Here in Puppyland, we’ve had an excellent week. Let me count the ways we are slowly but surely making our way out of the Puppy Hell section of the park.
- Despite our delaying his introduction to the halter, this week Dilly has taken to wearing it nicely. On our first outings, he made some half-hearted attempts to rub it off his muzzle. He doesn’t look as if he LOVES it.
But as the days have gone by, he appears to be reconciled to this strange gear. At this rate, I’m not sure we’ll even have to continue for long making him wear it during meals. This morning, we took him on a three-mile walk around our neighborhood, during which he wore the halter and mostly stayed in excellent position, at our side.
2. With the cessation of his diarrhea (thanks to his apparently successful treatment for giardia), he’s been sleeping 7-8 hours every night, without interruption. It’s clear to me he now understands the Night Protocol: we all crawl into our sleeping spaces and remain quiet until the daylight returns.
This is a life-changing development, and tonight Steve and I will move out of the first-floor guest room (that we had moved to, to avoid breaking our necks while taking the puppy downstairs during the night). We’ll return to our regular bed tonight, and Dilly will begin sleeping in the medium-size kennel that will now become a permanent fixture of our master bedroom.
He needs to begin sleeping in the larger kennel because…
3.) He has grown so much! When we picked him up at the airport three and a half weeks ago, he weighed barely 11 pounds. When Steve took him to the vet’s Tuesday for his second set of shots, he had reached 19 pounds. Just now in our bathroom, he was more than 21.
4.) He’s learned to Sit, go Down, and — most charming — Speak. On command, pretty reliably.
5) As I was typing that last sentence, he came up to me, put his paws on my lap, and looked at me. Sensing what he was trying to communicate, I leapt up and took him outside, where he quickly peed and pooped.
This is definite progress, though he’s still accidentally peeing in the house now and then. (He has never once defecated indoors.)
I find this all impressive. Few of our previous pups have been so good this early. Not that life with Dilly is cloud-free. Besides continuing to make occasional toileting errors, he also takes passionate pleasure in chewing on things, including our body parts. His baby teeth are needle-sharp; my hands bear the scars.
It was thus a pleasure for me to take him yesterday to a gathering of pups at another puppy-raiser’s home. Dilly raced around, got beat up a little…
…found sheltered spots that only he and the other littlest party-goers could fit in…
…and where he could hide out from the bigger kids.
After an hour of this heaven, I took him home, and he was out cold for most of the rest of the day.