The 7 month update.

Technically Keira is my fourth child.  And most parents know what happens to children who come along after the oldest.  Documentation of every major event starts with a whirlwind, only to dwindle months later.  Although I will say that raising a puppy has its its own unique challenges, and they are challenges that take up quite a bit of time compared to a little human.

We do know for sure that Keira was 52 pounds at 6 months of age, confirmed by a quick visit to the vet.  She is definitely well fed, yet all muscle, which I am acutely aware of every time she gets the “zoomies” when we are out for a walk.  This prompted the hubby to get her a pinch collar, which I did not agree with initially because it does look like a Medieval torture device.  However, after a couple of trial walks led by my hubby, who is the experienced dog person between the two of us, Keira got the message that pulling is a definite NO when I’m holding the leash.

At the end of the month I start a part time job as a tutor which means, unfortunately, more time in the crate for Keira.  She does spend at least a couple of hours in her crate on most days so I can run errands and so forth, but Wednesdays might be a bit longer for her since I tutor and have class.

I know most dogs whose owners work full time probably endure much longer alone time, and the crate is the safest place when no one is home.  We are fortunate to have somewhat odd schedules, with the hubby getting home pretty early.

I also have to remind myself that Keira loves her peaceful little den, especially when she associates it with a yummy frozen treat in her Kong, which oftentimes even gets the kids’ mouths watering.  So far I’ve come up with:  1) peanut butter, banana, and Cheerios concoction, and 2) shredded sharp cheddar, diced apples, and Cheerios.  The hubby also picked up some interesting Kong fillers recommended by the folks at the pet store made up of chicken or duck, which I find disgusting but Keira absolutely loves.

So, as I head off to work while embarking on (hopefully) my last year of grad school and the kiddos start a new school year, I’m sure Keira will continue following along with our busy day-to-day shenanigans.  Enthusiastic butt-wiggling, tail-wagging, face-licking, as always.

 

 

 

Half way to a year.

What can I say.  Keira seems huge to me now and she isn’t quite yet finished growing.  She is now 25 weeks old (confession:  I had to look on the calendar to confirm because I lost count).  I should probably start counting by months to make it a bit easier, since “6 months” is far easier to fathom than “25 weeks”.

So that is where we are.  A wonderful, lively, sometimes challenging 6 months full of non-stop unconditional love.

Now that potty training is less of an issue, the kids actually want to help out more, though I’m still not totally comfortable when they take her out for walks or potty breaks. When she sees anything enticing – a person, another dog, a bird, a plastic bag – she doesn’t think twice before going after it.  Needless to say, leash training has been ongoing, which will take time to iron out.  And lots and lots of patience, probably more than raising all three kids combined.

I do think we are past the teething stage, which caused her left ear to curl up like a little chimichanga, which is what I call her sometimes.  My Little Chimichanga.

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Googling it told me it was caused by teething, but who knows.

 

Love.

I love this photo of Keira.  It perfectly shows the few puppy wrinkles left, along with the giant paws she has yet to grow into.  She is no longer as awkward as she was 9 weeks ago when we first brought her home.

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She is sporting a new harness which I decided to splurge on, mostly because the weight range is 31 to 55 pounds, and she is still at the low end of this.  Hopefully this will get some good use until fall, perhaps?  Regardless, I take her on some long walks and she is starting to have a pretty powerful pull on her leash.  So far the little jaunts around the neighborhood have been with far less pulling.  (And I figured the hubby would like this harness because of the little bells and whistles:  flashlight holder, attachments for little bags and custom labels, etc.).  Oh, and I’m guessing Keira likes it as well, from what I can tell anyway.

So we have one more day of puppy kindergarten.  She’s one smart puppy, and I can see how she will be very trainable.  However, that smartness also has a bit of capriciousness in the form of stealing socks, baseball caps, shoes and flip-flops – all which belong to me.  Hmm.  I will just call this a sign of affection for the person who likely spoils her a little too much.  As she gets older (and stronger!), I’m realizing there are plenty of things we need to nip in the bud now.

Some predictions.

Keira had a check up at the vet yesterday, finalizing the rounds of immunizations until next year.  The scale put her in at 32.5 pounds, though that thing is a little iffy when other dogs are in the room and Keira would rather socialize than stand still to be measured.  Our morning routine usually involves a big slobbery good morning wake up  while I’m still asleep so she definitely is up there in weight.

Gosh, she is growing so fast.  If not for the energy and curiosity, I would just assume she is a full grown dog.  But the vet estimates she will be around 60-65 pounds full grown.  I imagine 65 pounds of Keira jumping up on the bed for early morning kisses will soon become a rude awakening if she doesn’t learn to steer clear of the human she is pouncing on.

We all love her so much.  I never understand “dog people” before, but now I totally get it.

Bragging moment.

Today Keira completed her second day of puppy kindergarten.  I was unable to attend because I had committed to subbing classes at the gym.  The hubby told me that Keira was used by the instructor to demonstrate many new things today.  I will take that to mean she was the model student and set a perfect example for the rest of her puppy friends.

Little do they know.  Our house is full of the usual puppy shenanigans.

She knows when the hubby is about to come home even before his Jeep turns onto our street.  Canine intuition?   Some sort of dog sixth sense?  Kind of.

It has more to do with a keen sense of hearing that dogs have which is likely diminishing for me from too many years of teaching group fitness classes with the sound system blaring.  Plus it’s not like I sit by an open window in anticipation of my hubby’s arrival.  I love him and all that, but that sort of behavior would have likely scared him away on day 1.

The fact of the matter is, my hubby’s Jeep has squeaky brakes which can be easily heard as he drives past the house.  Seeing Keira become excited over his imminent arrival is cute.  But not so much when it’s someone else’s car and she is absolutely convinced that one of her favorite humans is about to greet her with open arms.

It amazes me how much strength a 16 week old puppy has, especially when fueled by anticipation.

I won the tug of war, and she sat on the corner whimpering.  I felt sorry for her for a moment (because she is really very cute and really didn’t know better).  And then I decided it will be in my best interest (as well as anyone else who would like to avoid being dragged down the street) to avoid potty breaks at 6:45 a.m. when this neighbor apparently goes to work.

In the mean time, as she continues to be a model student at school, we will just smile proudly and award her another treat.

Apparently I can’t count.

So all along I have been counting the weeks incorrectly.  I made Keira one week older than she actually is.  In people years it makes no difference, but in dog years it definitely does, especially when comparing Keira’s seemingly tiny, squishy size on her homecoming day to how huge she seems today.

We started puppy kindergarten last week and socialization is well under way.  I feel as though I am now part of the Society of Dog People.  Friends have come out of the woodwork to invite us for puppy playdates.  Our perceived likability has gone up a few notches, so it seems.

Even the first couple of weeks with Keira were a slight challenge, it seems we have eased into a routine that works.  We probably sleep a little less, maybe nap a little more, rush home a little faster when we are away, and turn down social invitations.  All for this new addition to our family who has sniffed her way into all of our hearts, even that of the older Teenager, who apparently is now over the nose-biting incident.

 

Ah, so many adventures!

I finally have a moment to sit and write about the latest Keira shenanigans.  We just returned from the Teenage Boy’s first soccer game, which was Keira’s first time going somewhere with lots of sights and sounds.  So far she associates car rides with trips to the vet, so I’m trying to make the car experience a positive one so she can go with us to as many places as possible.

As a new dog person, I’m quickly learning:

Bully sticks.  Keira loves them.  They are the ultimate treat when we need to leave her at home in the crate and they provide a good positive distraction for car rides.

The vet.  Keira’s last visit started off full of curiosity and exploration. Then the vet walked in and she peed everywhere.  I guess I don’t blame her.  However, at 26 pounds, three of us had to assist in keeping her calm during her quick exam.  I’m not sure how she will be when she doubles in size because now she seems huge to me.

Carrots and apples are the bomb.  No more accidents in the house.  She earns her treats well.

Kiddos.  She loves them.  Especially the Tween, who can play silly little games with her for what seems like hours.  Keira is extra tired when the Tween is able to spend extra time with her.

Puppy kindergarten starts on Thursday.  I have a feeling she is going to be one of the big kids.

At 13 weeks.

As a new puppy mom, I’m slowly learning the ropes of dog-rearing.  A simple carrot “treat” has successfully stopped pee accidents in the house and the bedtime routine has been established.  We’re usually in bed well before 10 p.m. due to an early morning for the hubby, but Keira has actually slept all the way until 4 a.m. a couple of nights.  Most nights, however, she wakes up once around 1 or 2 a.m. for a quick potty break, which isn’t too bad now that the weather is finally starting to warm up.

The hubby was successful in teaching Keira to go down the stairs, much to our relief because she is getting a little too big and bulky to carry down the stairs, especially down a dozen steps at 2 in the morning.  This required removing the gate from the kitchen to block off access to the Teen Boy cave, which was the original configuration, but so far it seems to work well.  The true test is when the kids come home, for Keira used to stare at them longingly from behind the gate during meal times.  Now she has full access to all the crumbs that make it to the floor.  Even with two teenagers and a tween, sometimes this is whole entire chunks of food.

Next we plan to register Keira for puppy kindergarten.  Along with her increase in size comes a substantial increase in energy, so much so that I’m not yet comfortable letting the kids walk her on a leash.  A leaf, a branch, a bird, a child – anything will trigger Keira to run in any given direction randomly, and sometimes with such unexpected power.  The only thing that will make her stop dead in her tracks is another dog.  For now it’s so that she can partake in a staring game.

Spoiled.

Well, it is indeed happening but cannot be helped.  This sweet furry face of love has burrowed deep within our hearts and is becoming totally spoiled with each and every day.

doggybedsheets

She successfully made her way up onto the couch, which earned her the use of the Teen Boy’s old doggy flannel bedsheets.  It matches absolutely nothing and looks ridiculous amid the tropical Floridian-themed furniture I inherited from my parents.  But it works.  And Keira loves it.

Right now that’s what matters most as we attempt to navigate through the weeks of puppyhood, which oddly enough resembles the months of babyhood.  We find ourselves asking each other if she peed or if she pooped, when she ate, when she napped, and whether or not she slept through the night (which she has, yay Keira!).

Besides, this new comfy retreat encourages her mad napping skills and gives me some necessary downtime to tackle actual responsibilities (such as grad school).  Not to mention, the hubby and I are at that age when sitting on the floor for great lengths of time is beyond uncomfortable, even with a cute puppy to cuddle.

Next up:  Puppy training.  A.k.a the attempt to undo everything we are doing right now which we know we probably shouldn’t be doing.

That face.

Becoming a new puppy parent has had its share of challenges over the past couple of weeks, though some habits shared by the hubby and I are probably best broken, such as eating dinner on the coffee table while binge watching HGTV.  I was told puppy-raising is a lot of work, and it definitely has been, especially the hourly outdoor potty breaks and my need to put on layers of clothing so I don’t freeze in the process.

And sleep?  What’s that?

But just like with each of my three children, the frustrations are quickly forgotten when you look at that sweet innocent face.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to endure the rigors of newborn babies, and thankfully this time around isn’t nearly as physically demanding.  Plus the hubby has been such a help, taking two weeks off of work to help us all acclimate, and providing some much-needed discipline for what otherwise might become a very spoiled dog.

Although from the looks of this photo, I wonder who actually does most of the spoiling.

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