It feels a little weird to jump right back into regularly scheduled program after the last week or so, but rest assured I am continuing to do the work I mentioned in this post even if I don’t talk about it every day on my blog. I have some fun things going on behind the scenes for this effort that I look forward to sharing with you soon, and I will continue to amplify Black voices across all of my channels. With that said, let’s get going with today’s post!
I definitely wear more neutrals year round, but during summer I like to bust out brights on occasion. And as with everything I do in life, I go big or go home. This blouse Tuckernuck sent me is definitely what I’d call going big with brights! It boosts my mood, which is something I think we could all use right now. The multi-color confetti print is so much fun, and the combination of colors is really pretty, flattering and photographs extremely well. While I know that’s not something everyone has to think about all the time, it’s definitely a good blouse to consider if you have an event, family reunion or party coming up where you’ll likely be in a bunch of photos! I’m wearing a size 6, which fits perfectly on my busty frame. If you’re obsessed with this print like I am but want it in dress, don’t miss this sleeveless mini dress, this shirt dress and this maxi dress/gown! One for every occasion! Side note – if your size is sold out in the blouse on Tuckernuck, it’s available in more sizes here! Keep scrolling to hear what’s new with my new pup.
A LITTLE PUPDATE!
It’s been just over a month since I picked up Reeses and brought her home, and she’s now sixteen weeks old! I published this post one week after I brought her home, sharing some of the things that were helping get her adjusted to life at my house. Well, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I had a bit of a meltdown the same night as the blog post went live! I am NOT an emotional person and don’t cry very often, and it truly came out of nowhere. I was literally just brushing my teeth and started sobbing! It was the craziest thing. Reeses hadn’t done anything wrong (aside from just general puppy behavior), but I became so overwhelmed. I know given what’s been going on right now that sounds totally ridiculous, but in the moment that’s what I was feeling. Part of me was like “WHAT DID I JUST DO?!”! I have never been responsible for another living thing, and as a perfectionist I felt like I had to get everything right. I put too much pressure on myself and totally stressed myself out! Apparently it’s very common – the feelings I had are called the puppy blues (there are threads on Reddit all about it). I now understand why so many dogs end up in the pound and at shelters – they are such hard work and so many people end up giving up on them. I’m so glad I pushed through that first couple of weeks, because just over one month in and we’re thick as thieves!
While we’re both still adjusting to our new normal and tweaking things here and there, things are 100% better than they were that first week. We’ve finally established a pretty solid routine and we’ve bonded in these last few weeks! While she definitely has her crazy moments (she is a puppy, after all), she is such a sweetheart and I can’t imagine not having her around! Keep scrolling for a look at what our routine is and some other things I’ve discovered that have helped us both adjust. Be sure to check out this post for my initial finds from the first week!
Keep in mind that all dogs are different, as are all of our lifestyles! What works for us might not work for you. I work from home and don’t feel comfortable crating her all day, but am using crate training to assist with potty training (it trains her to hold it!) + also want her to be comfortable in a crate when I leave the house (at least until she has control of her bladder/bowels and is no longer teething)! With that said, here’s our typical weekday routine:
6/6:30am – wake up and take Reeses out immediately. After that I’ll throw on workout clothes, put in my contacts and brush my teeth so I’m ready for a longer walk!
6:30/6:45am – Feed Reeses and then give her water, immediately followed by a long walk. The length of the walk depends on the temperature outside – on cool mornings she can go as long as 45 minutes to an hour and still want to play after! On hot days, it’s more like 15-30 minutes. The point of these walks is to wear her out before I put her in her crate!
7:45/8:00am – Play for 15-30 minutes after our walk.
8:15:/8:30am – Put Reeses in her crate for three hours. This is when I work out, get ready for the day and run any errands I need to that day. When she hits four months old I’ll move her up to 4 hours in the crate at a time! The older they get, the longer they can hold it.
11:30am – Take Reeses out to go potty immediately! Feed her lunch, give her water, and then take her on a 15-30 minute walk.
12:00/12:15pm – Reeses joins me and Liza in the office! She sits on a soft towel with her toys next to my chair. She’ll play for a bit, but mostly sleeps.
2:00-3:00pm – Take Reeses out to potty, play with her for a few minutes and then place her next to my chair in the office again. She’s been better about holding it longer in the last week!
5:00pm – Take her out to potty when Liza leaves, then feed her, give her water and take her on another 20-30 minute walk.
5:45-6:15pm – Reeses hangs out in the kitchen with me and plays while I make dinner!
6:30-7:30pm – Reeses plays/naps in the pen next to my couch while I eat dinner, get some additional work done, etc.
7:30pm – Take Reeses on one more 10-15 min walk
7:45-9:00pm – Reeses joins me on the couch (using this furniture protector!!) while we watch TV + play.
9:00pm – Reeses hangs out with me while I clean up the kitchen, in the bathroom while I get ready for bed, etc.
9:45/10:00pm – Take Reeses out and then put her in her crate for the night!
CRATE TRAINING – below are the best tips that have worked for us. Not every day is a breeze, but we’re getting there!
- Start slow – The very first day you get your pup introduce them to the crate slowly and for short periods. Encourage them to go in with toys and treats, and praise a bunch when they go in by themselves without closing the door. In addition to giving her a treat when she goes in, I also give her a treat and praise after I close the door. Repeat this a number of times, then try closing the door for a few minutes. Slowly build this up to longer periods!
- Tire them out – the very best tip for having them be calm in the crate is to totally wear them out before you put them in here. When Reeses is tired, she’s much less likely to whine or bark after I close the door and usually falls asleep right away. This means taking her on long walks and playing for awhile before putting her in there!
- Buy a crate cover – when she’s in there during the day, the crate cover is on with the front flap open. At night I close the flap so she is fully enclosed. It’s makes the space feel more cozy (like a den!) and removes extra visual stimuli in whatever space they’re in. This is the one I have!
- Use a white noise machine + music – This helps calm them and reduces audial stimuli that might wake them up. For daytime, I use both the white noise machine and put on calming music (either tell Alexa to “relax my dog” or play calming dog music playlists on spotify). At night I just use the white noise machine!
- Put the crate in another room – when she was in my room, she moved every time she heard me/saw me do anything. I’m a light sleeper, so having her in my bedroom was never the long term plan anyway! She’s now in the kitchen – I can still hear her if she’s barking, but she can’t hear me moving around in my room/bathroom. I also feed her in the crate, so being in the kitchen by the food makes that easy.
- BUY THIS – This snuggle puppy has a heart beat simulator and you can insert heat pads (optional) so she feels like she’s snuggling up to her mom in her crate. She loves it! She still cries for a few minutes when I put her in the crate, but is asleep within minutes (if I’ve tired her out properly)!
POTTY TRAINING – Again, not an expert, but these tips have helped us! Reeses hasn’t had an accident in the house in almost two weeks.
- Take the dog out immediately after meals, play time and sleeping/naps.
- Take your dog to the same spot outside (I’d suggest going out the same door each time as well) and say “Go potty!” until she goes. Give a ton of praise when she does! Reeses almost always goes on command when I say “Go potty” now (even if we’re on a walk!), and after a long walk she knows to go potty in the backyard again one final time before we go back inside. She now knows that’s her spot, and going potty is the key to getting back inside the house!
- Don’t let the dog play in the same area as she’s supposed to go potty, so she only associates that area with going to the bathroom (and not play time). I only give her about five minutes to go, before heading on a walk or back inside the house.
- Don’t scold the dog for an accident after it’s happened – they won’t associate your scolding with the behavior. If you catch the dog mid-pee, make a loud sound to startle them and immediately take them outside.
Merritt, you’re doing such a wonderful job with Reeses and it’s obvious you really love her a lot. You do such a great job of caring for her. Please consider holding off on those long walks after meals though…gastric torsion (or bloat) can happen too easily with exercise on a full belly, and it’s really dangerous and can turn deadly very fast. You may consider the long walks prior to feeding her…super easy adjustment to make. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I’ve witnessed my fair share of bloat and I couldn’t NOT say anything….I know you love that little potato way too much!
Oh my gosh, THANK YOU for telling me! I had no idea!!! I’ll definitely be making that change.
Really appreciate it!
I agree with the previous comment on bloat. I unfortunately lost a dog to bloat very unexpectedly several years ago, which can sometimes be preventable. Definitely food and after long walks, after she cools down and is no longer panting.
Now as far as the same spot for potty breaks when house breaking, I wish I would have done that! Genius! One of our two pups refuses to go potty in our backyard, so we are constantly going for walks.
Thank you!!! Had no idea. So sorry to hear about your pup!