Make Allowances for Stress – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Bandit the foster puppy sits on a bed.

A rare moment of repose. I think this one lasted 3 seconds.

Short sentences. Don’t have long. Bandit, our new foster puppy, should be done chewing his bone in about…

Oh, damn.

Puppies = Stress

Puppy breath causes amnesia. If it didn’t, dog breeders of all kinds would take up stamp collecting.

Who wants an insatiably curious set of razor-sharp teeth with four feet and a tail who steps in his own poop and has no off-switch?

They’re sooooooooooooo cute.

Yes, but they’re stressful.

I don’t know how my friends who raise guide dog puppies do it. Over and over again. And still manage to hold down jobs, feed themselves, and train their puppies.

Something has gotta give.

You Can’t Do it All

I was planning to finish painting the bathroom trim this week. That’s not gonna happen.

And the house needs a thorough cleaning.  But as long as the backyard is a muddy ultimate bitey face championship ring, that’s not gonna happen either.

And it has to be okay. Because I can’t do anything about it.

Bandit needs me more than my bathroom baseboards or my kitchen floor.

And I have to make an allowance for the added stress.

Expecting Too Much From Your Dog (and Yourself)

One of the biggest training mistakes most of us make is to expect too much from our dogs too soon. We teach them to sit in our living room and then get frustrated when they don’t listen to us outside with kids running by, two dogs approaching off-leash, and a squirrel rushing by his nose.

All those things are stressors for your dog.

Expecting your dog to behave just as well surrounded by distractions as she does at home in the quiet is like…

Well, it’s like working, cooking, blogging, and cleaning house with a puppy zipping through your legs.

Time to make some allowances for stress.

It’s good for the dog. It’s good for me.

Introducing Bandit, the Foster Puppy

Honey the Golden Retriever stares down Bandit the foster puppy.

If you can imagine what a white dog and a golden dog look like after playing in the mud for twenty minutes, you probably have an idea of what my kitchen floors look like.

Saturday afternoon, the Tompkins County SPCA called to ask if I could take a 3 1/2 month old puppy.

I guess I don’t have to tell you my answer.

Bandit is a good puppy. I mean, a really good puppy.

He’s sweet. He listens well. He’s gentle with those pointy razor teeth. He’s house trained. He loves everyone. And he plays beautifully with Honey.

But we haven’t yet found his off-switch.

He’s always curious. Always exploring. Always moving.

He is not one of those dogs who sleeps 16-18 hours a day.

Maybe he’ll settle down in a day or two. He did manage to nap a little yesterday morning.

But, even tethered to my chair, he takes a lot of attention. If he turns his teeth from his bone to his pillow (which happens after about 10 seconds), I need to return his interest to acceptable chewing items. And I have to be aware enough of what he’s doing to take him for his needed outside breaks.

So wish us luck in providing a good temporary home for him so Bandit can make a happy transition to his new home when it comes along.

Do you pile on the stress? Or are you smart enough to recognize when too much is too much and scale back expectations? And, are you better at making allowances for your dog’s stress? Or your own?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Oh those puppy days! We hope Bandit finds a forever home soon. He looks so cute. Have a marvelous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Best of luck with Bandit. Having had and/or adopted only senior dogs the last 8 years, I don’t know if I could handle the energy of a puppy! Get plenty of sleep when you can to keep up.

  3. Oooh, puppies. If they weren’t so cute, no one would want one! :) Just reading your account of Bandit’s activities brought me back to when Cooper was a pup… and how exhausting it was! Bandit is a cutie, so I’m sure he’ll find his forever home very soon.

  4. He is so adorable, it makes me want to take a trip to Ithaca. Right. Now.

    I’ve had to learn to handle my stress in the last year, purely for health reasons, but typically I tend to worry more about the dog’s stress than my own. I mean, people actually listen to my needs when I cry or yell, but many people don’t listen to the dogs. I will be their voice when something is not right for them.

    Yesterday my grandchildren were over and my grandson wanted to pet Delilah, (which is great) but after a few seconds she didn’t want him touching her, so she moved, but he being five didn’t understand so he moved with her. Eventually she barked at him and I explained to him that she didn’t want him to pet her and he needed to be respectful of that.

    I think he understood. (Which just prompted an idea for a post.) LOL

    Good luck with Bandit, he is going to be a great fit for some lucky family!

  5. Julie Blackwelder says:

    The last time I babysat one like that we went on a tour of the entire 2.5 acres, then up and down the drive a few times … with me on the golf cart! I learned many years ago that I can’t keep up with the high activity level dogs, even some of the puppies! When you have an owner that runs 5 miles every morning with the dog, they expect it when they are boarding too. It didn’t take long to learn how to hold the short leash, and teach them to trot along beside me. I started out very, very slow. By the end of the first day we started to pick up speed. By the second day, I have to restrain them as they want to run full speed and I don’t want to go that fast! They all love it and I think they think we are racing and they are trying to win.

  6. He looks *big* for 3.5 months. My goodness.

    And I hear you on the amnesia. I can’t tell you how many times I cried while Silas was a puppy. “I’m never doing this again! Puppies are horrible!” And then I catch myself thinking “next time we have a puppy I’ll….” ACK.

  7. Bandit is super cute!! I find that stress on me or the dogs, is cured with a nice walk. Well, mostly cured.

  8. Fostering puppies is the best – in that you get your puppy fix & then bam! They’re off to their forever home & you can finally get those floors mopped. :-)

    Hopefully, Bandit will find his home in no time flat but in the meantime, stop & smell the puppy breath. I hear it’s pretty magical in making one forget those things that stress one out.

  9. I too use a walk for stress–real or imagined. It sure helps and gives Sage a must needed outing. Yes, puppies are a handful, which is why one sees so many brought to a shelter. Sad, but true. Bandit will get used to your routine and settle down in time. And I know you’ll find him a wonderful home!

  10. To me the worst sort of stress is boredom so I guess I go looking for activities that prevent boredom. I got all of my guys as adults, raised by patient devoted puppy raisers who could no longer keep them. I have forgotten the frustrations of puppydom. Maybe I’ll get a puppy if boredom starts to set in.
    Then maybe not.

  11. Love puppies for sure-how can you resist! But happy I got my older pup Max and didn’t have to re-live some of the not so fun puppy growing experiences too :)

  12. Oh, he is adorable, but, yes, puppies are SO much work. That is definitely why they make them so cute! Good luck – hope he finds a furever home soon!

  13. Sue Oakes says:

    He’s adorable! But OMD, look at the size of him! Are you sure he’s only 3-1/2 months?
    That puppy breath is a great smile maker, AND stress reducer. Even though Ducky’s past her first birthday, she still has “puppy breath” and I love it, especially when she gives me a faceful of kisses!
    I try to remember not to expect too much too soon, but sometimes I get a bit impatient and then I feel bad about it. Now that I have to keep Callie on a leash whenever we go outside, she’s teaching me again how to be patient. I wonder if she expects too much of me? :-)

  14. I am exhausted just thinking about YOU fostering that puppy! It reminds me quite a lot of how it was when I fostered Linus. He was cute as the dickens – but W O R K. I’ve scaled way back and while I do have 2 dwarf hamsters to now care for (easier than a puppy for sure but still require a surprising amount of time and effort) in addition to Blueberry, I feel like I can manage quite well. Certain times of the year I feel like I can take on more, but this is not one of those times. Hang in there and thanks for taking care of that little pup!

  15. What a cutie! Yes those puppy days certainly keep you on your toes

  16. Bandit is so cute. Puppies have no off switch until 1 – 2 years old. It took my terrier until he was 3.
    You are to be blessed for fostering a puppy. If puppies weren’t so cute, no one would adopt one.

  17. Love what you said about puppy breath causing amnesia – kind of like labor – if we remembered it all we’d never have more kids. I’d always got puppies before, but I got Dakota the Corgi when she was 13 months old. She came already microchipped, housebroken, crate trained, spayed, obedience trained, “cat broke” – instant dog, just add water. It did take her a long time to bond with me, which I didn’t expect since puppies bond so easily. But now she’s my girl for sure.

  18. Bandit couldn’t have a better foster mommy. Your baseboards won’t love you back, but he will.

  19. Thank you for reminding us about the never ending energy of a puppy. We are so used to our quiet, senior dog!! Sometimes I wonder if we will be able to live through puppy hood again. I’m glad we are not the only ones that tether puppies – it’s easier than chasing them around the house!! Good luck with that little cutie!

  20. He’s adorable! I was just talking to friends who recently adopted a puppy about how much work they are. They really can take over your life! Fortunately, it only lasts a short amount of time, and the kitchen floor and bathroom baseboards will still be there.

  21. God definitely made puppies cute on purpose! When my dogs do something frustrating I often say, “You’re lucky you’re cute.” I don’t say it in a mean or scolding way. It is just a funny way of releasing the tension.

  22. I have a great deal of stress in my life now. And I am NEVER caught up. So it’s important to me to accept that, and still take some time for me.

  23. This is a really good post! And I think you’re going to fall in love with Bandit!

  24. Sounds like a handful! I have never raised a puppy myself, but if I ever do, I know my entire life will need rearranging because that first year is so important. Training, housebreaking, socializing…

    I imagine it’s worth it though to end up with a well rounded companion – like Honey. :-)

    Thanks for making the time for this sweet guy…it will mean all the difference in the world to his new family.

  25. I need to share this post with every client in our vet office. I find many many times people don’t make allowances for the stress their dog feels coming into a place where 90% of the time they are getting poked and proded.

    Dont hold onto too much hope that in the next couple of days he’ll settle. He is a male puppy after all! :) #realitycheck :)

  26. I probably give Gretel too much leeway. I knew she was fearful and would always be submissive when I adopted her. I push her to grow some but mostly I adjust my expectations.