Sunday, 1 June 2008

First week with Zebedee

What a week it has been. Lots of fun, worry, joy, lack of sleep, exhilaration, admiration of an insane amount of cuteness, and a little bit of despair at moments of pee and poo mistakes. But to be honest, there haven't been many mistakes. In fact, I have managed to paper train Zebedee so well that when we went to the vet's to get Zeb's first vaccination, whilst on the vet's big examination table, Zeb walked across it to pee on the papers that I had left on the side of it: it was the care instructions from the breeder, as well as his pedigree certificate that got peed on. Quite a hilarious moment. Vet Karen concluded that Zeb has a lot of character, apart from being very alert and "a perfect puppy" in every way.

Who could disagree, eh?

Little puppies are not all about floppy years and imploring eyes, though. Nope. They are also about sharp little teeth; a whole mouthful of them. By Thursday my hands, arms, toes etc. were hurting too much from having been bitten (I'd been too soft on him, I think) so I thought I'd have to get something else for Zeb to chew on, as he hasn't been that keen on chewing the Kong toys nor any of the other toys well enough to occupy him for several minutes at a time. I went to the local supermarket and got him a little rawhide "bone", and that really did the trick. At first Zebedee didn't know quite how to keep it in one place so that he could chew on it properly without it getting away from him all the time, but in no time at all he figured out how to manipulate (or should that be 'pediculate') it with his paws, holding it steady between them for a perfect chewing position.

(photo by Miles)

Luckily his digestive system seems to be OK with the rawhide, which is a blessing, given how much he seems to need to chew on something all the time. Better the rawhide than me, thank you very much!

On Saturday morning, Zebedee suddenly followed Miles up the stairs to the first floor for the first time. Miles had coaxed him before to get up the stairs, but he never did before. To be honest, the stairs are so steep that I didn't think he'd be able to get up them. Little did I know. (Later on I saw just how quickly he climbs them!) But once he'd got up there, he didn't know what to do, as there was no way he could descent those steep stairs back down on his own. He looked pretty excited about having made it up - kind of proud yet incredulous of his own achievement.

Later on that day my friend Chizu came over with her family which includes two boys that are aged 3,5 and 1,5. Socialising a puppy is very important, I have learned. The more new people (especially men and children) the puppy meets in his first month or two since leaving his mom and siblings, the more friendly (and "safe") he will be with people when he is an adult dog. Sounds obvious, but I have to admit I hadn't thought about it before, and especially didn't know that the crucial time for this socialisation is so early. And of course these encounters with new people will have to be positive ones. Jason and Chizu both seemed to adore Zebedee, but unfortunately Arata (the 3,5 year old) was afraid of Zeb. He threw noisy toys on the floor and ran away screaming rather than wanted to play with him, but I doubt that permanent damage was caused to either party. Takara (Oliver) was more interested in the puppy and let Zeb even lick his toes at one point. And kept showing Zebedee where he'd missed a piece of kibble when he was using the Kong at lunch.

I took a few photos of the children in the studio, but to be honest, I was fed up that I hadn't received the Canon 5D I had paid for a week previously, and I was very tired (caused by lack of sleep during the week) and consequently didn't put my mind into the photo shoot as much as I should have - hence didn't get great photos.

Nevertheless, it was great to see Chizu and her family for the day.

Today, Sunday, Zebedee has had his first bath...

...been out for a drive to see some hills and fields. (I can't let Zebedee walk on the ground until his vaccinations are done.)

(photo by Miles)

And after a week's training, Zeb has mastered the command 'down', so that he can confidently obey a command sequence of 'sit', 'down', 'sit'. It took quite a few short training sessions, but we got there at the end. And to top it all, without any training from my part, Zeb retrieved one of his toys several times in a row when I threw it for him. Obviously his working dog heritage has given him a strong retrieving instinct! Well, it means that he is going to get plenty of exercise even when I'm not up for a several hour long walk: we can throw a ball or a frisbee instead.

That's it for now. Until next post: see ya!

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