to teach her soft mouth so that at least my fingers and toes were safe. Nothing else is safe yet but she's learned not to use those razor blade baby teeth on me. The sofa still gets bites but I get kisses.

And the name of this series - there's no biting on Tuesdays? To keep myself sane, as I was redirecting her bites, withholding my attention to her when she bit and rewarding her for kisses, I would tell her, there is no biting on Mondays (or Tuesday or Wednesdays, etc.) Now, when she sometimes forgets and I feel her teeth graze me, I tell her, there's no biting on Tuesdays, and she immediately licks instead of bites.

Go to Part 1

Go to Part 2

Go to Part 3

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