Life with Gatsby

I hate neglecting my little blog but right after Jackie passed I had zero desire or inspiration. I felt so consumed with sadness that I couldn’t bring myself to write a happy blog post without feeling completely inauthentic. So, thank you for bearing with me.

One consistent positive throughout this nightmare has been my family; my husband and our 11 week old pup, Gatsby. Timing is everything and our little buddy could not have come at a better time and he’s been a great source of comfort. He’s been home for exactly two weeks now and I didn’t realize how much my life and marriage could change in such a short time! Of course, the change has been for the absolute best but we are putting a lot of work into raising this little sweetheart to make sure he gets the best of all we can give, is safe, clean, healthy and disciplined. Basically, we’re following the books as close as possible in regards to training. I wanted to share our journey (so far) as a new family and if you guys have any tips or advice I am completely open to hear it!! Don’t hesitate to email, comment or reach out. 🙂

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Gatsby is a purebred Boston Terrier and he has two settings: 1, total rambunctious psycho with an abundance of energy and incessant need to chew ALL THE THINGS and 2, sweet, calm, sleepy little mush who melts into your lap and becomes putty in your hands. We have yet to see the in between of these two.

Our two greatest challenges currently are house training and teething.

Teething

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Everything to this little dude is a toy. Hands, clothing and hair included. I know a lot of people, myself included, will willingly let a puppy chew on their fingers because though their teeth are sharp, puppies typically aren’t that strong and their puppy nips are light and playful. Boston Terriers are similar to Bull Dogs and Frenchies in the sense that they are incredibly strong, muscular dogs. This means that the grip on their bite is powerful. You do not want this puppy getting a hold of your hand, he can seriously hurt you. My poor friend just got her finger annihilated by him. This is a serious issue that Dan and I are struggling with. We are strict with telling him NO whenever he goes for hands/clothes and recently he has been gentle around the two of us but when we are not around he doesn’t remember that human limbs are not toys. He is aware of faces though. He will not try to bite a human’s face and is incredibly gentle when he is being held as he knows he’s being held by a human and not a giant chew toy. Several people have mentioned the water bottle spritz for training where you gently spritz a mist of water in the dog’s face when he does something wrong. We are getting a spray bottle this weekend to use this disciplinary tactic only to curb his biting.

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We have also started feeding him semi frozen baby carrots. The coldness is a great comfort to his teething gums. Carrots are also very healthy for puppy’s teeth as the roughness cleans and polishes them and removes plaque. Gatsby LOVES carrots and he is starting to learn the difference between the carrot and our fingers, which is great as he will avoid our fingers and focus on only chewing the carrot. The only downside here is that carrots make him gassy…and he certainly doesn’t need any help in that department.

House Breaking

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We are using a mix of Wee Wee Pads, a gated area in our apartment, and outdoor walks. Our vet doesn’t want us taking him out too often before he completes his vaccinations but he approved us taking him on quick walks (in private areas that are not highly populated by other dogs) to help house break him.

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We secured our kitchen with baby gates and my husband taped a mat over our floors to protect the wood from stains. His Wee Wee pad stays in one corner away from both his crate and food and it is right next to the gate. We take him out this gate when we walk him so he can learn that when he has to relieve himself, he goes towards the exit to go outside. Our vet suggested that we set up his room in a triangle with the Wee Wee Pad in one corner, crate in another and food in another.

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We are crate training him. His breeder started crating him so by the time he came home he was already comfortable in his crate. He never cries at night and has begun to hold his bladder for 3 hours. He peed in his crate the first two nights and we realized it was because his crate was too big for him. We didn’t want to buy a new one with the moveable walls because he was already comfortable and accustomed to this one. We simply stacked up towels to fill in half the crate leaving him only enough room to turn around. Since creating the “wall” he has not had a single accident in his crate. At night, we snuggle with him on the couch for an hour or so and then we bring the crate into our bedroom right next to our pillow so we can see him. He doesn’t like the dark so we put a small night light on the floor that gives him comfort and does not disturb us. The light is also great because we can see what he’s doing. At night when he’s sleepy, he willingly walks right into his crate and passes out instantly. When he wakes up to pee we take him to the Wee Wee Pad so he can relieve himself and then he happily goes back into the crate and back to sleep. As soon as we wake up we bring the crate back into the kitchen (his room) and take him outside for a walk. He consistently poops and pees during this first walk every day. Then, he comes back in, gets breakfast and playtime for about 20-30 minutes and goes on another walk to pee. Throughout the day he gets some down time in the crate and always out for a walk after that. The crate definitely calms him and we’ve seen a massive difference in his temperament on days when he does not spend any time in the crate. It’s his home and where he feels safe. So far he has been very good with house training.

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He gets cold easily and I never want to see the poor baby shiver so we always bundle him up for chilly walks.

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When it comes to house training we are big believers in utilizing positive reinforcement so treats are abundant. I like to stick with all natural products where I recognize every ingredient listed. The Wellness brand came highly recommended by my friend Angela who is the Queen of Puppies. She is the ULTIMATE dog mama and super anal about safe, healthy pet products. She gave Gatsby the Healthy Dogma treats in the center. They help with diarrhea so when his poop is a bit loose he gets these treats. Our vet recommended breaking one treat into 4-6 teenie little pieces so he can get a treat every time he behaves well without being overfed. This is also great because it saves money.

Cleaning

Cleaning is by far the easiest part. Bostons don’t need to be professionally groomed and only require baths once a week. He is still a little freaked out by bath time but he handles it like a champ and we give him lots of extra lovin’ to let him know it’s ok.

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The don’t shed so they don’t really develop any funky smells. Of course, he is a pup and enjoys things like digging in dirt and stepping in poop so he does get a little stinky from time to time. To minimize that and keep him clean and healthy we always wipe his paws after walks. get-attachment.aspx

We absolutely love the Burt’s Bees pet products! We use the wipes on his paws and butt after walks and the shampoo is gentle, vet approved and leaves him smelling super fresh. Nature’s Miracle is a lifesaver for cleaning accidents around the house! It’s also safe for the pup.

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I have not tried these wipes yet but I saw them at Wal-Mart and picked them up because of the easy to grab packaging. We have tried the in between baths Aloe spray (also from Wal-Mart) and it’s a great little refresher. He gets a really gently mist, we’ve only used it once about 4 days ago and he still smells great. A little goes a long way and can be used sparingly. We have not tried the dry shampoo yet but I figured it was good to have in case there are days where he just will not accept getting wet. Backup, really.

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My husband claims that Gatsby’s head gets a bit stinky (I haven’t noticed…but I’ve also lived with dogs my whole life so I’m probably used to it) so we picked up these face wipes from Doggy Style NYC, a super cute all natural dog shop and groomers in Greenwich Village. When we bathe him we don’t wash his head or face so the wipes are a great alternative to keep him clean. They’re gentle, hypoallergenic and safe. Half of his face is white and he is starting to get a little tear stain under his eye so I got these tear wipes to help with that. He actually really likes having his face wiped and sits still and calm. I give him a little massage around the head to help make it as enjoyable as possible. For the most part he just loved being touched and loved so he’s very good with cleaning. I’ve heard great things about the Kiss-Ables products so I got the tooth brush and paste for when his adult teeth come in. It may seem crazy to brush your dog’s teeth but they need it just as much as humans. If you don’t take care of their teeth they will need a professional cleaning by the vet which they have to be put under general anesthesia for. Brushing their teeth regularly will reduce the amount of professional cleanings he will need. I make sure to play with his mouth and teeth to get him used to it for when he’s ready for brushing. We have yet to find a good cleansing ear drop but for now we use a wash cloth dampened with warm water and gently rub out any surface build up.

Everything Else!

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Gatsby is literally just the sweetest, most lovable little thing. When he’s not eating, playing, walking or resting in his crate he’s a happy little mush who wants nothing more than to snuggle on our laps and try to suffocate our faces with gently puppy kisses. He has a kind hearted loving personality and adores people. His favorite thing is to be held, kissed and loved. He absolutely loves meeting new people and making friends. He is great with children! He recognizes them and knows to be gentle around them. He never nips at little kids, never jumps on them and is very cautious, yet sweet, with them. His breeders had five young grandchildren around their dogs so it seems quite clear that they trained him well to be kind and respectful towards little ones.

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He LOVES car rides! He has yet to get car sick and gets really excited to jump into the car with us. He typically sleeps and snuggles in the car but sometimes he’ll chew a toy I bring for him. He’s great coming out on errands with me and chills in his pup bag or in my arms wherever we go. He’s happy to get all the attention from new people.

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Our favorite thing to do is snuggle on the couch as a family. This little ball of fur has captured our hearts in the best way possible.

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Nothin’ but love 🙂

xoxo

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