Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Puppies

Who wouldn't love to see a picture of our adorable puppies . . . ?

So, here is an update. To give some background, we once had a female boxer dog who seemed lonely. In a fit of stupidity, we bred her to another boxer dog. She had three pups. We were sued by the owner of the male dog because he didn't want to pay us what he had agreed to pay for a puppy (it was an unusual agreement). We went to court three times and finally settled. By then, the pups were six and a half months old and we were all Pack. There was no way to rehome any of them, so we had four. Eight years later, we lost Red. Then a year after that we lost Joey. We were down to two, which we had supposed would be the perfect number. Then we lost Spike. I had said for years that we would not do any more dogs, at least not for a while, but the hole that was left in our family was too huge. Our son was grieving. We were grieving. We missed our pack.

So, we got puppies.


We've had them two weeks now and they are doing awesome. One of the things that has changed since I last had puppies is my understanding of "rewarding the try". We praise and reward the behavior we want to encourage, and gently reprimand or ignore the behavior we don't want. They are already sitting on command, asking to go outside, using the paper or pee pads when we don't see the ask. I know from research that they really don't have control until they're about sixteen weeks, which is still five weeks from now. So, we aren't sweating the accidents. They have learned the "No" when said firmly means they need to redirect their energy or to not bite.

We selected two, because dogs do better in a pack. We provided one kennel with a place for them to sleep and a place for them to go, until they gain control of their bladders. They are housed together so they can play and chew and sleep in puppy piles. We make going outside fun and an adventure with plenty of verbal encouragement , instead of punishment. We don't raise our voices to them, because they are shepards and I don't want them to be timid. We allow them to bark, because I want them verbal when someone comes to their "space". I sleep half the night in my bed and half the night in the chair, because they settle much better when I am close enough for them to smell my hand. I expect bowel control to be in place by the end of next week, since they are already showing signs they are making progress in this area.

They are a delight and a joy. It is so different to have puppy energy again, after the sedentary energy of our aged pups. We should have a new kennel, ordered off Amazon, by tomorrow. They are beginning to get too big to lift from the kennel we made from a $30 roll of wire we got from Lowe's. We need one with a door and sturdy panels. They have gained over ten pounds in three weeks and are too big to fit through the banister any more.

We did change one of their names: we have Lily (fawn) and Skittle (brindle). Jaime and Lily sounded too much a like and they were getting confused. Skittle seems to like her new name.

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