Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Puppy Love

Week One with new pup, Cadence, could not have been any better, and we are completely in love with the little guy. He has been such a good puppy. He sleeps through the night already – in fact on Memorial Day I awoke after having slept in an extra hour to hear him awake in his crate but contentedly gnawing on his chew toy until we woke to take him out. He doesn’t fuss at all when crated, and is happy and wagging his tail all the time. He loves to play, and will tear after us, tug on toys, and even retrieves a tennis ball already, but is also happy to be sweet and lovey and just hang out with us. He is a very cool little man.

For the first several days, we mostly focused on name recognition, getting acclimated to the new home and surroundings, accepting handling and a collar, and playing with us and learning that we are lots of fun. We made sure he met someone new every day, and had plenty of friends and neighbors stop by to pet him. By Friday, we decided to take him out in the world, and took him for a healthy puppy check-up with our regular vet. He was a real trooper, and enjoyed a visit to the neighboring pet supply store afterwards. Met lots of people there, and was very happy and friendly with everyone. His only annoyance was with his collar and leash, but he is gradually accepting that as a fact of life.

Saturday we went downtown to another pet supply store, where he met several people, including quite a few children. The children were all polite and asked to hold him, so we sat down on the floor and passed him around. It was a great experience for him to learn about kids, and he handled it all perfectly.

Sunday we walked/carried him down to the nearby canoe livery and park. By this trip, I think he was really starting to learn that excursions into the world can be fun adventures, because he was downright full of himself. We hung out at the park for a while meeting strangers, watching canoes go out, and watching geese on the river. He had his tail up and his happy grin on his face the whole time.

Over the weekend, we introduced him to the clicker, and started training “sit” and a target nose-touch to my hand. He has picked up both concepts in just a couple sessions, and is already looking to me ready to work and learn when we go out.

His first interactions with the other four dogs have gone well. He spent much of the first week in an ex-pen in the living room when the others were loose in the house, and everyone would get treated and praised whenever they were near the ex-pen. All are starting to associate good things with being in close proximity to each other. He has had supervised one-on-one sessions with the adult dogs for the last couple days, and all go smoothly. He seems to have very good social skills and body language for a pup, and Tristan especially will play quite gently and nicely with him. The others are less impressed with him as a playmate yet – still a little small to be much fun – but are tolerating him politely.

This week we will continue the socialization experiences, “sits”, and target work, and add in “down” and working on his recall. We’re also working on basic crate manners – not barging out the door when it is opened and going in voluntarily – but he is already quite good about both those things.

All in all we couldn’t have asked for a better first week with a pup, and are looking forward to all the fun to come.

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