It all started with a door. Paul was helping me set the table one day and went to our utensil drawer to retrieve some forks and the drawer completely fell apart. He confidently told me it could be fixed. He went to the hardware store and bought all the necessary components and then proceeded to repair the delinquent drawer. He thought he had it all brand spankin' new but the repair did not hold and the drawer broke again within 24 hours. From there, each and every cabinet began to fall apart. The cabinets were coming out of the walls, all the doors were splitting and cracking, and the cabinet below our sink was so rotted from a leaky pipe that a large hole was forming. Plus, our countertops were cracked and scratched and the backsplash was starting to crumble due to the mortar being improperly mixed and applied when installed a few years ago. We began researching and planning a remodel but shied away due to cost, timeline considerations, and fear of committing to the project. One night this summer, Paul was helping me in the kitchen again and went to get a serving spoon from his nemesis the drawer and it fell apart once more. "THAT'S IT!" he declared, "WE ARE GETTING THIS FIXED!"
And from there, we seriously buckled down and planned our remodel. Of course, I don't think either of us really expected to have a puppy running around the exact same time. Not to mention a puppy that has to go outside to pee every hour on the hour. But we do and so we have learned to deal.
Peyton has proved surprisingly easy to housebreak - relatively speaking. I read some pretty petrifying horror stories online about the difficulty pet owners have experienced in training their pups to let them know it's time to go outside. Sure, we have had a few accidents but Peyton is already going to the door when he needs to be let down or, if he is in his crate, barking desperately. The first couple days were a little rough just because we had to take him out every 45-60 minutes voluntarily so he would get used to the idea of going outside, rewarding him after each successful visit. Being vigilant like this ensured that we had no accidents in the house. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to get up at night (every 3 hours) to get him outside but my wonderful husband has been voluntarily picking up that job. Nearly two weeks later, things are much more relaxed with Peyton in the house because he does communicate his needs to me and has honestly mastered the whole pottying thing. He's a smart boy. Of course, it helps that he is extremely motivated by food. That puppy will do anything for the tiniest morsel. He's also figured out that the best place to sit during mealtime is directly under Lucy's high chair. That's where all the goodies come raining down.
The biggest challenge with house training Peyton has honestly come from the construction end. As I mentioned earlier, the kitchen is in the very center of our home and there are nails, construction equipment, pieces of trim, braces, screws, screw drivers, power tools, drywall, and lots and lots of boxes everywhere. There are about a million things a stupid little puppy can chew on, swallow, and kill himself with. I caught him trying to eat insulation one day and thankfully caught him before he could break off a piece. In addition, he adores our contractor and takes a beeline for him whenever he gets the chance. This meant that one of the days he got stepped on accidentally because he came up behind the guy and surprised him while he was in the middle of drilling. A nice pat on the head and Peyton was happy as could be, his tiny tail wagging wildly.
The one plus side of training our puppy during this time is that he is a great distraction for the kids. My kids would usually be the ones bothering the contractor, asking him questions, or quizzing him on his favorite dinosaurs (ok, so Matthew was doing that earlier). With the puppy around, they spend a lot of time in the basement chasing him around, playing fetch, and getting him all wild with tug-of-war. They love him so much.
I have to watch Emma with the treats though. She broke into the puppy treat bag and fed him a bunch of them for doing absolutely nothing. Now he hounds her diligently hoping that she will overfeed him again. Like I said, this dog is very food-motivated.
I'm looking forward to having most of the project done by February. In the meantime, I am cooking by microwave, crockpot, or rice cooker only. My workspace functions as my dining room table and partial pantry. The rest of our pantry is in the laundry room which also functions as the dishwashing center since we do not currently have a working sink in our kitchen. It's been tight and feels a bit like camping. My crockpot has been my greatest friend during this time. Since meals have been quick out of necessity, I have been able to spend more time with the pup and focus on training him and getting him used to our schedule. It has honestly been mutually beneficial!
|Emma and a very unhappy Lucy eating lunch while I prep dinner for tonight. See our microwave, |
coffeemaker, and crockpot are in the mess somewhere there. I'm trying be organized but it has been so difficult!
|Laundry room/pantry/dishwashing center. I had just finished washing|
a load of dishes when I snapped this picture.
We will have Peyton 100% housebroken by the time this kitchen project is complete for sure. Honestly, the potty issues haven't been the most challenging part of taking care of him so far. Getting him not to eat the mulch or pieces of bark outside has been far more frustrating. In fact, the other day I was taking him out for a walk and he started digging in one of the neighbor's garden beds and retrieved a three inch piece of bark. We continued walking when suddenly he stopped still and began making a noise that can be described as something between a wheeze and a choke. I knelt down and pried his mouth open to find that the piece of bark was stuck on his front canine and because of this predicament he was unable to dislodge the rest of it from his throat. I pried it off his tooth and threw it off into the distance and of course he took off to chase it because that moment of asphyxiation was so enjoyable he wanted to experience it again. Keeping him alive has been majorly challenging.
Oh, and a little side note on Paul's nemesis, the utensil drawer. It took its final revenge on Paul during tear out. We couldn't get it to come out of the cabinet since it was so warped in the back. "Stupid darn DOOR!!!!" Paul was so mad. It took quite a bit of effort but we finally dislodged it, after which Paul declared: "HA! Victory is mine!" I believe he has a mini bonfire planned one of these nights.