by Diane Blackman
Where should I start? Way back in 1993 when I realized my dogs were so bonded that I could anticipate trouble in the future when one dies? I decided then I was going to adopt a third dog by the time Oso and Tanith were nine. No, too far back. Well, how about in early 1999 when I started investigating what age, sex and temperament would be likely to fit in? No, still too far back. OK, how about June 28, 1999 when I read this:
"This week 2 litters got dumped at a shelter in Yolo County, one 5 weeks old and the other 12 weeks old. Yolo BC Rescue couldn't handle them so the Bay Area group agreed to take some. I picked up 3 this morning and Epic's aunt just left with one, leaving me with 2 5 week olds. Baby babies, but VERY cute."
I was hit by a sudden wave of puppy longing. I made an emergency call to my sister.
"Help! ", I said, "Tell me I'm insane! I've just read about a five week old Border Collie puppy that's available from rescue. "
"Well, ", my sister responded, "you're insane, but what does that have to do with it? Sounds OK "
"Oh, fat lot of good you are! " I retorted.
We continued the conversation and the moment I hung up I responded to the post with the following enthusiastic heartfelt response:.
" I dunno Lynn - 5 weeks old, its damn tempting. "
Events get a little fuzzy from there. The upshot is that by the end of the afternoon Lynn had brought the puppies by the office, and I was going to "test drive" the little boy puppy Thursday, July 1. Then we got a report that one of the older puppies had come down with Parvo, so we spent some anxious time waiting for the younger puppies to be tested and cleared. The Thursday visit was off.
The two little ones tested clear for Parvo, but had a minor case of Coccidia. We reset the "test drive" date for Saturday, July 3, 1999. On that evening I arrived at Lynn's house and the adventure began.
Below is an occasional log of how things went with my pup:
When I arrived they were out back playing. A third older puppy had been added to the pack and they were having a great game of tag. We brought them out front. I offered the little guy my keys and he took off with them, very proud of his "catch." I watched them play with neighbors dogs, each other, and Lynn's dogs. Happy, bouncing and full of curiosity. I took lots of pictures. Here is a picture taken the night I picked him up:
When I got home I immediately reported on how the initial introduction went:
"OK, he's here. Little B&W BC with a white lightening strike mark on the back of his neck . I brought him up to the front door in the crate, set him down, went inside leaving the screen door closed but the regular door open. Oso and Tanith looked out on the porch - and gave me an "excuse me it seems there is someone out there wag" So I said "OH you want him in?" And I brought the crate in, set it down, and immediately went to the kitchen and fixed their dinner (about 3 hours late). They decided that dinner was higher on the agenda than whatever was in the crate. They are both all waggy tail at the moment, with Oso not quite sure what it is. I fed him, and Oso is in his normal spot about a foot away from the crate pretending he does not exist.
I put potential names on a web page. The list, at the moment is NOT selective. That is I didn't leave out any - I just found a list of names related to gods or spirits of the moon, and started some research on it. So far nothing reaches out and grabs me. The general guideline is something related (however tenuously) to the Goddess Diana, i.e. a god or spirit of the moon, or a consort, parent or sibling of a goddess of the moon, or an icon of such god or goddess etc. Tanith, for example, is a Phoenician goddess of the sun and the moon. The constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear) was one of the more popular incarnations of the goddess Artemis, thus Oso (bear). ":
I fed him, pottied him, and put him in his crate as we prepared for bed. His crate was in my bedroom, at the foot of the bed. 2 1/2 seconds of whining in the crate then silence 'til 5 am.
Puppy woke up at 5am, I took him out, that made him feel better.
Basically Oso is still pretending the puppy does not exist even when being climbed on. His other alternative is running away, naturally being followed by a bounding puppy. Actually so far Oso is being very decent. I gave the dogs a biscuit in their crates but puppy decided exploring was more fun, so he went into Oso's crate to see what exciting things were going on there. Fortunately Oso has never been a food/object guarder and Oso looked more put out like he was afraid of getting cooties than "upset".
The cats are the hostile ones. Lady Greystoke and Yoda went over to the crated puppy and Pfffffft expressed their "delight" They weren't too sure about the idea of occupying the same room as even a crated puppy. Since then they have been mostly taking refuge on high ground peering over the edges at the intruder. Pazazz stood her ground, paw raised ready to swat if that icky thing came over. He stopped, watched, stood, watched then decided to go play somewhere else.
I can't wait on naming him any longer. Unless someone tells me there is some insult or terrible meaning behind Tsuki-Yomi that will be his name. I just like the way it feels.
I met my sister for breakfast and introduced her. She is going to ask a Japanese speaking person if there is any unfortunate meaning in using only the Tsuki of Tsuki Yomi (which would be natural).
I took him over and introduced him to my parents then dropped last night's film off at the one hour photo place. We went out and picked up puppy supplies and by the time we were done it was time to pick up the photos. I went right home and put some of them up on a web page.
I know that soon I won't have the camera out all the time, nor will I continue making daily reports but for the moment . . . Oooops, small delay here. I sat down to write this report and thought "Hmmm, he should be about ready for a potty break." Unfortunately I was about 30 seconds too late. Literally as I looked up from that thought he was in mid-pee. Well shoot, its been 16 years since I last had a tiny puppy. My timing is going to have to get better.
I hate it when I miss that wonderful photo even with the camera right at hand. Tanith had curled up in her bed and Tsuki grabbed a toy and climbed right in with her. Tanith gave me the long suffering look of "Sheesh, look what I have to put up with." She stood up, unceremoniously dumping Tsuki to the floor.
I did, however, get some pictures of Pazazz deigning to sniff noses. Tsuki is curious but respectful of the cats. For that matter he is a surprisingly respectful puppy. He desperately wants one of the dogs to play with him but if he is rebuffed after bounding over tail wagging ninety miles an hour, he turns his attention elsewhere.
Oso is still avoiding him. So far I've heard one growl out of Oso when he got trapped in a corner.
He is also clearly an agility puppy. Right now he is sacked out on my bed. I watched him figure out how to climb up by reaching out with his hind foot for the handle of the cat litter box next to the bed. It was cute, but I fear what that means for the future in keeping the little guy out of trouble. Also, yesterday he started trying to climb Tanith's slide. It's very slippery, but he kept trying. . . . .
It's early yet, more later.
OK, its later.
It's been sixteen years since I last had a puppy. I forgot how at this age they don't look for a place to pee, they just stop in mid play and do it. With that introduction you can guess where this little story will go. I fed him and we started to play on the bed. I figured ten minutes. So I kept a close eye on him and on the clock. Neither were helpful. Five minutes into the game, stop and pee. *sigh* take him out. Of course he was done. But I stayed out there with him for another fifteen minutes until he defecated. We came back in and he slept.
We had a nice play session of chase the toy outside. He had even more fun when the neighbor's Springer came out. He got a few minutes of play with a dog that isn't afraid of him.
Now I know that as soon as they wake up take them out. Most of the times it works as well in practice as it does in theory. This afternoon, however, was another story. It's hot out. It's pretty warm inside too, about 82 degrees. He woke up from a nap. I scooped him up and took him out to his spot. He looked around and made a bee line for the nearest shade, plopped down and closed his eyes. I sat down near my pond to give him a little time. He stayed asleep. I got him up, took him to a cooler spot, he went to sleep. I brought him in, set him down to go under the table at my feet. He took off running. I got up and followed. Too late, nice puddle. Now he's sleeping in his crate.
Uh oh - I think I better decide on the spelling. I just looked back and saw a little variation. Here is what I've learned about the name:
TSUKI-YOMI ( t'soo-kee-YOH-mee; Male): Another one of Izanagi and Izanami's sons, Tsuki-Yomi was the god of the moon. the Moon god according to the oldest Japanese religion, Shinto. He was born from the right eye of the primeval god Izanagi. He is unusual in world mythology as most moon deities are depicted as female.
Tsuki-Yomi lived in the Heavens with his sister, the Sun goddess Amaterasu. Amaterasu, was born from the eye of Izanagi, and from the nose the storm god Susanowo. Once Amaterasu sent her brother as her representative to the goddess of food, Uke Mochi. To celebrate, the goddess of food offered him a wonderful meal, created from her mouth and nose. Tsuki-Yomi was so disgusted that he killed her. When Amaterasu learned of her brother's misdeed, she was so angry that she did not want to see him anymore. Since then, brother and sister have lived apart, alternating in the sky. That is why the day always follows the night.
[ Editor's note: About six months later I found a wave file from a Japanese language site and found the above pronunciation was wrong. The correct pronuciation is closer to tskee. Too late, my habits were fixed. Every so often someone pronounces his name correctly, so I'm glad I at least recognize that.]
Things are going very well. Tanith has occasionally let Tsuki tug on her ear. Oso is no longer leaping up and running away. Pazazz has let him go nose to nose several times.
He had his first veterinary exam, and was pronounced healthy. He weighs 9.2 pounds. We gave him a birthday of May 19, 1999. He eats a surprising amount of food, two cups a day, and soon to be more.
I'm getting better about my timing. Everyday I'm having fewer accidents. I say "I'm having fewer accidents" because it is entirely my responsibility to build the pattern of getting Tsuki outside to relieve himself. He can't make "mistakes" because he hasn't yet learned what I want. Tsuki is just barely seven weeks old. He really can't wait very long and he must relieve himself frequently.
The rules are, in theory, simple. He wakes up - take him out. There is no bargaining here. He's ready and needs to pee as soon as he finishes stretching. If I wait that long, better get out the paper towels. There is just a little more leeway after eating. Very little. He is still a very young puppy and the pressure of food in the stomach triggers the instinct to empty. I wanted to wait 20 minutes. Ha - try five. And then go out again in twenty. And just because he just peed doesn't mean I'm off the hook. If I decide to add a play session to the outing I also have to stay out until he at least pees again, even though it can take a while.
Tsuki gets to come to work with me. This is really the ideal. It is very hard on a young puppy to spend a lot of time alone. Even the other dogs can't help here as he is too young to be safely left with them. Every moment that he is out I supervise.
I've been very successful in getting him out on a timely basis at work. I take him out get him to play hard, let him relieve himself, take him in feed him, then in five minutes I take him out again for another play and pee session. Then he'll sleep for a couple hours. I get lots of work done, but the second he wakes up I pick him up and carry him out (well down the hall, into the elevator, out the door and over to the lawn). Picking him up is critical. If I let him walk we wouldn't make it past the first set of doors before he'd just relieve that pressure in his bladder.
Paying attention to his signals is also important. He gets fussy when he needs to go out. If I try to say "just a minute" well, tough, he isn't waiting. I can also tell when he is preparing to defecate. First he makes a very straight line, then suddenly stops, backs up, then does an imitation of a new driver trying to learn the three point turn. He goes forward back, turn, forward back, turn, forward, back and squat.
Thursday at work, Tsuki was delighted to meet a new friend. Tank is a toy poodle, just 3 1/2 months old. Tank and Tsuki hit it off right away. First they got to play on the lawn, then another play session on the lawn, then one in my office, and one in Tank's Mom's (Debbi) office. Neither wanted to quit even when they were exhausted. Debbi and I were also delighted because they both slept soundly for several hours after there play sessions.
Back at home I've been watching Tsuki's personality develop. He loves to play with the big dog toys. There is a sheepskin "bumper" that is almost as big as he is. He grabs it, carries it around, and looks for that perfect spot. He will run to the dog beds, decide that isn't good enough, take it into the bedroom, turn right around and run out, then go into the big dog crates, then back into the living room and around and around. I tried to get a picture of him with the thing stuffed in his mouth but he hardly stood still.
Puppy Rules: One thing to understand when you have a puppy are puppy rules. For example: If you are a puppy and there are ten toys on the ground, each of a different material the correct protocol is to dig out the bottle cap that was overlooked under a piece of furniture and chew on that.
Another puppy rule is to disabuse the humans that there is any such thing as puppy proofing a house. A puppies job is to find every cord, string, and precariously balanced pile of books in the house and point out them out in the most dramatic way possible. If the sloppy housekeeper has overlooked a spot of gum firmly attached to the floor for the last five years, why then your puppy job is to gnaw it up. So what if that involves taking a bit of the tile as well.
Puppy rules forbid staying in any one place for very long. A puppy must grab a toy, run wildly about the room looking for a place to chew the toy, lie down then jump up again looking for a better place. When the ideal place is finally selected ignore the toy and chew on the edge of the furniture instead.
Ah, what a great puppy I have. I could swear he is beginning to get the idea that he should wait until we get outside before relieving himself. We aren't perfect yet. Last night it was hot and the coolest place was at the foot of the stairs but I needed to be upstairs. I let him stay. Then he woke up and went wandering around and I didn't notice. Sometime he left a puddle. Well DUH, what can I expect? At work we've been 100% perfect after the first day. Of course it is also more important and so I work harder at it.
Tank and Tsuki have wonderful play sessions two or three times a day. We have to schedule time away, however, or they will play so much neither will stop to relieve themselves.
You can't beat taking a puppy to work for good socialization. Especially when there are people of all types, and dogs of all ages. Socialization encompasses more than just play, however. The more important part of it is just exposure to lots of different things, and the attitude on meeting them. I got a chance to practice this morning. We were taking a run around the buildings. When I got to one of the noisier fountains I noticed he was making a rather wide swing around. So I decided to make a few circles around the fountain. I let him go as wide as he wanted, but I pretended I didn't really notice he was afraid. I used a happy voice and just said wheeeee let's go. Then I stopped and sat down and enjoyed looking at the water. When he approached on his own I got up and we went on to the next one. This one he was much faster to approach. And when we did the run again a few minutes ago he didn't pay any attention to it at all.
Tsuki is growing by leaps and bounds. Sometimes it seems you can almost see him growing. His legs are obviously longer than last week and he is becoming more coordinated.
I've decided to try to teach Tsuki the "boing" command. This is in response to his imitation of Tigger in which he leaps off the ground with all four paws. The perfect "boing" is bouncing on the back feet with the front ones splayed straight out in front, but I'm willing to accept the four legged "sproing" where all feet come up off the ground but the legs are all every which way.
We haven't attained house training perfection, yet. Mostly because I get absorbed in something and I don't watch the time. This becomes perfectly obvious because at work we are perfect. Well, duh, at work he can't go more than a four feet from me, and I make darn sure I get him out.
As he is maturing (funny to even consider eight weeks old "maturing") he has better control and a longer wait. So instead of needing to go out immediately after eating it is closer to that twenty minutes I wanted earlier. Because it is really important that he not make a mistake at work I do things toward that end. For example, yesterday I was working on something pretty critical and my manager was waiting for me to finish. The blasted thing was working so slowly it was driving me crazy. Of course, that was the problem. In order to troubleshoot I had to finish. OK, so the problem was Tsuki woke up and played for a bit. Uh oh, that means it was VERY likely he needed to go out. So I picked him up and held him. Now last week that would not have worked. He just would not have had the control for that to work much longer than it took me to get to the elevator and outside. Yesterday, however, he was a bit squirmy, but he waited. It was only a little awkward holding him in my lap. Now I've also used the crate in such situations. That works too. Of course it was also important that I try to keep up in the first place by getting him out regularly so he didn't have too much to hold back.
So contrast this at home. He likes to play in the front room where the dog beds are. That room has no great places to do any of the things I like to do. So naturally I lose track of what he's doing. Next thing I know, ooops. I find if I exercise the same degree of paying attention at home as I do at work, no problem. Also he is beginning to whine at the door. I try to go out with him, even if I think he only wants to go out and play.
By now you might be sitting there going "Jeeez! is this only about house training? Every other paragraph seems to be about having accidents or not." Well, of course there is a lot of other stuff going on. It is just that housetraining requires the most deliberate thought and attention. It is also immediately obvious when I've blown it. So, it's right there at the top of my thinking.
I do, however, take time out to make other observations. Such as how fast they grow. Close your eyes, open them and poof bigger. They develop quickly, too. Those fountains that caused him so much concern? he was running up to the edge and peering over at the water. On the other hand you should have seen his look at the soda can someone left sitting on the edge of a wall. His head went up, and he peered at it, lowered his head, and took another look at a different angle.
Tanith has had a couple bitey face sessions with him. For the most part she is pretty comfortable. Oso once did a play bow, then quickly changed his mind. For the most part Oso still pretends Tsuki does not exist. It gets pretty funny when Tsuki has Oso's lead and is playing tug with it but Oso still pretends there is no puppy. I'll get some pictures up later on, I just got them developed.
Tsuki is getting really eager to get on that slide. I play with him in the yard, but I also give him some time to entertain himself. I watch him keep trying to figure out how to get up that darned slide. I think I'll go by some non-skid tape and put it on the slide. There really isn't any reason it needs to be slippery.
Bounce, bounce, bounce, pounce! That's puppy fetching. He likes best to fetch apples and keys. Balls are second rate. Since I don't want to lose the keys apples are my first choice. If the ball goes into the deep grass Tsuki plunges in nose first. If he miscalculated he takes a step back and plunges in again, then forward, plunge then spin plunge until he finds it.
Let my introduce to you my new fitness guru. His name is Tsuki-Yomi and he is a relentless task master. At 6am it is time to get up. A quick jaunt outside to relieve the body of its wastes and then a good romp is in order. The morning starts with a bit of tug-o-war, and perhaps a little apple fetch. Then we practice the Tigger imitation. As this requires the human to start the imitation I, naturally, must go sproinging around the backyard. When I can hardly stand up I insist we go in for breakfast.
As soon as we get to work we start our next work out. Run around the buildings. Tsuki-Yomi has puppy privileges to ensure his growing joints are not overtaxed. That means he sets the pace. First it's a mad dash to the lawn, followed by a plop down on the grass to investigate a leaf, then a sprint up the grassy hill, and a sniff fest three times around the big tree. Then a person walks up and must be reached before they disappear into the building so we hurry back the other direction. Oops they got away, that was boring, Ok, so let's run over to the next building and see who is there. Tsuki takes off with me jogging behind him trying to ensure he doesn't get into the habit of pulling. The next building is boring 'cause no one is there. So a race up the next grassy hill is in order. We progress slowly around the buildings with me sometimes encouraging him my way, and other times me racing to keep up as he spies a goal that must be reached at top speed. Apparently he also thinks that climbing every hill is required. Finally we get almost around the last building before getting back to ours and he takes off for one last sprint - through the bushes. Finally I get to swoop him up and I return, panting, to my office and Tsuki settles in for a snooze.
This routine gets repeated several times throughout the day. Fortunately on some days (like today) I get a little break when the Tsuki-monster gets to play with his "bestest friend" the Tankster. It is going to be really interesting to see how things change as Tank finds Tsuki getting taller and taller.
I'm thrilled with Tsuki. He really is a wonderful puppy. On our last jaunt around the buildings he did his usual race up to someone for petting. He got a wonderful compliment as he sat nicely for petting. The woman commented on his polite manners of sitting for petting. Drat it all. There I go again, taking my dogs for granted. I really do need to pay more attention to the good things they do. It's true. He sits to be petted. I hadn't noticed. What a good dog.
His housetraining is really coming along. It is now quite obvious he knows that relieving himself indoors is not a good thing. This afternoon he was quite fussy although we hadn't been out too long before. I slapped myself upside the head for wanting to tell him just be quiet and I took him out anyway. Yup, as soon as I set him in the grass he relieved himself. Another self administered swat upside my head for not trusting my puppy, or rather, almost not trusting my puppy. Yesterday he ran to my backdoor three times and each time proved that he was ready to "go". Duh, if I experience anymore "accidents" in my house I will certainly know that it was I who failed.
OK, now its evening, and I'm home again and smiling. Great big grin on my face and no one here but the critters to see it. Tanith and Tsuki are playing a very slow, very lovey game of bitey face. That little guy is a first class number one suck up. He walked over to Tanith and plopped down next to her. Then he looked at her with soleful eyes, then turned upside down and gave her a little lick. That did it.
Having finished with bitey face with Tanith he curled up next to the sleeping Oso. Then he casually shifted positions and put his head on Oso's shoulder. He gave a big sigh of contentment. Oso's heart didn't melt, but he let Tsuki stay.
This evening provided further evidence foreshadowing Tsuki's future agility career. The first day I met him I watched him amble over a variety of wire grates, including one with holes big enough his feet could and did slip through. We snatched him up from that one, but he didn't seem to care. Now, I get to watch that progress. I have a very small pond in my backyard. Actually its a child's wading pool set in the ground, and filled with small fish and water plants. I placed a 2 by 4 across the pond to make sure that if any of the neighborhood feral cats fell in that they could get out. Tsuki has decided to try crossing that plank, bold puppy.
Yesterday Tsuki got to meet some sheep. He watched them with interest but honestly he was much more interested in playing with his buddy shepherding dogs than the sheep. Being Tsuki, however, he wasn't afraid of the sheep. It will be interesting to give him a proper test when he is old enough.
So far I've been using the crate rather sparingly. I use it when I really can't watch him. So I was interested to look down and see him fast asleep inside.
I think I might have to confer a title on Tsuki-Yomi (more often call Suki AKA the Suki-monster). He gets the title of Prince Charming. He is just so darned persistent in ingratiating himself with curmudgeonly dogs (I put that one in for you Chris). He finally succeeding getting Oso to play bitey face. Oso seemed a little confused but was having a very hard time getting mad at a puppy that was sticking first his face, and then his head into Oso's mouth. And Oso would sort of grunt at him so Tsuki would turn over and grin at him. Oso finally gave up being an old grump (not THAT old) and he played bitey face his tail thumping all the while.
This has progressed over the last few days to where Oso is both enjoying and initiating play with Tsuki. Tanith, instead of being jealous, seems relieved. Oso is playing the role of big brother, Tanith is more like adult Aunt to child nephew. Tanith will play, but gently and will a degree of restraint I never expected. When Tanith and Oso play it is with body slams, growls, grunts, zooming madly about and other general forms of chaos.
I'm sure the play style will change as Tsuki gets older and bigger. Yipes!
Anyway, Tsuki has distinctly different styles of play for different dogs. He plays with a miniature poodle whom he is rapidly outgrowing, so he tends to lie down so Tank can ambush him. Tsuki, in turn, get the same consideration from his friend Epic, and from Oso. I've got a bunch of pictures on this, now I just have to find the time to post them to the puppy page. The page does have the Tsuki dragging Oso around by the leash pictures I promised earlier.
One of the things I thought of earlier but forgot to write about is the importance of actually looking and even more seeing the interactions with the puppy. For example, I was playing tug with Tsuki when I suddenly realized I was playing as if he was a big dog. There were two things I needed to fix. First, I needed to get down on his level. It must be really hard on the neck trying to play tug with a creature who looms over you. Second, I needed to be more gentle than Tsuki wanted to be. I know his bones are growing and while a bit of roughhouse is just fine I need to make sure I'm not putting an unnecessary level of stress on the growing ends of the bones. I was skeptical of this at first, wanting to trust a puppy to know his own limits, but I was convinced otherwise when I spoke to my father, an orthopedic surgeon, who said that "yes, indeed, children do suffer permanent injury from overuse and excessive impact on joints. A high jump here and there isn't a problem, but making a habit of it may be.
Tsuki is getting huge. He is now clearly bigger than his buddy Tank. Neither of them seem to notice. I think his increased size is one of the reasons Oso is more comfortable playing with him. I think Oso was afraid of hurting him.
A quick note on a cute image. An example of how far things have come. I just looked down and Tsuki was curled up next to Oso, sucking on his toes.
I also watched him earlier teasing the cat, Pazazz. Pazazz actually asks for this, sauntering past, sashaying her tail in front of his face. He tries play bowing and the cat just will not play like a puppy. So this evening he tried a new tactic, he has started swatting with his paw mimicking the cat.
There has been a distinct change in dog relationships in our household and I must say it makes me smile. Oso and Tsuki are becoming fast friends. I can only hope this continues to hold. It would be natural for it to change as Tsuki begins to mature, but for now I will just enjoy.
At the moment Oso is lying at the top of the stairs and sharing a chew toy with Tsuki. Tsuki has brought out the kid in Oso. He gets Oso really playing . . . and grinning. They play tug of war, and shred the toy, and chase and bitey face. Tanith plays with Tsuki as well, but it is more like mother-child than friends.
Tsuki got to go to his first agility event this week-end. He was in heaven. All those people and dogs to play with! When I was trying to set up he kept climbing out of the exercise pen. I was delighted, however, to see a change when I finished setting up and had Tanith in with him. Tanith, naturally, settled right in for a nap. Tsuki was comfortable because she was there. The question was, what would happen when I took Tanith out for her run? Answer, nothing, Tsuki waited. I was careful not to push it. I didn't make him wait alone for any longer than I needed to check in, wait for our run, run and return. When I needed to give Tanith some extra walks I put him in the crate in the car. Since Oso was there he was comfortable with that as well. Over time I expect he will be comfortable with being left alone for longer and longer periods. If I do it right he will never get anxious enough to feel he has to climb out and leave the x-pen. That is the goal, anyway. To set him up to successfully and comfortably wait. I want to let him build the skills to be comfortable being left alone.
Oh, joy, oh joy. This puppy is coming along great! First, I will have less and less to say about house training mistakes because we are making fewer of them. Right now we still have an occasional piddle at the door. Usually that happens because Tsuki didn't notice he needed to go out until he needed to go out NOW! and I didn't pay any attention to the fact he had been playing and would need to go out. Bad human bad human! don't make the puppy make a mistake!
He is still doing a really great job. When he knows he needs to go out he heads for the back door and whines. He did that right in the middle of my writing this. Good boy!
Now he is becoming a "real dog." He is learning "down ", "sit ", "stand", "wait", and "come ". When we were outside a second ago I ran him through each of those. It is easier on the pup to have lots of very short training sessions a day than one long one. All of this can get incorporated into daily life as well.
I teach Tsuki that lots of handling is fun by . . . well . . . treating it as fun. I scoop him up and squeak at him blowing raspberries into his fur, I grab a foot and give just a little pressure, and if he tries to bite I distract him with my other hand and call him a silly boy. when I say a "little pressure" I mean a little pressure. Eventually it is a handshakes worth of pressure, right now it is a handshake with a person with sore hands amount of pressure. I use the squeaky silly voice as I peer into first one ear and then the other, and as I rub my fingers along his gums and open his mouth. If at any point he objects I don't stop, but I do distract or call him a silly dog or give him a quick massage or even a treat, anything to make what I'm doing a "good thing ".
Anyway today Tsuki was introduced to a 8 OUNCE 6 week old puppy. This puppy was incredibly tiny. We were at first concerned that Tsuki might mistake the pup for prey animal. It was, after all, smaller than most full grown guinea pigs. Tsuki, is also a very active very physical and playful pup. But Tsuki's tail was going 90 miles an hour so we let him get closer. I asked Tsuki to "down" and he did. He was ever so gentle with that tiny pup. He held still while the pup explored him up and down and shoved its tiny nose into all kinds of sensitive places. Then he washed the pup's face except that small as it was that tongue covered a bit more than its face. The itty bitty tail was matching Tsuki's own beat. Not once did Tsuki try to engage in his very favorite game of bitty face.
I was fascinated by whatever instinct it is that allows my pup to modify his style of play to match the dog he is playing with - all the way down to total restraint for an itty bitty puppy. I'm so very lucky to have him as part of my family, Thanks, Lynn!
Sometimes he even sleeps. We are moving into the boundless energy stage. It may last for the rest of his life. At the moment I'm smiling at Tsuki sleeping at my feet, but sleeping is becoming an increasingly rare act for the little guy. Actually as a exhausting as it is I'm afraid I enjoy it. Much like Tanith this pup greets life with joy and enthusiasm. Everything he does shouts " life is grand".
This morning we took a run around the buildings, then played with Tank, then took a walk, then he played in my office, then another run around the buildings, and another play session with Tank. He took a short nap, and when we got home he took turns playing tug of war with the two big dogs.
Our training sessions continue. They are short and fun. I might be working and reviewing cases on my computer and suddenly I'll look up, call Tsuki over and have him do a couple sits, downs and stands. I want him smiling when he does it. I also tried to think a bit more about exactly what it is I'm doing to teach him to allow me to handle his feet, ears, teeth etc. I'm afraid that it is very much like what we do for children. I even played " This little piggie " with him. And just like some kids at first he wasn't too thrilled but by the end of the game he was happily upside down and letting me rub his gums and count how many new teeth he had and push gently on his baby teeth to see what might be loose.
We started clicker training class last Wednesday. Tsuki was not the model of good behavior. He was very restless and wanted to see and do everything. You would never guess that he is able to spend hours in my office behaving. Oh, well, he was also very cute and no one got mad at him.
I've been practicing everyday but I don't see the little light bulb over his head yet. I don't get the sense that he expects a treat when he hears the click. I'm going to have to go back, read, think and see what I'm doing wrong.
This morning Tsuki got to meet his first baby. He did make me proud. He was very respectful and gentle. The baby's Mom was also very impressed. They have two dogs and she said neither are as good with the baby as Tsuki was. Not that they are bad with the baby, just that Tsuki was being both friendly and controlled. Then when I went back to my office Tsuki and the baby made faces at each other through the ceiling to floor window next to the door. It was very cute.
Tonight we played flashlight fetch. When I took him out for his evening potty break he was just full of energy. The backyard light provides enough illumination for safety, but not much lese. He had a special ball toy that Tanith won last week-end. It is a tennis ball that had been cut open and a bell or rattle inserted, then glued back together and the whole thing covered in fabric. So at least it had a sound to help guide him. Anyway I would throw the ball and spotlight it and Tsuki would run out and pounce on it like it was in danger of getting away, then he'd scoop it up and come prancing back to me. We even kept playing after I missed and had to fish the soggy ball out of my pond. You should have seen his face as it went "plop" on the surface, hung for a moment then slowly sank out of sight. Luckily the pond is just a wading pool and I easily retrieved the ball.
Anyone want a puppy? cheap? Last night I left said puppy in my bed and went out for a moment. When I returned I climbed into that nice comfy bed . . . . . only to be greeted with cold wet sheets, pillow and comforter. Tsuki decided that the bottle of water I had at the head of the bed made a wonderful toy. From the looks of things he grabbed the bottle and flung it back and forth. He pretty much managed to dampen the entire king sized bed. He was very proud. He and Tanith then tried to lick the water off the sheets. Good thing it has been warm lately.
Actually, he is still a good puppy. Last week he got his second meeting with sheep. This time the trainer let him "chase": them under her control. At first he was more interested in the various smells, and pretty much said hum hum yup sheep over there. But with some encouragement he went up to them. Then he got excited. bounce bark bounce bark bounce bark bounce bark bounce bark bounce bark! The sheep just stood there looking at him like he was crazy. The trainer moved the sheep around, but every time they stopped and faced him it was bounce bark bounce bark. Not very much like a Border Collie. At least he didn't try to bite them. I also liked that when she told him to " leave" them, he did.
Tsuki is mostly housebroken. We have few accidents. When we do have accidents it is usually because he has been playing hard and I forget to stop him before he gets desperate. He makes run for the door piddling on the way. This morning it happened because, well, I wanted to stay in bed a bit longer. He was whining. I ignored him. Duh. What did I think was going to happen?
Anyway, I've really enjoyed watching him evolve into a very nice little dog. Ok, medium sized dog. Two weeks ago I was frustrated by his habit of stopping at the bottom of the stairs and staring blankly when I asked him to come. This week he has started to respond very quickly and without hesitation. You might ask how I did that. Well, shoot, so would I. I've always tended to train by feel. This time I've tried to notice what I'm actually doing. Without thinking a lot about it I didn't call him unless I was in a position to go get him. When I needed to go get him I wouldn't scold or call, I just calmly and casually walked up to him. A couple times he tried to run off, bouncing away with a sly "catch me if you can" grin. That didn't change anything. I didn't yell. I didn't call him again. Once was enough. He knew what I wanted. I didn't chase him, exactly. I did what is called "walking down". In each case he ended up trapped in a corner. I didn't go get him there either. Once he knew he was cornered I just waited. When he'd settle down then I'd go get him.
I think I might have had to walk him down three, maybe four times. The next thing I noticed was that when I took a step toward him he would take a step toward me. I would pause and praise.
I don't know if I would call it a method. My goal wasn't to do those specific things. Instead I knew that I didn't want to make running off rewarding, so chasing was out. Scolding is counter productive. It tends to increase the running off. Why come with someone who is upset with you, may as well snatch a few more minutes of play. I also knew he heard me the first time. We had already practiced the command by my getting him to run after me, and he got a treat, or a game of tug, or lots of praise when he came. When he quit running and reacted to my stepping toward him by starting to come I wanted to give him the message that he was doing the right thing. So I praised. I didn't repeat the command. I already knew he knew it.
I guess what I'm saying in a rambling sort of way is that the specific actions weren't the goal. Instead I was deciding what to do by knowing what was motivating and unmotivating.
In our clicker training class he is doing very well. He does nice stays, and each time has performed on cue. He still has trouble with lots of distractions. He really wants to play. But his behavior makes me proud. He is a good puppy.
Puppies, like children, get prone to whining, fussing, pacing etc when they get over-tired. For some reason that that state seems to rob them of the ability to solve the problem simply and just settle down and go to sleep. The crate, like the child's crib, provides the restraint that allows that sleep to come. After spending the last hour with a fussy pup peace and relaxation reigned when I popped him in the crate and locked the door. Instant relaxation and sleep.
Oh, WOW, look how long its been since I've written. Well, you see, things have been just going so well. No housetraining mistakes for at least a couple months now. Tsuki was neutered last month, left his stitches alone, and healed perfectly. Although technically he is still a puppy, he no longer looks like one.
Here is the dog family
I think that probably I'm not going to keep adding to this report. At least not often. I'll be shortly putting together what I guess I'll call his adult page. It will be more of an overview and highlight than a diary. Look for it at Tsuki's Page.
Dogs like to eat poop. That's really all there is to it. People find it disgustng, dogs find it delightful. Still most people want it to stop. With that in mind I put together a short page full of links to other people's ideas about the causes of poop eating (more elegantly called "Coprophagia") and ideas on how to stop it. I didn't really use much editorial discretion on the subject because I haven't really studied it enough to have a strong opinion. Thus different sites disagree. Oh well.
Probably of the most frustating problems. Easy to make much worse if you treat it as bad behavior, mostly curable. For this web page I haven't written mine own advice - there is a lot of great information out there already so I'm just offering up a links to other sites. I haven't examined them, I have no recommendations of one over another, my personal experience in this area is very limited.
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