Posted by David
on Mar 8, 2003 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
Fresh from yet another tea party with the nighttime squirrels (read: rats) Louise, Gladys, and Pashmina—as well as her mischievous invisible friend, Beetriss—Goblin is ready to tackle yet another reader quandary. I am slightly less fresh but equally prepared. This is the penultimate in the recent spate of emailed pleas for help, and possibly more up Goblin’s alley than the last.
hi David and goblin!
I’ve got a question that’s perfect for you two! I want a puppy really badly (not a terrier but a chiwuawa) I’m out of the house from 8am till 8pm (work then gym including London traffic hell) I’m thinking that it’s a really cruel and unusual punishment for any puppy to be left at home that long without being let out…. I’ve found a dog walking service in my area (15 p for 15 mins bargain). However the walker appears to be a teenager girl whom walks only after 4pm… now would that just be too long to wait to go out for a piddle? Also… how could I trust this ‘walker’ as I would surely have to issue her house keys in order to collect my precious pooch… isn’t that just a huge security risk? God I sound like a new parent and I don’t even have a dog yet? HELP!
Great blog btw!
If you think complimenting our daily literary endeavor is going to endear you to us, Sarah, you have another thing coming. Actually, you do not have another thing coming. You are absolutely right. We love you. However, if you think we are going to do any research on your behalf, Sarah, you have another think coming. We will do our best to answer your questions from personal experience and things we have read before. We will also do our best to resist pointing out that there are no Ws in chihuahua.
It will cause her to blush, but I must honestly report that housetraining Goblin was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. This is largely because I was working very similar hours for the first few months of her life (although in Eastern Standard Time, not Greenwich Mean Time). It did not make things easier that I was actually allowed to take her to work with me, thanks to the progressive policies of my New Economy employer. (This was before the New New Economy came along and left all of the New Economy employees unemployed, myself included. At least I was able to spend more time housetraining my dog.)
It would indeed be cruel and unusual punishment to leave your puppy alone for that long without being let out . . . if you expect it not to go to the bathroom in your house. If you do not care if it goes to the bathroom in your house, you are one step ahead of the game, because that is an activity on which puppies spend an inordinate amount of time. I once left a three-month-old Goblin alone for eight hours, closed in the bathroom where I thought she could not do any damage, and she painted the walls with excrement.
Even if excrement were not a factor, it would still be not in a puppy’s best interest to be alone for that much of the day. Dogs are social animals, and while an adult dog may be able to occasionally spend that much time alone, puppies, especially puppies you wish to eventually have grow into well-trained dogs, will most likely not be able to manage.
If you absolutely must have a chihuahua, and if you absolutely must be away from home for twelve hours a day, you have three options:
1. Professional dog walkers. This is also a good way to socialize your puppy with other dogs (if you choose one who walks multiple dogs at once; these are usually cheaper). The problem is, as you mentioned, they are not necessarily the safest or most reliable choice. Do not shop for a bargain; ask other dog owners in your neighborhood for recommendations, and insist upon other references when contacting prospective dog walkers. Do all of this before you even get your dog. Also, find some way of occasionally spying on the dog walker when he or she is in your house, either using a hidden camera or by popping in unexpectedly.
The other problem is that this will do nothing to initially housebreak your dog, it will only help (slightly) with the loneliness problem.
2. Doggie daycare. Another good way of socializing your puppy, although it can be expensive . . . and many will not take untrained dogs.
3. Be one of those wacky people who carries her chihuahua around with her wherever she goes. This is probably the best option, although it may result in a dog that cannot stand to be separated from you at all.
Um. How about a cat instead? Or an iguana?
Puppy puppy puppy! I’m a puppy! Daddy says I’m eighteen in dog years and that’s no spring chicken but I feel like a puppy! Daddy says that I’m not a puppy and that I’m a dog and a girl dog and that makes me a bitch. Bitch bitch bitch! Daddy doesn’t know that sometimes his words hurt like weapons.
Daddy says I shouldn’t write too much because he wants to write something else later. Daddy says that if I write a short answer he’ll give me a Wheat Thin. Wheat Thin Wheat Thin Wheat Thin! Is this my lucky day or what? Daddy is going to have a frozen dinner for dinner because Uncle Bobby is out rehearsing his new show and isn’t here to cook something good. Uncle Bobby is addicted to saltines. I’m addicted to his crumbs! Crumbs crumbs crumbs! He is the Crumb Lord!
*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*
Speaking of food I just came from another tea party with Louise and Gladys and Pashmina. Our last one was cancelled because Pashmina had the plague again. Plague plague plague! Today she showed up with a pigeon head and told me to eat up. It was gross gross gross so I said no but then Beetriss ate it.
Oh yeah. Advice. I think everyone should have a dog and everyone who has a dog should be lucky enough to have a dog like me. Me me me! Everybody knows that Goblin makes the best poops in New York and that’s really saying something. Maybe your dog will make the best poops in London but nobody will know because they’ll be all over your floor and walls and maybe ceilings if you get a really creative one.
Do I get my Wheat Thin now?