Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happiness is a warm puppy.

VBB central is pleased to report the incipient arrival of a new puppy. Squee! Yes, it's true. We may be cynical heartless bitches & bastards on the outside, but deep within our crispy outer shell lies the warm & squishy heart of a puppy-lover.

Puppies. Soft and warm.
That delicious puppy breath.
I just love puppies.

It's been a long time since VBB central has had a puppy. Funny how it feels - I see puppies at work all the time - in fact they are usually the high point of my day - and I could tell you my standard puppy spiel in my sleep - but now that one is coming home with me, well - I'm kind of freaked out. This is my first puppy since vet school!

I've had dogs all my life until recently. When my last dog died - well, he was sorely missed, but I was busy with starting life with children and moving and all kinds of major life changes. I didn't have time for a puppy. I lived vicariously through the dogs of friends and family members. I've watched somewhat enviously as new puppies have entered the lives of many of my loved ones in the past mumbledy-mumble years, and recently we decided to take the plunge. Everyone in the VBB household is now old enough to contribute in some way to the care of the dog, and even to read a book about dog behavior and training (BTW: I like Sophia Yin's dog training books, and Ken Martin's training book has a lot of great information about dog socialization periods and positive training methods, etc).

So, I'm approaching this new addition with excitement and fear. While I've had dogs before, and even hand-raised puppies before (although this new puppy hasn't been prematurely separated from its mother), no one expected me to know it all before - now, everyone expects me to know everything. Of course I'm confident in matters of puppy health and medical care, but when it's your own puppy, you second guess everything. Or maybe I should say, *I* second guess everything. Because I do second-guess myself when it comes to my own pets. I know some vets who will happily provide all the medical care for their own pets, including emergency surgeries. I am not one of those vets. I know some other vets who won't even give their own cat a distemper shot. I am also not one of those vets. I am somewhere in the middle, but definitely tending toward the side of wanting a second opinion on anything potentially serious. That said, my anxiety at this time is not really about the puppy's health. I can handle that. It's more about the puppy's emotional and social health. I want to raise a good canine citizen, and I haven't done this in a long time. Hopefully, it's like riding a bicycle - after all, my last three dogs turned out great.

Fingers crossed!


  1. ummmmm, love puppies. So tender.
    Taste like chicken.
    lol - kidding.

  2. there is no better therapy in the world than puppy cuddling ;)

    Congrats on your new edition!! I haven't had the nerve (or proper amount of free time) to start from scratch yet (maybe once I'm out of vet school, though from the sound of things on here I'll have even less money and time then I do now ;) For now my adopted 3 year old pup will have to do.

    I'm still not *exactly* sure what kind of vet medicine I want to practice but whenever I get asked, I always say "I'm going to be the first veterinary pediatrician so I can play with puppies and kittens and lambs and foals and calves and bunnies etc. all day" hahaha the looks on peoples faces are priceless, now if only I could get paid millions of dollars to do so it'd be the perfect job!

  3. I have not had anything resembling a puppy in a loooong time. Six months out of school, I adopted a 6 month old pup that had been HBC and, after signing the surgical release and estimate, the dirtbag owners decided that they not only didn't want to pay, they didn't want the dog. So, I got a 6 month old lab thing that once she relearned how to walk (took over a month and all of the PT skills I learned at University), she busted out of her crate and destroyed everything. My husband has only known her since she mellowed a but once he came into our lives.

    So congrats on your puppy. Cannot wait to see pictures, but remember to include pictures of anything she destroys, because if the pictures are cute enough, I need *something* to deter me from going to the nearest shelter and adopting a ball of fluff.

  4. AWWW I love new puppies. I really enjoy reading this blog and check for updates multiple times a day.

    You've been given a blog award because I love reading your stories so much.

    Please go to to claim it!

  5. What are your thought about Cesar Milan's training methods?

  6. I believe he uses fear and intimidation to control dogs. I believe he is very popular because he, like Ronald Reagan, is very charismatic. I believe his methods are scientifically unsound, and potentially dangerous in that they may cause aggression to escalate.


    Herron ME, Shofer FS, Reisner IR. Survey of the use and outcome of confrontational and nonconfrontational training methods in client-owned dogs showing undesired behaviors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2009;117:47–54.


    Blackwell EJ, Twells C, Seawright A, Casey RA. The relationship between training methods and the occurrence of behavior problems, as reported by owners, in a population of domestic dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Application and Research 2008;3:207-217.

    Here's a pamphlet that might elaborate more on how I feel about Mr. Milan & his methods:

    1. We agree on something! I agree completely that his methods can cause further aggression. I saw a video of him actually kicking dogs to stop them from being reactive to other dogs! We believe in positive reinforcement and setting the dogs up for success. It works so much better.

  7. (sorry about the formatting problem there. oops)

  8. What kind of puppy are you getting? If you haven't house-trained a puppy recently, I will be happy to tell you how I have trained many puppies and even old dogs who lived their entire lives outside without ever having to learn to hold their bladders. I call it house-training boot camp!

    1. I am getting a puppy who is expected to grow into an active dog of approximately 25 kg adult weight. I'd be interested in hearing about your house-training boot camp.

    2. House-training is the easy part. It's the garden-training I'd be more interested in. How do you teach a dog to go behind a particular bush, not dig up the bulbs you've just planted ("but they look JUST lie my treats!"), not eat the birds, not chase the rabbits and not roll in poo?