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We got a puppy. An adorable, sweet, soft, cuddly, and highly mischievous puppy. Her name is Zoe and she is a Goldendoodle.
Zoe is a Greek word meaning LIFE. Zoe is full of life and that makes her the perfect fit for our family! She has so much energy; she doesn’t mind having six kids and two adults who want to play with her and teach her and cuddle with her. Its definitely no mystery why we love our brand new pet!
We figured out pretty quickly that the best way to keep Zoe out of trouble was to keep her active and engaged with our family, wherever we are. From the moment we brought her home — when she was about the length of my flip flop — we have kept her with us. When she would try to run off and explore we would either go explore with her, or bring her back to the big rug in our living room near where we homeschool and spend much of our day. We also like to take her along when we go to the park or the pet store or anywhere she is allowed to go.
Because we consistently brought her back to that room and that space in the room (the big rug) she quickly recognized that as “her spot” in the house. She plays on the rug with her toys, sleeps in the living room for all her naps, and goes running to that rug when she has something in her mouth she shouldn’t be chewing on. It’s both adorable and handy. Whenever we introduce a new toy, we set it in the middle of the rug and she instantly recognizes that it belongs to her.
Besides making sure Zoe has a comfortable spot that is within our sight at all times, we’ve also made sure to keep her interested in her toys. We did this at first by introducing new toys gradually, not giving her all of her toys at once. Now that she has a decent collection of toys, we try to rotate what she is playing with so the toys are always fresh.
I did this with my kids when they were little and it works great for pets too! I also like to pick up a new toy for her every once in a while as a special treat — especially when she outgrows one of the puppy toys we purchased in the beginning. She’s growing super fast!
Since Zoe came to live with us, I’ve tried to consistently take her out for walks in the neighborhood. I’ll bring along one or more of the kids and walk about a mile. I use this time to introduce her to the people on our street who’ve become her friends, and especially all the kids on our street that my kids play with.
I have spent time letting her smell each bush and tree and pole near our home — even though it is a pain — because I want to make sure she recognizes where we live. Also, my husband and kids have made a point to let her jog home (at her pace) for the last little bit of the walk so that she recognizes when we are close.
Walking helps get a lot of her puppy energy out for the day so that she doesn’t get into as much trouble. Plus it sets a good precedent for her as she gets older. She loves to walk and doesn’t even argue any more about getting her harness on since that means we are going out to walk.
One of the most important things we have done to help keep Zoe engaged and out of trouble is work on training. It’s super important to be patient with puppies as they learn new skills, so we take it nice and slow and give lots of praise and treat rewards when Zoe works on new concepts.
At first, we were hyper-focused on giving her treats when she went potty outside and not inside or when she came when called and learned her name. Then we worked on some simple commands like Sit and Lie Down and even Shake. Now we are working on more advanced skills like Leave It and Stay. These last two skills are life-saving skills dogs can learn so that they don’t run through the open door into the street or eat something they shouldn’t.
Besides being a safety net for dogs, training helps the dogs be more pleasant to live with. Plus, engaging her brain in this way helps her keep from getting bored.
During the month of June, PetSmart shoppers can get a $10 PetSmart gift card when you purchase $40 in participating Purina products in the store. That means you can pick up Purina® Beggin’ treats and work on teaching your dog new skills too! I like to cut up the Purina® Beggin’ treats into smaller pieces per the package directions because Zoe is still a baby (a big baby, weighing in at twenty pounds already). But you can also buy the new Little Beggin Strips which are very fun as well. And — you can get gift cards using this deal over and over all month long! Upload your receipts here to get your gift card.