I re-read "The Puppy Primer" and tried to get Craig to read it too. He kept saying he would get to it, until finally we had found our girl, the date to bring her home was set and I found myself reading the important parts aloud to him while he ate. What can I say, I was determined for us to be on the same page.
--Equipment--crate with adjustable sizing panel and double doors. I am feeling very good about this crate, especially since when I added the link to this post I noticed the price had gone up significantly. bah ha ha ha ha! I love it when I get a good deal! The one I bought is 24x18. I paid round about 40bucks for it and it works great.
A crate pad. This pad is so cute. The outer shell is cloth in a rainbow paw print pattern and is covering a wet resistant layer that encases the foam pad. It's darn cute, but not at all puppy proof. The seam of the cloth cover began ripping apart on day 1 and has continued to fall apart. Matilda then managed to unzip the second layer and begin chewing the foam. Fun for her, clean up for me.
Mess mats. I love these. These mats happen to fit perfectly into her crate and are easily washable and look just great. I feed her in her crate for now, so I lay one out and give her a big ole meaty bone to gnaw on. She makes a mess all over, but when she's done I just pick up the mat and toss it in the laundry. This makes indoor raw feeding super easy.
I had the winning bid on a dog package at a silent auction to benefit the local animal shelter (remember the rubber chicken?) a baby gate was one of the items in the package. This has been so useful. I use it to 'quarantine' her into a room that I am in so I can keep an eye on her (a potty training must), I use it to separate her from the boys if I think she is beginning to annoy them, and today I used it to keep the boys in another room while she tirelessly attempted to finish her bone in her crate. The gate has also been helpful to keep distance between Matilda and the cats, Quimby and Purr-C. The cats can easily jump over the gate and escape from Matilda if they need to. The model I am using is from Theisens but is not on the website. It works well, but is a bit tricky to adjust its sizing.
|Purr-C jumps the gate|
We've also set up an X-pen (something like this one). It's a hand-me-down from a friend. I have it in the basement so when I go do laundry I can put her in it. This way I know where she is, and I know she's not making snacks out of what the cats put in the litter box! A big no thank you to kitty litter kisses. I laid an old blanket on the ground covering the floor of the x-pen so if she had an accident in the x-pen while i wasn't looking I could just pick up the blanket and take it to the wash..
Natures Miracle has been a helping hand. Because accidents do happen even when you are diligent.
A Cat bell attached to her collar has been a great tool in keeping track of this little wiggle worm. If she is out of sight, I just follow the jingle. This also keeps her from being able to sneak up on the cats.
Of course we got her a lupine collar, leash and harness(no surprise there). This I am thankful for because they are lifetime guaranteed even if chewed, and she is chewing them whenever she gets the chance. Another tool in the anti-chewing tool kit, bitter apple spray. I sprayed it on any electrical cords I thought she might be able to get at and on anything she showed interest in chewing that she shouldn't, like the drawer pulls on the bathroom drawer.
I also tried something new which I can honestly say may have worked great, or may not have worked at all. I can't say for sure. The D.A.P. diffuser and Feliway diffuser . I set up the Feliway diffuser in the kitchen near where Matilda's crate would be during the day and plugged in the D.A.P. diffuser in the bedroom near where her crate would be placed at night. Matilda has quietly slept well her in crate every night and the cats, though larger than her and not generally fond of new dogs have not attacked her or done anything rash whatsoever.
It should be said that before she was with us Matilda slept in a crate at night, and that we did our best to put her to sleep in her crate when she was tired and so were Craig and I and the dog boys as well. We took her out to potty just before bed and we ignored any whimpering that might have gone on momentarily so as not to reinforce it.
We kept the cats in a separate room for the first 2 days Matilda was here. We let the cats out to smell her crate and toys when she was in another room. We have provided safe areas and escape routes for the cats when they are in the same room as her(cat trees, window perch, baby gate), and under no circumstance has Matilda been aloud to chase the cats.
So is it all the work put in to setting all this up? Or is it the pheromone diffusers? Or is it both?
I have to say I was surprised when Purr-C climbed onto my lap for a nap while Matilda was also napping on my lap. Maybe it's the experience Purr-C now has under his belt, meeting many new animals and becoming more comfortable with change and feeling safe because he has an escape route. ?
When Matilda arrived we made sure the boys had been properly exercised that day and under no stress. We introduced them in a calm environment with rewards. In this case we put Matilda in her crate and then let Bugsy come into the room. Bugsy is the least likely to make a huff, bark or pee. He is the most likely to respond to treats and to ignore a puppy and so the least likely to scare Matilda. When Bugsy saw Matilda, he got a treat. Then every time he looked at her over the course of about 5 minutes he got a treat and praise. Matilda also was offered treats while she calmly stood in the crate. This went so well that I opened her crate door after a few minutes. Matilda went to the nearest lap she could find and ignored Bugsy completely. Bugsy was almost in my lap dutifully looking at Matilda then drooling for his treat and otherwise ignoring her. After a few minutes I let Bugsy outside to sniff the yard and pee. Then a break for Matilda and then the same routine with Comet, then Harry. Each introduction went about the same with the boys mostly ignoring Matilda and Matilda showing more interest in the people then the big dogs. This was all perfectly acceptable. Was it the calming effect of the diffusers???? Or the positive reinforcement? Each dogs individual personality?
The boys are all used to introductions with new dogs, and have met many on the home turf like this. Had it been a lovely warm sunny day I might have chosen to introduce them individually off turf on a walk in a park somewhere, but it was not a lovely day and I am comfortable that this routine works for my dogs. So I am pleased it all went well. Since I can't say for sure the diffusers helped I'll just give myself the credit, how about that? :)
So you see, a lot has been done to prepare for this new arrival.