Puppy's First Week

Friday, June 07, 2013

Molly is here and I can't believe it's been a full week with her already! We picked her up from the breeder last Friday afternoon and suffered through screaming banshee wails for about half of the 1.5h ride home. A frozen Kongsicle saved us for a while until she passed out for a nap. As we were pulling into London she woke up and promptly pooped in her crate! We were stuck in a bit of traffic so we couldn't pull over and let her out. To make matters worse the turning car was causing her to fall over in the crate and into the poop.  Poopy Puppy! A great start! It was pretty funny actually, I'm glad Tom and I could laugh about it.

The rest of the week has been full of emotion: frustration, fatigue, confusion, and gratitude. We have never trained a puppy before so we are learning as we go and trying to have patience in the process. We really believe in positive reinforcement dog training, so we have been following the advice of Ian Dunbar in "Before You Get Your Puppy" and "After You Get Your Puppy" (free PDF downloads here). After a week of house and crate training, we have her loving and sleeping in her crate and going to the bathroom outside!

The first few nights were pretty terrible, we didn't get much sleep and had to take her outside every 2 hours or so - puppies have tiny bladders! She was missing her litter mates and crying a lot during the night. We tried soothing her with cuddles and even singing her to sleep, which actually worked! But we couldn't keep coddling her all night. So the third night we decided to just let her cry and whine and not respond to her at all. It was heartbreaking and brutal but after 45min she eventually did sleep. That night was definitely a turning point. She has slept really well since then only crying for less than a minute now. Now she only wakes up once during the night and whimpers for us to take her outside for the bathroom. The other trick we found worked extremely well was putting a couple of our t-shirts in the crate with her. She seemed to cuddle up with them and enjoy having our scent so close.

Most of these photos are of Molly sleeping because that is the only time I can capture her without it being a giant blur! When she is awake, she is either chewing on something to ease her teething or zooming around the backyard eating my hostas.

This week we also "primed the clicker". The clicker is a training tool used in positive reinforcement training. You can read more about it here. She is really getting the hang of it and already knows "sit". She will also respond to her name now.

The fence we built has a bit of a gap at the bottom and she already discovered she can fit through.  She is always supervised in the backyard so it's not a big problem at the moment. She is growing quickly so hopefully it won't be a problem in the future!

We also made our first trip to the Emergency Vet Hospital already! On Wednesday morning around 7am she was running through the kitchen and bashed into the door frame. She yelped and I immediately noticed she couldn't put any weight on her front right leg. Great! A puppy with a broken leg or dislocated shoulder! I was still in my pajamas and Tom was already driving to Toronto, so I called a cab and took the puppy over to the Emergency vet (which luckily isn't very far from our house!). By the time we got in to see the good doctor, she was able to put weight back on the leg. The vet said it was probably just a minor muscle strain and to keep her from running and jumping on it too much....hahaha ya right! We were also given some anti-inflammatory medication for a few days. I'm happy to report she is doing just fine now and thank goodness we don't have a puppy with a cast on!

We love her so much already and know all of our efforts right now will pay off in the future. I'll end this post with a little video of her playing tug in the backyard. Enjoy!

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