Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, it's been quite the whirlwind week! And I'm kicking myself for not updating each day, but HEY!...I have a new puppy I'm taking care of!

Lola started off last week w/ diarrhea. She's been up 2-3 times every night to go to the bathroom. It started to improve w/ a bland diet (boiled hamburger & a bit of white rice) and canned pumpkin, but I started adding her puppy food back & it snowballed. I finally took her to the vet yesterday and they put her on prescription food and Flagyl, which is an antibiotic to clean up any funky bacteria in her body. Her stool sample was fine, her temperature was normal and she's gained 4.3 lbs. And I thought she was losing weight. So, no more Puppy Chow. I was in the process of weaning her off that anyway, but we're gonna start right in with the Chicken Soup once she's about 1/2 way done w/ the prescription. The vet said no treats, but I boiled some boneless chicken breast for training.

She continues to adore Penny & Penny seems to really like her. It must be nice for Penny to have a dog to play with. Sherman continues to tolerate her, but still gets really, really snarky at times. Usually when Lola gets near him when he has something good, or gets too wound up & tries to play. My good friend Debby scolded me for not allowing Sherman to communicate w/ her and teach her to keep her distance at times. So I started allowing this & Lola does respect his space 90% of the time. There have been moments when he gets really grumbly when Penny & Lola play...and he takes this out on Penny. As I view this as very unfair to Penny, Sherman gets a time out when he tries to pull his crap. We've also had several "Come to Jesus" meetings, but I try to reserve these for times when he is really being a punk. I try to be very consistant w/ reinforcing calm behavior from him when Lola is around and when we have moments where he doesn't growl or tolerates a bit of puppy play, he gets the motherload. We're all going through an adjustment w/ the new puppy and it's just gonna take some time.

As I tend to be a pretty anxious person to begin w/, this week & a half has been pretty stressful for me. I recognize that I can make myself nuts and trying to follow all of the "rules" was making me insane. I went through the same thing when Penny came home. I lost 8 lbs in 3 days and was a wreck 24/7. I'm trying not to go through that this time around. So, I'm making my own Rules!

The issues were having & how we're solving them:

Housetraining - being a very small puppy, Lola can only hold it a short time. I've been very consistant about running her outside to potty every time she wakes up from a nap, after she's been playing, about 20 minutes after she eats and about every 30 minutes when she's awake. We have had many accidents, though. For example, last Wednesday before class...I was home w/ her for about an hour. In that hour, she peed outside 4 times & had 7 (yes SEVEN) accidents in the house. I was cleaning up pee everytime I turned around! In addition, we had 3 days of heavy rain and cold days. A little puppy, w/ little fur & fat does not want to be out in the cold & rain. So I'd take her out, she'd run to the door and shiver. Not to mention the diarrhea...

So we've taken a new approach to things. Papertraining, sort of. Not the way most will tell you to do it. And it will likely take longer to housetrain her. I recognize this. But it's working!! We were at Scott's parents house on New Year's Day & they just got a new Rotti puppy (a little cutie named Barron). They had newspaper & pee pads EVERYWHERE. This wasn't an excuse for them not to take him out b/c they did, numerous times. And the outside potty policy still stands...lots of praise & reward when they go where they should. So we're taking her out often, but if she's running around and the urge to go hits her, she runs to her papers & goes. My carpet is much happier!!

Screaming while alone or crated - This she'll just have to grow out of. When separated from her humans or her dogs, she *screams*...bloody murder. Fortunately, she does not do this at night. There is a bit of fussing when she first hits the crate, but I try to keep her awake till 8:30 running around alot & playing w/ Penny and she's pooped at bedtime. She usually wakes at 12:30 and again at 3:30. We pee the first time out & do both on the second run. I know this won't last forever and it's really not that bad.

We bought an Ex-Pen for her as she's crated while we're at work & is forced to pee in her crate. The crate is too big, but I'm not comfortable leaving her for 4 1/2 hours to hold it at her age. Once she hits 12-14 weeks, we'll really concentrate on using the crate for what it was designed for. I've read a lot that once they learn to go in their crate, they never adjust to not soiling it. Well, that didn't hold true for Penny. She peed in it everyday for the first 2 months we had her and was forced to lay in it. She eventually got the hang of things and her crate was clean until we stopped using it about a year ago.

I also bought one of those DAP's supposed to help her calm down when she's alone. We'll see.

I've started doing some clicker training w/ her & she's a very smart cookie. The only thing we've worked on really is sitting and some downs. I've also done some recalls w/ her and she's been great. Within the next week, I'd like to start getting her used to the leash & do some attention work. I'm also planning some outings over the weekend and will try to do 3-4 short car trips each week. Finally, Lola will have her first bath on Saturday.

While I'm looking forward to the time when she's a bit more self-sufficient, I'm trying to savor every puppy minute I can. She's growing fast!