07 June 2011
Raising a Puppy - Week 5
This has been a very active week. I've been working on keeping Gem's mind challenged and his body ... exhausted ... OK, well not exhausted, but busy enough that when it's time to sleep, he SLEEPS. And yes! We have done it - he has slept through the night five out of the last 7 nights.
On a more basic level, Gem's new sleep pattern involves a learning curve on my part and a growth curve on his: (1) I learned that it's best not to give the puppy anything to eat or drink after about 7 p.m. so that he is more likely not to need to go out for several hours; (2) according to the vet, puppies Gem's age (3 months now!) can only go for about three to four hours at night before needing to pee, but Gem's little body seems to be getting used to things; he's down and out around 9 p.m. and of late has not been getting us up until about 5:30 or 6 a.m. (except this morning, of course).
Another reason for this is psychological: Gem overnights in his playpen now, with more room to stretch out so he is less likely to "object" when he tries to move around. This is one mobile puppy; when he's "sleeping" he often gets up and moves around, making about a 360 in his playpen over the course of a couple of hours.
Gem still remains in his crate when I am at work; it's safer for him and for the house (he may someday figure out how to jump out of the playpen). I make sure he gets out for a walk midday and then again as soon as I get home.
Firsts this week: Gem and I got to jump in the creek and play around this weekend because it has been so much warmer lately. Also, Gem enjoys "helping" me water the plants on the deck and then splashing around a bit in his wading pool, which until this point we have kept dry. The vet warned me that until he is a little older, Gem cannot be left alone in his little pool even with just a couple of inches of water. Puppies don't have the best memories... sometimes they just forget what they're doing and fall asleep. The vet also noted that he should not go swimming until (A) he has had all his shots and (B) he can be trusted to not fall asleep or otherwise lose his swimming concentration.
Another first (of the not-so-good kind): Gem is starting to growl when we try to take an especially tasty chew-treat out of his mouth. This cannot be tolerated! I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and pried the treat from his mouth. Now, whenever he gets a treat, I "practice" taking it away from him, then giving it back, and taking it away, so he gets used to the idea that giving up something isn't so bad. As well, while he is eating, I put my hand in his bowl, take the bowl away, and so forth, so it is crystal clear who controls his food.
Overall, little Gem has grown much sweeter. I can snuggle and kiss him (after exercise & discipline/training of course) a lot more, and no worries about being bitten. Oh the scent of fluffy puppy fur!