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Tails of a First-Time Dog Owner

Tails of a First-Time Dog Owner

In case you’ve missed any of my recent social media, then it’s time to bring you up to date with our most recent adventure: dog ownership.

I probably should have been better at documenting the stories, but I fell a little behind. So here are some of the successes and failures of dog ownership thus far.

Tails of a First-Time Dog Owner

In August 2014, the most magical thing happened…. we found a dog! But not just any dog…. we found a “Rexford”.  Shortly after moving to Atlanta, I began looking for a dog – specifically a maltipoo. I had wanted one ever since we lost our miniature poodle, Noel, back in 2008. Noel was a 15 year old poodle that was so important to my childhood…. As you can imagine, finding the right dog was extremely important!

Why the name “Rexford” you ask? Excellent question!

First of all, it’s a serious name, and it commands respect. Secondly, I had a joke with a friend where you’d say in a very heavy posh British accent, “Oh dear me Rexford, you pooped the bath!?”

Frequently we speak to Rex with a British accent and ask whether he’s pooped the bath – and that’s just a normal day in the TayRod household!

How We Found Rexford

I found a girl on Craigslist… I know, I know – typical San Franciscan. She was selling her maltipoo because she couldn’t afford to take care of him – she was a student at Kennesaw.

When I first met him, his name was Nino, he was just 4.5 pounds, and he had never had a bath or haircut. He was a little disheveled, but he was so incredibly sweet when we first met – I instantly knew he was our dog. He kissed my face and followed me everywhere. He didn’t need a leash and he didn’t bark. It was incredible!

Two days later, I brought him home.

Getting Him to the Vet

We had a few health issues when we first got him since his first owner didn’t take proper care of him, but he is doing so much better now! He had never had his ears cleaned, and if you’ve ever had a poodle breed, then you’ll know that’s really important to make sure their ears are plucked. We had to take him into the vet, and his poor ears were so sore for a good day. It broke my heart for him, but his ears are in perfectly good condition now.

The other issue we had was a cough that he had. We tried an antibiotic, but nothing changed so then the vet recommended a cough medicine – just to give his throat a break. The vet eventually determined that it was from a weak trachea that sometimes happens in smaller breeds. Luckily, as he’s grown to be a few pounds bigger, his coughing has almost completely stopped!

The last issue that he had was that he never got his puppy vaccines, so we had to start from scratch at 4-5 months old. This is definitely a bit older than when most normal pups get their vaccinations, but luckily he has had all of his shots!

The next big step will be the loss of his balls…. that will happen in January!

Crate Training

Rexford had been previously trained to sleep in a crate, so we continued this at night to help with the potty training. We didn’t want to shake up any training or schedules that he had previously had. For the first month, this went smoothly. He knew what we expected, he went in his crate, and because he was only a few months, he would wake us up when he had to go to the bathroom.  So I would wake up in the middle of the night, take the elevator downstairs, and walk him.

About a month after we had been keeping this schedule, he decided that he wanted nothing to do with it. He scratched and cried in his crate…for hours. For about two weeks we tried everything from covering the crate in a towel/ sheet, to putting a piece of clothing that smells like you, to feeding him in his crate, to making sure he had treats and chew tows, to putting his crate in a different room, to ignoring the cries, to tying a Kong to the inside of his crate…. and nothing worked.

After two weeks of extreme exhaustion, I gave up and put him in his sailboat bed, which sat next to our bed. And then about a day or two later, he started sleeping in our bed. He now sleeps through the whole night right next to us, and I think it’s the best solution. He still knows what is expected of him, and with some serious potty training, I feel like we’ve found a sweet spot with Rex.

Plus, it’s not too bad waking up to a pup cuddling your face 🙂

Potty Training

So….. the crate training didn’t go as planned, to say the least. We needed another plan of attack.

Although Leo has been able to spend much of the day with him at home with his flexible grad school schedule, we still needed a way to prevent accidents. We immediately started with pee pads, which some people hate, but I swear by! Almost instantly, Rexford understood. When we would leave him at home, we would keep him in the kitchen with a pee pad, and shortly after we started using them, he got it! If he had to go, he would always pee on his pad, which was great for clean up.

Then we got to the point where we needed to teach him that going outside is where he needed to go – not the pad. For weeks we tried different things, and we first tried with putting him back in his crate, but that almost instantly didn’t work.  We were diligent about the times we brought him out, and we knew he could hold it…. Puppies are able to hold their bladder as many hours as they are old, so if you have a 7 month old puppy, he can hold it for 7 hours.

Finally we turned a corner a few weeks ago – dog treats. Every time Rexford does his business outside, we make him sit and then we give him a treat. This worked like magic, and all of a sudden he got it! It was a long three months of training, and although we have the occasional accident, I can say that having him trained is such a relief!

A Well-Traveled Pup

Rexford has been to Savannah, Southern California, out and about in Atlanta, Charleston, Miami, and next week he will be off to our home… San Francisco! Plus he’ll also see wine country and Santa Barbara, while we finish some of the wedding planning. He has become a better traveler in the car, but he has definitely been a challenge on flights. He is absolutely terrified of his Tumi travel case, and the sound of a plane…. but he LOVES it when he gets to his destination! Hopefully we can get him more comfortable over time!

Adventures of Leo and Rex

Perhaps what is best about this whole experience is Leo and Rex – if you want to follow their adventures on Insta, just search #adventuresofleoandrex. Leo happens to be one of the most caring, loving people I’ve ever meet, and watching him love and take care of Rexford makes me fall in love with him even more <3

He is so concerned about Rex and making sure he has everything he needs to live a happy life! Last week Leo asked if we could baptize him when we are home for the holidays (LOL), and just last night he asked what we could do about his underbite, because he didn’t know if we could get Rex braces.

I mean…. I can’t even…..

And on that note, I’ll leave you with Rexford’s Christmas sweater, which just arrived!


More adventures to come!  xoxo Tay, Leo, and the Rexford pup


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