Well, Brillo has been a La Mesa resident for more than five days now, and he seems to be acclimating pretty well. There is no doubt this dog is spoiled, but I maintain that he is not spoiled rotten. There's a difference, you know? He's over-indulged, but he is a good boy.
My dog has at least 10 chew toys, two krates, a play pen, a backyard, and a room of his own, but that doesn't mean he's spoiled rotten. I mean, he doesn't sleep in my bed (a constant inner battle, I admit), nor does he have free reign of the house. Sometimes I even ignore his pitiful cries and make him spend time alone. I've even practiced tough love by barking at him for playing too rough with me. I think he works hard for his luxuries.
I need to hurry and catch you up on what has transpired since my boy Brillo came home.
Let's see...where do I begin?
I am so thankful that my mom was with me for the first few days of Brillo's journey. I swear, this is like having an actual, real baby (as far as I know). When that little fuzz ball came into my possession, my entire life changed. Husband Dave is still away on business, and my mom took up the slack by helping me with this 24-hour-a-day job. Puppy parenthood is serious business. When she was here, we were able to tag team to get things done, like showering, for example. Without her here, I've just been waiting for him to nap so I can dash off to the store, or wherever.
My goal is to make Brillo the world's best dog, so I am being super careful to do everything right in raising and training him. That means I have to be with him all day, every day, to take him out for potty breaks, keep him from eating the wrong things, and make him feel safe and confident. This is especially important while he's in his "fear stage," which will last thorugh about 12 weeks of age. He'll be nine weeks Tuesday.
Right now, everything is about play, and his lessons are sort of subliminal. He's learning while we play together. Whenever he chews on the wrong thing, I distract him with an approved chew toy. He is especially fond of his chicken, his catfish, and his lobster, by the way.
Brillo was a little quiet and reserved when we got him home, but after a full day here, he started to come out of his shell. We heard him bark and growl for the first time on Day Two, when he ripped into his catfish (a stuffed, colorful fish with a cat face--it has something crinkly in it that makes noise when gnawed on) that his grandma gave him. He really ripped it a new one, and now he does that a lot when he gets really excited. By Day Three, he had even started doing it to me. I scared him by barking at him ferociously like his mom would do, and now, on Day Five, he is responding very well to the word "easy," although I do have to bark at him sometimes. He has stopped biting too hard and is mostly dolling out kisses instead of nibbles.
Here's a brief list of other accomplishments/milestones:
1. When I first put it on him on Day Two, he couldn't stand to wear a collar, and it would make him walk funny and move his head like Stevie Wonder singing "I Just Called to Say I Love You." By his second day with the collar, he didn't even realize he was wearing it. Now, it is a part of him...and I must say it is VERY cute.
2. His first night home, he got me up at five or six times. He has been sleeping better every night, and he only woke up at 10:30 pm, 2:30 am, 5:30 am, and 7 last night. That's the latest he has let me sleep, so far. By the way, I had him sleeping in his crate in my room the first night, but I moved him into his space in the kitchen halfway through his second night. Our kitchen has a small little breakfast nook, and I took the table out to make room for him and his kennel. He has plenty of room to sleep and play, and there's a nice spot for his food and water. I've closed it off from the rest of the kitchen using a baby gate. He does better in his room than in the kennel, because he likes to stretch out on the cold linoleum and flop around alot throughout the night.
3. The amount of scratching he does daily has decreased a lot. Something in the grass ate him alive his first night here, and he has hardly been able to play without scratching every second. My mom and I sprayed the lawn for bugs, and I also sprayed and killed all the spiders we had all over the place. I lost count at about eight black widows. EEW! We got him some Advantix, and I'm hoping the old bites will heal and he won't get any new ones.
4. I was able to leave him alone for the first time today to attend a birthday brunch with my friend. I kept him active and awake from the time he woke up until I left at 10:00 am. We ran around a lot in the front yard, played in the backyard, and took our first trip to the lake (he went in to his knees without much coaxing, but then he decided it wasn't for him). My neighbor checked on him several times while I was gone, and he did great. He slept for two hours, and then he woke up and went outside with Catherine for a potty. He was asleep again when I returned shortly thereafter.
5. Although he was already good at being alone while sleepy/sleeping, I hadn't made him spend more than about 10 minutes alone in his room while fully awake. This evening, I put him in his room and left him so I could go mow the lawn. He barked and cried for a few minutes and then settled down to play with his toys. He did great!
6. He learned how to climb the stps on the back porch on Day Two, but then he got spooked and was skittish about it again until about Day Three. Now, he loves to bolt up them. The only trouble is, he doesn't know how to come back down the steps, so he just gets all hyper and barky until I bring him back down. He kept going up there, so I now have another baby gate at the bottom to keep from having to go and rescue him all the time. He has learned how to take single and double steps, like the ones on my front porch, but only after a few faceplants and several subsequent refusals to try again. Today, he gained the confidence to go up and down those double steps without hesitation. Good boy!
Now that we are all caught up, I will try to keep my yapping to a minimum. I realize this blog is getting boring, so I'll jsut start explaining things with photos and videos. Apparently, each picture will save me about 1,000 words.