I haven't blogged because I have been too busy staring at my new, beautiful , sleeping puppy!
We drove 90 miles yesterday (which is nothing in New Mexico) to the farm where he was one of a litter of TWELVE.
We met the Golden mom and the Golden dad--beautiful, healthy, super-friendly dogs. (I think Alan actually fell in love with them instead of the puppies.)
We spent some time with the remaining four male pups. While we could distinguish some personality, it was hard to keep track of who was who as they romped around. Alan and I narrowed it down to the two calmer ones who were dozing on their own rather than chumming with each other. The other two were energetic and lovable but also, it appeared, inseparable, and we wanted only one pup. So we got one of the two calmer ones--but we aren't sure which one.
The 90-mile journey home was awful: the pup got very anxious (its first time in a car!), started to pant, then drool, then foam, then vomit. I was riding in the back seat with the pup, and it took me 40 miles to realize that I should put the puppy on the floor, where he was indeed much more comfortable.
When we arrived home, he was a miserable, limp noodle. It was heartbreaking. I thought we had blown it.
All the books gave advice on how to coax the pup into the crate--but this pup went into the crate and wouldn't come out for anything. Eventually I brought food and water to the crate, since he wouldn't leave it.
We were alarmed--he was so lethargic and docile and sad-looking. He slept and slept and, when awake, he didn't move at all. The car trip had taken a lot out of him, as did being indoors for the first time.
Then, a surprise.
We took the puppy outside to eliminate, and he became a different puppy: tail wagging, mouth laughing. He really likes being outside, which is where he has spent the first 10 weeks of his life. But he doesn't like going through doors to get outside.
This morning he was a bit livelier--venturing three and four feet from his crate and then retreating back to it. We played a game throughout the day where I moved his toys a few feet from the crate and he slipped out and put them back in the crate.
We've had three walks today, each one better than the last. He's getting used to the leash, not tugging much, learning the commands "leave it" as well as "sit," "come" and his name. (Jon Katz says that surprisingly few dogs actually know their names, so this is a goal!)
This afternoon the puppy actually came out of the crate long enough to make an inspection of the house, following me around as I dusted and washed floors. He's had a few sessions of Puppy Freak-Out Time--those hilarious energy bursts--and we chased each other around the living room table. He had a bath, during which he was silent and docile, and now he's sleeping again.
Such fun! I was a bit nervous about his first night and didn't sleep very well last night; consequently, all three of us are now lounging around in the living room now, being dozy.
This is exactly the kind of content Sunday afternoon I was dreaming of when we were planning on becoming Dog People.
When the puppy wakes up alert, we will have some more fun kibble-based training sessions--"come," "sit," "down." It's sounds far-fetched, but I think he is getting these commands already. (Not that he'll remember them tomorrow....)
Below is the full frontal shot--a good sign, I think, that he is feeling more comfortable in our home.
Sunday, May 6, 2007