Phew where has the time gone?! I’ve got so many blog posts floating round in my head that I want to write, it’s just finding the time to sit down and type them out at the moment.
Zebby is just coming up to 5 months old now! His little legs have certainly shot up & he’s now sporting slightly fluffy trousers & socks.
A quick run down of how things are going…
He now goes through the night from 9.30/10pm (farmers go to bed early & get up early) and then he normally doesn’t stir when Ash gets up at 5.40am and wakes up with my alarm at 6/6.30am.
We are pretty much there! He is ocassionally asking to go out and holds it for periods in the house and when he is in the kennel, even though he could toilet in there if he wanted to. He will toilet on command and I’m still giving him regular opportunities to go when I think he needs to but touch wood we haven’t had any accidents recently.
His mouthing on us has completely stopped and he very rarely chews things in the house now. His still has his puppy canines which I’m expecting to come out any day now, but overall he’s very good at picking up his own toys to have a nibble on and hold while he gets fusses.
He does however like to pick up everything, from shoes or socks to trousers. If they are on the floor they are fair game to him which is understandable, I try to encourage a nice retrieve and swap for his toy and then keep things out of reach.
He’s now almost always chilled at being left alone for periods of the day and evening. He has a bit of a squeak if he can hear or see you but otherwise he relaxes.
I came home to him the other day and instead of squeaking as soon as my car pulled up I was pleasantly surprised to find him fast asleep, upside down in his bed.
Cats & wildlife
So this is where it gets difficult. He is still obsessed with chasing and playing with the cats and when he has seen them and they have gone he runs round the house searching for them. I’ve been working on lots of self control games with him and we have progressed to not chasing fluffy, fur toys and looking at the kittens through the babygate while they are eating, during which I reward him for looking away. They are much more boring when eating so he can put his brain in gear then.
It’s going to be a long, slow process but I know if I keep at it and put the time and effort in we can get there.
The same goes for birds and wildlife. He is mad for the pheasants but we are progressively getting closer to them while he maintains focus on me, and the odd time he has stumbled across one and flushed it up he has given up chase and come back quite easily.
We have been going to puppy classes for the past 6 weeks now. For the first week he was quite nervous and overhwelmed so we hid behind a barrier and just did little bits in his own time. For the next two weeks he sort of went the otherway and was so overaroused he wouldn’t eat food or focus and just wanted to get to everyone.
However for the past two or threee classes now he has been awesome! He settles on his bed in between goes and is eager to work and train. He is focused and thoughtful and tries really hard. He is still distracted at times, as is expected from a young puppy, but he’s getting much better at switching his focus back on to me.
Last night we actually went to a workshop and I trained him for a short time in a class with different dogs and he did really well, showing focus and settle. I then swapped him for Guinness and he settled down fine in the car and was asleep when I returned with Guinness.
Speaking of Guinness their relationship is really developing for the best. They play nicely together and Zebby is controlling himself around Guinness really well. He recognising when Guinness isnt interested and often picks up a toy instead of trying to grab Guinness. Sometimes we have this miracle moment when they actually settle down to sleep near each other, hurrah.
There have been moments when its felt like a real battle with him but it all just takes time, consistency and patience. Easier said than done but when you come out of the other side of it you quickly forget how hard it has been. Dogs are puppies for a really short space of time and its important to try and see the joy in those sweet, vulnerable little youngsters and remember they are just being dogs in a human enviornment.
I’m preparing myself for the terrible teens to kick in soon but I know we can get through it and keep improving and growing together. He is such a sweet, loving, thoughtful and hard working little soul, he is a joy to be with.