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Vacation and Puppy- Sitting


Are you thinking about adding a puppy for your family? Last week, I took some vacation and traveled up to Maryland to spend time with family. While I was there, I spent about 4 days caring for my sister's puppy, Charlie when they went out of town. 

Charlie is about 13 weeks old and is in FULL puppy mode! 

I loved spending time caring for him, but he sure is a LOT of work! My sister and her family have been with Charlie a lot so he loves attention. This was the first time Charlie had been left in the care of someone outside of his immediate family. 

Charlie is just learning rules and training commands. He has been crate trained, so he goes into his crate whenever the house is empty and at nights. Nights with me, he couldn't stand being in his crate! His crate is located in my niece's bedroom, and I think that he missed having that presence, because he, in all his puppy glory, would not stop whining until I retrieved him. Once he was with me, he was absolutely fine and settled down to sleep his hours away, but he did NOT like being apart from me at all. 

Charlie loved getting into absolutely everything, as puppies do. Keeping most of the doors closed helped, but Charlie discovered how to open my niece's bedroom door and dived under her bed. Luckily, keeping a close eye on him prevented any major disasters, outside of an attack of a bouncy exercise ball. 

Charlie decided he wanted to play tag with the bathmat, clothing, dishtowels, plastic bags, and even his toys. These were all things that really weren't in his reach, but he decided to jump up and retrieve them from the counters or tabletops because he thought it would be fun. 

Charlie is also learning to walk on a leash. I took him out on the leash every day to try to get him to used to it. In his typical puppy fashion, he would chew and bite the leash just like a toy, but by the end of our time, he was doing a lot better! 

Charlie absolutely loved attention. Whether it was belly rubs, playing, or treats... he was always at my feet. Sometimes, he was so close that I tripped over him! 

The sad moments with Charlie is that every morning, he would go to my nephew and niece's bedroom doors looking for them. I kept all doors to every room closed so that he wouldn't attack things if I couldn't keep up with him every minute (ie- the time he went to get water, wandered into the bathroom right beside his water/food station, and starting eating toilet paper, then the trashcan's bag!).

So, if you are thinking of getting a puppy, they are certainly cute and provide great companions for all members of your family, but they are very time- consuming and a lot of work! We always had rescues growing up, and while I haven't had a pet in years, my last one was about 4 or 5 when I rescued him, so he had outgrown some of his puppy-like ways (although he had his quirks!). 

Make sure that you can dedicate time to train your puppy properly, to give them attention but proper command, and to help your children learn how to appropriately play with the puppy. Learning bad behaviors will only get worse as the puppy gets older, so nip those in the bud right away! Puppies love to chew, love to jump, and love to get into everything, so they need redirection and distractions a lot. 

They also need routine- so if your family travels a lot and you can't take your puppy with you, you also need to find someone you trust to puppy-sit that can keep that routine up. It might require getting up in the middle of the night to let them out, to feed them at certain times, and to spend lots of time playing, walking, and giving attention. 

While I loved watching Charlie, I realized that my own schedule and own life is not conducive to having a puppy. My sister is home a lot and her kids are mostly home this summer, so they have lots of time to dote on Charlie. While I would love to rescue, puppies are definitely not conducive to my life! I travel a lot, have mandatory events and retreats that keep me away a lot, and would feel bad leaving my pet in the care of someone else. 

Puppies are also expensive! Keeping up with the shots, the growth, the toys, the food, the.. everything! So its a major budget adjustment to add a puppy, especially a young puppy into your life. 

Puppies, if not properly supervised, might decide to chew items that you don't want chewed, and those would have to be replaced as well. Charlie had this weird habit of chewing on the edges of the outdoor deck chairs, I'd stop him, redirect him with a toy, and he would immediately come back to the chair after chasing said toy! 

It's definitely a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of energy, but can be so much fun and rewarding as your puppy grows up into a faithful adult companion! 

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