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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
The thing I am finding most astonishing about Freddy - even more than his self taught puppy pad habit, sleeping through the night apart from when I wake up and take him to the bathroom pad, politeness to the older dogs and cat, and all the rest of it, is the way he settles in seconds when put to bed in his pen. Previous attempts at confining puppies without long and careful preparation resulted in a scrabbling, crying, thoroughly upset baby who never wanted to see a crate or pen again. Freddy chews a toy, or plays with it in his paws for a few minutes, and is then fast asleep. When he wakes up he sits politely by the gate to be let out, after visiting the puppy pad. You know the mythical Perfect Puppy in the Puppy Reality thread? I think he may exist after all!

It was wet this afternoon so after a game with the little girl next door and another brief foray out later we have been playing harness grab for chicken and a wonderfully silly game of everybody Follow My Leader, which the older dogs enjoyed as much as Freddy, following me all around the downstairs of the house, in and out of furniture, stopping for treats along the way. I knew a puppy would help us to get silly and giggly again - Sophy was positively playful this evening.
 

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What a joy he sounds like. Diego was the Perfect Puppy. They’re rare, but I believe in them. He was always a pretty easy guy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Yes, I am planning for his adolescence already. FWoP - he is a bold pup, and I can just imagine him getting to be downright swashbuckling as a young adult! I think 12 dogs and the responsibility would be too overwhelming to ever find time to giggle Tom - 3 take all my time.
 

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He was bred to be swashbuckling, if Sophy’s stories are an indication of the breed. She landed in water on one of your jaunts and learned to swim. You also shared that Sophy was a consummate guide when you were once were lost. Bless him. Learn the rules of the house from the Aunties and scrummy treats from fjm. You’re a good boy in the making.😍
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Day 9

Last night Freddy announced he wanted to sleep with the Big Dogs, so after the usual few minutes digging, nibbling and chewing he moved down the bed and settled between them - and Sophy for once did not object. I checked he was safely in the middle of the bed and left him there, till he woke up for a pee in the early hours and then a couple more in the course of the night. He was happy to snuggle after bathroom trips as the room was getting chilly. I am so glad I decided to focus on pad training at night, remembering the rigmarole of dressing gown, shoes, stairs, torch, lead, all without putting the puppy down lest she pee, and then it taking forever to get back to sleep as we were both wide awake by the time we got back to bed. No need for a dressing gown or shoes in the house, the bathroom is just a few steps away, and we are back in bed in minutes and fast asleep again soon after. We have settled on the IKEA chicken toy for bedtime - lots of interesting flappy bits and feet to chew, soft enough for a pillow, big enough that I can find it by feel in the dark and bright coloured enough it doesn't get lost if I ever succeed in making the bed.

We are progressing with the Pick Up cue and coming when called. He has very quickly learned that we stop for a treat at each gate or stile and sits very expectantly, staring up at me. He is not eating anything like as much as the packet or the calorie guides suggest, but he is growing like a weed, very bright and bouncy, and getting as much as he wants. Sophy has been rather hormonal the last few days - she is coming up 9 weeks post fertile date, and feeling a bit yuck from a pseudopregnancy. Checking back the symptoms are very typical for her - clingy, sleepy, not very hungry, didn't want to get out of bed this morning - so I am not too concerned, but she needs to be well clear of it before I book her in for spaying. I opened a tin of RC Sensitivity Control for her this morning, which she enjoyed, and am taking care not to let Freddy tease her. Poppy is rather enjoying having him around - all those extra games for treats!

Today I am planning to take Freddy on a trip to the big city - or rather to our little local market town, which is a more manageable size to walk through on a socialisation trip. I know several of the shop owners there, and there is a good off leash walk to give them all a run. I have not been there for over a year - I stopped visiting shops in the first lockdown and never really started again - so it will be an adventure for all of us.
 

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Sounds like a lovely day :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
It has certainly been a busy one! We got out rather closer to our usual time and wandered along beside the river, meeting people and dogs. That tired Freddy enough for him to sleep while I made a series of phone calls sorting out all the various appointments and stuff that have rather piled up over the last week. Then we went to the vet to pick up Poppy's medicines and for a sociable visit with the reception staff and a weigh in - he is a hefty 2.1 kilos/4.6lbs.

I got an easy parking spot in town (no fiddly parallel parking for me!), and carried him round the town and into one or two shops before letting him walk on a long leash around the church yard. The footpath I had planned on using was closed following a land slip, so I ended up with all three dogs on leash - Sophy and Poppy managed to fit themselves around Freddy's stop start zig zag progress a lot better than I did! We met nice dogs and nice people, including an elderly lady in a wheelchair, and he did very well. When we got home I popped him in his pen with a bowl of biscuits which he ignored, and one of the new toys which arrived this morning - a Kong puppy bone with rope. He managed 15 seconds play before falling asleep, and I think it is going to prove a favourite. It's pink, as I refuse to get into the whole blue for boys thing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
Day 10
Last night Freddy settled rather more easily and slept from 9.30pm to 5am, did a pee on the pad in the bathroom, then slept again till 6.45am. That meant over 7 hours solid sleep for me, plus a good hour of snoozing.

We had a bit of an all round stress test this morning. I took the dogs down by the river and just as we got far enough from the gate for Freddy to go down saw a dog and owner we know coming towards us, The dog, Rambo, is a JR mix well known for his poor canine manners, but he and Freddy met without problem the other day so his owner didn't put his leash on. Today he immediately bore down on Freddy to the point poor Fred got worried and decided to run - which would not have mattered had Freddy not whiled away the boring minutes in the car chewing most of the way through his harness, leaving me with an empty 10' lead and a puppy hightailing it towards the gate into the car park! Rambo was quickly called back and leashed, Freddy remembered I mean safety and treats and came running back, and a quick cuddle and a biscuit made everything right again. But that is one reason I carry him the first 100 yards or more - if something does happen there is time and space to do something.

After that I spent much of the afternoon concocting a rather more robust harness. And of course what could go wrong did go wrong, right down to the recently serviced sewing machine throwing a completely new and insuperable mechanical fault. I dug out my ancient Husqvarna Viking, which must be around 50 years old and is still going strong (fingers crossed), and finally got something which should see us through the next couple of weeks, by which time I may have worked out a more adjustable version.

Oooff - tiring day!
 

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Love those sturdy old sewing machines with metal innards! I wish I'd grabbed my mother's sewing machine from the 1950's. Mine isn't quite as old as yours; it's a Bernina from the 1980's.
 

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I’m so glad Rambo’s owner was able to call him back from poor terrified Freddy! I was horrified, imagining the chase that was about to ensue. Phew. Freddy’s sure adding some excitement to your days, I bet. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Freddy was more mildly worried than terrified, but Rambo has no canine etiquette skills, as Sophy has told him several times a week for the past 10 years - and he still pushes his luck with her! But his owner is used to having to leash him to stop him pestering other dogs, so there won't be a problem.

Freddy fought tooth and nail against the new harness until I gave him a lovely big homemade biscuit to gnaw. Then he stopped noticing what I was doing and it looks a lot comfier than the old one with no dangly bits to encourage chewing - I hope!
 

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In spite of the heartsinking moments for you, this was a good outcome.
 
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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Day 12

Frddy is coming on in leaps and bounds - literally, at times. He has learned to sit when I ask to pick him up, and waits politely to have his lead put on. He comes when he is called most of the time (scrummies happen for good dogs!), has very good bite inhibition for such a baby, and snoozes happily in his pen for hours. Poppy and Sophy are finding him quite acceptable - he doesn't tease them and tells them that they are wonderful, and that is very appealing! He does bite and chew at times, of course, and plays keep away, and steals socks, and gets beyond himself, but he really is an amazingly good puppy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Day 13
Lovely sunny day here, and we had a good walk by the river this morning. Freddy is still a bit monsterish at bedtime, but it is now for 5 minutes rather than 15, and more licking than nibbling, so improving. He is very soft mouthed for a puppy - those extra weeks with mum and siblings really help. He is sleeping well with one or two bathroom trips, but they are usually before 10pm or after 5am, so not too onerous. After our walk this morning he went to bed in his pen with an early lunch and settled for nearly two hours while I got on with household stuff. Then he had a foray outside, a quick game of tug, a chew on his puppy kong and is now snuggled down beside me in my chair while I take a breather.

He has learned:
Sit for treats - no cue yet, just the promise of a treat
Come back into the house
followed by
Take turns for treats
"Freddy come!" as long as I am more exciting than anything else
Coming and sitting to be picked up, or trotting off to sit on a dog bed if we are in the hall where the floor is a bit cold
Follow me! if I bounce and sing silly songs and produce treats every few yards
and is rapidly teaching himself to retrieve, a game neither Sophy nor Poppy ever liked but he does.

I think our lazy, laid back life helps - there is no FOMO because I am either sitting where he can see me or in and out of the room, and the other dogs are usually lazing within sight too. When he wakes up I let him out of the pen - it is closed as much to stop the others eating his food as to keep him safely contained. He is never left to cry and doesn't cry to get out, just waits patiently for the minute or two it takes me to notice he is awake. He seems to be getting the right balance of sleep, exercise, play and brain growing to keep him very happy - I am not doing any formal training, but concentrating on happy socialising and good manners. But most of all I think he is easy because he had a really good, happy, secure start in life with his breeder - his dam is a champion at being a good mother as well as in the conformation ring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Day 14

Has it really been nearly two whole weeks?

Last night Freddy settled very quickly - just a few minutes of silliness then he took himself off to the Big Dogs' end of the bed and went straight to sleep. I woke a couple of times needing the bathroom and took him with me, where he sleepily used the pad, came to me for a quick wipe and dry, and was then carried back to bed where he went straight back to sleep. He has gone from playing keep away when it is time to be carried downstairs to flinging himself into my hands - I have to be quick to catch him! Time to start reinforcing the sit to be lifted, methinks. He very politely prefers the pad at the far end of the sitting room, taking himself off there to pee as well as poo. Apart from a word of praise if I see him there I have done nothing to deserve this, so can't offer any advice on how to achieve it.

Yesterday we did a sort-of-leash walk, along a shared use path where there were people, dogs, bicycles and even someone roller skiing (a nuisance as the chap needs the full width of the path and dislikes having to slow down). I had Freddy on a 10' leash, and it took a very long time to do a mile, even carrying him much of the way. On our morning walk across the fields he mostly trails the leash so that he can really run and I can keep moving even if it is at a very leisurely pace, but keeping hold of the leash means an awful lot of stopping and starting for sniffing and pouncing on leaves and changing hands and letting a loop out or shortening it again and disentangling him from dogs and people, and all in all reminded me why I gat my dogs safe to walk off leash as soon as possible! But he did very well, and was ready to sleep for hours when we got home.

Freddy has discovered that Gus, who lives across the courtyard, is really nice and may be someone to play with. He now checks for him every time we are outside, giving peremptory little barks outside his gate. Gus's owners work long hours during the week and were away last weekend, but we will organise some playdates soon. Puppy class in two weeks - I plan on working on recall and short bursts of loose leash walking before then. I just need to find a suitable target stick that I can use to give him a dab of something delicious while still moving - sitting for treats is a Good Thing, but interrupts the flow when walking, so I need a very different method to distinguish the activities. And to save quite so much bending down!
 
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