Grace and Betsy

Borador Puppy
Sunday Morning I left to take Mom to her church service. Betsy said it was about all she could do to get ready for church while watching Grace and making sure she had her exercise. Grace would be confined in her room for a couple of hours while we were in church. When we returned, Grace was sleeping peacefully but very excited to see us and even more ready to play.

After feeding her and ourselves and lots of playtime with Grace, Betsy noticed scratches on the surface of the ottoman that goes with our black leather sofa set. It looks like we’ll need to cover that and the three other pieces. I’ve seen pictures. Left to their own devices, puppies can make short work of leather sofas. It’s an ugly sight. We went to bed around 9:30 PM.

Separation Anxiety

Until today, accidents were few and far between. The problem seems to be when we sit down to eat. Grace inhales her food. We do not feed her people food, and she has very frequent trips outside to do her business. Apparently, separation anxiety can trigger the undesired behavior of wetting on the floor. We quickly caught her doing this three times when we were eating. This is for a puppy who has maintained an otherwise virtually perfect potty record including holding it for eight hours sleeping through the night. Until we can trust her during this time, we will have to confine her to her room.

Another Long Day

Monday, Grace started stirring around 5:30 AM. We took a half hour walk for her to explore and relieve herself. Then it was playtime until 8 AM breakfast. After breakfast she calmed down to chewing until 9 AM. At that point we went on a 2 hour exploration time outside. She keeps widening her horizons and has started adding spurts of running to her routine. We have met a number of sweet dogs, but the vet has said to avoid contact with them until she gets her next round of shots. That’s very hard to do, because played with puppies her whole life until last week. It’s particularly cute when she stands on her back legs and gestures playfully with her paws.

You may have noticed keeping Grace occupied takes lots of time. This is definitely something to keep in mind when considering adopting a Borador. They are smart and affectionate, but they need lots of time to run and explore. The extended exercise that we had today seemed to do the trick. There was very little boundless energy or anxiety today as Grace lounged around the rest of the day. Because of the disasters we had the day before at our mealtime, we put Grace in her room while we ate. She whined about ten minutes before stopping. She was so tired, we really did not expect any more anxiety problems. Perhaps tomorrow we can try eating another meal with her in the room.

She would have preferred to go to sleep in her little cave behind the sofa, but after I took her outside, I lay down with her on the floor of her room with the lights out. By 9:30 PM she on her own walked to her little bed inside the open cage and prepared to go to sleep. I turned off the lights. She must have been content, because she made not a peep.

Home Alone

We both had appointments in the morning. Grace had to stay alone for a couple of hours. She did fine. When we returned, I went running and Betsy started Grace for a walk. We tried to get Grace to follow me on my run, but she was distracted after about 15 yards. It rained a lot, making it difficult to get Grace the outdoor time she needed. Unlike two days ago, Grace did fine while we ate our meals. Perhaps yesterday’s lockup taught her we are serious. We didn’t make it to bed until around 11 PM. Grace went to her room on her own at about 10:40 and we made it by 11:10.

Wednesday Morning Constitutional

Wednesday, Grace awoke at 4:15 AM. I took her out to do the usual routine. When we returned, I let Grace know, it’s still dark and she needs to sleep. She wanted to sleep near the sofas in the living room, so rather than fight her to get her back to her room, I slept in a position that corralled her and we finished out the night there on the floor. She awoke at 7:30. We went out for another walk, but this time I brought treats. Rather than explore immediately, I led Grace where I wanted her to go in about a 100-yard sidewalk circle. She again relieved herself on the way. Just as we completed the circuit around (8:00),  Betsy met us outside and took Grace out exploring. After about 15 minutes, Betsy needed to come in.

Growing Puppy

Grace has no problems eating. We started her with a little over a half a cup of puppy chow three times a day. She always polished off her food in about a minute. We gradually raised the amount of food to three quarter cup three times a day. Her response was the same. A week ago yesterday she weighed in at the vet at 15 pounds 6 ounces. Yesterday, I weighed her at about 17 pounds. This morning we started her on one cup of food. Despite the increase, she polished off breakfast as quickly as she could wolf it down—leaving not a morsel in her bowl—and the same thing happened for lunch.

After lunch, Grace retreated to her room for a nap. The weather cleared today, permitting us to enjoy time together out on the deck. She seems more content and able to entertain herself there compared to when couped up inside. Despite extensive exercise, Grace started to act up inside, trying to use a rug as a toy. I shut her up in her punishment room for about ten minutes. When I let her out, I hugged her. She emerged with a much better attitude.

Tuesday night as we walked Grace, we saw a black Labrador puppy running next to a guy on a bike. I commented to the man, and he stopped. He said his three and a half month old puppy came from the SPCA. His dog weighed 25 pounds. When they adopted Tucker, the SPCA gave them an antler for him to chew on. He said the antler entertained his dog for hours at a time for days on end. Based on that recommendation, Betsy went to the SPCA and bought an antler. Grace tore into it immediately, but after about an hour gave up and went back to a rawhide chew.

Grace polished off another cup of food for dinner as she did breakfast and lunch. After she napped and we ate, I took her back outside two or three more times. In between, we played sock tugging and fetch. By 8:30 PM she was ready to call it a day. We put her to bed at 8:45 PM.

Nighttime Ritual

Thursday at 2 AM Grace needed to go outside. We did hear some noise next door. Perhaps that awakened here. Went outside for her to relieve herself and returned. My rule of maintaining down time until dawn continued to be a challenge. I put her in her in her room lying next to her while repeatedly forcing her to lie down. After about a half hour of this struggle, we placed her bed that Betsy had removed from her cage on the floor outside her cage. I then placed her in the bed and made her lie down. She fell asleep quickly with me by her side. At 3 AM, I carefully eased out and shut the door.

At 5:15, Grace cried again and we made another trip outside. When we returned, I proceeded with the same ritual. By 5:45, I was out of the room, but Grace had not fallen asleep. She whined a bit, but settled down until about 6:45. By then it was getting light out, so I got up and released her from her room. Rawhide sticks and her new antler kept her occupied for awhile. We then spent time on the balcony breathing fresh air and surveying activity below.

Grace went to the vet today at noon Thursday. She had been scratching at her ears and appeared to have some dark debris there. The vet tested her and detected some yeast. Grace weighted in at 17 pounds 7 ounces. Just nine days before, she weighed 15 pounds 6 ounces. Based on that measurement, we decided to trim back from three cups per day to something closer to two.

As part of my dinner, I usually shake some shredded mozzarella cheese on my salad. This drove Grace crazy. She stood up on her hind legs and put her front paws on the table. I told her “down”, told her “no,”  and grabbed her front legs to force her down. Again,  as I shook out the cheese, up she came again. I put her in her isolation bathroom for a few minutes. While she was in there, I figured out what triggered this behavior in Grace. Her food comes in a bag, and often we shake it out of there into a measuring cup. She thought we were shaking out more of her food, which is very exciting for her. I let her out and hugged her to let her know we still loved her. While we ate, she was fine and caused no further disturbance.

As daylight waned, puppy wound down. Most of the evening she was passed out on the floor. At 8:45 PM, I found her asleep in the office under the desk. I picked her up and put her on the memory-foam fluffy mat that Betsy put in Grace’s cage. She made no effort to resist. We do not close the door of the cage, but do close the door to the room. We made it to bed about a half hour later. Grace didn’t stir until Betsy got up at 4:15 AM. That amounts to seven and a half hours (and really more if we count her snooze time under the desk).

It gets even better. I took Grace outside, and she promptly did her business. She even waited patiently tied to a bench as I disposed of her waste. After quickly climbing the steps we were inside again. I took her directly to her room. She would not go into her cage, but did lie down in a little bed we made for her outside the cage. By 4:45, she had settled in, and I was back in bed.

Friday’s Adventures

By 6:30, Betsy was stirring and so was Grace. I took Grace back outside for another potty break. We returned within fifteen minutes. We then played fetch before going out on the balcony. Grace seems to enjoy sitting with me on the lounge chair as I work on the computer.

At 8:20 I gave Grace her breakfast—reduced from a cup to three-fourths of a cup. As usual, she polished it off in about a minute. After breakfast, we did a few fetches and then returned to the balcony. By 9:30, it was time for me to go running. We tried to get Grace to follow along. She’d take off like a bullet for about ten yards are so and then get distracted by an object or smell. I had to just move on.

When I returned, Betsy said Grace had nipped her on the face with her puppy play. Betsy said she wanted to focus on stopping all mouth actions by Grace toward humans. That’s a pretty tall order for such an energetic and playful pup, but Grace is also pretty smart, so we’ll see what we can do. After going with her out on the balcony for a while, we went back outside.

It was time for the 100 yard leash training circuit. She’s still catching on but did complete it when prompted by numerous treats. After we finished, I let her do some exploring. This time I intentionally let go of the leash for short periods of time. She took off running through the bushes in figure-eight fashion. She always returned.

Jack

Grace now makes it a priority to stop by Jack’s place. He’s an adult Australian Shepherd who lives on the first floor. He’s safe both from a medical standpoint (up-to-date with his shots) and a temperament standpoint. Sometimes Jack stands out on his patio. When Grace sees him she gets very excited and pokes her little head and even shoulders on occasion through the railing. Jack’s a little put off by her hyper puppy behavior and invasion of his territory, but despite that affront, he remained calm and non-threatening toward her.

Afternoon Already

The approach of midday beckoned (and that means lunch), so Grace bounded up the stairs and into the apartment. Betsy gave her another thee quarters of a cup of food, which Grace promptly inhaled. After lunch came time for a nap. Grace lay sprawled out on the kitchen floor for about an hour. Then she awoke with a start.

The cycle repeats. Grace went outside for a bathroom break and more exploring. She again stopped by Jack’s place, but with his patio door shut, Grace could not interact with him. Her energy level had dropped from the morning, but she still had a good time. When she finished, she came up the stairs and back home. After gnawing on sticks and a chew bone for a while, she finally dropped over for a mid afternoon nap.

When she awoke, Grace seemed bored…time to go back outside exploring. She likes to look for insects or anything unusual like paper or plastic, put it in her mouth, get the feel for it, chew it if it’s hard, and then spit it out. She made her customary stop at Jack’s place on the way. This time Jack and his “mom” greeted us. As we approach the area, Grace’s tail starts wagging quickly. Her whole little hind end moves with delight and excitement.

Doggie Play

The time to pick up the mail had arrived. Jack came out for a walk. I took off her leash, and Grace bounded with joy—darting around him and jumping up to play. He didn’t know exactly how to handle her, but the interaction worked out just fine. They played a little mini game of chase with Grace running and turning around frantically and Jack trying to do his shepherd thing.

Watching Grace make these moves reminds me of running a movie in fast motion. Whenever Grace sensed even a hint of danger, Grace rolled over on her back. Grace had a ball finally getting to play with another dog after being isolated from dog play for eleven days. After playtime ended, I figured Grace would want to follow Jack to the mailbox. Surprisingly, she went the other way. Before long we made our way back home where Grace once again lay was conked out on the kitchen floor.

Winding Down

After dinner, Grace was getting ornery. We sent her to timeout for snapping at my face, grabbing Betsy’s clean skirt from a chair and not letting it go, and jumping up on furniture. The timeout seems to work fairly well. She comes out better behaved. Around 8 PM I noticed another wet spot on the floor. We hadn’t had one for days. That was back when she seemed to have anxiety while we ate. This likely occurred after our dinner, but near the time she being difficult to manage and trying to get in trouble. With darkness upon us I took her out one last time before bed. by 8:30 PM she had fallen asleep next to me on the living room floor. I turned out the lights and put her to bed the same way as last night and at the same time.

By 4:30 Saturday morning, Grace began stirring. We went outside at 4:45. She did her business and came back inside quickly. I tried putting her in her cage, but she resisted. Then I put her in the bed outside the cage and shut the door. It didn’t work. I tried again. No luck. Finally, I lay down with her to calm her for about 15 minutes by 5:30 she gave up. By 6:30, dawn began to break. I took Grace out again to relieve herself.

Lately, when we return, I give her a command like “sit” and/or “down” a and reward her with a treat. This teaches her a useful command and gives her something to look forward to when she returns. She’s learning “down” now.

She went out with Betsy to the pet store. Betsy learned of a one- hour workshop that Grace can attend to work on her most difficult behaviors. They also looked around the store for treats (used for training) and toys that she liked the most. Then Betsy took Grace shopping at a farmer’s market for more stimulation. When I returned, Grace had fallen asleep. A little after noon, Betsy gave Grace her lunch. After wolfing it down, Betsy introduced Grace to the new toys she bought. At 2 PM I took Grace to the car dealer to get some touch-up paint. Getting her to come on the leash took more effort than I had hoped, but eventually we made it.

When we returned, I took the car to the car wash area to do some touch-up. A local doggie daycare company scheduled a display table at 3:00, so we ended up being the first ones there. She interacted with a few dogs that stopped by but eventually wanted to explore elsewhere. After a little exploring, she bounded back up the steps and returned home. Before long Grace had fallen asleep again. After her dinner, she slept through our dinner time. That sure beats the tortuous time many families face as their dog begs for people food throughout the meal.

At about 8 PM, Grace and I went out before bed. She followed her nose for an hour. At that point, I had enough, picked her up, carried her home, and put her to bed. She resisted a little in her cage, but she quickly fell off to sleep there. It’ll be interesting to see what time she gets up tomorrow since she took so many naps today and she didn’t make it to bed until 9 PM.

 

 

Filed under: Borador

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