Well what a whirlwind of a week it’s been! I can’t believe Zebby has been here for a week already. There’s certainly been ups and downs but he’s made huge steps in just a week and it feels like he is really settling in. I have to remind myself how short a time he has been here.
Naturally he was very clingy when he arrived due to being unsettled from his home to a new place. I decided to sleep him upstairs next to my bed in his crate covered with a blanket. He cried for a short while then settled down to sleep, before waking every 2 hours crying. Each time I calmly took him outside where he did a wee and then took him back to bed. At half 5 Ash’s alarm went off for work and he was up for a play then. The next night he slept from 10pm to 3am and went out for one toilet then went back down to sleep until 5.30am. Now he will either do the whole night from 10pm – 5.30am or have 1 wake up in the middle of the night for a toilet.
For the first few days we just worked on settling in to a routine, getting to know each other with play and helping him to learn how to behave around Guinness.
With all of my experience with dogs nothing really prepares you for the first time you try to integrate your own dog with a new one. Especially when you’re adding a puppy to a dog that’s always been on their own. It’s completely individual to the specific dogs you have and I have been so lucky with Zebby as he has grown up around his mum, dad & two other older dogs, so he has already developed some good manners around adult dogs. This was clearly evident as he was a lot less interested in Guinness than other puppies I’ve seen, although he still had his mad moments of diving and trying to play with Guinness and chasing after his toys.
Already in a week though he has got a good grasp of playing with his own toys while Guinness is playing with his and if he gets a bit over-tired and mad we simply split them up and then Zebby normally settles down to sleep quite quickly.
It’s also been important to give Guinness time apart, so when Zebby goes down for a sleep in his crate I then play with Guinness for a bit longer and also give him some chill out time on his own.
All four of us have been on a huge learning journey this week, finding out what best works for each other and implementing new routines and strategies.
I have been training Zebby using two or three of his meals each day and he is well keen for it, thanks again to his great beginning with Jane. As settling in a crate is an important part for life in this house I started off with crate games very quickly, simply rewarding him any time he went in to his crate and then frequent click and rewards for just being in the crate sat or stood quietly.
Throughout the week of sleeping upstairs and having rewards in his crate, plus sleep time in his crate when he’s really tired, he now seems to really enjoy going in his crate and has such a good concept of going in for rest. Although I still have to encourage him in, close the door and cover him up when he is tired, I’m positive that with time he will take himself to sleep, plus he quickly falls asleep once in there so it’s all good.
Toilet training has been difficult as our house isn’t an easy layout for a puppy to learn, so I have been taking him out frequently and after key moments such as a drink, feed, waking up from a sleep or after a big play. We’ve had plenty of accidents as expected but he toilets most of the times he is let outside and we’re working on teaching him where the door is, rather than scooping him up and then placing him down outside when I think he needs to go.
He is most chilled and well behaved in the kitchen as there are less items to chew and explore, but I’m less nervous about him toileting as it’s an old lino floor. It really shows the importance of managing your environment in order to try and prevent mistakes rather than constantly having to chase them around and interrupt behaviours.
It’s been harder than I expected but really rewarding to look back and see the progress in just a week.
The only thing we didn’t quite anticipate is how obsessed he is with the kittens. He had a few first encounters and quickly started to chase and then hump the kittens, and then cried and screamed at the baby gate when he couldn’t reach them. We’ve left them separate for the rest of the week and I’m going to start with building on his impulse control, then do some training sessions around the kittens once his relationship with me has increased further. It’s also key to time it right when his arousal isn’t too high and his desire for food is up to get the best learning. It’s a tricky situation as there is no adult cat to tell him off, and there’s nothing more tempting to a puppy than a small fluffy creature running off.
Overall he’s an absolute superstar who has made such a big leap within a week. Unfortunately I’ve been quite poorly towards the end of this week so it’s been even more difficult for all of us, but we’ve pulled through and worked together. He now has a good routine of sleep and play with some alone time involved too. He seeks out your attention and fuss and likes to sit on your lap with his toys. He is happy, curious, thoughtful and inquisitive. He seems to have zero noise sensitivities and as of yet hasn’t show much fear or wariness around anything. He’s just awesome.