May 29, 2011

Today's picture ...

I really love my goofy boydog.
He's the best heart-dog anyone could ever ask for.

May 28, 2011

Day Seven: Could It Be?

Last night, on Ellie's 9-week birthday, she held it all night! *does cartwheels!*

She still woke up during the night and whined a bit, but she quickly settled after 2-3 minutes. That's usually my gauge for whether I have to actually roll off the couch and take her outside. If she whines longer than that, up to 5 mins or more (if I'm really tired!), I know it's Serious Business.

We'll see if that continues tonight. :-)

May 26, 2011

Day Six: Photo Blogging ...

I finally got my replacement camera charger in and was able to take some pictures and a handful of videos of the little squirt. I have plans to upgrade to a dslr some time in late July/early August, but in the meantime, I'm not missing a second of her puppyhood.

May 25, 2011

Day Five: Slow as You Go ...

It stormed all day so we spent most of it inside.

Ellie doesn't seem to mind the rain as much as Kane; if I can get him outside, she'll follow him without a problem. In fact, she liked to linger outside despite the bad weather, whereas Kane ran out, peed as quick as he could, and came running back. I was a little nervous about her reaction to the thunder, but she didn't mind that, either.

Clicker training is going ... okay. She's smart enough to understand it, I know that. When I look in her eyes there's a level of awareness in them that Kane didn't have until he was 7 months old, at least. She's watching and absorbing everything; I can see the gears turning in her head. But I think she needs to mature a tiny bit more and finish settling in before I can really work with her on it. I'm still doing multiple, short sessions every day, but right now she has the attention span of a gnat. :-) She's still good with the hand signal and will sit for it every time, but the verbal signal is at 50/50. Not really surprising when you think about it.

Kane and Ellie are doing great with each other. Kane has taken on the mantle of Older Brother and is giving Ellie corrections when she needs it. Earlier today, she was especially hyper (maybe because she actually almost slept all the way through the night!) and was ignoring my efforts to keep her butt on the ground and stop jumping against the expen. Kane quickly and efficiently took matters into his own hands (paws?) after one time too many of her making a racket next to where he was trying to sleep: he gave her a short, sharp corrective bark in her face. I'll tell you what, her butt hit the floor and she didn't try jumping again. He gave her warning signs before then, too; he turned his head to look at her, his ears went back, and he stiffened. As she gets older, she'll be better able to recognize those more subtle signals.

Tomorrow is her first vet appt with Dr. M. I'm expecting that to go smoothly; she'll be getting her second set of shots. Thank god, because parvo and canine flu is really bad in my area this year.

May 24, 2011

Day Four: What a Bust ...

My plans for today were simple. I was going to get gas at Wood's, then head in to East Lansing and do some people watching with Ellie along Grand River. She would meet 4395345 million college students who would coo and cuddle with her, she would see scooters and golf carts and bikers and rollerbladers and people dressed in hats and with backpacks and all kinds of stuff and that would be another check mark on her socialization to-do list.

It didn't quite work out that way.

I got gas, Ellie met two new attendants at Woods, and then off we went to East Lansing.

Day Three: Out and About

Today was Ellie's first day on the town. :-)

I left Kane at home because I didn't want to deal with him on a leash and Ellie in my arms. He still has a tendency to pull to other dogs and I was planning to make the rounds at all the local pet stores (where I am referred to as "the owner of Kane—you know Kane, that pit bull I told you about who is so friendly and polite?").

Our first stop was at Wood's Marathon. This is an old-style, full service gas station and garage, where the attendants (all gruff old men or young hunky dudes) come out and clean your windows for you while you pump your gas. They're very dog-friendly, allowing dogs on leash inside the small room where they have the register and the pop coolers, and they have a big old container full of milkbones they hand out freely and slightly excessively. :-)

Kane is very popular there, even with the owner who was bitten by a pit bull when he was a kid and has slowly graduated from giving me the treats to give to Kane, to giving Kane the treats out of his own hand. There's a younger guy, maybe a few years older than me, who apparently had pits while he lived in Texas and absolutely adores Kane; he's constantly offering me money to buy Kane off my hands, joking around, knowing I'll never sell Kane for any amount of money in the world. I have to watch him when he has the container of milbones because when I haven't he's given Kane almost half the container! Luckily, Kane has a fast metabolism and has maintained his svelte figure. ;-)

As you can imagine, the sight of a fluffy girly puppy had all the big tough men melting to pieces around Ellie.

May 22, 2011

Day Two: Oh god, what was I thinking?

Repeat after me:

This is only the second day. It will get better. This is only the second day. It will get better.

Last night was an eye-opener. Ellie was passed out from 9pm to 4am. At 4:10am, I woke up to her crying. Kane was awake as well, bleary and red-eyed and with a very long-suffering expression on his face. I managed to crawl off the couch to let her out of her crate, so she could go potty on her pee pads, as per my plan of the previous day. I picked her up and set her right down on them to prevent any late-night exploring or playing.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

Ellie stared at me with a "now what?" look. I stared back at her with a somewhat bemused, "don't you know?" look. And around the time we both started falling asleep waiting for her to pee, I grumbled, picked her up, and managed to shuffle zombie-like to the back door and let her outside. She piddled the second her wee little paws touched grass. I carried her back and put her in her crate, muttering under my breath about something I can't remember but was definitely grumpy and probably not repeatable. She went back to sleep after about 5 minutes of whining. I managed to shove Kane back over to get my spot back on the couch and fell back asleep as well.

And then 6:23 rolled around and I woke up to Ellie howling. Loud enough and desperately enough for Kane to be concerned, even. It was too soon for her to be let out again, so I moved around on the couch and talked to Kane a bit to let Ellie know someone was still in the room with her. After ten minutes she settled back down.

Only to do the same thing at 7:45. When she woke up again an hour later, I sighed and decided it was about time for me to get up anyways. I let her and Kane outside and fed them both when they got back in. Ellie's been doing very well on her Purina One and Eukanuba mix, with no bad poops, so I'm hopeful she'll do well when I finally switch over to Eukanuba. After that, she walked into her crate, plopped down, and passed out again, and Kane and I took the opportunity to catch up on more sleep.

Her personality has already started to come out more today. She's more independent outside, less likely to be directly underfoot, and boy does she watch Kane like a hawk! She's mimicking some of his behaviors (so I'll have a couple of grass grazers, I imagine, lol) and is starting to chase after him as he does his zoomies and tries to get her to play with him. God, she's so cute with her little wiggle-butt running and jumping around. I really can't wait to get my camera charger back so I can take some video.

She had her first exposure to a riding lawn mower today when the neighbors decided to mow their backyard. She was very inquisitive and tried to run over to investigate it; good thing I had her leashed. :-) When she did get spooked (the neighbor had to gun the engine once or twice to get out of a swampy area), she recovered quickly and soon she ignored the mower entirely. Belly rubs helped. She'll do anything for belly rubs!

I've begun to train her in earnest today after seeing her more relaxed. I play with her paws, stretching the toes, poking my finger between them. I look in her ears, rub them a little, and peel her lips back to look at her teeth. She was a little fidgety at first, but protip—give her a belly rub and she doesn't care! She's very smart and a quick learner, too. After holding her dish up once to make her sit before I put it down, she did it every time after that. She had her first exposure to the clicker as well. Click/treat, click/treat. I'm not sure if she's really catching on with that, but she was a little distracted and wanted to play more than anything so I stopped after only 4 or 5 clicks. I'll try again tomorrow, this time making her work for her morning food.

And I know you guys are going to hate me, but … I'm pretty sure she's already house-trained. *ducks the rotten tomatoes* She refuses to pee or poo on anything but grass. Not even her pee pads. I took her outside around 5 after her nap, and then fed her and played with her when she came back inside. Knowing she would have to potty soon, and determined to stick to the plan of her using the pee pads at some point, I put her in her expen and watched TV as I puttered around online. I was going to wait her out. Sooner or later she would have to go. Sure enough, she started to get fidgety, then fussed a bit. I watched her out of the corner of my eye, ready to jump in all ninja-like with my "go outside! go outside!" as soon as she squatted and then effusive praise.

Instead she continued to cry and then went and flopped down in her crate with a grumbling growl of frustration. False alarm then, I guessed. But no, she was out and pacing within a few minutes. I watched and waited again. Nothing. I knew she had to potty; she knew she had to go potty. And still nothing.

It was about this time, I made a post in dogsintraining on LJ: "GUYZ WAT DO I DOOO?" As usual everyone had great suggestions, but it wasn't until silverblaidd said, "dude, ur bein stoopidz" that I woke up and stopped trying to force her to un-housetrain herself so I could housetrain her over again. I scooped Ellie up, 2 and a half hours after she should have had to go potty, and took her outside. Where she piddled as soon as her wee paws touched the grass. No accidents today.

Kane was an excitement pee'er and a bit of a dirty dog, so I think that's what threw me off with Ellie. If Kane had to go and I didn't make it home in time, he went in his crate, no sweat. Even if he did make it until I got home, the second I approached the crate to let him out, he started peeing because he was so excited to see me, lol.

So …

My puppy house-trained herself on the second day home, and I feel useless.

Day One: Settling In ....

Today started off with good omens: I woke up to a brilliant sunrise for the first time in what seems like forever (at least 4 days of rain off and on and ~7 days of overcast skies) and my current favorite song playing on the radio.

Kane and I did our usual morning play routine (which involves him being a doofus and rubbing his body all over the comforter to generate static and shocking us both) and then I hopped out of bed, let him outside, and fed him when he got back in to give him time to digest before he had to go in his crate. I can set my clock to his peeing/pooping schedule; usually ~45 minutes to an hour.

While I was getting ready, Mom stopped by and said she had decided to come with me to "make sure I was doing the right thing". In other words, after I showed her a picture of Peeps and her littermates yesterday, she couldn't resist seeing them in person. :-) It's very hard to turn your nose up to fluffy puppy cuteness, no matter how crazy you think your daughter is for having two dogs.

I put Kane in his crate and off we went. On the way down, mom asked questions about which puppy I was getting, about the mother and father, about Mary (the breeder) and seemed to be a lot more optimistic and "in" to me getting a new puppy than she was last week when she said she refused to step foot in the house with "that puppy". When I wasn't answering her many questions (she isn't a dog person, so I had to explain a lot of things to her), I was running over the handful of names I'd been thinking about for the past month or so.

I decided against Puck because while it was a cute name, I thought about all the situations I'd be saying her name and what if I had to call her from across a field and someone misheard me and thought I was saying something else? Ultimately, I also ruled out Remi. I just didn't like the sound of it; it was a little too boyish for me. So, that left Artemis (Arty) and Ellie, and then I also added Phoebe and Melody back on to the list.

We pulled in to Mary's drive at 10am on the dot.

May 20, 2011

The Puppy Lands ....


I get up bright and early at 730am to drive two hours to get Peeps (the name Mary, her breeder, gave her while with the litter).

I've got everything ready for her arrival. Her expen and crate are set up in the living room, where I'll be crashing on the couch with Kane until Peeps can hold it through the night. The clicker and treats are bagged and waiting, and holy cow am I super excited to be able to clicker train a puppy from the very beginning!! Kane is okay with it, but he has a tendency to get "stuck" on certain cues that he's gotten treats for before. Hopefully with Peeps I'll be able to get her used to shaping and being creative and thoughtful with the cues she offers, instead of poor Kane whose default mode is to look at me to tell him what to do and/or lure him into the cue. Not that Kane cares as long as he gets the treat. :-)

I'm pretty sure Kane knows Something Is Up. He's been very persistent about getting attention from me the last couple of nights, constantly bringing me toys to play with.

I've got some last few tweaks to make to this blog and then it'll be up and running. Right now I've got it planned to make a post a day for the first week and then we'll see. I've got tomorrow through the following Saturday off to get a head start on crate-/house-training and then it's back to work.

I don't even know what I'm going to name Peeps! I've got a few I've been tossing around, but they aren't concrete and there could be a dark horse: Puck, Ellie, Artemis (Arty), and Remi.

Here's a picture of the little trouble-maker: