People often ask me what Tucker thinks of our current puppy trainees. Does he like them? Is he happy when they go off to Advanced Training, and he’s an only dog again? How does he feel when a new one arrives on the scene? I’ve reflected before on the impossibility of knowing — with certainty — the answer to any of these questions. Still, if I can’t say precisely how he feels, we can see the broad outlines of his emotional state. Using that gauge, he seems to think Kyndall is okay.
A few times, he’s given her a snarly bark when she has particularly offended him (e.g. sinking her teeth into some tender part or climbing on him). But for the most part, he seems comfortable in her presence. Almost always, he wags his tail when she reappears after even a brief absence.
Kyndall, it seems to us, has exercised some restraint in her effort to befriend him. In the first week or two, she gave him some space, even while obviously wanting to be close to him.
Gradually, she decreased the distance and began to initiate contact.
The other day, I noted she had worked up to this:
He won’t wrestle and tumble with her, the way she’d love to do. (He turned 10 in November, after all.) But a few times, I’ve seen Tucker agree to a game or two.
It all adds up to a picture of domestic harmony. We think he’ll be happy to have her as his roommate until she has to go off to Advanced Training 15 months from now. Will he then (at the ripe of old of 11 and a half) be ready to accept yet another furry young hellion? That’s another question.
We have a wonderful friend, Alberto, who hosts regular movie nights and welcomes not only us but our current CCI puppy into his not-so-huge condo. When the puppies are small, we take a kennel. When they get a bit older, they spend most of the evening on the well-fenced balcony. To help keep them content, we take a Kong filled with peanut butter and frozen. It’s a combination treat and toy, and as a puppy pacifier, it can’t be beat. Also nice is the fact that this is the rare food treat that gets CCI’s stamp of approval.
We’ve now taken Kyndall to a couple of movie gatherings, but we only introduced her to peanut butter a few days ago. I’ll just say it went well.
When a friend recently shared this funny dog photo, I chuckled at the obvious humor. But I also reflected that if Kyndall only had sticks, she’d still be one happy puppy.
She doesn’t have a toy box full of store-bought toys; CCI puts some pretty strict limits on what’s acceptable. The organization says its puppies can’t have any rawhide chews — nor deer antlers nor anything with a squeaker in it.
That leaves very hard (and expensive!) rubber toys like these:
Dionne completely disdained them. And Kyndall hasn’t been very interested either.
We have rope toys, and a few other puppy toys:
I’ve even allowed her an illegal (real but sterilized) bone, since she’s not enough of a power chewer to make any impression on it.
She plays (a bit) with all of these. But she is wild about anything even resembling a stick in the garden. She also grabs dried palm fronds and chunks of compost and withered fallen hibiscus flowers.
We don’t let her chew on them for long. We’re worried that the next step would be to swallow the pieces. And the next step after that would be throwing up and having diarrhea.
Still, I even threw a stick for her for a few minutes this morning, and she looked ecstatic. Just an old-fashioned puppy, I guess.
We’re scheduled to begin the first week of our “Kinderpup” classes one week from tonight. But I was so inspired by the video posted by Kat, the person raising Kyndall’s sister’s Kihei, that Steve and I have already started working on the elementary commands. Kyndall hasn’t yet mastered them as well as her sister, but I think that’s because Kat is a more masterful puppy teacher.
Still, it tickles us to see such a little girl responding so well (and wagging her tail so enthusiastically while performing). Now, if I could just teach her not to nail me with her sharp little teeth.
This new experience of being able to check in with most of Kyndall’s littermates (via the private Facebook group started by the woman who raised their mother and is now raising one of the other females) has been great. After Kyndall woke us up three times in the early morning hours of December 30, I posted a question about how everyone else was sleeping. Within short order, I learned that almost everyone in the crew was still having to get up at least on some occasions. That comforted me — and made us feel even happier with the fact that, since then, Kyndall has been quiet in her kennel for at least 8 hours every night. The end of that particular form of Puppy Hell seems nigh.
Then I learned that the sole boy in the litter, Kentucky was having “a big problem with biting,” according to his puppy raiser. “If you try to stop him, he will crinkle up his nose and try to snap at you. It’s best to distract him with toys or ice cubes.” Kihei and Kimono’s caretakers chimed in that their girls were all teeth too, and “Their mother was a spitfire as a pup… but settled down as she got older.”
This too made us feel better. Kyndall has recently taken to impersonating a Great White Shark. It’s annoying (and can be downright painful). So it’s nice to be reminded that this too is a phase.
On a more positive note, I was dazzled by a video showing off how many commands Kyndall’s sister Kihei has already learned. It has inspired us to ramp up our own training activities. I’ll post a progress video tomorrow.
Kyndall is one step closer to being immune to canine distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and round worms. Steve took her for her second set of shots (she got the first ones in Northern California before flying south.) He reports that while being stuck, she comported herself bravely.
In general she found the vet’s office to be a marvelous place, full of fascinating smells, other dogs, a cat or two!, and even a few children who were happy to frolic with her.
The one shocking discovery of the visit was her weight. The day we picked up her, she weighed just twelve and a half pounds. Two weeks and two days later, she was up to 18 pounds! Steve points out that she has gone from being the weight of a small turkey to that of a hefty tom. We each still pick her up at least 20 times a day, so we figure we probably haven’t gained quite as much from all the holiday feasting as we would have had we not been doing all that weightlifting. At least there’s one bonus to getting a puppy right before Christmas.
We’ll take her back for the third set of shots in about 3 weeks, and she should get the final ones (including rabies) February 12. At the rate she’s growing, she should look halfway like a big old dawg by then.
Kyndall (and her crate) accompanied us to a New Year’s Eve party last night. Even though we put the crate just a few steps from the crowd assembled in our friends’ kitchen, she was mad. She barked and barked, and of course we had forgotten to include a squirt bottle along with our potluck contributions. Steve finally sat on the crate. This satisfied her; the barking ceased. I failed to get a photograph of this (being otherwise preoccupied with the champagne and conversation). When we all sat down to eat, we moved the crate next to Steve’s chair and didn’t hear another peep from her.
Still, I couldn’t resist hauling her out of her slumber a few minutes before midnight to join us all for the ceremonial countdown in front of the TV screen. After the ball dropped and the human hugging wound down, Kyndall got New Year’s strokes from several puppy-lovers.
We don’t live far from the party house, but it was after 1 a.m. when we turned out the lights — a terrifyingly late hour for anyone with a baby in the house. We felt deeply grateful she didn’t wake us up at 3:30, but instead kept quiet until shortly after dawn.
She was ready to play, so we strolled her to the coffee shop and tried to console ourselves with the thought that it was only 13 hours or so until (our) bedtime.