Puppy. Day 2
Up at 0645hrs today. That’s a lie in by normal standards let alone with a puppy! If you overlook the fact that I was out in the garden with him at 0100hrs in the cold drizzle, this puppy lark seems easy. When we came back in he slept on me again but seems to prefer the feet end. I’m trying not to get paranoid about my breath.
So 0645hrs it was. Up and out (remember the crocs and jacket by the back door). You need to try and make life as easy for yourself as possible if you are going to do things this way. He is getting very good at going out now to the same area in the garden and we have still only had the one accident which was my fault. I have learnt my lesson though. Whilst writing this and watching the big bang theory and entertaining the puppy and having to give constant feedback on the girls doing handstands, I did notice that familiar single whine that lets me know it’s time. So out we go, “be quick” and like magic, a wee on command. I know he was going to do it anyway but you have to celebrate small victories.
Food was served in the van at 0700hrs. Just long enough in there to eat and make a good association and then back into the house. He went to the back door and whined. I let him into the garden for…. wait for it…..a pooh in the normal spot. I took the opportunity to make the association with a few “be quick” commands as he was going. Then, having made sure he had finished, praise, and we played a little game of chase the luggage strap. A real favourite of his at the moment.
We then hung around the house investigating and I took him back out to the van a few times where he seemed to enjoy playing with the brush. Most of the toys I have are a bit too big and hard for him at the moment so we play with whatever he likes. I will direct his attention onto my chosen items as we progress. For now, whatever works. I am going to visit Lee, his future handler later and so continuing to make a good association with the van is this mornings priority.
By 0730hrs he was getting tired and took himself into the crate for a sleep. I took the opportunity to shut the cage door (more on that process tomorrow when that becomes the priority).
A short nap is all that was required and at 0745 he woke. I let him out even though he was still lying quietly because I know what was going to happen next. He was going to vocalise and scratch the cage door. That is a habit I don’t want to start so I made a pre-emptive strike (good management).
This time we went into a new bit of garden. He was bold and confident until he saw a big white football on the grass. He stopped and stared. His ears pulled back and he stepped cautiously forward, then back then forward. I however just walked on. After a few seconds he followed. After 10 minutes we returned the way we had come he ran straight up to the ball and sniffed it before moving on. Everything is new to him and new things are potentially dangerous and so this cautious approach is not unusual or worrying at all. Kicking the ball or making a big deal out of it may have made the situation worse. So too could coaxing or encouraging the dog to approach when he didn’t want to. The second time he saw it the ball was now familiar. Its location and existence were known and the dog had prior knowledge of the fact that last time it did him no harm. This process is called habituation. The process of learning to ignore stuff in essence. Footballs do not require a fear response. We can now tick that off the list. The kids later tested this process by kicking this and numerous other balls around the garden whilst the pup chased (that is a habit I won’t allow to develop either).
At 0900 hrs I placed the pup in the van ready for the journey. I locked the cage door and went out of sight and returned immediately. I opened the door and fussed him. I repeated this process two more times before committing to the journey. He vocalised a bit but seemed to take some comfort from my voice. Whilst I have made efforts to make a good association with the van, it was heavily involved in his abduction and so it may take time for this to subside. The journey was only 10 minutes and whilst not ideal I do have to get things done and so try to make judgements on the stress levels of the pup and balance what needs to be done with what I think he can cope with.
He came out the other end looking full of confidence however and was happy to go off with Lee. He happily checked out the new environment of Lees garden and was unphased by the guinea pig and took himself off into the house.
Lee has a 10 month old great Dane who was at the time in a very large crate in the front room. The pup (Vader) approached cautiously and then began to bark. He darted forward and back and not wanting the Dane to reciprocate I called Vader away. We then approached and Vader soon calmed and approached for a sniff. It wasn’t the intention to let them meet but seeing how settled Vader became and how keen the Dane seemed we thought we would give it a go. I held Vader to keep him safe and elevate him to a less intimidating height. Lee was on standby to assist with the Dane if required. They sniffed and investigated and had Vader not been so small and fragile I would happily have let them interact. That is for a time when he is big enough to cope with being stomped on though. For now sniffs is as good as it gets.
Having met Lee and his family it was time for home. Lunch and a rest after a busty morning. The rest of the day was spent playing, investigating the garden, sleeping in the crate and continuing with toileting in the dog garden.
I was careful not to repeat the previous nights mistake of letting him sleep al evening. Having had a relatively quiet afternoon I kept him busy playing to try and help the night time routine. After a final wee at 2330hrs I placed him in the crate, switched out the lights and settled onto the sofa. After a few half hearted whimpers I heard the thud as he plonked himself down and we both drifted off to sleep. He stirred at 0400hrs so I took him out for a wee and then thought I would try him back in the crate. To my surprise we managed another 2 hours sleep. I am hopeful tonight we may do a whole night. Fingers crossed.