The jet-set puppy: A year of chaos

After Rosie landed in our lives (see The jet-set puppy: buying a puppy via the Internet), things were literally never the same again. Our previous Staffie, Jessie, had been a calm, old soul (practically from puppy-hood), so to have to deal with a puppy which had a completely different personality, presented its challenges over the first few months.

I said in my previous post that Staffies are “very there kind of dogs”, meaning very present and not easy to ignore. I discovered after Rosie arrived that there is “there” and there“.  The only way to describe her at that stage was that she was relentless. When she was around (and awake) you knew it. If you tried to exclude her and put her outside or close her up in a room (unless she wanted to be there) she howled and whined and tried to break the door down, until she was allowed to rejoin the family. It sounded like somebody was trying to kill her. I took to locking her up inside the house, because if she was outside I worried the neighbours would be reporting us to animal welfare. I found her totally exhausting. She was on a 2 hours off . . . and then 2 or 3 hours “FULLY on” schedule. The hours between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. were the worst. A combination of being hungry, tired, excited (Willie coming home from work) and wanting to play made her absolutely impossible. A friend eventually suggested napping when the puppy slept! Like mothers of young babies are often advised to do. It really did feel more like raising a human baby, than raising a fairly self-sufficient young animal. Which is what all our puppies and kittens before her had been.

Rosie and her mother - she later would spend her time climbing on and chewing on us.

In those first months she also left a trail of destruction behind her. Anything of value had to be moved out of her reach. She liked to chew on and shred anything she could get her grubby little paws on and tiny pin-teeth around. Rosie in the early days had a huge problem distinguishing between her toys and our stuff. She was a little thief. If a sock was left on the floor, she would rush in and grab it and run off with it . . . and then refuse to give it back until she had “modified” it. Even though I don’t think she had any particular liking for dirty socks. Worse still was if she stole something and went out into the garden with it. Like one of my hiking boots, which she grabbed one day when I was trying to ignore her. By the time I managed to catch her in the garden, she had removed all the inside ankle padding. She destroyed several valuable items, including a lens from a pair of prescription eye glasses. Getting hold of the lens, she held it in her mouth challenging me, and when I tried to approach her to retrieve it, she started crunching it up into hundreds of little pieces which she then spat onto the floor. You can imagine how the subsequent conversation with the optometrist went! Rosie of course was fine. Modern prescription lenses are made out of plastic and are designed to break into rounded pieces.

Rosie "helping" in the garden - she went on to destroy the whole irrigation system.

I guess all puppies go through a naughty phase, but we had not experienced the same level of destruction with our previous Staffie. And Jessie actually took it to heart when one reprimanded her. Of course, as Willie also reminded me, Jessie was an outside dog during the day. So I guess she wreaked most of her havoc on our garden. Rosie however, was oblivious to the fact that we got cross with her. I behaved like a raving lunatic sometimes, with absolutely no reaction from the dog. If anything, she’d think it was a game and carry on doing what she was doing, or even step it up a notch. Any attention was good attention.

The poor cat suffered during that first year. I’m still surprised she didn’t pack up and move in with one of the neighbours. She stayed out of reach of the puppy – during the day outside, and at night in a bedroom to which the puppy didn’t have access. You can read more about their relationship and how they eventually became friends in a previous post called “Fighting like cats and dogs“.

Rosie pinning down a sibling - a move she would later use on the cat!

We soon discovered that our current house is not really designed for raising active little puppies. The living area is open plan, and there was only one room (a bathroom) where Rosie couldn’t find anything to destroy. Another thing we were quickly taught by Rosie, is that dog baskets are for playing in – or for burying treats or toys in for later. Human furniture is so much more comfortable. It was much later that we came to understand her love for chairs and beds. After we had had her for a while, the breeder sent us a CD with all her “baby” photos – photos taken from birth through to 8 weeks. And then it all began to make so much sense. The puppies had had free reign of the house. I also think the breeder deliberately only let us see those photographs later –  because a lot of them were of Rosie being naughty!

Once the puppies were big enough they started climbing on the furniture. Rosie is the chubby one in the center of the photo with her paws in the air.

Stay tuned for the final episode in the series to find out how we all survived Rosie’s puppy-hood . . .

The jet-set puppy series:

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Categories: Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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12 Comments on “The jet-set puppy: A year of chaos”

  1. March 1, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Absolutely HILARIOUS!!! You poor thing.

    • March 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      I can laugh at it now too, but at the time I thought I’d turn into a puppy murderer!

  2. Estie
    March 1, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Must have been hell. You could not even leave her with daycare. But you did a great job, she is so sweet now.

    • March 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

      Thanks, yes she is a good dog now. Puppy daycare is something I thought of often! I did ask a friend whether she wanted to puppy-sit for me, but she had met Rosie and declined!

  3. March 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    This is a brilliantly hysterical post, Lisa—really, really well done! Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. Our older and larger dog Ralph is still our destructive one. He’s chewed my glasses, Sara’s Birkenstocks, and many other semi-valuables.

    Hugs from Haiti,
    Kathy

    • March 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      Thank you! Thank goodness Rosie outgrew her destructiveness. She has the odd lapse, but I can deal with that. We give Rosie plenty of things to chew on, so that she doesn’t chew on our stuff. How old is Ralph now?

  4. March 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    This is such a delightful post, Lisa! Rosie is gorgeous and I can imagine how exhausting you found her puppy-hood! We’ve always had Jack Russells, and I can relate to so much of what you describe. Thanks for the fun – I needed that!
    Sunshine xx

    • March 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

      Thank you! I was comparing notes with a friend who has a Jack Russell and Staffies do seem to have a lot in common with them. Guess it’s that terrier personality coming out. The difference, of course, is that Staffies are bigger and heavier and have huge teeth (for their size).

  5. March 2, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    but she is so cute!!!!!

  6. March 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    She sounds like a naughty toddler 🙂 I’m sitting with a big grin on my face imagining the numerous “face off”s you’ve had. You described it so well!

    • March 6, 2011 at 7:14 am #

      Yes, she was like a naughty toddler – and now she’s like a naughty teenager! 🙂

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