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A Puppy Update Because …. Everyone Likes Puppies?? Also, We Need Tips On Mud, Peeing, Walking, And Chewing


Seemed like a good week to talk about puppies. I woke up more depressed than yesterday, but someone in the comments yesterday requested an update and it seemed like a decent thing for me to focus on today, for me at least. It’s been 4 months with these rescue pups and they are adorable but PRETTY NAUGHTY. It’s been so long since I’ve had a dog and I forget how they are truly such good family pets. These two just want to give and receive love so much (Bearcat was like that but Mimi WAS NOT). So here’s the update and some cute photos of my pups.

In the grand scheme of things, these two are VERY GOOD DOGS mostly because my definition of a good dog is not jumpy/barky and is super cuddly/sweet (I have a lot of noise sensitivity issues and can’t handle a lot of stimulation – something I didn’t know until I moved up here full time and realized how much happier I am out of a city). They bark at other dogs, of course, and can jump of course, but for the most part you really don’t notice that they are there. But they are still chewing up all my shoes, ALL MY UNDERWEAR, but honestly, I’m a bad dog mom and not even trying to prevent it or doing any tricks or tips that I know exist. So we had to bring back out the big pen thing and they sleep in it because at night we would come down to the house destroyed. And yes, we give them lots of bones but they are pups and will grow out of this chewing thing, right?

They are super gentle with the kids, but we’ve had to have A LOT of discussions with Birdie about not treating them like stuffed animals and squeezing them so hard. We even watched a bunch of youtube videos as a family on how to pet a dog and have had to ground her from them (this is surprising because she is so full of love and she’s not being rough, just likes squeezing them literally like a stuffed animal) but she’s also not learning her lesson.

We thought they were house trained and we were smugly patting ourselves on the back for that “problem solved” when we realized that one of them had been secretly peeing ALL OVER THE RUG in the guest room. Like 10 pee spots. But again, we know that it’s not their fault, it’s ours. We had friends up (safely, all tested before) and had a house full of kids and strangers (to them) and I think we weren’t walking them enough that weekend, so they relapsed. Luckily the company of that spray I linked up last week got it out (even super dried up pee). In not so shocking news, the days where they get 2-3 walks (not just running outside) we have way less accidents so we just need to be better.

photo by veronica crawford | from: new fashion on my body: the one where i dressed like a fisherwoman, wore 6 great coats, and an all star pair of boots

They are still pretty bad on a leash and pull really hard (we got harnesses which helps). When we were first walking them I was like ‘we need a professional dog walker to teach us how to do this’ and then I remembered that I WAS A PROFESSIONAL DOG WALKER. Literally, I did it for a year when I was 22 in New York on the upper east side, and have forgotten all my skills. I had 5 dogs at a time and I was honestly so good at it. I think I just had more patience. Or maybe it’s because I was being paid $20/hour. Oscar can get aggressive with other dogs – but again mostly because they aren’t socialized. He barks a lot at them, you can tell that he is STRESSED when he’s sniffing another dog so it always makes me nervous (and always makes the other dog and owner nervous (I know we aren’t supposed to say owner, right? What are we supposed to say now?)

They also STILL get in the pond then mud and then destroy our house. Charlie accidentally let them in while I was working recently and I found mud literally all over the wall, splattered on the ceiling, and then they were just laying guiltily on the sofa (see above – LOOK AT THOSE MUDDY PAWS). I don’t know what we are going to do when we move to Portland because we are likely going to have a big backyard and it rains so much. Are they just muddy every day? I even have visions/fantasies that my brother and I have talked about of a dog washing/drying station in the mudroom, like a booth that they go in and get hosed down then dried before they come into the house. Stay tuned…

When we aren’t here they do try to escape to find us when we are gone (a la homeward bound) and I felt SO BAD for Ryann and Jess who were house-sitting while we were in Portland because Butter escaped out the backyard (under the fence) twice and I can’t imagine out stressful it must have been to potentially have lost your boss’s dog. (I wouldn’t have blamed anyone, btw and we have them microchipped and they have tags). Luckily she came back after a desperate search. But it’s a GREAT excuse to get a new fence!!

photo by veronica crawford

In short, they bring so much comfort, happiness, and fun to our family, more than the nuisance and responsibility that they add. I personally think they are the cutest dogs I’ve EVER seen (we like shaggy, floppy mutts over here). Buttercup thinks that she is Brian’s mistress. They cuddle and snuggle in a way that does seem kinda romantic and when I catch them she immediately stops with a ‘nothing to see here’ look on her face. Oscar is a clumsy, floppy teenager and just wants to play fetch and do ‘show and tell’ (in the mornings when I come downstairs he has to giddily find something to give to me or show off a bone in his mouth). It’s VERY cute.

So that’s the update on life with the pups. Any tips on chewing, peeing, or walking and mud please send 🙂 Thanks for reading. Hopefully, this gave you a positive distraction from the insanity of the election. xx

Fin Mark


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Thank you for portraying such a realistic view of life with a puppy. They ARE cute, but they are also a little chaos. And def hard on material things. I recently fostered a puppy for two weeks and we did ALL the tips and tricks, including crating at night, constant monitoring and redirecting to chew toys and constant potty and walk breaks. We still had messes, some sacrifices (RIP reusable grocery bags) and not enough sleep. He was a VERY good boy and learned quickly but was still a baby. He went to his forever home and while I am much more relaxed, And don’t miss the mess, I do miss the liveliness.

No real advice here, except hell yeah to the dog washing station. Also thank you for teaching your children how to respect dogs bodies. Next lesson is to respect their emotions by giving them space to walk toward or away from you. Seriously, this concept can keep a child from getting bit.


The book Decoding Your Dog is super useful with tips to better understand unwanted behaviors and training/management tips! Those pups are super cute!


I think your dogs are ridiculously cute!! My main puppy advice to everyone is not extend privileges to your dog that they haven’t earned and crate training is a big part of that. Our Rhodesian Ridgeback was crated whenever we were away from the house until he was three years old and he was often crated when we were home too. If they pee on the carpet in the guest room, they can’t go in the guest room. We started our puppy off with access to just two rooms (living room and mudroom) and slowly extended privileges to him as he got more mature, now he is up on the couch and in our bed but he was five years old before we allowed him to do that!!

Also, if you have off leash dog parks in your area, it can be a good way to socialise them. Definitely shouldn’t take an aggressive dog into a dog park but it might be worth working with a trainer as socialisation with other dogs is very valuable for them.


Yes! It is very normal to not be able to leave your puppy unsupervised until they are at least 1.5-2 yo. They just don’t have the skills/practice at making good decisions. I recommend taking a few steps back: more confinement when you can’t directly supervise (ie: crates, pens, certain “puppy-proofed” rooms, etc); more positive reinforcement when they potty appropriately; back off dog greetings with Oscar. He sounds nervous and fearful dogs can get aggressive. I wouldn’t recommend a dog park (yet), that could be overwhelming. Instead I would recommend keeping some distance when you see a dog and rewarding any kind of calm(ish) behavior. If he can’t be calm, you’re too close. The idea is he sees a dog, he gets a treat and then dog = treat! He may never be a dog that’s comfortable with close greetings with other dogs, and that’s ok!
I second getting a trainer and / or doing some classes. I am not a trainer, but currently have a teenage puppy (and am a veterinarian 😉).
Good luck! Buttercup and Oscar are the CUTEST!!


This would be my advice as well. Dogs who aren’t fully housebroken shouldn’t have the run of the house. Remember that each accident reinforces the behavior, so prevention is hugely important. Crated or gated in a smaller area (like part of a kitchen) for when you aren’t home or really aren’t able to pay any attention. When they’re free in the house, you should be paying close attention. Keeping them on a short leash (that they drag around) makes it easy to quickly grab them if they start doing something they shouldn’t. Same rules apply to the yard if they aren’t trustworthy – they shouldn’t be out there alone/off-leash. Have a strict schedule of walks and play times so that you don’t inadvertently neglect them. (Meaning, feel free to add extra walks/play/free time as your day allows, but define a baseline of which walks and play times always happen no matter what.) For peeing inside or chewing or other unwanted behavior, immediately make some kind of noise (like “uh oh”) – ideally, you want to surprise/distract but not scare them. (And, remember, if you aren’t paying close enough attention to catch them in the act, they shouldn’t be free in… Read more »

Natalie Anthony

So informative! Curious if you have any tips for getting my pup to come immediately when called? Last night he cane so close to getting in a scuffle with a large raccoon in our backyard- he has no recall if the distraction is interesting enough! He’s ten months old- I may need to start over entirely with ‘COME!’


I think it’s easiest to start with the dog on a leash, so that you can guide him to do what you want at first. I usually start with a ridiculously short distance – not even the length of a short leash. You can put gentle pressure on the leash to get him to come to you after you give the command; no need to tug. Give a reward every time he comes to you. (For a reward, I use treat + pats + “good,” so that I can eventually phase out the treat. Some puppies love enthusiastic praise, some get overly excited and stop paying attention, so I usually keep the “good” friendly but not hyper. For puppies, I usually feed them about 1/3 to 1/2 of their meals as training treats – I feed dry kibble, so I just measure some into their food bowl at meals and the rest goes into the training bag. You can use a little wet food or yogurt on a spoon, or very small pieces of chicken if you need an extra-high value treat.) Work up to a longer leash or a rope (never leave it on if you have to walk… Read more »


Great info here!


Yes. Time out for scruffies works well. They’re pack animals, so if they do something the pack doesn’t like, they don’t get to be with the pack, or even looked at by yhe pack, for 5…10…20 minutes.


Puppy life is complicated! I would really recommend “Total Recall” If you are interested in training resources… it’s meant for retrievers so maybe a bit hard core if you were to follow it exactly but I find it’s useful just to read for broad inspiration. For the peeing, and chewing, two ideas: first is bitter apple spray that’s available online and generally repels dogs but doesn’t harm woodwork, the other is to get chew toys that are made from wood or smell of wood (particularly olive oil treated wood or you can get plastic toys that have some wood component). For some reason my dogs love chewing anything wooden more than plastic and these things are much safer than actual sticks (dangerous) and better than table legs. Good luck!


Your dogs are so sweet! But I definitely understand the difficulty. We don’t have a mudroom and live on a farm, so the outdoors flows directly into our house and onto our rugs. It’s tough with dogs when it’s raining! Our dog is actually not allowed on the furniture (we’ll cuddle on the floor), which helps so much with preserving upholstery, particularly as his fur stains even our rugs (and where he leans against the couch) over time in his favorite spots to lay.

But I actually keep towels near our doors in an unobtrusive spot that are specifically for him, and if it’s raining I have him sit and wipe off all his paws. I didn’t purposely train for it, I just caught him every time he came in, had him sit, and now he knows what to expect. My in-laws’ enormous ridgeback will even do it when she comes to stay! That said, they aren’t puppies, so that helps. 🙂

I’m definitely no expert, but I will say consistency works! So maybe if the kids are able to help wipe their paws off and it becomes a family expectation during tough weather? Best of luck!


This was our method for our GIANT anatolian. When he came in from outside we wiped his paws with towel. It wasn’t the most elegant solution as we didn’t have a mudroom and entered directly into our galley kitchen, but we had a pull-out trash cabinet by that backdoor that held his leash and dog towel, and it worked well. Surprisingly, with all the mud, this plus a rug in the kitchen kept the rest of the house pretty clean!


I saw a YouTube video of a Korean man takinghis shoes off on entering the house and the wiping his dog’s paws clean.
When we come back from walks off our property, my dog has her paws wiped with a damp vloth.
She was 9 when I started this, so you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! 🙂


I do this with my great dane. If its wet or raining I leave a towel by the door and before we come in he gets his feet wiped and his belly dried off. If its been pouring he gets an all over body rub with the towel which he loves. I have petsat for years and these doodle type dogs seem to always soak up any moisture that’s in the grass so you should have a towel close to where they come in at and make it a part of their routine.


Our oldest cat loves the rain, so she comes in soaked to the skin. I dry her with a towel and she shivers with excitement as I rub her down. The younger cats copy her, even though they don’t LOVE IT like she does; they just want to do what she’s doing. So now, drenching rain or lightest drizzle we have cats lined up for their rub downs. It makes us laugh every time.


They are so cute!! I am currently the owner of two Siberian Huskys and happy to leave my best tips. To be clear, I’m not a trainer or a professional, just a long time dog owner. On mud: Keep a microfibre sport towel by the door at all times to dry them off. On peeing: Don’t give them access to the whole house, close the door to any room not currently in use. If they are mostly housetrained but having the occasional accident it’s most likely stress peeing! Mine did that as well for a while after housetraining (when I left the house, or something new happened) and they gradually grew out of it. On chewing: Every time you catch them chewing on something they shouldn’t have, take it away with a stern no, BUT replace it with something they can chew like a toy or a bone. Best chew for aggressive chewers: antlers. On walking: A regular harness is good for protecting their throat but will not discourage pulling at all. I recommend a front clip harness, so they are forced to turn towards you when they pull and whenever possible, train with one dog at a time. To… Read more »


I just got the Two Hounds Freedom Harness after using just a front clip harness for a while, and would highly recommend it!! The top part is a martingale so it discourages pulling even more (and especially when you hook the martingale and front part). They also have a double leash, which I don’t have but could be very useful with Oscar and Buttercup!


We use a gentle leader on our dog when we walk her(we had her trained as a puppy and this is what the trainer used). It’s a GAME CHANGER! She is 2.5 now and will still pull if we don’t have that thing on. 🙂 Good luck with the chewing!!! My brother’s dog STILL chews ALL THE UNDERWEAR…and she is 14. :0


Gentle leaders and halti’s area amazing! Again I petsit all the time and I bring gentle leaders to my petsits. I’m keeping a dog in my house this week that is a horrid puller. I put the gentle leader on him and after a quick fight he’s good. No more arms being ripped out of the socket.

Put it this way… you would never walk a horse on a harness… They have their entire bodyweight to put in to pulling. When its on their head they have no capacity to pull.


+1 on gentle leaders!


When we adopted our dog a few years ago I bought bells for the door so that he could ring when he wanted out. I began by taking him out every two hours for the first few weeks. I started off ringing those bells myself the first few days but thankfully he caught on quick. Then we’d walk the yard a few times (it was fenced) with the sole focus being him peeing and pooping. No playing. I had a pocket full of treats and would foolishly sing “pee pee Hero” or “poo poo Hero” until he did his business; within a few days I was able to figure out which he most likely needed to do. Then we’d play. We kept up this routine for several months, adjusting the timing as I learned his bodily schedule, and he only had 3 accidents inside our house ever. I have discovered that when we travel he’s likely to have one indoor accident for each new house as it takes him a few hours to figure out the new door and yard but we’ve only really traveled to three places (relatives homes) so I’m aware of this shortcoming and try to watch.… Read more »


I hated the idea of crating too, but she loved, loved, loved her crate as a safe place/den. I’d leave the door open and sometimes find her in there having a snooze when she didn’t need to be in there.

The bells trick is soooooo great!!! Pavlov’s dog in reverse! Ring bell, human opens door! Hahaha:)

My dog comes and puts her head on my lap ir chair and stares at me for toilet time and when she wants to go to bed (yes, she has her collar off, gets in her basket gets a special treat and scruffle and…stays there all night!)


We also trained our dog to ring a bell when he needs to go outside. It’s a great method. We started with this when he was a puppy, and it cut back on so many accidents. Now, he is six and mostly just rings the bell when he wants to hang out outside or visit with our neighbors.


We had to take the bells off our front door because of this! She would ring the front door bell to play with the neighbor kids and the back door bell to pee.


Stephanie, we ultimately had to take the bells off too! He was so quick to catch on and realized he got extra attention for ringing them, lol.


My girlfriend’s family owns a high end rug store and gives their clients this tip: sprinkle pepper on the rug. It can be black or white (depending on the color of the rug) but when the dogs sniff before going potty the pepper deters them. No harm to the rug or pup and it really works!


I sprinkled pepper on all sorts of things when my monsters were puppies, and made pepper paste for skirting boards, pipes, anything they had tried to chew – I also left a variety of chewables accessible so they had something for their teeth!

This is an excellent tip! My sweet pup caused roughly $12,000 of damage when he was a puppy: ate every single stair spindle and baseboard corner, the guest room vanity, huge chunks out of our deck, TWO leather briefcases and numerous clothes and smaller items. But he’s so adorable and sweet and still the best thing ever. Also, for the record, he’s a 20 lb beagle dachshund mix…


Oh, when I got to your last sentence I laughed and laughed. LOL. We’ve always had dachshunds, and we had one beagle, so I know the characteristics of both breeds. Both in one dog? Insanity.

Love dachshunds though they are the most stubborn dogs ever born.

Christine Salek

Yup crate them at night…I just had to shut my bedroom door because our two dogs are out and will be in with wet muddy feet !


This was honestly a pleasure to read and the title made me laugh out loud. Thank you! Great start to the day!


Love seeing your puppies! I recommend Zak George videos on You Tube (he’s on Facebook and Instagram, too). You can even watch them as a family because all dogs are cute, and the kids will understand better that the dogs have to learn, too. Good luck!😊💕


Yes to Zak George – I love that man!! And I actually also genuinely enjoy watching his videos just for fun too. He has both lots of problem specific videos (like chewing, potty training, leash walking etc.) as well as two books (that I have yet to buy but have heard good things about) AND a series he did with his own dog – who is now over a year – all about that first year of training and I really love it cause you really see how progress happens and how you get there (plus its just a really cute dog that you get to watch grow up…). For your current problems I’d suggest: exercise your dogs regularly and well, control their environment and what they have access to and give them other acceptable options. Ideally when they’re in the house (and outside) they would be either on a (long-ish) lead tied to you or in a space they can not do any damage in i.e. a crate/their playpen, so that they never even get a chance to develop bad habits. If you don’t want your two dogs tied to you permanently every day (which I get especially with… Read more »


meant to say: your Team haha – though your time is also hugely appreciated XD


Here’s some tips that work for us: 1) keep all bedroom and non-essential doors closed, all the time. keep your dirty laundry in baskets, up off the floor, or in closed hampers. You do not want to learn the hard way when your dog has to get emergency surgery for a blockage that you could have easily prevented. 2) get a fence backed with chicken wire so you can just let the dogs out into the yard. It keeps other critters out, which protects your dogs and kids, and everyone in the family is capable of opening the door and letting them out. Lots less pee that way, plus dogs won’t run away and possibly get hit by car, lost, etc. 3) Order the Bullymake box subscription and opt for only hard chew toys. Choose how often you want it delivered, and your dogs will have lots of long-lasting options for chewing. 4) keep beach towels laid down on the floor by the back door, and an extra towel right there for wiping off feet. 5) get dogs neutered/spayed ASAP if not already done. 6) read up on clicker training for positive reinforcement. The whole family can easily train and… Read more »


Yes… I think they’re the right age (a bit older actually, but I waited til my scruffy was 6 months for good bone development) to have her “desexed”.
It’d definitely help Oscar.

Buying a treat-dispensing ball was one of the best decisions that I have made as a pet owner. I started using it as part of a routine when I leave the house and make my dog find it, bring it to the kitchen and then I fill it with part of her daily food when I leave (to avoid excessive treats). She went from total separation anxiety to impatiently waiting for me to finish getting ready to leave in the morning, which is my greatest life achievement. It also makes her burn off some energy when alone because she is highly food motivated. Dogs love jobs – maybe this would work for you!

Emily R

Sounds like overall they’re sweet normal puppies! Our dog has recently gotten a bit destructive when we leave the house, understandable since we sold our house and moved her across country to temporarily stay with family while we close on a new home! She recently tore away an entire chunk of WALL (down to the insulation) trying to get out of the house to find us.
We have started making a point to take her outside to walk and chase tennis balls before we leave. She’s an older dog, so it tires her out quick. She is still nervous when we go, but less so. We also all pet her and give her a treat and tell her we will be back soon each time before we step out the door. She seems to understand the routine as a sign we will indeed come back, and always seems a bit happier for it.
Not sure if any of this will help with puppies, but the thing I DO know helps with training a young dog is CONSISTENCY!!! So whatever you do, stick to your guns!!!


I put peanut butter in a Kong with a butter knife before I leave. When I come home, she’s generally napping. She started off by howling when I left and the Kong worked straight away.


Have you tried freezing the peanut butter-stuffed Kong? Keeps dogs occupied for even longer!


Yes, I needed this post! (Mostly for the pics.) When I adopted my dog we did a Basic Manners class with the local rescue, and it was SO HELPFUL, even if you’ve had dogs before. I think most places are offering them online now. The biggest takeaway is that dogs need consistency, both in terms of scheduling and discipline. Like, have one word or sound that means “no”, instead of alternating “no, wait, stop, don’t” etc. Go on walks at the same time every day if you can. Agree with the person who suggested the front-clip harness, it’s really helpful. For rain/mud management: I don’t have any sort of entryway, much less a mudroom, so I lay out a towel at the front door before we go out, and then when we come back he learned to stand on the towel while I dry him off with a second towel. I also will close the door to my bedroom before we go out because otherwise his preferred way to dry off is to jump on the bed and wiggle around (it’s adorable, but no). And as ridiculous as this sounds, I got him a raincoat, which cuts down significantly on… Read more »


They are SO CUTE!!! We crate trained both of our pups and it helped a lot with the “unsupervised destruction” and also with nighttime/home alone anxiety (related to the unsupervised destruction) b/c they had their cozy crate/safe space. Also, not sure if you’ve discovered them yet, but Nylabones (they have puppy ones that they eat real quick, but the adult ones- not sure the age range on those- last FOREVER). My pup would chew on that Nylabone for hours.


Also- meant to say- we didn’t rush to get rid of the crate but more took each dog’s lead. I think one used it until he was like 3 and the other until she was like 4?


LOVE these pups- they’re so cute!

My rescue isn’t an awesome walker either. He’s way better every time we send him to training camp for the day, but we haven’t taken him much since Covid. Our trianers recommended the Freedom Harness, which is great to discourage pulling (if they pull, they turn themselves in a circle), but ours has stretched over the last year or so- our guy is on the cusp of M/L and we got the L and have to have it as tight as it goes. Probably just need to by a M. Have also heard the Gentle Leader, which is a face harness, is great.

I am ALL for a wash/dry station. Mostly because I’ll never have one, and I want to see how pretty yours will be.

Also, thanks for this. I was looking for something to distract me from refreshing election results incessantly and this did the trick for a few minutes 🙂


My dog tried the Gentle Leader and had a meltdown every time, frothing at the mouth!
The front-clip harness is a God send!

Kat H

They are CUTE! Make sure the harnesses that you have for walking them are FRONT clip harnesses. Looks the same as a back clip harness but the leash clips to their chest instead of their back. If you use a back clip harness dogs can still use all of their back muscles to pull you while walking. Front clips stop this. Easy walker is a good brand!


That’s the brand we have! 😉


Yes! We use a brand called Walk Your Dog With Love that has a version with no clip (the harness and lead are one piece); it’s lightweight and super effective. The pup still pulls a bit—only the gentle leader will fully eliminate that—but she’s much easier to control. They have sales and discounts pretty frequently, so sign up for their mailing list and wait until their next sale.


Lots to unpack here. First, leash walking. I would STRONGLY recommend a front-clip harness, as suggested below. Pulling just pivots the dog towards you. Gentle Leaders can work (I used them before front-clips were available), but most dogs hate them, and many just shut down; they’re not pulling, but they’re not happy, either. I’d put them in the aversive-but-not-painful category. Peeing in the house. Remove the opportunity. Shut doors or use puppy gates. Crates really are your best tool–I still crate my dogs when I’m gone, and they’re 9 and 6. I feed them in their crates (Nina is a very slow eater, and it is the only way she gets all her food), they always get a biscuit for crating, and if they have to stay alone long I leave them with a food-puzzle toy like a peanut-butter-stuffed Kong or a kibble dispenser. They run to their crates on cue and wait for their treats. I do crate them separately, but side by side. Training. Since you have the financial resources to have a trainer come to your house (or train privately but remotely) I would suggest you hire a KPA (Karen Pryor Academy) certified clicker trainer to work… Read more »


I used baby gates.
I still use one on “her room”. She can see, smell, hear and be part of it when little ones come, but gas time to adjust to the excitement of tiny humans before she comes out. It stops her jumping up.


I wish I had advice for puppy training. Somehow I was able to get the world’s most perfect dog with truly minimal training. I honestly believe that, like children, some dogs just have their own personality and do their own thing no matter how much training they receive. Good Luck!


Check out this online puppy training package: Baxter & Bella ….. We have a 3-year-old golden doodle who is a handful STILL so when we got our next GD in May we signed up. You pay once and can use the classes and consult with trainers for life. GAME CHANGER. Our pup just finished the virtual puppy obediance course (which I found easy and enjoyable to do) and he is way ahead of his older brother. Classes are recorded and posted so you don’t have to do the live class. So convenient. Amy who runs the classes online does Q&A for your specific issues and I learn so much from those sessions and all the other members suggestions in the facebook members community. It’s a low price for high payoff. Also has written course work at the site so you can search for specifics like digging, peeing, walking, chewing. Went through all that and have to say we are on the other side not even a month later. Pup is still in adolescence so we may have set-backs but I feel so much better knowing I can reach out for a one-on-one to address it.

Holly Fish

The mud-solution for poodles is the shave their feet. (Groomers call it giving them clean feet). I realize that it is the style for a poodle and may look awkward on your shaggy cuties, but wiping off the paw pads is much easier than wiping off a bunch of paw hair!


They definitely grow out of chewing things! But I like to talk to a dog supply store (maybe over the phone) and have them pick out the best chew toys and try those. Also hide high value things like Nisolo and stuffies away from them.

When you move to Portland you should try Dog Adventures NW – they take the dogs hiking off leash with these GPA monitors and do training to. I just started with my pup and it’s great!


Love the muddy paws picture – they look so guilty! But in a cute way 😀

For the mud problem, we bought terry cloth bathrobes for our three australian shepherds. They love getting wet but hate BEING wet, so everytime they are wet and get back inside they try to rub themselves dry on every cloth surface in the house and also sometimes the walls. So the bathrobes help with that, the dogs get dry much faster, they catch all the muddy water when the dogs shake themselves, and they keep the sofas and walls clean. Plus it looks super cute, like terry cloth turtlenecks.
Also, we have old towels at every entrance of the house to dry wet paws. It’s tedious but the only thing that helps.


Are these bathrobes made for dogs or are you using a kid’s size one? Inquiring minds want to know! After a bath, our dogs always get the zoomies and fly up onto the bed and pillows and flail around, making the bed and pillows all wet. Not cool!


They are specifically for dogs, they go under the belly too and have a hole for the tail. Our dogs are usually quick to get out of these things (cones, onesies after surgery…) but they haven’t figured out the bath robes yet. I think we got them on etsy, but it was a while ago.


I feel your pain! Fortunately the pups are worth it, as you’ve already discovered. I can’t recommend this enough — a really good, highly recommended on-site trainer. Ask around. We consulted with one, very expensive ($300 per session) but VERY good…….only we were too late. It took us a while to understand that our rescue ShiTzu mix (who had been mistreated by small children who literally thought he was a toy) was dominating our poor, hapless pug……who had been separated from his mother too soon. So we were dealing with a LOT of complicated issues. But you’re “just” dealing with two normal and healthy puppies who don’t have issues YET. So strike while the striking’s good! A reputable trainer will come into your home and teach you exactly HOW to handle your pups and how to arrange your home so the training is optimal. For instance — I thought it was mean to limit the dogs to only a couple of rooms. Typing this, I can’t believe how stupid that sounds, but there is a LOT to learn and you need to forget, a bit, how humans think and understand how the dog mind works. Dogs are FASCINATING. But even… Read more »


Hello! Owner of a one year old labradoodle here so I can strongly empathize with your troubles. For chewing I make sure he has a lot of super tough toys to chew on. He enjoys kid socks, so we always make sure they are put away so he can’t get them. And trash, so just making sure bathroom doors are shut. Really just make an effort to always put your underwear away in a closed hamper/closet and the same with your shoes if you can. Also work on teaching them a “leave it” and “drop it” command for things you catch them chewing. Consistency is KEY! We worked with a trainer (based on positive reinforcement) to learn some of the basics. However she agreed our dog was incredibly high energy and ended up recommending a Prong collar for walking. They look medieval but are very effective. Putting it on them doesn’t hurt and just calms him down for some reason. We very, very rarely have to actually pull on it, but it has helped him slow down and stop barking at every dog on our walks. We used a Gentle Leader with our last dog very successfully as well so… Read more »


Nnnoooooooooo to the pronged collar!
Those. Things. Are. Cruel.
The RSPCA is trying to have them banned!


Years ago I had a Kerry Blue and the obedience instructor recommended a pronged collar. I was not sold on the idea but it was a huge class and I needed to control her. After she graduated I never used it. Years later when I got another pup
I realized the prong collars were frowned upon and they were NOT allowed in the training class. So I am with you Rusty.




We also ended up using a prong collar with our rescue German Shepherd, who is 2/3 my body weight. I did not want to do it but our trainer, who specialized in German Shepherds, convinced me – I even tried it on myself (my thigh) to get a sense of how it felt. It’s not sharp but there is pressure. I also talked to our vet about it and she said if it’s fitted correctly, which our trainer did, it would not hurt her. I still resisted until my dog took off after a squirrel while we were walking and I ended up on my face on the sidewalk. We ended up using it for a few years while we walked her until she was older and calm enough to control herself better. It really does depend on the dog (our other rescue German Shepherd did not need it) and you’ve got to get it fitted properly and talk to your pet people but it can help.


We also need to choose a dog that is compatible with our lifestyle and even body weight/health/strength.
We make the vhoices, nit the dog.


You’ve gotten a ton of good advice. But the top thing would really be to hire a trainer. I’ve been training my own dogs for 30 years but even I hire a trainer when all of my dogs are about a year old. They can help you find blind spots and help you with all the things. Also, don’t let dogs greet each other on leash- especially if you have one that is anxious. The leashes create all kinds of issues and dogs can’t always handle the stress if they can’t get away. And agree with others, they don’t get access to the house until they have earned it. My kids also know they aren’t allowed to get in the dogs faces, when they are eating, and the dog beds are off limits. As are sleeping dogs. They will get it, and until they do they have to be supervised at all times. I worked in rescue and I can’t tell you how many dogs are rehomed for biting/nipping at children because it is how they would correct another dog. It’s almost always the human’s fault. Anyway, a trainer can help you with all of that. Find one that comes… Read more »


CHEWING: Only allow (yes, discipline is required!) them to chew their own, appropriate, stuff like their toys, bones, rawhide, etc. If/when they chew something else… “No!” in a really deep loudish, but not shoutinh, voice. Then… time out in their pen. Alone if only one did it, or together if both. NO eye contact! From anyone, Birdie andBear! PEEING: You need to rrain them to PEE TIME, by the clock. Their bodies will tune into this. But, this means setting an alarm andmaking it a priority. Also, when you take them out for pee time and they actually do it (use the same words each time…I use “Do a wee, quick, quick, okay, good girl!”), make a huge deal out of it and have a treat that’s ONLY used for peeing on cue. WALKING: I’ve gotta tell ya, my scruffy dawg, Rosie, pulled like a sled dog! For (embarrassingly) yearrrrs. The whole neighbourhood teased me about it. I tried collar training (normal collar, nit those hideous, cruel choke collars!), nope. A harness like yours, nope. She thought it was great and she really was a sled dog. I found out later that the back-clip harnesses can actually encourage dogs to… Read more »


I’ve also come across so many articles about dogs not necessarily liking hugs because they can’t get away. Dogs aren’t humans.

PS, apologies for all my typos. 🙄

Megan Lec

They are such loves! Thank you for all the heart warming and anxiety calming content this week! Lots of great comments below but I also strongly suggest crate training. Our dog slept in her crate until she was about 1.5/2 and it was a godsend! I also suggest trying out lots of different types of bones/ chew toys to discover what they like best. Finally, we taught our dog to love “towel time” by having it be not just a time to get dry but for tons of scratches and belly rubs. At any moment of the day if you bring out one of her towels Molly gets super excited.


For mud on paws we spread costco towels (the big ones in cream color) by the doors. It’s not elegant, but enough mud wipes off. I tell my dog to stay on the towel or walk a few steps back and forth. Our yard is not too muddy though and dog doesn’t get the whole fur muddy.


My best advice is puppies are puppies! They will learn and be “immature” until about 2yrs old. I crate my pup (1.5yr golden retriever) when I can’t be in the same room/space as him (basically when I shower or sleep or leave the house), and I limit the spaces he’s allowed in (door to the bathroom and bedroom is always shut). This is because he loves getting into things and I need places that aren’t “puppy-proofed”, but when I was house training, it was great bc I knew where he was at all times. Especially in a big house with kids, as they’re learning what they can and can’t chew, where they can and can’t potty, I would highly recommend keeping doors to bedrooms/bathrooms closed.

That being said, I thought I was going to die when my pup was about 9mnths old (so much energy! So naughty!) but he has calmed down so nicely over the past months and is growing up into a well behaved boy. If you’re patient with them while they grow up, and set boundaries for the next year, they will be much easier and require so much less attention a year from now.


You can use a squirt bottle of water to train, if they start chewing on something, say NO and do a short spray near their face. Crates are your friend, don’t leave pups alone and loose before age two or at night. Keeping them groomed with shorter hair will lessen the mud/twigs brought in. Take them out on a leash to go potty, even if it’s a pain, so you know they actually went and didn’t just chase a squirrel! After going, then they can run free in the yard. For us, it was more a matter of training the humans than our dog!


Oh, I used a squirty bottle too. I only squirted it maybe 5 times, ever. Just picking it up ir placing it where it could be seen was enough. I’m glad coz I hated doing it, but…once squirted, twice shy.

Not sure how this would work with rwo little kids though. Squirting ight be too much temptation?


Thank you for the pup-date. They are the cutest!


So many of your problems would be solved by kennel training. We kept all of our dogs in kennels whenever we couldn’t supervise them until they were at least a year old. If you think about a dog as a 2yo, you’d NEVER go to bed knowing they weren’t secured in their crib. And you’d never be distracted at home and lose sight of them for enough time for them to pee, chew, and get into mischief. I felt bad thinking they were in a ‘cage’ but in reality it’s more like a dog den. It’s cozy, safe and quiet and gives them time to come down off all the stimulus they receive when they are playing and around kids making noise and loving them. Obviously this needs to be offset by HOURS of walks, play and time outside of their kennel, but when left alone most dogs want to sleep 12+ hours a day, so kenneling them at night and when you can’t watch them (especially during Covid when we’re all at home so much) gives them plenty of time outside of the kennel.

Erin K

Sounds like that has been full freedom from the day you brought them home and no crate training. I volunteer with a rescue and all the dogs are crate trained and go through proper decompression periods in there new home. A crate is a positive place and provides structure and a place when you can’t watch them. Crates can be critical down the road for certain medical reasons/recovery so I’m so grateful my dog loved her crate when she went through two knee surgeries. Any who, sounds like a typical case if giving them too much too soon and too many opportunities to make bad choices. Here is something we give all our adopters that’s about this and bringing a new dog into a home.

Second here’s a GREAT resource for training videos with all the basics on loose leash walking amongst many other things.

Crate training also helps with the accidents in the house etc and over time you can loosen up on the structure but you have to lay down the foundation first.

Good luck!


Your dogs are painfully adorable. I want to snuggle them as hard as Birdie and i’m a grown woman. That’s the thing about dogs, not unlike kids, they are a treasure trove of love and fun….and messes. I’ve got a 6 year old cockapoo who was our firstborn and acts like it. She is spoiled and loving and wonderful and a total princess. She loves us and follows us everywhere and is *mostly* gentle with our girls and literally licks the tears away that any of us shed. BUT she tracks muddy paws, barks at everything, digs in my pricey rugs and jumps at guests.

I wish I had 2.

Natalie Anthony

My pup is 65 pounds of heft and the best thing I have come across for walking/pulling is the Gentle Leader…total game changer!

First, I’m just so glad you all got dogs! We would love to add one more but Remington is a handful. I am much too lenient of a dog mom (so I’m told) so I probably don’t give good advice but here’s my go at it: Remi was easy to potty train but while a small pup we put her on a two hour schedule all day and night until she was bigger, then it became 4-5 hours and she would sleep through all night without an accident. LOTS of chew toys, like there’s never enough, help shift their focus away from your stuff. During muddy season here we have a makeshift feet cleaning station on our porch (hose and drying towel). That’s all I got. They’re so cute!!!

Hi there! We have a free force-free puppy training group that covers all of this and an online course with lifetime access that covers this as well. @consciousdogtrainng on IG has a link to both.


It’s definitely harder with two – you don’t know which one is the destructor, who is the pee-er, etc. Two goldendoodles and a creek in our front yard = disaster most days. I insisted on a dog shower when we bought our farmhouse to remodel – and used cle tile based on my imaginary best friend Emily Henderson’s great advice! – and we love it, especially because we have hot water to rinse them off with so they are okay jumping in it (make it high enough you don’t have to bend down all the time, but low enough they can jump in). Every man that helped with the remodel thought it was a dumb idea and now every man who goes into our mudroom marvels over it! It’s still a hassle because muddy dogs are muddy dogs, but they are worth double the snuggles.


Your puppies are so cute! Mom of 4-month old baby beagle here. The tips that have worked for us are: basically never leave him unsupervised for more than 5 minutes – if I need to go somewhere or take a shower, he goes in the crate. We’ve made the crate comfy and cozy and he gets plenty of treats so he likes it in there. He also gets four walks a day, even if it’s just around the block. He is really getting the hang of potty training, but we still have the occasional incident (pee only), especially if we skip a walk. We leave the doors closed to rooms he can’t be in (the closet – he chewed up a few of my nice bras out of the laundry basket, so I learned my lesson, and also the guest room). Socialization – we started earlier so it’s easier, but my best trick is to have a safe, socially distanced outdoor get together with a friend who has an older, well-behaved pup. He really models the older pup’s behavior and doggy dates have made him much more comfortable around other dogs. About the muddy paws – it’s hard, but I… Read more »


They are so cute! I second the comments about crate and play pen training when you’re not able to keep a watchful eye on them, so they aren’t given the opportunity to be naughty. The book “Perfect puppy in 7 days” by dr. Sophia Yin is super helpful …


They’re so cute! I recently moved in with my my boyfriend and his four year old dog who wasn’t trained properly and he has a LOT of issues. Don’t sleep on the training! We’re working with a dog trainer now and her philosophy is “freedom is earned”. She described our dog as a frat boy who had no boundaries growing up and now he basically acts like a felon . Crate training works! Not just for sleeping but as a training tool for behavior stuff. Definitely get a book or work with a trainer because you don’t want to the behavior to set in and end up with a felon like me!


1. Halti dog leash. stops the pulling
2. When you get to Portland (I used to live in SW Washington, so I get the rain:), invisible fence. Dog Watch is the only company I trust. Seriously, it will be some of the best money you spend. I know some people don’t like the thought of a dog being shocked, but you train them on it first, walking them around the perimeter with the color just buzzing so they know the boundary. We have had one at all of our houses for the past 8 years and only one of our dogs ever tried to cross it and got a little shock (you can also set how strong you want it to be). It’s better than having them escape fences and yards and potentially get hit.
3. Water hog mats right inside the door they come in, and a shaker peg rail for hanging towels right inside the door.

Kelsey MacMillan

I know this will be unpopular but I have to agree that an invisible fence lining my physical fence changed my life and honestly probably has saved my dog’s life. I have a Siberian husky pitbull mix rescue with very strong prey drive who is a raw talent for escapes. We have a fully fenced yard (and even replaced the fencing to make sure it was strong) and she has escaped 20 seconds into being in the yard with us watching — prying open a gate, pushing a picket straight out of the fence, and one time going to the basement inside and pushing the screen OUT OF THE WINDOW to get into the yard to chase a squirrel. I resisted the invisible fence for a long time (see the part where I tried replacing my entire fence first), and you do feel terrible the one or two times they get a buzz for crossing the line. But it really only happened twice because there’s a sound played to warn them, and it sure as heck beats my nightmare of her getting hit by a car. Plus now I can play in the yard with my dog!


These dogs are not “Naughty”. They are just untrained and need to be exercised and mentally stimulated. I’m going to be a bit rough here and say you need to put way more time and energy into training ,playing and walking with your dogs. Also, that hard hugging can lead to bite from even the most easy going dog. Chewing is a sign of boredom. If you do all the above it will go away as they will be tired and relaxed. Trust me, I have two working line Belgian Shepherds that I can safely leave in the house when I go to work all day. Also, if you have a sink in the garage that you can attach a hose to you can run it outside and wash the dogs in warm water and let them dry there before bringing them in. I do this after every training session and can wash two dogs in less than 20 min. I let them dry on Coolaroos from Chewy that are great for place training which is something I highly recommend doing with two dogs and two kids. Take care and good luck!


Your advice is gold.


I love dogs, but have long known I can’t handle one at this stage of my life (kids are enough). But I was starting to reconsider during the pandemic, and this has helped me realize I absolutely do not want to be a dog owner, perhaps not ever. It’s the pee, poop, and destruction, but also the mental energy of trying to solve issues / train behavior. You have to be super consistent with the rules, which makes complete sense, but I struggle enough with being consistent with my kids. I’m happy you are all happy though and these dogs are darn cute and sweet.


People will try and tell you that crating your pups is a terrible thing. But I can definitely say 100%, that it is one of the best things you can do for your pup and your stuff. The crate becomes a “safe” place for them. If Birdie accidentally squeezes a little too hard, they can retreat to their safe crate. But you will need to teach Birdie that the crate is off limits for her. My goldendoodle tolerated the crate. But would retreat to it if he felt stressed. My lab, loves the crate. It is his “place” I have a tiny 848 sq. ft. house, so I couldn’t wait to get rid of the crate. It was in my second bedroom, and just in the way. My lab would retreat to the crate for naps during the day. He put himself to bed about 9 every night. Crate door always open. He loved his safe place. They will both be 4 in December. I finally took the crate down in February this year. My poor lab was lost for months without it. Formed a new safe space for him in our bedroom instead. But all these months later, he… Read more »


I’ll be the one to say what the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals experts say (in case no-one else does):

There. Said it. Done.
Diligence, positive reinforcement and time and effort work, along with a front-clip harness that is cruelty free.


NOT cruel if used properly. You don’t pull and drag them with the collar on. Just a quick
and gentle yank and release. There are plenty of You Tube videos to show the correct way to use the collar. My dog walks perfectly with the collar on. No abuse, I promise. But I hardly use it anymore, since he has gotten much better at healing and listening.


Would uou put it on a child??

Modern training is about positive reinforcement, not punishment, fear or pain.

I’m not the experts. That’s what the experts say… repeatedly.

If you ‘need’ a pronged collar, maybe you chose the wrong dog?!?


Emily, you have the best readers. I’ve never had a dog so I can’t add to the great help you’re already getting.
I did, however, managed to “train” our inherited from mother in law psychotic B*#@%ch cat age 8. Seventeen pounds of anxiety, I couldn’t even touch her in the beginning. We eventually learned to get along (a lot of treats and patience along the way).


Hahaha 🤣

Kristin B.

Why did reading about your dogs (who I agree are high in the ranks of cutest dogs ever and I love their antics – who wants a BORING dog?!?!) bring tears to my eyes? Thankyouthankyou.

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