Friday, August 8, 2008

That New Puppy Smell

(Finally coming back to my neglected blog. . . I have a few "saved-up" posts, starting with this one. If you aren't that interested in someone else's new puppy, it's best to skip this entry. (g))

If you follow my tweets on Twitter, you already know that we got a puppy last weekend. :o)

It was kind of a spur of the moment thing. Donald spotted the ad online. The puppies weren't quite local, as they were located all the way north of Birmingham (Jasper, to be precise), but we thought about it and decided that it was worth the drive. Eskies seem to be pretty rare around here, and there was no telling how long we'd have to wait to find a litter nearby. And even with the cost of the extra fuel, we'd still end up spending less than many people do to get the pet they want.

We went and chose her on Saturday. It was a long drive back home, but she was a good puppy and behaved very well, lying still or sleeping most of the time. We were amused to find that she (and the other little Eskies, when we were looking them over) made the same "gasping", "keh-keh-keh-keh" sound that we remembered Daisy making on our ride home with her.

She's a little 'un, still. Born on June 25th (also the birthday of one of my sisters!). We've read the pros and cons of getting such a young puppy, and the main issue seems to be that a six-week-old puppy may need more attention and "anti-bite training" than an eight-week-old would. (If they're left with the rest of the litter for another couple of weeks, they train each other to not bite so firmly.) So all this week I've been doing a lot of fake/exaggerated "ouch"-ing and squealing and "No Bite!"-ing. I think she knows not to bite too hard, now, but she still thinks it would be fun to bite more softly. (g)

She's not pedigreed and probably wouldn't be considered a "show-quality" dog, if only because her nose has a little pink in it, and her toes are mostly pink with black freckles (little teensy chocolate chip cookies! (g))-- but we were never going to be doing dog shows, anyway. Besides, our family dog when I was younger was a cockapekapoo (cocker, pekingese, and poodle/"mixed breed"), and I firmly believe that a carefully bred and registered dog is no better than a mutt-- or at least is not necessarily a better dog just by virtue of being bred and registered. Maybe it doesn't make sense, then, that I set my heart on a specific breed of dog. . . Well, people don't always make sense, I guess. . .

She has that new puppy smell-- something I'd forgotten about but instantly recognized. Ah, so sweet! Of course, some people say that this smell-- or "puppy breath" as it's also called-- is a symptom of intestinal worms. :oS Apparently, almost all puppies have worms at some point, which is why they all seem to have the same smell, regardless of breed. In any case, whether that lovely puppy breath is from worms or not (g), we already knew we ought to de-worm her, just to be on the safe side, so she's two days into a 3-day program.

As you may have guessed (given that I keep referring to her as "her" and "she" (g)), we still haven't chosen a name. We brainstormed names on the ride home and talked a little about it a couple of other times-- and I spent a little time looking around online for ideas-- but we haven't sat down and said, "Ok, no-one leaves this room until we've settled on something!" ;o) So she's still "Puppy" and "Girl", for the time being. However, I have set an ultimatum that she be officially named by the end of the weekend, so we'll just have to make a decision and be done with it. We have it narrowed down to three names-- two, actually, because the third simply doesn't seem to roll off our tongues the way we want it to. For the benefit of those two or three of you who might care, I'll share the alternates when I "unveil" the lucky winner-- Monday at the latest. ;o)

Maybe I shouldn't be, but I am surprised that we can already see her beginning to grow up since we brought her home on Saturday! We have an old rubbery dog toy shaped like a bone-- something Molly had lost all interest in. I cleaned it up and put it in the room with the puppy in hopes that she'd chew it instead of baseboard and furniture. It seemed way too big for her, that first day, but now she can carry it around (a little while). She hasn't really grown that much, but I'm convinced that she must be getting stronger. . .

She does have a few hobbies, aside from play biting. ;o) For instance, she's developed an interest in her own tail-- trying to grab it and bite it. She often manages to get hold of it, but then she tries to pull it past what's physically possible, which must be an exercise in frustration. Well, at least she doesn't bite into her own leg and then yelp in pain, like a certain cocker spaniel I know did in her puppy days. (g)

One of her chief pleasures is a sort of "pounce and fetch" game that she plays with the little stuffed puppy-size pillows/toys I made for her. If she's in the right mood, she'll play this game over and over again. We toss the toy for her-- she stalks her "prey" and pounces on it, then runs back with it so that we can get it from her and toss it again. If it's been a particularly naughty dog toy ;o) she gives it a good shaking and may even growl a bit to put it in its place.

She also likes to play tug of war, but what puppy doesn't? (g) (Most "experts" seem to think tug of war is a bad game for puppies-- or even all dogs-- but some seem to think it's ok if you make sure that the dog knows that you-- the owner-- always "win" and are in the dominant position in the pack. . . . I wonder how much these dog experts really know! Especially since some of them seem to hold such contrary views on key points!)

She's treated us to a few yaps, now and then, so there's no "worry" (as with the long-silent Molly-pup) as to whether she'll ever bark. Honestly, there never was any fear on that point! Eskies are supposed to be a fairly barky breed.

Despite her sometimes tough attitude, she occasionally displays some scaredy-cat tendencies. When she's frightened by a sudden noise (or whatever else it might be-- but it's usually a sound), she beats a hasty retreat behind her cardboard box (into the corner where she likes to sleep). And there's no denying that she likes being close to people most of the time. It's heart-warming to have a little puppy come running over to you-- bouncing right against you, or even spilling over into your lap. You have just enough time to think, "Aw, that's so sweet! She loves me!" before you feel her needly teeth prodding your tender fingertips. (g)

But like I wrote, we're working on that. So please come visit so she'll be properly socialized. She won't bite you too hard. I promise! ;o)

If you haven't already seen them, you can find more photos of our new pup on my Flickr photostream. :o)