Six weeks with my doodle!

I have been living with Charlie for 6 weeks. He is now 13 weeks old. At 3 months this little guy is showing us his smarts.

I want to remember when he fit under the chair. This is where is settles when we are eating. I may change this to his “place” when he stops destroying beds.

The last time I trained a puppy was ten years ago. At that time I enrolled my puppy in classes at Pet Smart. She started at ten weeks. My Labrador Retriever crate trained and potty trained easily. With CoVid 19 training and socialization is on hold. My breeder Jo at Serenity Springs Labradoodles sent out emails with tips to prepare me for my new puppy. So I rely on what I remember and my updated reading and YouTube training sessions. I purchased Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-week program using the Power of Positive Reinforcement. I found much information is found on the Internet, and most are in agreement. Zak George (Dog Training Revolution/Pupford), Rachel Fusaro (Save all the damn dogs), and Ian Stone (Simpawtico). Consistency, patience, and positivity. I also joined the online group, Doodle Kisses, and am getting support on the Forum.

Charlie loves his Wubba Bear Friend. This one remains in one piece. His Ultra-strong Kong Elephant immediately lost its tusks, and I needed to amputate the remaining bit of tusk. The ears are on the way out.

This week I have seen real progress in our day to day living. For one thing, potty training is progressing nicely. Not going through as many rolls of Bounty. My mother collected South East Asian bells. I hung some up on my slider and Charlie now rings the bell when he wants to go out to potty. We are getting the message! Just have to make sure to come inside before playtime. Then we go out again. Well sometimes there are false alarms, but better to go out than ignore.

After he rings the bell he often heads to his very large bed/playground near the door.

In the past few weeks I have worked on some basic commands. Of course, all these commands are being tried in various rooms in the house, but not under many conditions. Sit, Down, Off (no jumping), Leave It, Look at me, Come, Give, Go Potty, Go to your room (crate), Bed (place), Paw, Gentle, and Settle, and I am working of Stay. I think that is it.

“Charlie, Look at me!”

Today is Mother’s Day, and my puppy Charlie ordered me a tee shirt. Can’t wait to wear it in his honor.

My daughter and family stopped by this morning. Brought me some homemade cupcakes from two mini bakers. I will enjoy this with dinner tonight. CoVid 19 stay at home directives have left Charlie to interact with me and my husband. Today, all at once he had three boys ages 2, 4, and 8 all surrounding him. At first he wanted to go back to the house. I held him and introduced my grandsons. He met my son-in-law and daughter and had some “real-time petting”. After a short while, he was on the ground, wagging his tail and giving puppy kisses. In the six weeks he is making progress and getting over his shyness with new experiences. 

Shopping for groceries the CoVid way, online is becoming easier. Now there are more time slots for order pickup. A few weeks ago, I needed to place an order with Bel Air, and expect to pick up groceries in a week. Yesterday I placed my order and today most everything was delivered to my car. I am getting into the routine. Items that I can’t get at a grocery store I order from Target. Their website is a bit different, but I figured it out, and I can pick up my order within 4 hours. This is the new normal.

One thing that most puppy preparation books forget to include are bandaids. Oh my goodness. Those shark teeth have been getting me lately. And it is not from nipping or biting per se. Charlie got me good while we were having a fun game of fetch. I almost always say “Give” and wait for the ball to be dropped. This time our signals were crossed and he grabbed the ball as I was about to throw it, (ready, set, go), and sliced into my finger. Wow. Blood pouring out. This required two bandaids one on top of the other! Now I am sporting 4 bandaids. Numerous scratches, cuts, and nibbles are now healing. Once stores are open for shoppers I will recommend bandaids be sold at pet stores. Maybe a line of cute bandaids for new puppy owners should be designed! Sending ideas out for the creative entrepreneurs.

This week Charlie heads to Sunset VCA for his second visit. With safety in mind, once we park we call inside and a Vet Tech comes to get Charlie. I remain in the car. Keeping “Socially Distant” and safe. I wonder what I would do without wifi and cell phones. Thoughts for another time.

Be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you!

This is never truer than when you are home with a 10-week old puppy. Charlie has little, tiny shark teeth. When he is awake his mouth is always busy. Being a multi-gen Australian Labradoodle Charlie takes after the Lab side and is always up for eating! But as his owner, I am not going to be lunch.

Right away I knew that I did not have enough toys to keep Charlie busy. I went online and ordered some toys to fetch and some chew toys. I didn’t remember my last dog playing with many toys. I know there were many destroyed toys. I also forgot how small puppy mouths are. I think I did pretty well with my picks. So if you are adding a puppy these are my suggestions.

Kong Squeak Air balls size x small. They come 3 to a pack. I use two at a time. Throw one. Ready, set, go! And when Charlie retrieves one, I throw the other one. Endless energy released!

JW Hol-EE ball is a great toy for inside fetch. Quiet, and easy for a puppy to grab. It can also be used as a tug toy, or food dispenser when the treats are larger. This ball comes in a variety of sizes, and is easy to catch.

Kong Wubba – Puppy version has proved to be a keeper. Good to chew on, toss, and tug.

Kong Classic Puppy version. Made in USA! Can be stuffed. It’s chewable. When tossed it randomly bounces. Did I say it is made in the USA!

Kong Squeezz Dumbbell is easy to chew, bounces and squeaks. Fun.

Nylabone teething puppy chew. Again made in the USA. Chicken flavor and gentle chewing style. This one lasted about 3 weeks, and then Charlie began making headway and pieces came off.

Nylabone Puppy Teething Pacifier Flexible Chew toy has kept up with Charlie’s chewing abilities. Nice different textures.

Kong Cozies Alligator Toy has a squeaker, and Charlie finds different parts to chew. I am also looking at some of the Kong plush with knots for stuffing. So far his tiny shark teeth have not penetrated the alligator.

Charlie with his Alligator and Teething Ring Pacifier/Bone

Libby loved the Jolly Egg toys. She could amuse herself and tire herself out with these toys. Hard plastic ball or Egg-shaped that she would knock around with her paws. The irregular shape caused the egg to spin around randomly. Charlie is just frustrated with this and barks at the toy while trying to grab it with his mouth. Maybe later he will appreciate it.

At least this Jolly Toy could be grabbed by Charlie.

Serenity Springs sent Charlie home with some toys, blanket, and bed with littermates scent on them. His Snuggle Puppy has a heartbeat, and a warm pack. This is in his crate with him at night. I can’t tell if he feels safe with his Snuggle Puppy or because his crate is next to my bed. Probably, the later. This puppy crate is smaller, plastic and he took to it instantly. For the last two nights Charlie has led me into the bedroom when it was time to go to sleep!

Charlie is getting more charming by the day!

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you can have more than this literal meaning. Right? But not to an 11 week old pup! Lucky he is so cute!

Does having more time means accomplishing more?

CoVid19 means that I am homebound. There is nowhere to go and stay safe for everyone. So I stay home. At first, I tackled each day with a purpose. Using recipes that call for more time. Adding some baking to my repertoire. Reorganizing my rooms. Catching up with all those piles of stuff. I took this time at home as a challenge to work on my hobbies of quilting, photography, and genealogy. But then Charlie came into my life.

My latest involvement has been puppy training. After being in the home for two weeks, he and I are developing a rhythm. The past two nights he has slept through to breakfast. Ok. It is his breakfast time, 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. But I’ll take it. So the day starts earlier than I am used to. My goal of getting to bed at around midnight is working, but I still can’t seem to want to eat that early.

Charlie takes three longer naps during the day. If it was up to him they would all take place hugging my foot ensconced slipper. Sometimes I slip out and leave the slipper. This doesn’t fool Charlie much. Nothing more pathetic than a puppy crying for me, and I am just down the hall. Got to shake this soon.

Crate training has taken longer with Charlie than with my Libby. After two weeks he readily goes into his “Room” around mealtime. A food-filled Kong can keep him occupied for the moment. But when food is gone Charlie wants out. It starts with a small whine, then some digging, and yapping. I give Charlie the “shush” signal, and when he quiets I let him out. I am making slow progress. I plan to talk to some friends who have had more experience raising different pups.

So I am trained to have eagle eyes and watch for all house training signals. In and out we go to the potty, and back out again. Most of the time he gets with the program. Sometimes we miss the signal, a subtle look. I just added a string of bells, and I am teaching Charlie to ring the bells. Sometimes when Charlie is busy my macro lens finds other things to focus on.

We picked the last of our oranges. Here is the start of next year’s crop.

Each area of the house is a new adventure for Charlie. His approach is very cautious. Outside Charlie is calmly able to explore.

Today, he even watched me go inside, and chose to continue chomping on a twig. He deals with the front of the house differently. The Corona Virus has hindered his socialization. I have taken him out front and from a distance my neighbors have met him. I am holding Charlie, he watches, but there are no tail wags for strangers.

Charlie’s finds plenty of distractions outdoors

The past two days the new experience has been riding in the car. Our 2-hour ride home from Serenity Springs Labradoodles ended with Charlie’s breakfast all over me. So for these two short trips I decided to feed him when we returned. Yesterday we drove to my daughter’s house and showed my grandsons the new pup. Charlie was stressed out, and after lunch took a long nap. Today we picked up our online nursery shopping at Green Acres Nursery. The order went in a couple of days ago, and I got the call to pick up our vegetables this afternoon. This time I brought some water for Charlie, and I think he felt comfortable enough to sleep. Not too interested in looking out the window yet.

My husband planted 5 types of tomatoes, 1 pepper, 1 two-toned squash, and 1 eggplant.

My Citronella Plant is in bloom
Queen’s Tears from the Bromeliad family

Charlie’s nature is to remain cautious with new experiences. Staying home works with my nature as well. I like a peaceful environment, sunny days outdoors in my backyard, and a relaxing agenda. I like to focus on one thing at a time. And with a new puppy that is about all that I can accomplish. So I will set my site on that and call it a day fulfilled. The garage can wait, the quilting can wait, and the piles of stuff will remain in neat piles. And that is all for now.

Well, not exactly. The answer to my question is not really! Hey, but that is life. What is your take on the subject?

Introducing Charlie – It’s a boy!

The wait is over. Born on February 7, 2020 Ginger and Ace produced a litter of 10 multi-gen Australian Labradoodles. From the moment these puppies were born I was able to see them on a video cam daily. I called it my “Puppy Show”. Jo also posted photos weekly along with all vital statistics.

Lime Boy at one week. Photo courtesy of Jo Ubina-Smith

On March 14th my husband and I traveled up to Orland, Ca. to visit Serenity Springs Labradoodles. Greeted by Jo, Ron and a large litter Australian Labradoodle 5 week old puppies.

Eyes open and sitting pretty. Photo by Jo Ubina-Smith

To give the pups the best experience, Jo introduces the litter to noises like the vacuum cleaner, and a wide variety of toys with different textures, and purposes. When stuck at home she dresses the pups up according to their color name.

Jo plays dress-up with Lime Boy

Due to the increasing pandemic of the Corona 19 virus (CoVid) we were not able to handle any of the puppies. We were practicing “Social Distancing”. Originally, I planned on adopting a girl. But one of the little boys captured my heart, Lime Boy. First up was to pick a name. Listened to friend suggestions, and finally decided on Charlie.

I began ordering puppy supplies. I could not go to a “Puppies R Us” store. Amazon Prime left many packages at my doorway. I am getting used to shopping online. My breeder sent information each week with suggestions for puppy preparations. Crate, grooming tools, puppy food, and a puppy playpen for traveling. I have been reading up on training a puppy. After all it has been over 9 years since I worked with a puppy.

Here we are getting our Charlie.

Saturday March 28th we headed back to Orland for a drive-thru pickup. Jo Ubina-Smith videotaped my instructions, presented us with a bag of supplies, and Charlie’s Notebook. I can’t say enough about this breeder. Every detail is carefully thought out. No question is too small. She is an organized, experienced, patient, caring, and thoroughly researched breeder. I could go on and on.

Charlie relaxing on a huge dog bed that has become his playground
Charlie stops his playing to pose for a photograph

Charlie has been with us for one week, and I think I am starting to get into a rhythm. Jo told me that Charlie approached new things cautiously. He takes a bit more time but then gets more confident.

This “Stay in Place” will definitely not play to Charlie’s advantage to socialize early, and experience many new things, but I will work with what I have.

Charlie seems to act more confident outside.
Had to order a much smaller ball for Charlie to fetch. The Kong squeaker ball does the trick. Charlie eagerly retrieves it!

And like a new Mom, I have to get up to speed for all the bending, ups, and downs my body was not prepared for. Today, I spent catching up with sleep and giving some distance from Charlie. I don’t want him to become too dependent on me.

Tomorrow, I will take Charlie for a ride to our Petco store where I will “Socially distance” have some items brought up to the car. This will give Charlie a new experience.

And so Charlie’s journey begins!