Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Puppy Training 101

Hurghada is such a gorgeous place to live. With the sand, and the sea breeze, and the fresh air, it really invigorates your soul. Just one more reason to leave Cairo, was losing our German Shepherd Sookie near Shell shop in Maadi. It's a heart-wrenching experience to lose an animal, especially if you don't know what has happened to them. And Sookie would have loved Hurghada, much more quiet than Cairo.

It was in my heart to get a dog here, it just felt right. So after settling in and finding a nice apartment, it was time to find a dog. We did with Orien, told he was St. Bernard Cross Baladi. Basically a Mutt, my kind of dog :D. We now know his real background, but that's a different story.

So Orien comes to his new home, and starts settling in immediately. He wasn't too naughty at first, but of course that was part of his settling in. Now he is affectionately referred to as the "monster" and really is only as cute as he looks when he's asleep.

I've grown up with dogs, and have experience with puppies. Or so I thought. Never had I gotten a puppy 2 months old, and even the puppies I did have in the past, I wasn't responsible for raising them. As children, we all holler and scream for puppies, to have that perfect playmate around all the time. Of course it's our parents that are generally the ones taking care of the puppy, cleaning up the poo, replacing the chewed up furniture, puppy proofing necessary areas in the house to hide any potential chewables. And this in itself is a feat, just when you think there's nothing for the puppy to chew on, you come back to shredded pieces of "WTF" everywhere all over the floor. So far, Orien has developed a taste for toilet paper, think the little yellow lab puppy in those comfort adds. Yeah. Snow covering the floor, and the puppy sitting in the middle looking up at you like "YES! you're home! FEED ME!!!"

I've read up on a lot of different puppy training techniques, and one commonly mentioned one is the crate training method. Essentially, this becomes your dogs home when it's not out, it stays in there when you're not at home, sleeps in it, etc etc. I've had experience with other dogs that hate the crate, and in Egypt dog supplies are ridiculously expensive (Think over 300 dollars for a SMALL crate...not even one that would fit Orien later on down the line). So, rather than leave Orien completely unattended and come back to matchsticks on the floor from what used to be furniture, he gets tied up in the bathroom. Figuring that would be safe, and everything was out of his reach, but no, we ended up with a houdini dog, and his love for toilet paper only grows. :p

House training a puppy is another matter itself. Newspaper is the commonly preferred method for accidents inside the house. Orien finds this just as tasty as toilet paper, and shredded newspaper is far more common than newspaper used for its purpose. He's gradually getting better, but the puppy bladder leaves you a 30 second window of noticing he asked to go out, and actually getting him outside of the door. Not to mention once he's outside, the ADD of everything going on around him is farrrr too much more interesting than peeing, why waste time doing that?! Often he prefers to wait until we're almost back inside, then right outside the door pee, all the while looking at you as though "hey, it's outside right? Don't look at me like I'm in the wrong here!"

Orien also loves the sound of his own voice. In fact, he loves it so much, he feels like everyone else around him would love it too. Cats, dogs, children, people, cars, anything that passes even remotely near to the balcony gets a "woof...woof woof woof woof woof" greeting. Our landlord was not impressed, and it's led to more than one stubbed toe while scrambling out of bed to get him to shut up.

Needless to say, it's quite an experience. A puppy in his terrible twos stage...I am sure he'll give me lots of things to update with! lol.


  1. I am so sorry! I didn't ralise that Sookie was your dog. that really is terrible. You could, perhaps, try Adam Katz, yes hat's what e calls himself!! I have subscribed to him, i am reasonably impressed, but remember, if your dog has it in his mind to chase that cat, he will, and it will take you a long time,relatively, to bring him down to earth!! Good luck and don't leave him unattended outside!!
    love Dad xx

  2. My spelling isn't that bad!! I have no idea why there are letters missing in my last message