Of toys and bikes

He loves his toys. He puts them in his bed, then takes them outside, then immediately brings them back in again and puts them back to bed.  His night bed (inside his crate) is a bit bigger than this one, so more room for both him and his toys. I can see a bigger day bed is going to be needed soon.

As long as there’s room for the toys…

Sometimes he piles in on top of them, and other times he naps with just his head on the bed keeping a watchful eye out.

Sleeping with one eye open as he watches over ‘his babies’

A beautiful sunny day today, so after his run along the beach, it seemed like a good opportunity to try him out on the bike.

Ya can go further on a bike!

He seems to be interested in most new experiences – the bike didn’t prove to be an exception.

Bit of fidget bum yet though!

Paul’s using my bike that already has a basket on the front to get him used to it. Once he’s used to it, we’re going to fit some sort of box or basket to the back of Paul’s bike. I’ll be leaving that to Paul though, I can barely balance myself on a bike, so no wriggle worms are coming with me on my bike rides.

Yep – he’ll get used to this fast I think.

I can see the two of them whizzing along the bike path at break neck speed before too long. Walks on the beach, swims in the ocean, and rides up and down the bike path – he’s going to be one very lucky little puppy……

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Mr Tilly (AKA Rastas) – 11 weeks old

We’ve survived the first three weeks and of puppy training. Rastas is now 11 weeks old, and has been with us for three weeks. What a roller coaster of a three weeks that’s been.

He’s had his second lot of vaccinations. His third lot are due in around ten days time. It’ll take about a week after the third vaccination for him to fully protected against the deadly Parvo virus. Some web sites say he’s reasonably safe two weeks after the second vaccination, and some say definitely not until after the third one. The vet says after the third one, but we’re figuring vets have to advise on the side of extreme caution.

Speaking to other dog owners, the general consensus is that life is very difficult with a puppy kept in the confinement of their own home.  Apparently this age is the most important time for puppies to be learning socialisation skills, and if puppies aren’t exposed to other dogs, and a variety of people at this vital stage of their life, they are likely to develop social problems. So, a bit of a dilemma!

We will enrol him in the next lot of puppy school, but that’s not for another couple of weeks yet. In the meantime we’ve decided on a pathway of exposure to the big wide world somewhere between almost total confinement, and a moderated introduction to the great outdoors.

We walk him down to our local beach, but keep him in the middle of the road on the way there. The road gets very little traffic, so cars aren’t difficult to deal with, and by sticking to the middle of the road we keep him away from the vegetated curbsides where other dogs have left their marks. It means he doesn’t get to enjoy all the sniffing around that he’d otherwise be able to enjoy, but at least he’s getting out and about, and he’s loving it.

We pick him up and carry him down the narrower pathway that leads to the beach. He doesn’t get put down again until he’s almost at the water line, where hopefully the tides have done a good job of washing the shoreline clean. We avoid most dogs, but let him greet, or by greeted by any people who look interested in making his acquaintance. He’d lick them all to bits if he had a chance – he’s a very social little puppy. He’s meeting people of all ages, and he’s loving it. He’s a different puppy since he’s started getting out and about. And I must admit, Paul and I are happier too. I think I was getting  ‘post puppy blues’!

There are quite a few dogs on the beach, but all are far more interested in their own beach walks than checking out a puppy who isn’t presenting a bottom to sniff, or isn’t interested in sniffing theirs (as seems to be the way of one canine greeting another). Whenever a dog comes near, we pick Rastas up – no bottom sniffing allowed yet.

A couple of days ago though we did stop and talk to another Labradoodle owner. After quickly establishing, Jimmy, was fully vaccinated we stopped to discuss our dogs, and to let them check each other out. We had thought we were stopping to talk to the owner of a fully grown Labradoodle. We were shocked to find out Jimmy is still a puppy, and in fact, is only two weeks older than Mr Tilly. Wow, he must be at least four times bigger….. Jimmy’s owner was equally as shocked to note the size difference.

Rastas with his first ‘beach friend’

Jimmy is a standard Labradoodle. Mr Tilly is a medium sized Labradoodle. As well as that, Jimmy, like Mr Tilly came from a litter of seven, but Jimmy was the biggest of his litter, Tilly was the runt. We each took out our phones and snapped photos, as we exchanged stories on the delights (or not) of puppy rearing.

Jimmy and Mr Tilly (two weeks different in age)

Jimmy’s owners had been contemplating adding to their human family, but instead opted for a puppy. Apparently, the realisation that a puppy isnt easy has hit. In her words, she thinks the puppy is actually harder than their human counterpart, and had she known how hard it was going to be, perhaps a human baby may have been the easiest option after all.

Now though with the first three weeks behind us, and now that Mr Tilly is getting a lot of outside stimulation, he’s showing signs of becoming a terrific little dog. The house training seems to be well on track. It’s been a few days now since he left any puddles inside the house, and about a week since he did any of his other business inside the house. I imagine there could still be an accident or two yet, but as the weather warms up, I should think these will be less and less.

He sits as a ‘yes please’ for his meals, or for any treats on offer, and he sits (although not very calmly) when we’re putting his lead on him for a walk. He walks on a reasonably loose lead, more so for me though than Paul I think with that one. That’s because I insist on it, and if he pulls I stand still. Once he realises he’s not actually getting to walk anywhere unless he stays at my side with a loose lead he obliges quickly.

He loves playing tug, and he’s starting to chase a ball and bring it back.

He settles well into his crate at night, which we put at the entrance to our bedroom. As soon as we start getting ready for bed he heads into his crate. He goes out the pet door to do his business through the night, and stays quiet until around 5.30am. Then he seems to think it’s time for us to wake up – we’re usually awake then anyway, and I think he’s only reminding us he’s been on his own long enough. We make a cuppa and take it back to bed, and he’s then allowed up on the big bed. He seems to appreciate that’s a bit of privilege, and snuggles down between us and goes promptly back to sleep while we enjoy our cup of tea.

So far, so good as far as any unwanted destruction. Not having children makes that easier. Paul and I are aware that anything left around is fair game for him to cut his teeth on, so we keep everything out of his way that he’s not allowed, and we make sure he has plenty of allowable chew toys within his reach. As well as chew toys, we give him a raw chicken neck every second day. He loves them, and I’m sure they’re doing wonders for his sharp little puppy teeth.

If you’d asked me a week ago what I thought of having a puppy, I’d have said it was awful. Now though that we’re taking him out and he’s getting the stimulation he obviously needs, he’s not even hard work anymore. He’s shaping up very well, an absolute pleasure!

 

Living the dream

Or not! The roads we travel aren’t always straight forward, and don’t always take us down our chosen path.

I read a post today from Ingrid at, Live, Laugh, RV. Ingrid travels America in an RV living the life we had planned to live. Today’s post by Ingrid was tiltled, ‘Trouble with the Dream.’ In it, Ingrid outlined some of the pitfalls encountered along the way, the less desirable side of, ‘Living the Dream’.

Currently suffering a bit of post road trip blues, compounded by the life restrictions (self imposed) of training a new puppy, Ingrid’s post brought tears of self pity to my eyes.  It caused me to I reflect on how far away from the dream life we had planned for ourselves only a few short years ago we’ve come.

The roads we choose to travel sometimes have forks in them that take us in a different direction to our planned destination. Today, I’m hankering for, Living the Dream’ again, and all the trouble as outlined in Ingrid’s post that goes along with it.

The dream

Currently, Mr Tilly is hard work. He sleeps a lot through the day but awakes to follow (and mither us) if we start to try and go about any household or gardening tasks.

A line on the floor at the entrance to the kitchen which Mr Tilly is learning not to cross

His training is going very well but toilet training’s a bit hit and miss. He loves his training sessions. He’s  responding well (with the help of treats) to soft lead walking, coming when called, and we’re getting him started on grooming. Trouble is, if we’re not giving him a play, or training session,  if he’s having a nap, we can only do something seated nearby . If we wake him up trying to get on with anything that’s not a quiet, seated activity, and that activity doesn’t involve him, he occupies himself as puppies do – by getting into mischief.

Mithering the spin mop

I’m sure that once his vaccinations, have been completed and we can then take him to the beach and tire him out, things will improve remarkably. We’ve taken him on a few walks to the beach carrying him safely in arms till we get there, or walking him down the centre of the road away from the verges where other dogs will have left their marks (possibly Parvo virus contaminated).Then we’ve been keeping him almost at the water line where hopefully the water has washed away the possibility of any dangerous virus contamination. He loves it, but the restrictions of being unvaccinated mean it’s a very contained activity.

Being safely transported to the beach

A restricted romp at the water’s edge

Only a few more weeks, and we’ll be able to take him out to picnic spots, and will try and fit in a couple of short trips away in the RV to introduce him to that part of our life. The weather will be warming up. The big tidy up of the garden after five months away will be well under way, and we’ll be settling back into our summer house. Life – currently in unvaccinated puppy training limbo, will become good again. We’ll  be out and about enjoying the wonderful South West of WA, and Mr Tilly will be out and about enjoying it with us.

And won’t  that be just, ‘a pleasure’!

Puppy shell shock!

One week on with Mr Tilly (AKA Rastas), and I’m feeling just a little ‘puppy shell shocked’. When people say having a puppy in the house is like having a baby in the house – they really mean exactly what they say. Having a puppy in the house is definitely like having a baby in the house.  It’s not an exageration.

There are a few difference, mainly in that puppies don’t wear nappies, and don’t create a washing machine full of clothes each day. And you can go out and leave them home alone without being in breach of the law. Do the latter though at your peril – you’ll be risking all sorts of mischief that you weren’t aware existed. So, that gives you an idea how our first week with Mr Tilly has progressed.

It’s been hard work, and time consuming. A pair of eyes in the back of my head wouldn’t go astray. Puppies chew everything!

Half a foot for a size comparison

Fortunately, they do grow up quicker than their human counterparts though. He’s already 2.9kgs. I tried to take a photograph with him alongside my foot to show his size, (have you ever tried to photograph your full foot from a standing position – not easy).

Okay, now I’ve got the grumbling out of the way, let’s get down to his first weeks progress.

Firstly, house training Continue reading

Meet Mr Tilly

Mr Tilly was the seventh, and final puppy to be born in a litter that entered the world on 13th July 2017. All were boys. He was ‘the runt’ weighing in at a tiny 213gms.

He’s still the runt. We picked him up yesterday afternoon from a suburb in Perth. He was the first of the seven to be picked up. We’d only seen a photo of him, so wondered how easy he’d be to identify.  Seven exuberant puppies, all the same age and from the same litter, yet all so different – and yes, he was easy to pick out. He’s so, so tiny.

What a cutie

He’s too young yet to have completed all his vaccinations, so Parvo virus is a real threat. We knew we couldn’t stop at our usual ‘pit stop’ to take advantages of a loo break for both us, and for him. It’s too well frequented by other dogs, so the risk of contact with such a deadly and highly contagious disease couldn’t be risked.

We didn’t know how he’d go during the three hour car trip to get home, and didn’t know if we’d be able to spot a suitable, safe looking pit stop for him. We prepared ourselves and the car for mis-haps. Paul drove, and I sat in the back with Mr Tilly secured in his travel harness. We covered the back seat with a waterproof drop sheet, and I covered myself in big beach towels. He travelled peacefully the whole way snuggled up  on my knee, apart from one little spell with a  bit of whimpering about half way. We did spy a country side- street that looked like it wouldn’t be a place well frequented by other dogs, so we were able to give him a breather. He promptly did what he was supposed to do, and we were immediately able to continue our journey.

I’m happy to say he didn’t seem to suffer any motion sickness, and no in-car incidents. In fact the motion of the car seemed to lull him off to sleep, which is a reassuring sign for future travel.

Home.

Home safe and sound, so time for  a bit of exploring before bedtime. With half of the house off limits for now,  it didn’t take him long to give the remainder of our little house the once over. He ate a bit of dinner, and settled down well for the rest of the evening.

He didn’t seem to be too daunted by all the changes until bed time, at which time it seemed to hit him that he didn’t have his six siblings to snuggle with. We set him up as well as we could, and followed advice to ignore his crying and whimpering. He woke up distressed three times throughout the night. What a performance! For such a little guy, he sure can make himself heard, and ignoring him wasn’t easy. We buried our head under the blankets, and I’m pleased to say he settled down reasonably quickly after each bout.

At five this morning we thought it best to call it a night, and we let him start his day.  I’ve gotta say, he was ecstatic to be allowed up on ‘the big bed’. Our last dog Sophie (who’s been gone for well over 20 years now) slept the last few years of her life on our bed. She knew she had to behave well for the privilege, and we enjoyed having her snuggled into our backs. I’m sure that once we’re sure Mr Tilly’s well house trained he’ll most likely get to enjoy the same. But that’ll come a little later, after the ‘order of the pack’, and house training is well established.

Today he’s had a few firsts with us:

First bone (chicken neck)

I must say he gave that chicken neck a good going over. I’m sure having one of them a few times a week is going to help with teething, and keeping his gums healthy.

A few good games of ‘tug’ with two of his toys well suited to the purpose. He loves that, and is strong for the size of him.

We heard our neighbour’s grandson, Mitch, visiting. So, we carried him over to introduce him. He loved that, as did Mitch, and Mitch’s mum, and Mitch’s Nan and grandad.

After that, we carried him down to take a look at the sea. Once his vaccinations are up to date I’m sure he’s going to spend a lot of time down there. Labradoodles are supposed to love the water, so what better place for him to live than a couple of hundred metres from the shores of Geographe Bay. For now though, he can only experience it from the safety of our arms. He looked interested.

First look at the sea

He met a few people while we were out who stopped to say hello as we walked with him, and he seemed happy enough to allow people to give him a welcome pat.

When we came home we gave the lounge a bit of once over with the vacuum to see how he’d go with that – no problems. He’s had an adventurous 24 hours and is now clearly tired and in need of good long nap. He has been nodding off, but will only do so if we’re in very close proximity, at our feet and on the cold ceramic tiles. We’ve been trying to get him to stay in his bed, but he won’t have a bar of that – it’s too far away from us. I’m sure he’ll sleep enough though to get him through the day, and hopefully by tonight he’ll be so exhausted that he’ll snuggle up to his soft toys and won’t fret to much for his canine family.

We’re delighted with him. I’m sure within a few days he’s going to be adjusting well to us too. He’s soft and cuddly, and doesn’t object to lots of snuggles. Travelling will be very different with a dog, and life will definitely be very different with a puppy. I think it’s going to be a pleasure. (let’s hope I still think so after the next couple of nights). I’ll give you an update in a few days to let you know how we’re all coping…..