Hello all, it’s been far to long since I’ve written and it’s time for me to get back on the horse. The last few months have been jam packed. I’m finally getting used to my new job at the University, I graduated with my bachelors degree in May, and I’m starting to get the hang of home ownership finally! Today I wanted to talk with you all about my sweet Cricket girl and the hard work we’ve been doing to make her a more well behaved puppy. Let me give you a little background first.
Growing up I always loved animals. My sister and I would catch frogs and turtles from our pond during the summer and keep them as pets, my first “real” pet was a kitten I found at a gas station in Wyoming when I was four, we always had dogs and cats with the occasional horse or chicken at my parents home. I think at one time we had three dogs, two cats and a horse! I also loved to read growing up and one of my favorite books was one my dad had about all the different AKC registered dog breeds. It had pictures and description for each breed and I loved to sit in my room and flip through the glossy pages. Almost twenty years later the pages are pretty worn and dog eared (pun intended) but I still have it sitting on my bookshelf.
My first dog was a nervous Cocker Spaniel Golden Retriever mix who had more hair than brains. She was an extremely sweet nature rescue from our local animal shelter. Her name was Hannah and she had a lot of quirks. She was afraid of the stairs, tile floors, and the dark. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s had a Cocker can tell you, they often “duck” walk and pee when they get nervous or excited. She was a challenging first dog, especially for an eight year old with little guidance in the training department. I like to think that I would be able to help her overcome those fears now but I guess we’ll never know. We do the best we can to give our pets good lives and they teach us so much. I think it’s a beautiful thing that the lessons we learn from each pet help us become better pet owners in the future.
We guessed that Hannah was six when I got her and she lived with us for another eight years before we had to put her down. I was sixteen when she died and wouldn’t get another dog for several years. I knew they were a lot of work and with college just around the corner I didn’t feel like I was in a place to get another puppy. It also helped that we still had dogs around the house so I wasn’t completely fur ball deprived.
Fast forward to my sophomore year of collage and I was really wanting a puppy. I had just ended a serious relationship and I was very lonely. Easter weekend 2014 I went to “look” at some American Pit Bull Terrier puppies. (Does anybody ever just look at puppies? I always wind up trying to take one home😂) It was love at first sight. Cricket had china blue eyes and was the calmest of the litter. We met both her mother and father who had good temperaments, her father had a particularly sweet disposition.
Cricket’s baby pictures
I had decided I wanted a pit bull because I’d had several friends who had them and they were always extremely sweet and loving, in my experience they were also very good with kiddos. However, because of the negative things I’d read and seen in the news and because I knew they were extremely strong dogs I decided that for my first one I really wanted to find a home where the puppies had been handled from birth and I could meet the parent dogs. Knowing what I know now I think this was still a good decision but I would also be absolutely comfortable adopting this breed from a shelter.
Cricket was a dream puppy. Easy to potty train, sweet disposition, confident, loved car rides, and got along with our other animals. Everything was great until she hit about 9 months old as which point she lost her little doggie mind. I think part of the problem was that she was becoming an adolescent and part of it was that I moved into an apartment and she had to be crated during the day. I faithfully walked her every night but she wasn’t getting the exercise of just running and playing with other dogs. During our time in the apartment she ate my bed (flipped it over and she ate that side too), every pair of shoes I owned but two and a half flip flops (it was December and my mom had to buy me a pair of boots so I didn’t get frostbite), countless blankets and pillows. In reality all of this was pretty normal puppy behavior, well maybe not eating my bed but pretty much everything else. The problem was she had a lot of energy and between my poor health and working full time while going to school full time I just didn’t have the time or stamina to keep up with her. I seriously considered trying to find her a new home. I was afraid she would pull me down the stairs and hurt me or that she would break free from me on a walk and get hit or stolen.
As my health got worse I decided to leave my apartment and move home for a while so I could save for a one story house with a yard. This turned out to be a really good decision. I had help with Cricket and she had other dogs to play with. When I moved out again it was to my current home which is much better suited to having a high energy dog.
I love Cricket, she has been my constant companion in sickness and in health. When I have flares she lays beside me on the bed all day long, she is endlessly patient with small children and my sassy little six pound cat who constantly bites her and smacks her in the face. All of that being said she is a lot of work and it’s been really challenging at time. I don’t know if it was the most responsible choice to get her when I did but it’s really hard for me to say I would do it differently because she has enriched my life greatly. She has been a true life saver for my mental health and a loyal companion.
She turned three in February and she has started to finally calm down. She is potty trained and ok to be left loose in the house, we did have an incident recently with the couch but our other dog had chewed into it and I think it was just to much of a temptation for her. She can sit, stay, walk on a leash nicely if there are no distractions, and comes for treats if there are no distractions. That being said I have a lot more that I want to do with her and now I finally have the time to pour into training that I’ve always wanted to. I’ve decided I would like to share our journey with you all in the hopes that some of the things that work for us will be helpful for you and your doggies. If you have a dog, want a dog, are thinking about getting a puppy, or just think dog training is interesting please stay tuned because this is just the first installments of Adventures With Cricket.