Nugget, CGC

Nugget and I arrived to take our CGC test on June 5th. I was very nervous, but excited to get it over with! It was more challenging than expected due to unforeseen obstacles. 

Right when we were about to start the test, a little child walked by squeezing a squeaky toy that sounded like a duck. Nugget had never heard that noise before and obviously became distracted and eager to find the toy. Luckily, this was before the test began so I was able to give him a moment to calm down and redirect him.  

Later in the test, we turned a corner and there was dog food spilled all over the floor! It was a major distraction, but the trainer quickly led us over the area into a clearing for us to continue our testing. 

Overall, Nugget did great, and he passed his test. Nugget now is officially “Nugget, CGC”. I am very proud of him and cannot wait to frame his certificate.


Nugget: Future Canine Good Citizen 

Training with Nugget has been such a unique and fulfilling experience. I remember my desperation the first day I met my trainer because Nugget would not sit still for one second. This week during training, I left Nugget quietly sitting on a mat in the corner for over 3 minutes with no problems. He is so bright and so eager to learn. It has been absolutely amazing to watch him grow.

Nugget with a case of the zoomies!

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Adjusting to Puppy Life

I wish I could say that Nugget settled right into his new home, and we lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, the first few weeks together consisted of very little sleep and a whole lot of tears. I had never owned a dog before, and Nugget was not just a dog but an untrained puppy. Step one was to get him into the vet’s office. Nugget had not been neutered or had any of his recent vaccinations. He had several medical needs that had to be dealt with. After scheduling all of his required medical appointments, I attempted to get Nugget adjusted to my new home.
This is the list of the items I thought I needed for Nugget:

1. Food and Food Bowls

2. 1 bag of treats

3. Crate

4. Dog Poo Bags

5. A Ball and a squeaky toy

6. Collar and leash

Nugget quickly made sure I understood that I had massively underestimated the needs of a nine-month-old untrained puppy. I’m going to explain all of the items I wish I had in preparation for a puppy in hopes that it will help anyone going through this process. I’m not a dog professional, but this is what I learned through a lot of trial and error.

1) Food/Treats/Bones: You need a whole bunch of really stinky, good food. Initially, the ONLY thing that could ever get Nugget to stop running, jumping, tearing up blankets, and barking was food. Treats will become your best friend. Take them everywhere with you. Stash them around your house. You don’t know when you’ll need to quickly grab a handful of treats to get a puppy to stop tearing your scarf off your neck. Once they stop the bad behavior, and focus on you politely (or at least somewhat politely), praise them and give them treats! I also like to give Nugget Bully Sticks and bones with peanut butter stuffed in the middle. These will keep him quiet and occupied for about 30 minutes.

2) Kong toys: I’m sure most of you have seen or used the little rubber Kongs you can stuff with food. These are great. I fill them with food and freeze them. I specifically use them when it’s time for Nugget to go into his crate so he always correlates the Kong with crate time. Another awesome, life-saving Kong product is the Kong Wobbler. Nugget always wanted my constant attention, and I could not even get ready for work in the morning without him barking and jumping all over me. Also, he had a habit of scarfing down his breakfast in about 10 seconds. The Kong Wobbler solved all of my problems. I put his morning breakfast in it, and he is occupied trying to get his breakfast for a good 20 minutes! Finally, a break to get ready in the morning. I still use this every day because he thinks it’s so much fun.

3) Easy Walk Harness: “Are you walking your dog, or is your dog walking you?” Ha. How many times did I hear this when I was walking Nugget in my neighborhood? I wish I had known about the Easy Walk harness a long time ago. It’s very easy to slip on the dog, and the leash clips across the chest. The design makes it difficult for the dog to pull against you which in turn makes walking a lot easier.

4) Bitter Apple Spray: Nugget probably would have eaten my entire apartment had I not bought Bitter Apple Spray. Dogs hate the taste. I sprayed it on my furniture, pillows, and blankets. Heck, I even sprayed it on myself! It only took one or two times of him biting into the bitter taste for him to learn to leave it alone. I did have to reapply the spray every few days, but it was so worth it.

5) Toys, toys, toys: Nugget wanted to play every second he was awake. However, Nugget’s idea of playing was tearing every toy into shreds. I quickly learned that Nugget would need a whole lot of durable toys. He also became bored with toys quickly, so I have several different buckets of toys that I have on rotation.

6) A comfortable crate: As Nugget was adjusting to his new home, he barked…a lot. He seemed to be testing boundaries and sometimes would bark all night. I was losing sleep and making enemies. I did not give in to his barking, but I did realize I needed to make his crate a lot more comfortable if he was going to be spending time in it until he was trained. Now when he has to go into his crate, he has a soft cushion to sleep on, a covering over the top, and a shirt with my scent on it. And don’t worry, he now sleeps right on the pillow next to me in bed. No more crate time at night for Nugget 🙂

7) Dog Park/Doggie Daycare: This was not an option for me for the first month because Nugget needed vaccinations and surgery. However, it has become a very important part of our lives. I very much enjoy walking and playing with Nugget, but sometimes he needs more stimulation than I can offer because I work two jobs. He goes to an awesome daycare 3 times a week, and he also attends a large local dog park that even has a lake he can swim in! It’s a perfect solution for Nugget’s exercise needs. I know a few friends that use dog walkers also, but I have found that the price is very similar for dog walkers and daycare. I chose daycare because Nugget really likes to play with dogs all day. Dog walkers may be a better choice if your dog is happier on his own 🙂

8) Trainer: I did call a trainer within the first few days of adopting Nugget. This is a big one and has made a huge difference in our lives. In my opinion, it is 100% worth the time and money. Nugget has now been in training every week since November, and he is still going. I am proud to say that Nugget and I have worked through a lot of the issues I talked about, and he is such a well-behaved dog now (most of the time)!

I hope you can learn from my naivety and laugh at my experiences with me! Thankfully the puppy days are ending 🙂

The Beginning 

Hi everyone! I’m Mary, and this is my handsome puggle, Nugget.

Nugget is only 7 weeks away from his Canine Good Citizen test which will put him one step closer to our goal of becoming a therapy dog! But before I talk about our current life, let me start from the beginning.

I had been wanting a dog for several years, but I just never seemed to have the time or living arrangements to move forward with my plan. In November 2016, I was lucky enough to have almost two weeks off of work while I switched to a new career. I decided now was the time to get my dog! I had always loved the cute silliness of a pug, but I had also wanted a dog who would be a little more active. I love to run and hike, so I needed a dog with a little more stamina than a pug. Every day I was visiting local shelters and putting applications in to rescue a dog, but I was never the first applicant. Fortunately, one day I found the dog I was meant to have while browsing Craigslist in Pennsylvania. There was a picture of my cute little 9 month old Nugget being sold for $100 with his crate, food, and bowls. I promptly contacted the owner and set up a time to pick him up. A few days later, my mom and I were on our way to Pennsylvania to pick up my new best friend. But boy, was I in for a rude awakening. My new best friend was CRAZY, and I realized I was in way over my head.

When we arrived at his house, Nugget was sitting in his crate. After we exchanged money and paperwork, my mother opened the crate to put a collar and leash on Nugget. However, Nugget had other plans. Once the crate door was open, he ran and ran and ran. It took three of us just to get him in one place to put the collar and leash on him. And guess what? The minute we walked out the door, he escaped his collar and ran down the street. Nugget was a dog who loved running 😉 But little did he know that I loved running too. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I committed myself to putting the time, effort and money into giving Nugget the best life that I could. And thus begins our journey together.

Nugget’s first picture in his new home 🏡