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Today was Freddy's first puppy class - held inside, thank heavens, because the weather has been horrible.

He did very well. All the other pups are much bigger than him - labs, pointer, whippet, spaniels and a cockerpoo - and mostly quite a bit older, but we were well spaced out and there was no mixing. He settled very nicely by my feet on a comfy bed with a Kong, and was not too worried by the noisy big puppy shenanigans going on around the room. He sat beautifully when asked, learned hand touching in a few repetitions, and then faded out before we really got onto the next game - it was Look at Me, which won't take long to teach at home. He snuggled down on my lap and very nearly fell asleep, too tired to even watch what was going on for the last quarter of an hour. And he managed to hold on to do an enormous pee until we got outside, which was excellent. I had taken a pad, and knew he needed to go, but he still waited.

He managed quite a large lunch despite having oodles of treats, and then went straight to sleep, completely cream crackered. I'm just hoping he wakes up in time for a walk before it starts raining again!
Bennie begins puppy classes in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure what to expect, but I do know that the trainers forbid any use of aversive training or tools which feels aligned with me. And the place has doggy daycare and grooming available, so I'm eager to check it all out in case I need such services in the future.

Freddy sounds like he felt quite cozy to settle in that environment! I imagine Bennie will be the pogo-ing, excited, eager poodle-y pup that she is when we go. She needs to meet everyone (at least this is what she demonstrates when I take her out to socialize).
 

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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
Freddy is usually keen to meet and greet, too, but I think the fact that we were indoors and the other dogs were big and rather noisy encouraged him to keep a lower profile. But he wasn't anxious, and was happy to listen and learn for the first part of the class, so it was a positive experience for him. And the soft chicken pancake worked well - I made a batch last night and froze the rest for future sessions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #123 ·
No car today, as it was being serviced and the warning light investigated (it was briefly and intermittently not firing on all cylinders, which fortunately happened when Dan collected it this morning so he knew what to look for - with luck it has been fixed with a new ignition coil). No car meant no real walks, and no real walks, especially after limited exercise yesterday due to puppy class and torrential rain, meant Sophy climbing the walls, Poppy getting grumpy, and Freddy being a whirling dervish! We've played lots of training games and been in and out and up and down, but it is not the same as getting out for a really good run and lots of sniffing. Freddy is now in his pen playing with Dino Cuz, which makes me suspect his teeth may be troubling him a little, Sophy has calmed down from her bout of stress-induced crazies and is relaxing on her bed, Poppy is asleep, and I'm staring at the scattered contents of the up ended waste paper basket and wondering whether to pour a large G&T or go to bed.

Even very good puppies are hard work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #124 · (Edited)
15 weeks old
Freddy had a busy day yesterday. The rain stopped at last, and in the morning we went for a run by the river. Another shorter walk in the afternoon, and then we went to meet an old friend in the local market town, which she was visiting on a coach trip. We managed to find a cafe that was open and that welcomed dogs inside in the warm - my friend is in her 80s and finds walking difficult, so somewhere to sit was important. Freddy did very well on my lap, Sophy settled quietly under the table, and Poppy was OK but wanted FOOD. When the cafe announced that they were closing at 3pm(?!!) we managed to find a bench close to where the coach would stop and chatted to all the people who paused to admire the dogs, so Fred had a happy time socialising. One way and another he was awake for around three hours, though, and very sleepy by the time we got home.

Last night I forced myself to stay awake until 10pm winter time in an attempt to reset my body clock now the clocks have changed. Freddy didn't really want to go to bed after a snoozy evening, but after both Sophy and I told him to stop playing and settle down! he slept till 6.30am with only one quick pee break in the early hours, so we are getting there. Not quite quick enough to get him downstairs and outside for the first poo of the day, but that is what the pad is for, and he will learn eventually.

He has taught himself a charming bounce, spin and sit in his bed when offered treats there - a quick bribe to keep the pen a happy place that has also reinforced this very sweet trick.

Today is cold but gloriously sunny so we will have a morning walk by the river, an afternoon walk along the Lune ahead of Poppy's vet appointment (she has a couple of lumps I want to get checked), and a social visit to the vet for cuddles and weighing. And practice Touch and Look at Me, our puppy class homework - neither of them top of my list of essential behaviours, but we will show willing and meanwhile keep working on Wait, Four Feet and Lift cues, as well as the all important Settle Down. And I really must vacuum - it has been put off repeatedly as time to do it has coincided with Freddy being fast asleep, and I didn't want to wake him!
 

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When the cafe announced that they were closing at 3pm(?!!)
You are reminding me of the shock I felt as an American on my first two trips to the UK decades ago. It was impossible to find a place to get food in the afternoon.. At that time the food options seemed to fall into the category of tea shop/bakery or pub/ restaurant. The former would shut down after the lunch hour, and the latter wouldn't start serving until 6 PM or so. I remember sitting at a bus stop in a village somewhere near Newcastle eating liverwurst smeared on rusks. A butcher shop and a news stand were the only two shops that were open and that sold something I could combine uncooked. Thing were much different on my most recent visit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #126 ·
Yes, I remember escorting a pair of elderly Americans round Oxford in the 1970s, and their total refusal to believe that it was simply not possible to get a steak at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Yesterday one cafe had closed due to being unable to get staff, a second because of flooding, and a third for no stated reason. As it is a popular place with tourists and largely relies on their custom I do wonder what the long term effects will be.
 
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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
Freddy weighed in at 2.8 kilos/6.16 lbs at the vets' yesterday - he is going to be quite large for a papillon which for me is a Good Thing. I think he will be slightly larger than Sophy - still small enough to lift and carry, but big enough to be reasonably robust.

He now has Touch on cue sorted, and Look at Me is getting there - behaviour nearly established, cue not yet added. As he makes eye contact every time I say his name or make an interesting sound, and umpteen times in between I am not convinced of the utility of a specific cue. I am putting more effort into the Follow Me game, which will turn into a With Me cue, and Wait, both of which I use constantly. In fact Lift, Come, Wait, With Me, Settle, Leave It, politeness around other dogs, and turn taking just about cover all our day to day needs. As long as he is not tired he stands politely to have his leash put on, as it means going outside.

The various grooming processes - teeth cleaning, nail cutting, brushing, bathing make up another set of things to learn. Freddy gets a lick of toothpaste on my lap every morning, and a second lick in turn with the dogs and Tilly as a reward for being good. I have started the toe taps for chicken with the nail clippers in preparation for real trimming, and brushing is a snuggle time activity. He loves water, so foot washing in the sink is not a problem.

There will be fun games and tricks to learn of course, just to keep his brain happy and learning and working, but at the moment it is pretty fully occupied with fascinating leaves and grass blades and pieces of cardboard!
 

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Someone explained both Touch and Look at Me can be useful as backups. Touch might work in an emergency if the Come command isn't working or has been poisoned. Look at Me can also help if you need to get their attention and have worn out their name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
Puppy class again today - I can't see to drive so a friend is taking me, which is extremely kind of her given it means an early start and a chilly morning outside.

Freddy is growing up fast, in every sense. He is inches taller than a month ago, is learning to learn, and is just beginning to think about testing the boundaries, especially with Sophy. The play/scolding I described on another thread continues, but the two elements are now more obvious - she is beginning to make the line between what she permits and what is Too Much clearer, and I intervene as soon as Freddy crosses that line. Poppy is having none of it - any bad behaviour around her and he gets a thorough snark and a reminder to mind his Ps and Qs.

Last night he was very wriggly at bedtime - bouncing at first, then digging at the bedclothes, then prowling around the bed. I was extremely slow on the uptake as he had done a pee just before, but eventually I realised what he was trying to tell me, and after another trip to the bathroom he fell asleep instantly. Good puppy, stupid human!

The pen continues to be a huge help. A call of "Freddy beddy!" has him dashing for his bed in there, ready for the treats he knows are coming. If he has not had much playtime I give him a puzzle toy as well, but mostly he just snuggles down to sleep. The physical barrier between him and the older dogs enables all three to relax and keeps stress to a minimum, but he is so close to us that he doesn't feel excluded or lonely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
I've been home an hour, wrapped in a blanket and with the heating turned up, and have nearly defrosted. It was cold with a blistering wind, almost impossible to hear the instructor, and Freddy was completely distracted by the wind, interesting smells, blown leaves and being too tired by the first half of the class to even think about listening to me, let alone coping with loose leash walking! He managed to stay awake just long enough to eat lunch when we got home and then collapsed into bed. One poor woman, with a wild child cockerpoo pup, ended in tears - I wish there was more emphasis on the exercises needing to be practiced with gradually increasing distractions, so inexperienced owners did not feel they were failing when their pups can't do them in the hyper-excitement of a field full of puppies and flying leaves. It was a bit like asking a 5-year old to learn multiplication tables while surrounded by candyfloss and swings and roundabouts at the fair!
 

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I've been home an hour, wrapped in a blanket and with the heating turned up, and have nearly defrosted. It was cold with a blistering wind, almost impossible to hear the instructor, and Freddy was completely distracted by the wind, interesting smells, blown leaves and being too tired by the first half of the class to even think about listening to me, let alone coping with loose leash walking! He managed to stay awake just long enough to eat lunch when we got home and then collapsed into bed. One poor woman, with a wild child cockerpoo pup, ended in tears - I wish there was more emphasis on the exercises needing to be practiced with gradually increasing distractions, so inexperienced owners did not feel they were failing when their pups can't do them in the hyper-excitement of a field full of puppies and flying leaves. It was a bit like asking a 5-year old to learn multiplication tables while surrounded by candyfloss and swings and roundabouts at the fair!
Ritter's puppy class was similar, except it happened in a big echoing room that was previously a shed for farm equipment. I have some hearing loss, so I had a lot of trouble hearing the instructor over the sounds of barking puppies. The puppies themselves found the acoustics somewhat frightening initially. The instructor never sent out homework. If I couldn't hear the lesson summary I just had to invent some exercises to practice for the following week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 ·
Freddy went from 10pm to 6am without a pee break last night - hurrah! I lifted him down from the bed while I got up and dug out my dressing gown, and he dashed straight off to the pad in the bathroom for a much needed pee. We have spent the day at home, as I cannot see well enough to drive without my contact lenses, practicing useful skills, meandering around the gardens, and forbidding his latest game of hanging on Sophy's ears. By the time Sophy tells him off he is already well attached and tugging, so I need to intervene early and firmly to block him and divert him onto something he can chew on harmlessly.

He will be 16 weeks tomorrow, and is a sturdy little chap for his size - I think of him as quite big until I see him with other dogs and realise how tiny he still is - he popped next door to play with Gus and Elton in their garden this morning, and was extremely careful and polite, while desperately trying to get them to play puppy games. They are going to be a great help as he hits adolescence - well socialised, kind male dogs capable of teaching him how to behave without being nasty about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #134 ·
Another day, a different night. Freddy didn't want to go to bed last night, bounced around the bathroom for 10 minutes, then found the empty bathroom water bowl and announced that he was thirsty. A long, long drink later he was finally ready to sleep, but I knew we would not make it till morning. He was very good, waking me very gently with a little snuffle in my ear first from a dream about horses and tropical beaches and white leather tack, and then from another about neighbours and being on a very uncomfortable plane to Spain that was taxiing along potholed lanes - interesting to get an insight into what I dream about these days! The third time both Sophy and Poppy reckoned that as it was nearly 7am it was morning, and I gave in one sleeping any longer.

We are playing the preliminary stage of the Drop game bu simply repurposing everyone's favourite game of Hunt the Treat - I say Drop!, toss a few treats, and the dogs dash around finding them. Every now and then Freddy runs to his bed, so I add in a few Freddy Beddy! treats for him. This morning he managed a pee outside (hurrah) but I gave up before he was ready to poo - it seems to take at least 15 minutes and it was raining... He had a brief conniption at my neighbour's small outdoor fountain, whether because he realised it was vaguely humanoid or because he objected to it on grounds of taste I do not know. I touched it and made interested noises and he eventually got close enough to sniff it and then ignore it. The only other thing he has reacted to was a jar of fairy lights that started flashing on my windowsill - I put it on the floor, where it got sniffed by all the dogs and is now being ignored.

Day 4 without lenses - hate it!
 
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Discussion Starter · #136 ·
I have to admit that "lovies" was not quite the word I used to describe them all last night. Tilly was curled up comfortably in the safe landing heap of quilts at the end of the bed, Sophy and Poppy got themselves nicely settled onto the fleece throw on the bed, and Freddy wanted to play. I thought I had him settled with an empty lens solution bottle to chew, but I was just dropping off when Sophy got fed up with him and hopped off the bed to join Tilly. Settled him again, and was woken from a light snooze by more grumbling from Sophy and a loud squeak from Freddy - he had slid off the bed, pushed his luck just a bit too far, and Sophy had formed a defensive alliance with the cat to thoroughly squash him. That's when I took him off to the bathroom...
 

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Discussion Starter · #137 ·
Joyous time this evening - Freddy has checked for Gus every time we've been out today but he was never there, no matter how long Freddy waited by his gate asking him to come out to play. Then we went out in the dark and rain at 8pm and Oh joy! there was Gus! Freddy was on his long lead but slipped through the bars of the gate and I didn't have the heart to stop him - he'd been waiting all day, after all. He ran zoomiies round their tiny garden, practically turning somersaults with excitement, while Poppy and Sophy hung around asking when were we going to have supper, and couldn't I make him hurry up. Eventually I carried him off home and remembered I had ordered some more of the tiny Kong tennis balls along with the food that arrived this afternoon. More excitement, more zoomies up and down the hall after them, and ending by dropping one in the water bowl. He is now flat out in bed - here's hoping he sleeps well tonight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #139 ·
Yes, there can be a lot of coming and going at night, and quite a bit of grumbling (usually Sophy telling Tilly not to jump on her). Freddy is good about going to bed as long as I am fair about it - this morning he went out, had breakfast and a very brief game of tug, and then went to his bed looking for treats. I gave him the few biscuits left over from his breakfast and a special treat one, and he is now curled up asleep. I'm hoping for a playdate with Gus later - his humans are going away tomorrow so he won't be around for the next week or two, just when I need him most!

(I was woken this time from a dream about showing a colleague from 20 years ago how to clean out the cat tray - I seem to have a very dull dreamlife!)
 
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