Saturday, July 2, 2011

Orent's first days home

Orent II is a super puppy, for sure. Why? Because he's only 8 weeks old and he's already dedicated his life to helping other people. From the time he was born, Orent was destined to be a companion dog for a person who needed him... maybe a Deaf person who needs to be alerted when the phone or doorbell rings, maybe someone who needs help reaching things that fall on the ground or having doors opened and shut, maybe a young person with autism who needs a companion to help them navigate the complex world, or maybe a whole group of people at school, nursing home, etc. Or maybe he'll get to live in the lap of doggy luxury, fathering generations of little helper puppies!

Orent II is a Canine Companion for Independence puppy. He may not get to grow up to fulfill his dream of being a helper dog, but he sure is trying hard!

So far, he seems to be the kind of guy who they give first-time puppy raisers to trick them into raising pup after pup. He slept the entire 4.5 hour car ride home, whining only once when we were just a few miles from a rest stop! After some water and "chase the people" games, he toileted and threw up a little (too much stress? carsick? we'll see...).

Then he got home and flopped down after only a few minutes of sniffing the house. He was happy to be lifted into his kennel, curled up, and slept 'til dinner. At dinner we learned our first lesson: if you're training the little guy to eat in his harness, make sure the food is ready to go before the harness is on. Right now, it doesn't seem like he can be trusted to eat his whole meal in the harness. He stops eating and shoves it off his nose, which is a no-no. I think for now he can get lots of hand-fed kibble in his harness, and then be released to eat in his kennel. Also, feeding him with the harness on makes us forget about saying "OK" before he gets to eat, which is a big deal command. So much for the puppy raisers to remember, and we're the ones with great big brains!

Orent definitely loves his kennel. He'll whine sometimes when we're around and he thinks he can get our attention, but when there's anything at all going on in the room where his kennel is, he'll sit and watch it with that lab-like zen: "something's going on! I better sit and reflect on it thoroughly..." If we're walking down the hallway, he settles better when we close the door.

The great news is he loves it so much that he only whined twice in the night. Once at midnight and once at 5:15am (when he decided it was time to get up). Fortunately, puppies nap a lot so people can too!

We're learning a lot about how complicated it is to be so little. At first, he had a hard time toileting without crying a little first. He's getting better about that, but it was surprising to us that it was a stressful thing for him. He also whines and cries when he's really sleepy and not in the kennel. He has a hard time settling himself down and will flop over, get up, flop over, get up, and cry while he's doing it until he finally heaves a sigh from the very marrow of his bones and goes to sleep.

I'm also not sure he knows when he's going to pee... He's had an accident in the kennel already, and he didn't seem to cry or fuss about it, which surprised us! He's also peed on the floor, since he woke up from a short nap and play session and we didn't take him out right away. Again, he seemed to just be roaming around (looking for something to chew!) and then he was peeing. We'll have to both get better at anticipating when that's going to happen and communicating about it.

So far, though, it seems like Orent is pretty perfect and all we have to do is not mess him up! If everyone's first night with a puppy was this good, CCI would have to be beating the puppy raisers off with sticks!

Overall, Max and Kaytee have a lot to learn about luring a puppy to look at you or "get dressed," saying "OK" before Orent gets to eat, generally being consistent, being prepared, being swift with praise and redirection, and Orent has a little bit to learn about being alive...

Oh, and PS: even if you're a cheapskate like Max, you can *never* have too many chew toys. Think of it as an investment in good landlord relations, lowered vet costs, less replacing of furniture, etc. If you're getting a new puppy, give it lots to chew on!!!

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