1. We set up a big play pen area in the middle of the living room covered with blankets and pillows. We call it the UFC Puppy Octagon playpen. It helps him stay right in the middle of our daily routines and activities.
2. We purchased a very large red rubber Treat Kong so we can feed him his meals through the Kong (keeps him from getting bored). It actually takes him about 20 to 30 minutes to eat his meal from the Kong.
3. We purchased some very large rawhide bones that are two big for him to chew any large pieces off. This way it keeps him interested in the bone for some time (but no danger of a big piece ending up in his belly). I also will rub peanut butter on the rawhide so he is doing more licking then chewing. This also keeps him for feeling the need to lick his leg all the time (redirecting his attention to the bone).
4. We purchased a smaller Kong and line it with peanut butter and kibble. This keeps him busy for 20 minutes or so and he is also getting some healthy protein.
5. I took a horse lead rope and tied toys all over it to dangle it over into his UFC pen. He loves playing with it and it gives me full control of how active he gets.
6. We let our little dog Tallulah go in and play with him but they both have to maintain a down position. I also join them in the pen and referee to make sure no one gets out of control.
7. This one is very important. Every morning I have him go in the car with me when I run my errands (usually takes us about two hours of running around). He is usually starting to go to sleep in the car on the way home.
8. We are still doing short training sessions for example like sit, stay, and lay down while he is in his "UFC
9. We take him outside to lay around in the sunshine on our back deck so he doesn't feel so home bound.
10. Since Nitro has also had two really bad allergic reactions over this time period (he is allergic to black rubber mats) we have had to have him on Benadryl for hives and reduce the swelling in his face. We asked the docter if it would be okay to continue with the Children's Benadryl twice a day to keep him calm. The vet gave us full approval and said many of her patients are on Benadryl full time. I only give Benadryl to Nitro if he is having a really bad day. The other day he was biting and barking (he never bites and barks) so he got one in the morning and one at 8pm. This actually takes the edge off Nitro's intense energy level so he isn't so hyper. Some folks might not agree with this treatment but it is about keeping the puppy safe and calm so he doesn't injure the bone again.
We are all doing very well so far considering how challenging it can be to keep a 6 month old Boxer puppy calm. Wish us luck!
Below are some photos of our Petsmart trip on Saturday. Nitro laid in the buggy and just chilled out (and got a lot of attention from customers in the store) while we spent another $65 on treats and toys to keep him occupied. The photos below are of our Petsmart trip and Nitro in the car on the ride home. When we finally did get home Nitro was exhausted. Here are some photos of him napping in his new UFC Puppy Playpen.
*** Update on Nitro 3-1-2011: We missed a really close call yesterday. We had an appointment at our local Vet to have laser light therapy on Nitro's paw. Since Nitro was not putting any weight on his splint, we insisted that his splint be removed just to see if there was anything else going on under all the bandages. As soon as the Vet started to unwrap everything, there was a horrible smell and what looked like drainage all over the gauze. How could there be any kind of drainage when there was no open wound? Well the splint had twisted thereby rubbing the skin raw underneath. We caught it just in the nick of time. We now have a soft wrap on Nitro's leg and paw and he is also on antibiotics this week. I should have caught it sooner because he was being so good (not normal for a 6 month old boxer puppy who is confined). Today he was a crazy puppy and back to his old self again. He wanted to play with the other dogs so bad! I had to take him into town twice today to run my errands just to keep him occupied. We did mini training sessions everywhere we went today so now he is starting to settle down. We have another laser light therapy treatment on Friday in which we will have the Vet unwrap everything all over again and take a look at his skin. He has been such a trooper.
***Update - See our March 22, 2011 update on Nitro's paw here
Oh, by the way, God Bless all you moms out there. I don't know how you do it with small children! Happy Tails! Lexi, Christina, Nitro, Bailey and Tallulah