7 Things I’ve Googled Since I Got a Puppy
Thank dog for Google – what did puppy owners ever do without it. Since Hurricane Zed’s arrival, I’ve been relying on this know-it-all search engine to get me through the first year of puppyhood.
Shouldn’t owning a dog be easier the second time around? Eight years is a long time – it’s also the age difference between Oscar, my Shih Tzu/Chi mix, and Zed, my Japanese Chin puppy. You forget about the sleepless nights, the half-eaten shoes, the undigested shoe puke/diarrhea combo, the housetraining struggles… not to mention the weird sounds, behaviors, activities, and bodily functions that come all-inclusive with a puppy. All you remember is the aww-inducing ball of full, the sweet nose nibbles, and the feel of their breath when they fall asleep on your chest.
But all I needed for that new puppy smell to wear off was a mere 24 hours and the forgotten horrors of “Pupageddon 2009” came crashing back. Sweet baby jebus, what the hell was I smoking?
Still, there are a few new weird habits that Zed has brought to the table. Perhaps I was lucky with Oscar – compared to Zed, Oscar was a model pupper. For the life of me, I can’t remember him pulling any of the following stunts… that’s why I had to turn to Google to see if I needed to call a vet, a dog trainer or an exorcist.
Smelling Oscar’s Willy: When we come in from a bathroom break; while they’re playing; or just for the hell of it – Zed is fixated on smelling and often licking Oscar’s little willy. When my reprimands of “Dude, that’s your brother” didn’t deter him, I turned to Google to find out what was behind his fascination. While I still think it’s gross, some experts say it’s an extension of the butt sniffing welcome, as puppies like to get a better taste or smell of their canine counterparts. Like any kind of greeting, it shouldn’t go on any longer than five to seven seconds. Anything longer than that and it just gets creepy… which is why Oscar gets a little antsy when Zed spends too much time down there.
Eating Poop: A disgusting habit that makes me want to gag, Zed sometimes likes to gobble down his freshly laid poop. Known as coprophagya, it seemed I could never get to it quick enough – I would catch him nomming on a log, try to take it out of his mouth before he swallowed, and brush his teeth before letting him near me. Google tells me it’s a normal cleaning behavior in mother dogs with pups, and I tried a few natural remedies to cure him of his dirty eating habits. However, none of them worked, so off to the vet we went. She gave me some powder to mix with his food, but it didn’t do much good. I resolved to watch him like a hawk and scoop the poop before he had a chance to binge, while praising him with proud words and treats. This seems to have cured his between-meals snack… although he does pop a nugget every now and then.
Licking Weird Stuff: Talk about drool-worthy décor – my couch slipcover is now decorated with dark polka dots of saliva. Zed is obsessed with licking fabric. At first, he would lick anything that looked delicious – the metal legs of the coffee table, the hardwood floor, the mirrored cabinet. But now that he’s discovered cotton blends, he’s hooked. Could it be he’s lacking certain minerals, like Vitamin Cotton? Nope – a quick Google search says not to panic – he just likes the taste of my slipcover. Maybe it’s because Oscar and I spend so much time parked there (damn you, Netflix), and we smell so appealing to him, he just wants a taste… of our butts. All I can say is that my couch has never been this spotless… from crumbs, not actual spots.
Fish Breath/Teething: The sweet smell of puppy breath – better than any air freshener available, am I right? This perk passed me by with Zed. It’s more like Glade Plugin’s most unpopular scent, “Catch of the Day Dumpster Mackerel,” and that day was April 14, 2003. Did you know that when a puppy goes through teething, his breath smells like rotten fish? I sure didn’t, because I thought that all puppies had lollipop smelling kisses. When Zed tries to cover me with licking love, I put him right in the friend zone. To find out where the stench was coming from, I googled “Dog Fish Breath,” and up popped the answer – it wasn’t coming from his gut; it was coming from his mouth. Most doggy breath issues are due gut problems, but when it smells like trout, it’s from teething. I’m ecstatically looking forward to Zed’s full set of adult teeth coming in.
Missing Testicle: For a little dude, Zed has a big ball. Yep, that’s singular – my pup only has one testicle, and it’s a big sucker! This is a common issue with male puppies, and the other ball tends to descend on its own. But not Zed’s stubborn ball – it’s made itself comfortable in his stomach, and now that he’s grown, so has that ball, which means it won’t come down on its own accord. Google tells me that his shy ball has a fancy name – cryptorchidism. Testes should descend into the scrotum by the time the pup is two months old, but it shouldn’t take longer than six. Now that Zed is nine months old, I’m getting testy about his testes. It means an increased risk of cancer, and because of the non-stop sperm production, this missing ball is most likely behind his love of humping and peeing on everything in my house. The surgery has been scheduled and Zed will be sans Testiclese in about two weeks.
Using the Crate as a Bathroom: If you want to housetrain, you need to crate your dog. It’s how I taught Oscar, and it helped promote a bedtime routine that suited both of us. Not so with Zed. From the beginning, he resisted the crate – not by barking or crying (although he does both), but by using it as a bathroom. He had no problems peeing and pooping in his crate… and then lying in it. I turned to Google once again to find out what I was doing wrong. I took him out often, used treats to lure him into the crate, and left the crate door open so he could explore it. But once that crate door closes on him, Zed howls and pees for his release – even after six months of trying. As it turns out, after a quick x-ray, it turns out that his shy ball is pressing on his bladder. Poor little fella.
Teeth Chatter: Is he cold? Is he trying to tell me something? Why are your teeth chattering? Granted, your first reaction would be “Hey, don’t you live in Canada, so isn’t it logical that Zed would be cold?,” to which I would respond “Dude, get your head out of the snow bank, we have something that resembles summer up here.” When I first Googled what teeth chattering in a puppy meant, I was a bit worried to learn that there was a lot of talk on dog forums pointing to a neurological problem. However, there was a more feasible explanation – Zed was just super excited. I noticed his teeth chattering when he had me all to himself or while trying to get Oscar to play with him. He still does it, but now I just tell him to “Spit it out – what do you need to tell me?” That usually refocuses his energy.
It’s a good thing Zed is so hecking adorable – it makes living and dealing with his quirks a lot more tolerable. And besides, it’s not like his head spins around during his spontaneous puke sessions… at least, it hasn’t happened yet.