Monday, April 30, 2012

New Beginnings

There's something about a puppy that brings a lot of energy and laughter to a house. Every one in our household has gotten a new lease of life. They're getting up earlier. They're playing more. Bubbles is having more attention than she has in years and Toby is learning his place in the Donaldson pack.

I've just finished reading the latest Jodi Piccoult book - Lone Wolf. It's all about wolves and The Pack. It was a timely reminder of the nature of dogs and the role of the pack in their rearing. I've had four dogs in my life time and my role has always been Alpha bitch. I'm the one at home most of the time so it's up to me to do the training. Luckily the boys are old enough to be on board with me and not subvert all the hard work that I've put in. So I've been spending a lot of time going outside with Toby and praising him when he does his business. I've been teaching him how to navigate stairs - up was mastered in 24 hours but down is still a work in progress and down is a fundamental part of the whole toilet training business.

But the biggest issue with little puppies and their sharp little teeth, is the chewing thing. He'd like to chew anything he can put his teeth into but we're having to teach him that fingers, feet and ankles are not chew toys and any sort of fabric is out of bounds because puppies can't distinguish between a rag and someone's socks or undies (yes, my boys still leave these on their floors - don't you Luke??) We've got plenty of chew toys so we're playing the game of substitution - he plays with his bedding, he get roused on and has the bedding taken away and substituted with his rubber bone or a ball.

And we've started basic obedience. It's amazing what you can do with a hungry puppy (and let's face it, he's hungry a lot) and a bit of food. This is day four and he's on his way to mastering 'come' and 'sit'. Having a seven week old puppy sit on command has got to be the cutest thing. I don't know if it's his golden retriever nature but he really wants to please us.

And even Bubbles is starting to get on board with having an annoying younger brother. She's spent a lot of the first two days snarling and snapping at him but not biting - just warning. She was jumping up on the couch to have the dominant position and to let him know she's boss. I could almost hear her plotting revenge on us for bringing this major disturbance into her life - a little 'mistake' in the hallway where we might step in it, a vomit on our new doona cover, gnawing on shoes and blaming the puppy. But yesterday she realised that she has someone to play with when she's in the mood - something that Nelson hadn't been able to do for the last year or so. And she's getting to lick out the cooking bowls now so it's not all bad.

And on top of all this puppy fun, I had the best run for a long while yesterday. Only two walking sections (and a toilet break) and my running pace was just under 6 min per k while keeping my heart rate in a good zone. Awesome!


  1. Keep those puppy pictures coming!

    Yea to the good run!

    Glad Bubbles is seeing the upside of Toby being around.

  2. I would LOVE a new puppy at our house, but two dogs are good enough. Couldn't handle another.

    Great job on your run. Little by little you are getting back up there!

  3. Loving the cute pictures of Toby :) And what a smart little puppy he is, learning everything so fast! I hope he masters coming down the stairs soon.

  4. Puppy training is a lot of work!

  5. OMG, your puppy is sooo cute! Got my Jack Russel pre-kitchen up-do, he had fun chewing everything! I hated that kitchen - I had fun watching him! Great job on the run!

  6. ah puppy love - Toby is gorgeous - and yep, that Retriever nature is one of a kind :)

  7. So fun to watch you with your new puppy, Char! Love it!

    Been thinking a lot about your overtraining syndrome. Would love to chat about it sometime when you are up for it.


  8. ahhhhhhh!!!! my heart just melted when i saw your little guy. i am dying for a dog but just not the right time for us yet...soon though, just need to work on the hubs!

  9. O-M-G!!!!! I love Toby! and way to be the alpha ;)

    I love your sons (?)! lol

  10. I love this post and Toby!
    I remember when my puppy was learning. You're right, nothing cuter than a little pup sitting on command!

  11. I'm not much of a dog person, but I have to admit that this little guy is just adorable. Minus those teeth! You'd better not let him around Johann's dog if he likes to chew!!!

  12. .....and Toby sat!
    Toby is also the name of the dog that lives at the reception of the Port Authority where I work.


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