Update on the Indy Sitch

So it’s been almost two weeks since we picked Indy up and brought him home.

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Things are going more or less as expected. When Gren was a puppy I tried to crate train him and it did not go well. Neither of us slept for six months. For Indy we went with the pen approach and it seems to be working so that’s a relief. Puppies can usually go without peeing for as many hours as they are months old. Indy is currently ahead of the game at three hours against his two months of age, so we set our alarms every night and all four of us troop down to go outside in the wee small hours of the night. But then afterwards, Indy goes back to sleep and we can get a bit of rest ourselves.

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Thankfully, Indy, like Gren, is a routine-based animal. We get up at 5:30 AM, go outside, have breakfast, get exercise and playtime, and then he passes out at 8:00 AM, which is when the Pie starts work (he works from home full time). Indy will then sleep until noon, when he will get up, go outside, have lunch, get exercise and playtime and then he passes out until around 4:00 PM, and now that I’m back at the office I’ll be arriving home around 4:45 so that works out pretty well.

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Gren is starting to calm down a bit. Originally, we were letting them play until they got annoyed with each other, because we were relying on Gren to teach Indy boundaries. However, this has led to some scary incidents where Gren goes all snarly with his teeth, and while he hasn’t hurt Indy in any way, we’re not used to seeing it from our cuddly bunny of a dog and it’s a little disturbing. The problem is that Gren weighs forty pounds and is almost four and a half years old. Indy is barely past two months and weighs about six and a half pounds. So when they’re playing, Indy tends to get squashed a bit more than he likes, and because he’s naturally more dominant than Gren, he gets annoyed. So when Indy is annoyed (which seems to be often), he starts growling and barking and going after Gren’s face. Eventually Gren can’t tolerate this anymore and he snaps and goes into scary mode. Gren, my beautiful momma’s boy of a sook, has even growled and snapped at me from the stress and that’s no good. Then we have to go through the rigmarole of calming them both down and separating them, which neither likes.

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Last week we were separating them by gating Indy into the kitchen, which gave him room to move around but separated him from the hub of activity in the house, which is the living room. It also made Gren anxious because Indy was too far away and plus the kitchen is where the magic happens.

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So we got a new, taller pen, similar to the one in our bedroom, and we moved the dining room table and set it up in the living room. Now Gren and Indy can be near each other but not in each other’s space and I think both of them really like that.

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We’ve started to incorporate walks into Indy’s routine, as he’s surprisingly adept with leash walking. The Pie will take him around the block a couple times while Gren and I go for a longer walk, and then we meet up at the end and go around the block a couple of times together. Not only does the walk tire each dog out but walking together gives them an opportunity to be together while doing an activity that doesn’t involve eating or playing.

Indy Sitch

We are also trying to teach them that when they are together they don’t HAVE to be playing all the time. They can just be enjoying pets and cuddles or playing with their toys separately. We have separate toys for Gren and Indy, to avoid any jealousy on that front as well. Gren has never been particularly territorial about his toys before, but usually he shares them with dogs who then go away again. If Indy takes his toys here and we let him it makes Gren feel like he’s being replaced and he doesn’t like it.

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Every time we encounter a setback, like Indy has an accident in the house (at least he does it in the same spot every time) or Gren snaps at Indy and we have to pull them apart, we have to remind ourselves to stay calm and remember that it’s only been a short while. These things take time, and the progress we have made in this short an amount of time has been very impressive. So things are going well, I think. Stay tuned!

Indy Sitch

Introducing our New Little Ball of Chaos to our Older Bigger Ball of Chaos

Indy's First Weekend
You may have seen this on my instagram feed.

Some big news: last weekend the Pie and I went on a little drive and came back with THIS furry friend. His name is Indiana Jones (named after my idol) and he’s 8 weeks old – well, almost 9 by the time you read this.

Indy's First Weekend

We got him as a companion to Gren, who can be rather jealous of the attention that I give to other small animals and babies. So the plan was to get him a friend to keep him distracted and to divert the amount of spoiling he gets so that we can start thinking about maybe having kids without dealing with the angst of a 40lb furbaby.

Indy's First Weekend

But that’s a way in the distance. This baby corgi is enough to deal with at the moment and needs some training. And he needs to establish a relationship with Gren. I did a lot of research before bringing Indy into the house and I will present here a few tips and tricks I learned from doing my research and from trying it out on the two fiends, interspersed with pretty puppy pictures. Make sure to do your own research when getting a puppy, including whether a puppy is even really suited to your home life and activities.

Indy's First Weekend

Plan it out: you’re going to need to set up some things when Puppy comes home, and one of those things is going to need to be some kind of crate or pen for Puppy to go into when Dog has had enough of its shenanigans and you don’t want Dog to EAT Puppy.

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Puppy penitentiary. The rug has a rubber backing to prevent accidents from seeping through to the carpet. So far Indy has been mostly accident-free.

And if you have a super neurotic dog who is really into his routine like I do, you are going to want to set up the pen a little in advance, just so he can get used to it being there. I moved things around in increments for a few weeks leading up to Indy’s arrival so Gren wouldn’t freak out about too much change at once. One day I set up the pen, and another I rearranged the kitchen to allow for a second set of doggie dishes.

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You also want Dog to sleep on a couple blankets in advance, to get the puppy familiar with his scent. This is a good thing to bring with you when you pick Puppy up so he’ll have advance notice of what he’s getting himself into. Not a bad thing to chuck into Puppy’s bed, either.

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Gren obliged when asked to shed his dog hair all over a blanket for Indy.

When you go to pick up Puppy, leave Dog at home. You have enough to deal with. Take Dog for a really really good walk before you leave so he’s nice and calm and tuckered out for when you come back.

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Something is definitely up.

Meet and greet: the first introduction between Puppy and Dog is very important because you need to let them establish their own hierarchy without any issues. You may think that Dog will be the boss because he’s oldest and has been there the longest but that might not be the case. And it’s not up to you to figure that out – this is the job of Dog and Puppy to figure it out on their own. Your job is to make it as easy as possible.

When you arrive home with Puppy, don’t go inside. Put Puppy on a leash (even if he’s not really all that leash-trained at the moment) and take him down the block or to the park. Have a friend or family member get Dog, put him on a leash, and meet you at the park. This is neutral territory.

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Gren is highly suspicious.

DO NOT. Just DON’T introduce Puppy to dog by holding Puppy and bringing him close to Dog. This puts Puppy on a different physical level than Dog and can make them both very uncomfortable as Puppy will feel vulnerable not being in control of getting away if necessary and Dog will feel that you have elevated Puppy to a different status.

Make sure both Puppy and Dog are firmly on the ground when they meet for the first time. Keep hold of both their leashes so you can pull them apart if necessary, but don’t pick Puppy up if you can at all avoid it.

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The sheer size difference between the two means we have to be extra careful.

Now that they’ve had a chance to sniff, take them for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long one (Puppy will likely not have the stamina of Dog nor the leash training). This will just give them a chance to get used to each other still on neutral territory but also in doing a normal daily activity.

Bringing home baby: when it’s time to come home, make sure that Dog gets to go through the door first, before Puppy. This reinforces to Dog that you are aware of his place in the household and you are not replacing him with Puppy.

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In the house, you can take Dog off the leash and let him go and do whatever it is that he wants to. Chances are he’s going to follow you around because Puppy is a new thing. Keep Puppy on the leash and slowly walk Puppy from room to room, letting him sniff around a bit but not letting him go everywhere. Keeping him on the leash establishes boundaries for Puppy, so that he knows that this is your house, not his, and that he can’t just go anywhere he wants and pee on anything he wants.

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As you can see from his nose, Gren was never far behind in this tour.

Still on leash, walk Puppy to his water bowl (for the first bit, keep food and water bowls separate between Dog and Puppy to avoid fights), and show him places that he can pee (like the backyard or puppy pee pads).  Show him the place where he will be sleeping and introduce him to his toys.

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Once you’ve done the tour, you can take Puppy off leash and see what he will do in the territory that you have allowed.

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Keep an eye on Dog to make sure he’s not getting too stressed out by Puppy. If he starts panting and his eyes go wide he’s getting anxious. If he starts growling and showing his teeth to Puppy you should put Puppy away in his place for now.

Indy's First Weekend
Because Gren doesn’t have a tail and his ears always stick up, you have to be really good at reading his facial expressions. He pretty much never smiles, and usually only does so when he’s stressed out. So this is a stressed face for him.

A little bit of tension is expected and allowed if Dog is to establish a relationship with Puppy, but you don’t want full-scale hostility that could damage either animal in the long term. You know your Dog enough to know when he’s had enough and you need to respect his boundaries in that way by putting Puppy away for a while until they’re both calm again.

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Another stressed face. He got upset when Indy cried from his pen.

In the days to come: don’t under any circumstances leave Dog and Puppy alone together for several weeks, until their relationship is firmly established. If you aren’t there to break up potential fights then who knows what might happen? Keep Puppy in a separate area from Dog when you are not around to supervise.

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Dogs in motion are hard to capture in photography.

Show some respectremember that Dog was there first and until Puppy arrived he thought he was the only one in the world for you. When this fuzzy interloper comes around and everyone falls all over themselves to smoosh him, Dog can feel jealous, and like he’s being replaced. This can result in tension and aggression towards Puppy. So until they sort their stuff out, make sure to give Dog preference in all things. If you’re petting Puppy and Dog comes up and pushes Puppy out of the way so he can get petted, listen to Dog.

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Give him the attention he needs to show him that you haven’t forsaken him. Keep letting him eat first, go through doors first, whatever needs to be done, until the two of them figure out who goes where in the family hierarchy.

Indy's First Weekend

We’ve got an uneasy truce after the first few days. Gren is constantly checking to see where Indy is, and he gets worried when Indy cries. But he also doesn’t like it when we pick Indy up to bring him up and down our stairs (small corgis are not allowed to jump until they get a bit bigger), and after 7PM he turns into a grumpy old man who wants nothing to do with the pup he was playing with just a moment before and will snap at him if he gets too close.

Indy's First Weekend

It’s a work in progress, but progress is being made!

Indy's First Weekend
Most expensive foot warmers ever.