Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bigger and Fuzzier, but no less puppy

Zeus is growing fast... and I do mean FAST. We will need to get another picture of him tomorrow on the park bench so we can have a record of his growth... WEED! He's Part WEED!

We have become less attached to the "no accidents in the house" as he ages.. of course, we are also not having as many... and a missed "half hour" no longer results in an automatic puddle. Zeus is also becoming more communicative about needing to go out.

One negative is that he's becoming a "nipper"... we're going to have to figure out how to stop that behavior before it becomes ingrained!

He is learning how to cuddle on the couch... I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Zeus Has His First "Bad Boy" Moment

It's partly my fault, this incident, but I was still surprised. I gave Zeus his lunch without standing over him -- I went about 8 feet away to do a little work while he inhaled his food. Just as he finished eating, our two male cats wandered by and -- zoom! -- Zeus was bounding around trying to play with them. Ben took off and got away, but Cal was trapped in a corner near the pet gate. I went after Zeus, and in the split second the puppy's attention was turned, Cal took off down stairs. I wasn't within grabbing range when Zeus took off after him. The stairs USED to be an impediment so I didn't think to close the pet gate.

So, I get to chase one excited puppy down the stairs and into the kitchen. Once there, I clapped my hands together sharply and said "Bad Boy!" Amazingly enough, Zeus took off back UP the stairs. I emphasized with some more claps (remember, puppy attention spans are all of 10 seconds long), but he was no longer impressed by the time I caught up with him and began scouting all over the upstairs room. I finally grabbed him and put him in his crate (stairs are no easy feat for me!) so I could recover.

I know these weeks will be full of tests, but I like to think the loud clap and "Bad Boy" might make some sort of impression our our pig headed poodle.

18 Pounds of Puppy Perfection

image from
 Zeus is officially 18 lbs at 12 weeks of age. The vet is quite pleased with his growth, weight, features, etc. He is, to all observation, in perfect health.

This is very good news, and as he's had his 2nd booster shots and his kennel cough vaccination he will soon be able to meet with other healthy dogs without as much concern!

Of course, I look forward to not havi monthly vet visits... is a lot of $$$ on a very small budget.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Maybe I've been doing the walk wrong!

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Over the last couple weeks I've been walking Zeus, he's become more and more resistant to "the walk", especially since the snow when we can't give him easy roaming. We've also had to be very cautious on our walks not to let him sniff or nose areas other dogs have used, especially pooped, because his immune system is not yet up to snuff. This has led me to make our walks more "marches" than "fun explorations" together, and Zeus is beginning to resist having any tension on his leash out of habit. (he may want to go out and pee, but if I pull on the leash he will automatically plant his paws and resist)

So, what to do? I want walks to be fun and enjoyable for both of us while still enforcing that I am the pack leader. Today I decided to bring a crumbled dog treat with me and every time Zeus dug in his heels, I turned his attention to doing tricks (sit, down, up, etc.) and rewarded him with a treat for doing them. This distracted him from "resisting the walk" and we'd get another 50-100 feet before he remembered "no, I don't WANT to go where you want to go!" We repeated this pattern, going way past where we normally got without any need to drag him.

I did end up dragging him the last 50 feet or so because the end of the road had two houses with barking dogs that kept Zeus from focusing... but beyond that, the whole walk went without a "drag". YAY!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paper means Pee!

Zeus is doing fairly well. He still gets whiny when one of us (mostly Jay) leaves him in his crate or pen, even if the other (mostly me) is still in the room. If we are both there, all is peace. However, Jay has to go back to work and that means I'm on puppy duty.

Today, we went for a quick potty run out front, he squatted and then got interested in ice and a dog down the street. I needed to work upstairs, so upstairs we went. Our washer and dryer are upstairs just after the stair landing, and a paper towel had drifted there quite innocently. Well, Zeus was raised to piddle on shredded paper, so he sauntered over to the paper towel and -- produced more pee! I corrected him (without shouting or kicking or being mean) and out we went again, where he -- yes -- PEED again.

Our puppy is made of pee, curls, and dog biscuits.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Puppy in Snow!

But of course we'd have 5-6 inches of snow within the first week of our bringing Zeus... still not having "the walk" down, nor house training completed, we must suddenly face weather that confuses and beguiles the puppy. Yay, Universe! Thy sense of humor is most sadistic!

Actually, Zeus has done fairly well... the hardest part of the snow walking and pottying is that the kids playing outside are screaming and distracting and the people driving are scary as hell (very few people in South Carolina can manage intelligent driving on snow and ice). We cleared an area to the left of the driveway where he normally pees per the suggestion of our friend Lori, and Zeus has used that spot all day.

Walks are somewhat out of the question... it was never over 29 degrees F today, and the poor little guy ended up shivvering any time we went for a walk. (it is a very wet snow, and been sleeting all day)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Poodle Parent Paranoia Ping Pong

On Tuesday, Sherri had her poodle parent freakout -- fearing she won't love the puppy and she will not have the patience to deal with him. She moved past that. Wednesday I had my poodle parent freakout when the puppy decided to start doing dominance play with me.

Three days and he's decided I'm not Alpha?!? What have I done wrong? Why am I considered weak? Fret. Worry. Panick.

Naturally, I've also moved past that... and I've spent my day analyzing how I walk with the puppy, how I play with the puppy, etc. and have made adjustments to my behavior. It seems to be working.

To make certain nothing happens to the Zeus due to our fears and concerns and moments of frustration or fear, Sherri and I have agreed we will alternate whom is freaking out so that one of us is stable at all times :D
I am happy to report that he doesn't appear to have "separation anxiety". We seem to be doing all the right things to prevent that :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Measure everything by success

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I'm amazed at how "let down" I felt this evening when Zeus peed in the house this evening. I'm not sure whether I was more disappointed in us for breaking the "every 30 minute" routine because everything had gone so well today, or whether I was upset that Zeus didn't seem to give the "I must pee" signals.

I must remember that house training takes 2-3 weeks (on average) with diligent effort. We've only just finished 3 full days with Zeus in the household. As such, I try to look at the positive... we managed 40 hours without an accident! That's pretty good for a 10 week old puppy!

Test of the Poodle

So far, in 3 1/2 days, I've loved, hated, worried about, regretted, adored, fawned over and despaired over our new puppy. Apparently this is all quite normal, analogous to having a new baby, in that suddenly there are a lot of demands being made by a small, cute, inarticulate but VERY vocal small creature that requires I obey its demands or it will shit and pee on all I own.

This makes for a complicated emotional mix.

So far, I have neither flung myself from a rooftop or made cute little black fur slippers. This bodes well for all concerned. However, I'd forgotten just how testing a new puppy can be, as it has been several years since I had an actual baby dog and the ones I had were outdoor-only (by parental decree). So, housebreaking is a bit new to me.

Also, we have stairs and the puppy's sleeping and eating spot are on the second floor. Zeus, with his demitasse cup sized bladder, must go outside about every 1/2 hour (while he's awake and active, at least). I am very tired, but I look forward to FABULOUS glutes in a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Evaluating Puppy Poo

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We love Blue Buffalo pet food, which we attribute to our eldest kitty's incredible decrease of dependence on insulin. She has, unfortunately, had very fluid bowel movements over the last couple months (nearly since we started using BB). We thought it was her change in insulin, as she swapped to the new brand about the same time, but Zeus started having identical liquid poo the day after he started on BB. Some quick research online, not certain if it was his food, stress, or change that caused this, we found that some dogs and cats have responded to the dry BB foods with very loose stools. Reading several reviews and hitting a few discussion groups, we found out that some people solved the issue by mixing the dry & wet BB foods at meals.

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We tried, and his stools have progressively returned through each session to solid... not hard, but well formed. I NEVER thought I would be evaluating puppy and be happy to find soft-yet-solid feces. As this appears to have worked for the puppy, we are following up with Ophelia by feeding her more of the wet food through the day... the initial results seem positive.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Great Expectations

Poor Zeus. He has such demanding parents.

Actually, we are a bit over demanding in some areas for a 9 week old puppy. It has been so many years since we had a puppy to traing, we'd forgotten all the challenges of House Training.

Oh boy.

Also, we have very long flight of stairs between floors -- which an adult dog could be expected to climb regularly, but a nine week old of a breed with the danger of hip issues?!? Not so much. We've decided to have Zeus climb the stairs only 3 times per day for now -- for each meal. His potty runs (every 30 minutes... ugh) will be a carry fest *groan*. When get gets over 20 lbs that's going to be a challenge. Of course, when he gets to 25 lbs he should be big and old enough to do the stairs without concern.

Puppy Saves Neighborhood from Fire!

Sunday evening, Zeus, our new puppy, prevented what might have been a disaster at our neighborhood. Apparently there was a short at the top of one of the power poles that was arcing into the wood and started a small fire at the top of the pole. It couldn't be seen easily as it was very small (but growing). Because I walked the puppy under the power pole, the puppy was immediately attracted to the interesting charred, glowing embers on the ground. At first I thought it was a lit cigarette someone had thrown out the car window, so I stamped it out before the little boy could get his mouth on it... but it didn't "feel" like a cigarette -- so I looked up and thought, "There shouldn't be a soft red, flickering glow at the top of that power pole."

I called the power company and they are out there now repairing the pole... had to shut off power to the neighborhood so they could safely work on the pole... and now the fire is much larger than it had been when I first walked the dog there.

So our puppy is a bonified hero (sorta)! :)

PS. if you're wondering how I can be posting this while the power is off in our neighborhood... we have a UPS on our router and cable modem... so we have about an hour of connectivity before we lose our "wired" connnection to the internet (the cell phones can still get one regardless)

PPS. discovered the fire was started by an unfortunate squirl who unwittingly became the "ground" for from the power wire to the pole -- poor squirl!

Welcome Zeus!

January 02, 2011, Zeus, our standard poodle puppy, came home with us. He was the result of a most unusual combination of nature and nurture. Our breeder, Bev, of Calisun Starndard Poodles, mated her dam Sunny with Aris sire London to produce a litter of 11 puppies. All black, all beautiful, and way too much for one dam to produce milk for. Bev's younger dam, Lilly, was mated at nearly the same time and had her litter the same weekend as Sunny, but had only four surviving puppies. Two of the puppies from Sunny's litter were transfered to Lilly for rearing. Our Zeus, known as "Big Green Boy" at the time, was one of the Sunny/London puppies raised by Lilly.

Bev has been a loving, dedicated, professional, (if possibly over cautious) breeder and I believe our puppy could not have been welped and reared by a better one. She worked hard to match the temperament of the puppy to our lifestyle.

We are determined to do our best to raise the perfect, balanced dog. As such, we have prepared his space near our bedroom, made sure the cats have their spaces preserved, and have plenty of time available to us for the next few weeks to make it through these beginning days of puppy needs.

Thus far we have learned that he does try to tell us he needs to go out... and if we don't listen we get a piddle. We only understand his warnings half the time. Still, for a 9 week old poodle puppy to already be working to tell us "I need potty now" is quite amazing to me.

In the past 24 hours he's had 4 accidents which we could have prevented had we paid attention. His first night was fairly successful... we tired him out with walks and play before going to bed, and took up his water about 2 hours before bed. This allowed him to make it through the night for 7 hours before needing to go potty.

His primary challenge is the stairs. Our staircase is very steep and long. I took him several trips partially carried up the stairs before he was confident enough to climb them himself. He is willing to go down short flights of stairs, but the full staircase is too intimidating at present.

All in all, he's been a calm, attentive, curious puppy with no inclination to chase the cats. This bodes well!