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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have just bought a puppy for the first time. Our last two (including our old man) were shelter dogs. He’s 14.5 and, until about two years ago, not at all friendly toward other dogs in his space. He is arthritic (mastiff and ridgeback) and recently suffered a paw injury on hot blacktop that quickly devolved into a serious bacterial infection. He has, since, made a complete recovery to his baseline decrepit old man state. My wife and I both have terrible allergies (hers are much worse than mine), which led us down the poodle path, along with intelligence and a reputation for being affable companions.

We decided upon a puppy, rather than a rescue, so we could completely immerse her into a home with five cats without much fear of potential prey attraction to them. A breeder was recommended to us. After contacting her and finding out that she had a “Velcro“ pairing expecting within a couple of weeks, she was willing to not dock the baby’s tail, and she prefers to not remove dew claws, we decided to put in our deposit.

On June 13th, the litter (9 puppies) arrived. We got our little abstract (chocolate brown with a jagged streak of white from her belly to her nose) girl. Our only momentary friction was the breeder having transitioned them to dry food with the intent of having them all in their new homes at 6.5 weeks. We were disappointed that she wouldn’t have the extra 1.5-3.5 weeks with mom and siblings. Never the less, I’ve never wanted so intensely to meet somebody, and I know we can make the necessary adjustments for her health and well-being.

We made the 4 hour drive yesterday, back seat lined with puppy pads and a Sherpa blanket that everybody in the house has been using for a couple of weeks, along with water and treats, her baby harness and seatbelt tether. Then we met her. Velcro isn’t a strong enough descriptor. She was immediately in our faces, trying to climb inside of us. Despite her tremendous and obvious anxiety, she clung desperately to all for the entire ride home. She experienced loud trucks and other startling stimuli along the way, but kept herself together.

We arrived home with a plan for an easy introduction to her new big brother (whom we weren’t sure would survive to meet her). He was sweet and curious. Her tail went nuts. It couldn’t have gone better. We walked inside and she got to meet her new cat siblings (her first encounter with cats). They have been shy, distant, cautious. That’s been okay with her.

The article she had us read (one of many) recommended letting her sleep with us for the first night. She had one accident and several successful trips outside including her first exciting poo with us. One of our girl cats sleeps in the crook of my arm every night, and she did so last night, a foot or so from her new baby sister. She just woke up from her first solo big girl nap in her crate and spent about twenty minutes playing in the grass. She’s so young and so uncoordinated. She’s doing her best and we are starting to see who she is. She’s such a lovely little person and I can’t wait to discover the rest of her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Her name is Penelope.

The breeder has been keeping up on immunizations, and grooming. Penelope was the video model for nail trimming, and she’s been bathed, as well and having her snout trimmed, and sanitary grooming. Her first trip to our longtime, absolutely trusted, vet is Monday (today). The plan is to order a genetic health test kit. If our vet has a recommendation, we will go with that; if he doesn’t, either Wisdom or Embark, based upon our reading. We have a health guarantee from the breeder that includes a “no breeding” clause.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about bite inhibition, and she seems to have been receiving some peer/parent input already. She chews on her little rope chew toy vigorously, but if she accidentally catches a finger, she immediately lets go or is so gentle.

She seems to be picking up the poop part of potty-training really quickly and, just a bit ago, made a break toward the back door to let us know she needed to go out. She also seems to have quickly picked up that she can hold on to a little urine (like our adult dog), so she can strategically piss; he’s just so much better (has never, in all of his years, pissed inside) at knowing when it’s appropriate to go.

Her breathing is rapid, and her breath is intense. It’s, to my nose, a sort of dry food smell with a faintly smoky tone. Despite her somewhat rapid breathing, she isn’t showing any signs of hypoxia and there’s no cough, no other obvious breathing/respiratory distortions. She started out 3rd out of 9 in terms of weight in her litter. She’d dropped to 7th by the time we picked her up, but, relative to her entire litter, she was solidly middle of the pack in weight (very narrow distribution ignoring the light and heavy outliers, including two absolute monsters and one really small sibling).

Okay, I’ve exorcised all of my puppy anxiety. Now it’s time to go back to sleep. You people are amazing, so supportive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There's an App that helps to introduce different potentially scary sounds to dogs, called Pupstanding. The noises can be played initially at low volume, as background to fun activities like supper time, or playing.
Maybe once she’s feeling more secure I’ll give it a try. She’s very easily distracted and a little timid right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’ve started looking around at Puppy Kindergarten and pre-school. She’s obviously (from the biased view of a parent who’s known her for 3.5 days) smart and I’d like to be able to take her anywhere, including the occasional foray through a busy Costco, once she is old enough, mature enough. It will be nice for everybody if she can (I know she can, we can) learn how to navigate challenging situations with us. It’ll be nice for her to be the poised, confident, joyous kid I know she can be, and for me to know how to help her get there.

She’s already picked out her best friend.
Grey Carnivore Fawn Stuffed toy Woolen
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great to see cuddling sessions with the cats. Being able to tone things down enough to please a cat is a great skill for a puppy.

I started taking my puppies out in public as soon as they came home. Initially Galen only got to meet the neighbors at the end of his leash, as we were in Covid shutdown. Things had opened up more when Ritter came along. While he was still too young to be done with his shots we put him in a backpack with his head sticking out the top and took him out to see the sights.
We have a sling pouch that all of the cats completely rejected. Penelope seemed at peace the one time we’ve tried it around the house.
 
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