So here we are. After MANY years of wanting a German Shepherd, my husband and I adopted our first one last Saturday. She is a dream come true. She's very sweet and is such a little smarty pants! She is potty trained -- no seriously, she is! We keep her on a tight schedule so that she can anticipate meals and expect potty time. She whimpers at the door when she needs to go and has even chosen a spot on left side of the yard to go potty.
We were honestly expecting the worst. WEEKS of accidents in the house, non stop barking and chewing...but so far so good!
Yesterday was the first time she was in a crate for a long period of time and it was devastating for her. While she's been great in the house, she did have a major accident in her crate. Um, yeah. I came home at 5:30ish to find her COVERED in diarrhea. Poor thing, she was so embarrassed. But I ran her outside so she could take care of business and then I cleaned the heck out of that crate. Lesson here: NEVER buy expensive chew toys. I think I lost about $30 worth of rope toys and other odds and ends. I'm not quite comfortable with "cleaning them" and then having her put the toys (once covered in feces, now saturated with cleaning chemicals) in her mouth. Call me a new mom.
What I'm doing right
1) She's on a strict schedule. I get up at 6 AM and she eats/drinks and plays. I pull her food at 7 AM and she has play time until 9 AM. Then I come home at 12 NOON and she eats/drinks, playtime and poopy time. My hubby drops by at 1 PM and she goes back into her crate at 2 PM. I come home at 5:30ish PM and she eats/drinks again and I pull her food entirely at 6 PM and her water at 8 PM. She goes outside as much as possible until her final outing at around 10:30 PM.
2) She gets a lot of exercise. She's still a pup, so we're not taking her to any parks until she has all of her shots and vaccinations. But she runs around the yard and has plenty of playtime before and after her crate experience.
3) The crate is a positive experience. She's been eating in and around the crate and we are sure to have some (expendable) toys in there for her to chew on while we're gone. The kong is going to keep her busy, once she chills out about the crate experience.
What I'm doing wrong
1) She sleeps with us. I know, right?! This is a BIG NO NO! Her separation anxiety is worse from sleeping with us and at some point she's going to be huge and she won't fit on our bed. I'm working on it! That's all I can say. The dog trainer at Petco looked at me like I was out of my mind for allowing a German Shepherd to sleep with me. I'm a new doggy mom, I'm gonna make mistakes - lighten up!
2) I don't crate her at night. Yes, I'm aware of this problem. She's not having any accidents in the house and she's only chewing on her chew toys. She's still adjusting to the crate during the day and I'm just not ready for her to wig out all night in her crate. I should crate her at night to keep her safe from the elements. I'm working on it.
3) I didn't mix her old puppy food with her new puppy food. Uuuugh. BIG MISTAKE! Huge. This has caused her to be constipated and have blood in her stool. I ran a sample into our vet and they let me know that she does not have Parvo or a parasite. The vet let me know that while I didn't cause her irreparable damage, my ignorance created a lot of discomfort and anxiety. :(
4) The Pig ear. Yeah, the lady at the pet store gave us one for CoCo when we bought a bunch of chew toys. The people who work at pet stores know everything, right? WRONG! My vet let me know that the pig ear may have also been to blame for her diarrhea and for the blood in her stools.
So we're starting obedience training in about 2 weeks. I'm reading "The Art of Raising a Puppy" and doing my very best to create a fabulous environment for my Baby Cakes CoCo.
Coming soon: videos, updates, kitty cat testimonials and her FIRST visit to the vet!