Cat Chasing And A Walk

Something I heard this morning put it all into perspective. A puppy is like a toddler. Needs lots of sleep but doesn’t want to take a nap, and will thus complain a lot when you try to put her down for one. Yeah, that analogy works for me.

She sure is headstrong though! She wants to chase the cats. Very badly. My cats are unfortunately too nice, however, and she has now pinned both of them, and neither of them gave her a “Listen here, we mean business, now stop it already” snootful of claws. I really wish one of them would though. Or that I could convince her that chasing down the cats is not in her best interest.

In order to try to get some energy off her, we went for a short walk. No problem with the cane, she didn’t seem to pay that any mind much, but everything else was dead interesting of course. We were able to keep her mostly moving in a mostly forward direction about halfway around the block, then when she started stopping to, I don’t know, eat dirt or something and not moving in a forward (or any other, really) direction, we figured she was getting tired, and, like a toddler, didn’t want to admit it. Don’t let anybody tell you that 10-week-old GSD puppies ain’t heavy. I got maybe another 1/4 a block around before I had to just walk and hold her in both arms and pray I didn’t trip over something, which I didn’t, because it was the sidewalk on my side of the block. No loose dogs out, so it was all OK. I know there’s some concern about her getting something before her final shots, but she did just have her second round not long ago, and she’s going to have to see some of the world besides our driveway. Also, I hope she’s tired, because I sure am.

What a couple days…

It’s been an eventful couple days. First, thanks for the encouragement on pretty much everywhere…facebook, twitter, comments, it’s really helped a lot to know this is all pretty normal.

This morning on Pet Life Radio, a rerun of one of their shows, in fact, one of these, talked about how your puppy can be interested in lots of things more than you, and how puppy being interested in dirt was a real blow to the ego. Yeah, that was kind of appropriate. There are a couple of shows I really like on Pet Life Radio. Teoti’s is one, another one is It’s A Doggy Dog World, and of course Working Like Dogs. Other interesting stuff there too. But I digress.

Yesterday was a water day, I guess. Water coming out of a dog, water on the floor. Hilda peed a bucket in the crate. Twice. My timing appears to be a little off. But that’s even getting better, because accidents today were very minimal and I got it together. She also dumped over a full bowl of water. Twice. Two different times. I’m here to tell you, that’s not a whole lot of fun.

Once, she got away from me in the kitchen when i didn’t have ahold of her leash, and she went after Jasper. She wrestled him to the ground, they rolled around some, somehow got back to me, I rescued Jasper, and he ran off. I’m not sure what he thought of the encounter, but he didn’t make any noise at all. No yowling or snarling or spitting in protest. I suspect if she got into it with Abigail, Abigail would be a lot less likely to be intimidated by her antics, anyway.

In good news, she’s chewing on me less, and also trying to chew on her leash less. My fingers are thankful. So are my toes. Also, it looks like she is capable of climbing stairs. She went about halfway up before I picked her up. I’m pretty sure she’d have made it the rest of thew ay. Sharon doesn’t recommend letting them go down for a while yet, to help ensure good hips. I did let her go down the front steps, just to see if she would, and she did, hesitantly, but without any problems.

I guess it’s also safe to say Hilda still thinks I’m OK, even if my role lately has been “the guy who puts me in the crate and pulls stuff out of my mouth”. She definitely came over to me more and lays down to relax and chew on a bone next to me.

I’m amazed at how she’s growing, too. Her head is up to my knee if she sits up her tallest. She’s got to be getting past 15 pounds if not closing in on 20, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to see.

Just for fun, I let her run and chase Abigail. Again, wrestled Abigail down, Alena said Hilda was beating Abigail up. No complaints from Abigail. The palayed chase, Abigail ran into the basement, Hilda waited for her to come back up, and off they went again. I don’t think they’re going to have a problem.

A Bit Of Overwhelm

So I found myself thinking, “What made me think this puppy thing was a good idea?”

Make no mistake, this isn’t Hilda’s fault. Maybe not even mine. It’s just been one of those days. The thing is, I kind of thought about not writing this entry at all, but then, thinking about it some more, I decided that it would be disingenuous of me to leave it out. What good is documenting an experience if it’s all positive and whitewashed?

The thing is, if not for just a bunch of things stacking up today, this probably wouldn’t be anything at all. The whole keeping on top of an active puppy (one who just had some nasty diarrhea this morning, besides) combined with a bunch of runaround and what not with melanie’s care, I sort of started feeling like the guy juggling plates, or better yet, flaming torches, and being just about to drop one. So as Hilda and Leno and Fiona barked and growled and played and had a high old time, and then as I spent lots of time telling Hilda she couldn’t chase the cat, and oh…did she just pee?!, And no, you can’t go there, and ouch, here, chew on this instead, and no, don’t eat that, and Hilda, over here, this way, c’mon, there’s a girl (as she stared fixedly at a cat, or Leno, or god only knew what and blithely ignored me), and Sorry Hilda, you have to go in the crate, yes again, I thought, wow…this dog thinks just about anything is more interesting than I am! Where did I go wrong?

Yes, today was a day with a bit more crate time than usual. Some of that was having to do stuff that wouldn’t allow me to give Hilda proper attention. Later, some of it was as much to preserve my sanity as anything, because really, I just didn’t have the energy for one more “Off” or “keep the puppy from chasing the cats” or whatever. In short, my brain was in serious danger of going into meltdown. Which then of course made me wonder if I was well on my way to breaking the puppy. You know, everything on the critical puppy periods stresses how, well, critical it is that puppy’s experiences are very positive, and how some mistake or other could scar your puppy for life, or…well…just lots of ways things can go very, very wrong. So had a brief chat with a couple of folks, both of whom assure me that puppy is just being a puppy, not to worry, everything is fine. Which helped a little, anyway.

The awful truth? I don’t have a clue what I’m doing! You know how they say that kids don’t come with a user’s manual? I guess puppies don’t either, although there’s lots out there that is supposed to be helpful. It probably is, but, like kids, I guess puppies don’t come with user’s manuals either. I guess, about like everyone else, I’ll muddle through the best I can.

What made me think this was a good idea? I’m not sure, but I’m sure it was a good idea anyway. This is just a bit of a rough patch. Puppy is just being a puppy.


I guess it was bound to happen sometime. After eating only most of her breakfast, we went out, and I heard the sound no one likes to hear. No, the other sound that no one likes to hear. Twice. No wonder she drank so much right before. I think maybe we’ll take it easy today. Though, fortunately, no more happened since this morning at around 7.

A Little Setback…

Looks like it might be one of those days. That is, if so far is any indication.

I’ve got the spare room so that there shouldn’t be anything that Hilda can get into (umm…yeah, good luck with that, right?) So we may do some stuff in there without a leash and see how it goes. That may, however, be tempting fate. Last night at about 12:30, I woke up to loud Hilda complaints. I thought, well…she didn’t go much on our last trip, maybe she’s got to go. Well, turns out she done went, and the crate contained the contents of a pretty full puppy bladder. I’m not sure from where, since she hadn’t had water for quite a while. So out we went, we got another park, crate got cleaned up, back to bed we went.

We went out in the morning, she didn’t seem to want to do much. Got another park eventually, but she didn’t want breakfast. OK, I’ve heard of this, so we’ll just eat later. All good. After futile attempts to chase the cats, back into the downstairs crate so I could take care of Leno and feed the cats, and of course the whole time keeping an eye on Alena as she got herself together for school. Off to let her out, and again, the contents of a puppy bladder. Now she’s waiting upstairs, since I just cleaned the downstairs crate and now need to take care of my breakfast.

First week down, Slow Learner

Me, not Hilda. I’m a slow learner. Mark the following lesson well:

If you’re walking, and the puppy stops for no reason, there’s a reason.

OK. Pretty obvious, right? Well, like I said.

Today I got leashes and the training collar from Handcraft Collars. All made out of black tubular nylon, which isn’t tubular at all, so I’m not sure why they call it that…someone explained it but I still don’t understand. Anyway, Debbie at Handcraft tells me that this is the stuff the mountain climbers use, and it doesn’t burn your hands the way standard nylon webbing can do. The training collar is an adjustable Snaparound Training Collar, the so-called (but not really) Volhard collar, popularized by the Volhards, who have used it in training for ages. While it’s true she’s still young for a training collar, and this one’s a little too big for her, it won’t be too big for her for long. I really want to know what the snap they use to close the collar is called, as I think it might be the perfect thing for a removable harness handle, provided it can be welded to the ends of a harness handle to keep movement to a minimum. The shortcoming in most commercially available guide dog gear I’ve seen, or seen descriptions of, appears to be the handle and its attachment points, in my opinion. With traditional bolt snaps the way they’re often used, there are way too many spots where something moves…but I digress. The leashes are the exciting thing. The short leash, I got them to make up like a standard guide dog leash, meaning it can be folded in half to make a short leash for working, and then unclipped to make the leash longer for parking or what have you. However, instead of using two rings, I just had Debbie use one ring for the short leash position, then put the handle through a second bolt snap, so making a long leash involves only unclipping the bolt snap. One step instead of two. She’d never made one like this before, but it’s exactly right. The other leash is a standard 15-foot long leash, which will be nice to give Hilda a bit more freedom but still have some control or at least knowledge of where she is.

The long leash may help address my next challenge: getting (and keeping) Hilda’s attention. The stuff I’ve read suggests that getting your dog to come to you can be easily accomplished by running (or anyway, moving) backwards, away from your dog, which will theoretically make your dog follow and come towards you. This isn’t exactly easy to do with just four feet of leash. Still, getting her attention when she’s fixated on, say, a cat, or pretty much whatever isn’t me, is my next challenge to overcome.

Besides “Sit” and “Down”, and she’s really getting “Sit” nicely, being that she is expected to sit before I put her meals down, I’m teaching her to touch my hand with her nose. I figure this is maybe good substitute for people who have a command to have their dogs look at them. Clearly that won’t work for me, so I have to figure out some other thing.

Panic, twice, both today. Once, I had Leno out, and I had Hilda out at the same time. This was because I had to take Leno out, but I didn’t really want to put Hilda in the crate yet, because I figured she’d have plenty of time there. Anyway. Dropped her leash by accident and had an OMG you idiot moment, but she didn’t go far. A similar thing at the crate later. Took the collar off, let go of her, she walked off, I called her, and she came running back. Whew…can’t count on that just yet though!

Crate yowling is calming down a lot. Now, it’s a lot more periods of quiet, some loud protests, but mostly just a little whining. Just as y’all said 🙂

Progress Continues

The first full week is almost up, and we’ve come a long way.

The big thing we’re working on is chewing on toys, not on me. She still really, really wants to chew on me, but she’s starting to get that I’d rather she didn’t. She’s also stopped trying as hard to chew on the leash.

I’m also seeing lots more quiet periods in the crate. It could be that those are happening while she naps, but at least she’s comfortable enough to fall asleep instead of just expressing her displeasure full time.

She’s also sitting for meals, which is great!

Housebreaking is just super. Each accident was very definitely my fault, and those have been very, very rare. One poo in the crate yesterday, and pee today, but! With the pee today, she was very definitely trying to rush outside. It was I who was slow. She was seriously trying very, very hard to get to the door. Proud of her! And it wasn’t very much she got out either.

We’re still exposing to “sit” and “down”, and adding “Off” to the mix, because she’s started jumping onto the food buckets. And the chairs. And jumping at me and Alena sometimes.

For a first week, she’s sure learned a lot and made a lot of huge adjustments. This dog is just full of potential, I can already tell that!

Because you asked for it

OK, at least somebody asked for it, and the rest of you will be thus subjected. Eventually, I’ll install Blubrrypress on here so I can upload as podcasts with embedded players and all that happy crappy, but not today.

First, from this huge long file I have no idea what all is on it, is some representative crate yowling. Now take this and multiply the time by lots and you’ll have an idea. Mind you, she got a lot better throughout the day, as, having some other chores to do, Hilda was in the crate a fair bit today and started to get quieter over all in there, but when she has a mind to make some noise, she can really make some noise.

Then comes the fun bit, and I know you were waiting for the fun bit. Lots of racket from all three, but mostly Fiona and Leno. See if you can pick out which grumbling is Hilda. Hint: Most of the barking that isn’t Leno is also not Hilda.

Finally, one of the cats, probably Abigail, has gotten Hilda’s attention. That one’s fresh from this morning.

Enjoy 🙂

Slow And Steady Progress

There’s really not a lot to report. Hilda actually took me to the back door to go out this afternoon, and she’s parking fairly reliably outside. She still makes a considerable racket when she’s put in the crate, although eventually, and by eventually I mean anything from 10 minutes to a half hour, she’ll quiet down, at least for a little while. Today she enjoyed a midday nap, which was helpful. I waited for her to fall asleep, then put her in the crate. Of course, she tried valiantly to stay awake and bark and yowl her displeasure, but eventually, sleep won. Tossing in a couple treats a couple times when she was quiet also may have helped. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never heard a dog whine while eating at the same time, but Hilda will, if she’s eating in the crate. It appears, then, that food isn’t enough of a motivator as compared to not being within easy reach of me or, well, whatever it is she wants to be in easy reach of. Probably me. She still follows me if I walk off without her leash. There are definite teeth marks in this leash, too. This is the leash I got with Chet, so it’s been around the block a little bit.

The really great news is that I can sleep through the night, or mostly through. She quieted down nicely, and woke me up around 2:30 in the morning to go out to park. This she did in fairly short order, and we went back to sleep for a while.

A couple people have asked for audio. I have some. I finally have a recording of Leno’s bark. Much of the barking in the recordings that will show up eventually is Fiona, some Leno, and some Hilda. Lots of Fiona.

There was one tiny mishap early this afternoon. Hilda got her tail closed in the back door. Guess she wasn’t all the way out the door. No worries, I checked her tail, and it seems to be all in one piece, no breaks, no swelling, no squashed tail bits, and it doesn’t seem to bother her after the first few minutes. I’ll keep an eye on it anyway.

Vet Visit

Well, off to the vet we went. She got a clean bill of health, her nine week shots (a few days early), scheduled for her three month shots. We talked about spaying, and Dr. P. agrees that spaying at closer to a year old is probably best. So that’s my plan.

As for weight, Sharon estimated around 8 pounds. I thought that seemed a bit light, and thought more like 10. It turns out we were both light. She’s 13 pounds, 12 ounces.

She’s also beautiful. I got several unsolicited compliments on her. As well as someone asking about certifying a service dog. I was sure to stress that there was no such thing, but that the dog had to be trained to specifically do tasks to mitigate a disability. No, its mere calming presence to help your agoraphobia is not enough. And, sorry, I have no clue what task you can teach a three pound (at maturity) dog. Can you even call that a dog?

She’s got brains and beauty. She really is starting to pick up on sit, and maybe even down. she walks on leash, and when we’re out in the back, she pulls to get back in. Steps right out in front. I think guiding isn’t going to be a problem when the time comes.

Today, along with the vet people, she met someone who came to finish up with getting Alena on a county program. I had to run across the room for something, dropped her leash as she was just lying there, and walked off. And do you know, she followed me? All on her own.

I’ve also never met a more cooperative pup. Seriously, I can do anything with this dog. Tickle her toes, wiggle her ears, stick my fingers in her mouth, whatever, she doesn’t care. Also not at all possessive of food or toys. No problem with loud, sudden noises either. Dropped a metal feed pan on the floor, not a peep. There was, I forget what it was, but it was a sound, while she was asleep, there was this sound, she startled a bit, then recovered as if nothing had happened. Yep. I think this dog has, and will have, nerves of steel.

We’ve also had nice long quiet spells in the crate, after initial yowling. And lots of parks outside. All good.