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Puppy Something con't....

Part 2....growing up (the dark times)

When last we left our puppy chronicle, all was relatively well. Koa was healthy and growing and rocking the basics of house training. But then winter set did the dark times. Koa started to grow and explore. We learned the hard way puppies explore their world through their mouth. That includes you. And those puppy teeth are precision sharp. While Koa slowly but surely learned that mouthing and biting were not acceptable, I longed for the days when I didn't have to wear boots in the house as armour against a puppy mouth.

However we learned that puppies tend to be particularly mouthy for three reasons.

1) They are hungry

2) They have to potty

3) They are tired

When Koa was in full shark mode it was usually because of one (or more) of these three reasons. Oh, and teething. On a bad teething day he graduated from shark to velociraptor. We worked through the worst of the mouthing by redirecting to a toy, putting him in his crate for a time out and starting basic obedience training.

As new puppy owners we prepped by wandering the aisles of Pet Smart buying every shiny new toy that squealed and squeaked. We spent a fortune only to learn that his absolute favourite toy was a used water bottle wrapped in one of my husbands old socks. We made about thirty of them all of which he loved.

One investment that WAS worth its weight in gold was an x pen. (Or the circle of neglect as we jokingly call it). When he was tired and cranky and wanting to chew on every item in the house, he happily retreated to his pen where his bed and blankie and a host of his water bottle toys awaited him. His x pen has more then once kept us from selling him on eBay to the highest bidder!

Common nicknames at this stage...the raptor, Jaws, little Anthony Fremont. Ok the last one is a bit obscure. Little Anthony was a character in the classic Twilight Zone episode It’s a Good Life. Adorable on the outside, pure darkness on the inside. I posted this on my Facebook page after a particularly difficult day with Koa...

“His name is Anthony Fremont. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge”

Luckily we made the smart decision to enroll him in puppy class. Training provided much needed structure, socialization and guidance to help him and us get through this period with our sanity intact. Some nights he was the star of the class, other times he was in the corner. But each one taught him and us how to co exist and understand each other.

Koa is now 10 months old. In the shadowy stage between baby and adulthood. He has gained a bunch of adult teeth and about 60 pounds. The sweet, quiet little doe eyed puppy is long gone. After days of up and down, those Shepherd ears are pointing up to the sky. Some days he is so naughty I want to cry, and others he is sweet and obedient and eager to please. It’s a roller coaster of a ride. But I love him to pieces and I am absolutely thrilled with his general temperament. He loves meeting new people, plays happily with every type of dog and is a happy and outgoing boy. At this stage am starting to see glimpses of the fantastic dog he’ll become. Stay tuned!

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