Monday, July 26, 2010

Our new doggie

As you read on Saturday, we adopted a new dog. Daisy Duke is a 4 1/2 year old basset hound. We really prefer older dogs, not puppies. We simply don't have the time or patience to deal with all the typical puppy behaviors...chewing, potty training, destructive tendencies, mischief, digging, etc. But we didn't really take into account the 'hound dog tendencies'. You know...the howling & barking. Oh boy.

The first night she was home, she carried on until about 10:45 before she finally got quiet & went to sleep for the night. We were so glad when she did because we worried that she was driving all the neighbors crazy! She only howled once during the night, about 2:30 am. I woke up, realized she had howled, but she stopped right away & I went back to sleep. We didn't hear from her again til about 7am. I figured that wasn't too bad for her first night home.

Day 2 was rough. We had to be gone much of the day (which I admit was poor planning on our part), but when we got home, we spent the rest of the day with her. Every time we walked away from her, she'd start howling & whining & barking. We felt bad for her, so we'd go back & play some more almost every time. At bedtime, we came inside, closed the fence gate & went on with our evening to the tune of her howls & barks & whines. I finally went out & clapped my hands at her & fussed at her around 11:00 and she quieted down. I thought "Ah-ha....I figured out the trick to get her to be quiet." Alas, my 'trick' didn't work on Day 3.

Day 3 (today) began at 6:30am when she first started barking & howling. I made Samuel (my early bird & morning walker!) wait til 7:00am before going out to walk her. I am hoping to train her to wait til 7am to start whimpering! He walked her & made sure she had fresh water & food before coming inside. By then, the rest of us were waking up because we'd heard her noisy barks & howls. We had breakfast & then one of the kids went back out to play with her some more. By 10:00, we were loading her up in the van to go to PetsMart and find some toys & treats. I was hoping we could find something to occupy her when we're not around. We got to the store & she was not interested in anything....she was way too distracted by all the sounds & smells of the store! ha ha! We visited a friend who had seen her on the Humane Society's website recently (they loved her, too!) and then came home after a couple more stops. She did GREAT in the van! She loves riding & is perfectly behaved the whole time! Although as soon as we got home, she immediately started barking & howling when we put her back inside the fence. Feeling a little defeated, I got online to do some research about how to help your new basset hound stop that darn barking & howling. It was driving me nuts & (I figured) probably bugging my neighbors.

I started reading about basset hounds & everything I read talked about their need for constant companionship & lots of quality time. I really do understand that, but she's not an inside dog (and isn't going to become one) and honestly, when school starts in the Fall and we're all gone most of the day, it'll be nearly impossible to give her the amount of attention it will take to keep her happy throughout the night & during times when we're away. I felt very frustrated & worried that all this whining & howling & barking isn't going to get BETTER with time. It even occurred to me that perhaps she would be better suited for a retired person's home where she could be an inside dog, get lots of constant attention & be happier. I even talked to the kids about that possibility....the fact that we weren't going to give up on her yet, but we might need to keep in mind that we might not be able to care for her needs as well as someone else could. They all understood. BUT after talking with lots of friends via Facebook and with a neighbor whose parents have had Basset Hounds her whole life, I was encouraged that maybe it WILL get better as she continues to adjust to life with the Reeves family. I got lots of good tips & lots of pats on the back & encouragement to keep trying, so in the end, I was less frustrated than I had been.

Throughout the day, Daisy Duke has had 3 or 4 walks, spent time with us in the van this morning, went to PetsMart, had a bath (oh my...she hatedddd that!), and got played with a LOT. And ya know what? By the day's end, I was noticing that she had spent more time being QUIET today than she had spent being NOISY. And it's 9:25 as I type this and she has yet to start whining & howling & barking tonight. I am soooooo encouraged!

And ya know what? I was really sweating how it would work out when Larry & I go on our anniversary trip next month. I was already looking at prices for local kennels where she could be boarded for a couple of days. Tonight, while I was out in the yard with her, a neighbor girl walked up to talk & pet her and she told me that she was starting a pet sitting 'business' where she'd come feed & walk & care for pets when people in the neighborhood go on vacation! What a God send! I told her about our upcoming trip & her mom said we could be her first "customers". As it turns out, they have been volunteering at the Humane Society & they actually walked Daisy Duke a few times while she was there!

I love how days that can be so upsetting & frustrating sometimes turn around & end up being really good days after all!


Ruth said...

I have a Sheltie whom I adore, but he would bark incessantly in the back yard. I invested about $100 and got a bark collar. (not the one that zaps the dog every time he barks.) I got the one with a remote. That way I could shout, "Enough!" and THEN zap him. My goal was for him to learn to stop barking when I yelled 'enough'. And it's worked beautifully!

It was well worth the money, both for my peace of mind and for my neighbors. Just an idea!

Jalissa said...

Hope she is doing better.

Lauree said...

Hang in there Liz! Daisy Duke will get used to her new life. Sounds like wearing her out during the day will get her used to things rather quickly! ha!