"Not My Dog": Tales from Puppy Raising

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What a week!

I think this must be the heat (hers, not mine) talking .. I hope so, anyway. Miss Nettie awoke at 5:15 a.m. today and commenced to howl and whine and bark. Now, I KNEW that she did not have to go out. And she's not fed until 6:15-6:30.. I groaned .. Bob put a pillow on his head. Finally at 5:45 I got up, and figured I'd at least fold laundry, since I was NOT going back to bed. So I went in the living room and eyeballed her in the crate, and she becomes instantly angelic. I folded laundry, and she lay quietly in the crate. At 6:15 -- her normal time out -- I let her out.

then, we go to do morning exercise, and her long line finally snapped. Luckily, she never figured out she wasn't connected and came right back when I called! This long line dates to the Murphy days, and longtime blog readers may recall our ongoing battle over not seizing the long line for tug. The spot that snapped was the exact area Murph used to grab, so no surprise there.

Hopefully, Nettie will be wiped out tonight. I had to work today, but Bob and Andrew went out and bought a new long line -- a 50 (!) footer! Miss Nettie ran herself out.

Meanwhile, the other lovely thing about heat is the discussions one has with a 5-year-old about the birds and bees, so to speak. Andrew got very upset when he saw a drip because he thought Nettie hurt herself. We tried to explain.

Then came the panties, a source of great hilarity to the family. "Panties on the puppy!!" Andrew declared. Of course, now I have had to try to explain WHY the dog is wearing panties. "She's grown up now," I said. So THEN, of course, Andrew thinks she is going to have puppies. And boy, did we dance around the subject of why Nettie can't have a playdate with Keifer, and why she can't go out much for a while.

Ay. Did I mention that, just to keep things interesting, we think the house has developed a septic tank issue?

Much like most of this week, you really don't want to know the details.

Editing to update ... on the bright side, Bob is willing to raise again, though I think we'll take a little break after Nettie ...however, he's declared "only boys from here on out!"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

She's all grown up!

We got back in town tonight from a weekend at Acadia National Park, and found out that Nettie has gone into heat! She is at Nina's house, and apparently went into it yesterday. Hoo boy! Guess this explains some of the brattiness last week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Am I a bad mom?

Last night, at bedtime, Andrew asked, "Mama, is there any way that Nettie can live with us forever?"

Let me just wallow in some worry for a bit. (Heck, worrying is the semi-natural state for a mom and a puppy raiser, at least for me.)

This one is going to be harder than Murphy. Andrew liked Murphy, but at the same time, he was younger, and there was almost some sibling rivalry at times for my attention.

He is closer to Nettie, partly because she is, I think, smaller and lower-energy than Murph was and they can play together more easily. (Plus, she has never yet tried to eat his Legos, which Murphy considered to be a potentially fascinating dog treat he hadn't yet tried.)

He knows she's not our puppy. If you ask him, he'll say she's not. Then in the next breath, you're likely to get "I wish she was."

Obviously, if she doesn't make it, she's a slam-dunk forever dog. I would bring her back in an instant as a pet. (Of course, let's not even THINK about what happens if Murphy doesn't make it, because in my book, he's a slam-dunk forever dog, too!)

And Andrew is savvy enough now to have figured that out. We never told him that was an option with Murph, but he finally asked me point-blank if all the puppies go to blind people and what happened to a puppy if it can't help a blind person, and I try not to lie to my kid. (We made the mistake of telling him that Chance is going to be an ATF dog, which kicked open the door of not helping blind people.)

So, I'm rambling. I'm just feeling more worried than usual today on this one....

Am I a rotten mom for putting Andrew through this? I hate to say it, after Nettie, we might be on a hiatus. At the very least, I think we're going to need a "forever dog" at some point.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Springtime puppy raising in Maine

Taken this afternoon, as we ready for a nor'easter. It's hard to see in this, but the snow was really coming down.

Now, I probably shouldn't show this next one .. this is NOT encouraged GEB behavior! This was taken as she raced toward me after retrieving a ball, and as you can see, she was excited. (The photo does not capture that I'm about to pull back and turn away from her.)

I couldn't resist showing off the athleticism, and my husband's good photography, though.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A must-read

For several weeks,(in my spare time!) I've been reading "Bones Would Rain from the Sky" by Suzanne Clothier, and I really wish I had read it before I ever got the first pup! (She is working with GEB, in fact.) I recommend it to anyone with a dog. I think it ought to be required reading for puppy raisers.

She starts each chapter with very insightful quotes, and right now, this one, the very first, is my favorite:

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."
-- Alan Alda

Monday, April 09, 2007

Girls' weekend

Well, Andrew and Bob are in New York, so Nettie and I have been getting some quality time!

We had evals on Friday, and I think she did pretty well. Since I'm working days now, she had to spend most of the day there. I dropped her and her crate off in the morning and came over at 11:30 for her eval. I think she did pretty well. I was pleased that she acted like herself, if that makes any sense, for Bessie, our puppy evaluator. She clearly knows what she's supposed to do, but she likes to test boundaries, and that's what she did for Bessie. So Bessie had some very helpful tips on what to do with that -- basically, we know Nettie CAN do things, so she HAS to do things to get what she wants, like a toy, her meal or play.

We tested this out Saturday afternoon with a playdate with Keifer, a GEB boy pup who's about 13 months old. They love to run with each other, and so Miss Nettie wanted to yank her way across the yard to get to him and I had to make it clear that we were going on my terms!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fun and games at our house

I am ashamed to even type this sentence, but as a guilty pleasure, I have gotten hooked on "Dancing with the Stars."
Even worse, Nettie seems to be hooked. She sits with me and I swear, watches the TV. Only for DWTS.
Don't worry, I'm limiting her TV time.


IN other fun and games, Nettie and Andrew enjoy a good romp in the evenings, usually involving tossing Nettie's toys around with much giggling.
Tonight, however, the game involved a "pretend" game in which Nettie was "Mrs. Cranium Pants" and Andrew was, I believe, "Capt. Cranium Head." (As I said, there was much giggling.)
I have no explanation and won't even try.
If this pup can survive our house, she'll be ready for any wackiness that the GEB trainers can throw at her.


On a serious note, lest anyone think we are only about wackiness, Nettie had a fun and busy weekend. We had a playdate with Keifer and his raisers on Saturday afternoon, and she and I worked that evening at a grocery store/strip mall that she'd never been to -- and she had quite possibly her finest work ever. Very tuned in and focused.
On Sunday, the whole family went first on an outing to the beach, where she was very good even with other dogs running around loose, seagulls, etc, and then we went to Freeport, home of LLBean and mega-outlets. There was traffic, lots of people and some other dogs, and I think she was a little overwhelmed at first, but we sat back, observed, and then she really started to focus. I think it was a confidence builder for her.