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Our family got bigger... again!

Yep, we got a dog. The kids and I took a trip to the shelter yesterday to see if any dogs there struck our fancy, and one did. So we brought home Jinx, a 9 month old (they think) border collie/poodle mix. She is the most lovely dog I have ever met. I know, I already sound like a bragging parent (like I didn't do enough of that already!), but she doesn't bark or jump up, she walks on a lead without pulling, she's house trained, and she's good with the kids. Unfortunately it seems as though much of this is due to harsh treatment by the previous owner. This is a guess, of course, because she is timid and shrinks a little from people when they first approach as well as other small behaviors- she won't potty on a leash, and won't go if you're paying attention to her (like she's afraid of being scolded) and she won't pick up her toys (like she's afraid of being scolded for chewing). But I plan on loving these behaviors right out of her! I have picked up a book on positive dog discipline so I can maintain her good behaviors without perpetuating her fears. She's already bonded with me and seems to be slowly getting more comfortable in her new home.

So, my challenge now is to keep my pet care both eco friendly and cost effective. She doesn't require much, but dogs do eat a lot. My game plan, as of right now, is to find the best natural food that isn't super expensive (I know I know, easier said than done, thankfully I live in an area with many health food stores) and to supplement it with some homemade dog food. But it has to be something that doesn't take a ton of time because my time is so limited as it is. If anyone has any suggestions on a natural dog food or homemade dog food recipes please let me know!

Another thing I need to research is crate training. I'm torn- I don't want to regret NOT doing it, especially since she's young now and training would be relatively easy. But there are a number of reasons I don't want to crate train as well. First of all, my house is about to explode. If I try to stuff one more thing, particularly a large thing like a dog crate, it might just blow. Really, I don't know where I would put a crate. Secondly, she doesn't need one. She doesn't tear things up or have accidents when we're away, she doesn't get overly excited about anything, or for any other reason need to be contained. I feel more comfortable with her able to move around in the side of the house she spends most of her time on (it's not an expansive space, either) while we're sleeping or away that I would be confining her to a crate. I understand that dogs are den making animals and many feel more comfortable if they have a small space that is theirs alone, but unless she shows me signs that she needs something like this I will probably not bother with the crate. If anyone has insight on this, let me know- this is my first foray into independent dog owndership (we always had dogs growing up, but I wasn't ever directly responsible) and I want to make sure I do it right!


Brianna said...

On the last comment you made about always having dogs growing up.... I laughed at the thought of crate training Shiner. That woulda been funny. Or Ruff Ruff woulda been even better.

Jennifer said...

Congratulations! Sharing your home with a dog can be a wonderful, if hairy, experience. :-)

I can't speak for anyone else, but I've had dogs all my life and have never used crates. (Tried a couple of times, but it didn't take.) In my experiences, the dogs have usually found their own "den" space when they wanted it (one of my mom's dogs has adopted the space under an end table) but usually are happier to be in the places where the rest of the pack (two- and four-legged) hangs out.

Also, if you're interested, I put a long-ish post on my blog about natural foods and flea prevention and such for dogs... --I hope it might help you!

Enjoy your new adventure! I bet your kids are thrilled!

Kerrie said...

Congrats! She is cute! Long story short crates are good for a ton of other issues that dogs can develop. For instance Gunther was crate trained and slept there for almost 2 years, me being lazy started letting him sleep on the end of our bed. Due to moving etc. he is very obsessed with me and has anxiety with me leaving, apparently him sleeping outside his crate made it worse. Now he sleeps in the crate and most of those behaviors are decreasing. My sister has a book why crates are helpful that was useful. All I know is I thought the same thing and now I am grateful I trained him in it because he loves it and knows it is his spot. Good Luck! How is life other than that? It has been a long time since we have caught up.

Brandislee said...

Brianna- we could have totally crate trained Ruff Ruff. In fact, she probably would have loved it. Shiner would have been a little harder.

So I made a decision on the crate training thing (before reading Kerrie's comment, but my logic is pretty much what she said). It's better to have it done and not need it then to NEED to put her in a crate and have her freak out. And since my only real holdups were cost and space I decided to suck it up. Plus, thanks to a book I bought the day I bought her (The Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training) I crate trained her (mostly) in 30 min. She is totally fine with it BUT I haven't reached the phase where I shut the door yet.

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