I aspired to be really good about this and write every day about how life is with Rufus, but let me tell you right now, I didn't realize how much time, effort, and attention it would require to have him home!
A typical day for us now is as follows:
6-7AM - Alarm goes off, I wake up for work. Mike may or may not have had to take Rufus out around 3AM, but if not, lately he volunteers to bring our little monster out in the AM.
7:30 - Breakfast for Rufus. We tried mixing just a spoonful of wet food with his dry food yesterday and he vacuumed it up. We were happy. He was happy. His tummy was not happy. More details later.
8:00 - Mommy leaves for work, Rufus goes in crate post eating and playtime.
8:15-9 - Daddy wakes up, starts to get ready for work & plays with Rufus
9:30 - Daddy takes Rufus out to potty, plays for a little, then Rufus goes back in the crate for a nap
12-1 - Mommy comes home to take Rufus out to potty/feed him lunch + playtime
1-3 - Rufus waits patiently for Aunt Stephanie to come play with him
3-4:30 - Aunt Stephanie arrives, takes Rufus out to potty, and tries to tire him out ;)
4:30-5:30 - Rufus waits patiently for mommy to get home. On good days, he takes a nap
5:30 - Mommy gets home, takes Rufus out and feeds him his dinner
6-8 - Playtime with mommy
8-9 - PLEASE JUST TAKE A NAP!!
9-11 - Water comes up, playtime + potty again. Make every effort to tire puppy out so he will SLEEP through the night. PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE!
We're very lucky in that Mikes sister comes over to play with Rufus during the afternoon and bring him outside. We haven't had an accident in the crate in the entire nearly 3 weeks we've had him, plus now he comes right out of his crate, and walks (off leash) to the side door with mommy or daddy to go out to potty. He is even starting to sit by the baby gate which closes off the room he is in when he has to go during playtime. For 10 weeks old, he's a smarty pants.
We did have ONE accident in the crate, and boy was it a major one. As I mentioned up above, we tried mixing a little bit of wet food in with his dry food. I didn't go crazy at all, he got less than a spoonful of wet food to his 1/4 cup of dry food per meal. At first, we were thrilled, because instead of looking at his food and ignoring it until he felt like eating, Rufus vacuumed his food up! Then, last night, when he was alone in the crate for an hour, we had a diarrea explosion. Poor guy :(
The good part is that at least we were expecting an accident at some point. His crate did not have a doggie bed in it, but we had a fleece liner down, plus a fleece throw blanket, two towels and a smaller blanket a friend got for us for him. ALL of it had to go in the washer, but at least I could see where the mess was, and clean it up. Second good part - the exercise pen we ordered for him came over the weekend so I had someplace to put munchkin while I cleaned up. He likes chasing paper towels ;) Third, and perhaps a blessing in disguise, because all of his bedding was downstairs in the wash at his bedtime, and I was at my wits end since this accident happened at 10:30 (Mommy's bedtime), I ended up putting the dog bed we bought for him into his crate, and boy, let me tell you, King Rufus is calm, and loves his crate, and seems to be getting the best sleep of his life right now.
Having a puppy is challenging though. I have a lot going on in my life right now - nothing bad at all, believe me, but the stress and being overwhelmed both at work, and at home with puppy was starting to get to me. Especially when weekends have been non-stop busy or playing with Rufus and not a lot of catching up on much needed rest. I just have to work on getting a good balance back though, which will take some time but is totally possible.
The hard part is - I WANT to go home and play with Rufus, and I WANT to play with him as much as possible on the weekend and sometimes I do that to a fault because I end up not putting my needs or wants first. He is so amusing though, and so cute, and FINALLY turning into a cuddler though - so it's hard to resist!!
To help with the puppy play time/life balance we purchased an exercise pen that we could set up in the kitchen for when I had to cook/we were eating. I felt really awful putting Rufus back in his crate for an hour while we did dinner. We set up the exercise pen as soon as it came on Saturday and gave it a try - and wouldn't you know it, Rufus hated it! I put his dog bed in there, along with some toys and myself, and he was shaking and whining trying to get out. Poor guy. He was more calm being in there when I cleaned out his crate last night, but he still didn't seem to like to be in an enclosed space.
At 10 weeks, he's definitely a lot more calm than he was at 8 weeks. He's no longer chewing on furniture, even though he is very definitely teething. We adopted a trick from Mike's sister - picking Rufus up - for when he gets too riled up and starts snarling and nipping. It gets his attention really quickly and he realizes that we don't play like that. In two more weeks he gets the final shots for his puppy innoculations - at least, enough that I would feel ok with letting him go to puppy kindergarten - so at that point we will definitely be enrolling him in a puppy class, or finding an obedience trainer.
So far, as tired and as overwhelmed as I am though, I'm happy - we're happy, and not for nothing, but having a life that you are responsible for aside from yours puts a lot of things in serious perspective.