We all remember our puppy time and sleeping endless hours in the bench. I LOVED IT! I was bench trained untill I was almost 2 years old. For me the bench was always my safe space, just for me. No Mom or Dad allowed in my man-cave. The first rule of bench life is: Never punish me by placing me in the bench for time out or because you’re mad. Mom knows I’m a super sensitive lab, who will never return to the bench once I’m scared.
Because of the bench Mom never had any trouble with me when it comes to eating or chewing on furniture, destroying pillows or stuffies etc. Many small doggos are left home alone for too long periods of time without training this first. People sometimes expect puppies to understand they should go to sleep and wait in peace for their pawrents. Literally…Who does that?! All of us doggos freak out when our pawrents leave us alone for the first time. You know, give us a sec to get used to the concept. Let’s start with 30 seconds alone and come back to give us lots of treats and cuddles. And build it up towards being away 5 or 10 minutes while you post a letter. If that’s going well built it further up (slowly) to half an our and later an hour. And if we show you any signs of boredom or anxiety, give us something to do. In some occasions I can say our Mom is prepared for stuff. Then she pops a frozen Kong out of the freezer and leaves us with a happy state of mind. I have to say though that she only does that when she knows she will be back in 15 minutes. You never know what we crazy lab’s do with a Kong. For sure, I know I am capable of swallowing it in one try like the time I did with the bird food-ball someone dropped from the balcony. I swallowed it faster than a dog with a bone, and with the plastic net still around it. That bought me a ticket to the emergency vet FAST!
Also a good tip is to make a good and ‘long’ walk with us before we are left alone. Once we are tyred and find our spot, we will sleep like a baby in the crate. And please remind yourself not to allow your doggo to follow your every move inside the house just before you leave him or her. You humans seem to act out of guilt and want to keep us close for as long as you can until the moment you leave. But that just makes it worce for us… REALLY! Look at it from my perspective: I follow you constantly and am close to you with wathever it is your doing.
- Going to the bathroom… I will let you hold my paw
- Getting dressed… I will help you with the sleeves
- Posing in the mirror… Move over I’m better at this
- Preparing food… I will clean up after you no extras charged
- Cuddling on the couch before you go… Yeeej Mom why so clingy all of a sudden
- Packing up your bag together… I will make sure your snacks are still fresh and tucked away safely
- Putting on your coat… Hey wait, Why you put on your outdoor furr?
- Giving me the ‘BENCH’ command… Wait, what?? Why you all of a sudden giving me commands like I’m a criminal of some sort??
- Leaving me all alone in the big empty house… Noooo..You Woman!!.. Don’t you leave me here?! We were such close friends!! We did everything together! Why can’t I go with you now?
Why did you set me up for disaster?What did I ever do to you?
If you want to leave us home alone, don’t feel guilty! We love having some me-time once in while. Choose our own spot and really rest for some time in peace and quietness. We don’t mind at all! But don’t give us the mixed signals and flip the switch on us like that… okay? We’re still good???
My little brother was also taught to rest in the bench. But because he’s still a pupper, he experiences it a little different. He sees it as his puppy-jail. That’s because his schedule has build-in ‘resting time’ to set limits and boundaries. If it was up to Finley he would play and run through the house all day! But as a pupper he needs to rest at set times as well. When he was smaller he was still getting potty-training which became more predictable due to the bench. Once a puppy wakes up from his nappie he must go potty immediately! Another benefit of ‘the Puppy-Jail’.
Once Finley got older the bench was phaced-out more. Because he’s in training to become Moms service dog, the bench wouldn’t be used that much anymore. And also our house is not super huge, so we could use the space better than having an unused bench in the living room. Instead we rather give Finley his own bed for him to rest in once he’s not working. We, however, did not anticipate for this Elbow-Adventure for Finley. Luckily the bench was still in the garage and could be popped up in a sec.
As of a week before the surgery Mom decided to build-in ‘Bench time’ in Finleys schedule twice a day. This made him get used to the bench (or jail, if you will) again and did not think anything of it. Immediately after the surgery Finley went and almost asked for his bench. He limped to the bed inside the jail and took the biggest nap of his life!
During the first two weeks after surgery Finley spent most time during the day in puppy-jail. And I must say, as a big bro, I’m super proud of him. He never whines or complains!! He is happy to come out of the bench to move into his stroller to go potty, but limps back to jail for a nap after his walkies. We all believe that it costs lots of energy for his little body to heal itself and therefore he is happy to do puppy-jailtime. During these two weeks he only got out to do potty, give and get cuddles from Mom and me, spent some time with his favorit stuffy, play braingames and train with Mom (train on one spot only) and go to bed with Mom in the evening. It’s needless to say this period would’ve been a living hell for everybody, if it would’ve concerned me!
Currently we are in week 4 after the surgery and Finley is getting better by the day. He is even playing tricks on Mom and being a naughty teenager all of a sudden. We went from going into puppy-jail because we WANT it; to almost giving Mom ‘The PawFinger’ when she has the audacity to give him the ‘BENCH’ command.
Finley is a true teenage-pupper after my own heart!
Finley is getting fed up with this jail life. He’s allowed to walk for 10 minutes, 5 times a day and do more training during the day. He sleeps a lot less than he did before! So Mom is challeged more to keep him sane! It calls for a good daily schedule with all activities planned out for each hour of the day. No problem for our slidely autistic Mom. In the meantime Finley is loosing it… I guess!
I mean… what are you doing????
I think its safe to say Finley is just being a little dramatic about his current situation. But let me remind you, Jail life is no joke! Especially not when your just 8 months old, training to become a service dog and all of a sudden Mr. vet is poking around in your elbow! What the fluff…
Let’s agree that being a little dramatic is okay for now. Hang in there Fin!