Leia just turned 8 months old, and it is amazing to think she has been with me for six months already. And what a six months it has been!
I’d never had a winter puppy before, so it was with some trepidation that I anticipated housebreaking. Fortunately, for puppy raising, it turned out to be a mild winter which afforded lots of outdoor time for Leia to blow off steam. Middle of the night outings actually were beautiful, peaceful, and invigorating.
The first few weeks were fairly routine from a puppy stand-point, but then she came down with that nasty UTI which threw a monkey wrench into housebreaking. It was exasperating and exhausting, but we finally got things under control two months later and housebreaking resumed. Keeping a puppy log helped me get a sense of Leia’s routine and foibles.
Enter Covid 19 . . .
Leia and I only attended one KPT session before the club cancelled all classes. The quarantine and social distancing created training and socialization challenges that I’d never experienced with my other dogs. I had to get creative and think of ways to expose Leia to the world. Fortunately, I had been able to get her out for about a month in her prime socialization period, but the benefits of group training classes were lost.
Leia continues to have the inclination to rush towards people and jump on them, in spite of my rigorous attempts to impress upon her that it is not permitted. Again, I had to get creative, and a few of my neighbors kindly agreed to be guinea pigs. It became very apparent that Leia had trouble controlling her excitement when a person came into her orbit. She would be very vocal and lunge forward in an attempt to greet the person. I’ve been working religiously with her to keep all four paws on the ground. Amazingly, once she makes contact with the person, the histrionics pass. She settles quickly and is happy to sit quietly for petting.
And then we had a war . . . it was waged fiercely, but the Zinnias finally triumphed. Every other day I find a random trooper who has succumbed to occasional and weak attacks, but Leia has finally accepted the futility of continuing a full-scale battle.
Leia continues to exhibit kleptomania when given freedom in the house. Even though she has improved greatly, she still thieves. I never know what object I am going to find in her mouth. She still has a love affair with toilet paper; not only does she love the musical toilet paper roll, she LOVES Cottonelle! It’s textured and very chewy.
Leia has exhibited the ability to problem solve. She figured out how to move the heavy accordion gate which has confined all other dogs in my home. I even braced the gate with a trunk and chair, and she figured that out! She maneuvers it to create an opening so she can escape upstairs. Once upstairs, she either steals my slippers or chooses a book in the library room. One day she grabbed the toilet plunger and toilet cleaning brushes. The day she jumped into the bathtub and chewed on a bar of soap was hysterical. Fortunately, she suffered no side effects from that – after all, it was sensitive-skin organic soap. . . (I ordered a new gate which, I hope, solves the problem once and for all.)
But she did suffer side effects from a chewing incident gone awry. The bloodshot, swollen eye panicked me and resulted in a 2 a.m. trip to the emergency hospital CARES. It was good I didn’t wait as internal pressure had elevated in her eye. The vets were wonderful and immediately started all appropriate treatments to address the glaucoma and infection. She stayed overnight and was released the next day. Luckily, she had no complications or any lingering effects from the incident.
More recently Leia has taken up electronics and TV manipulations. She has removed the Verizon cable running to the modem several times. Old VHS video boxes hold a fascination. She is especially intrigued by my old horse training videos and THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Of course, Leia loves anything about princesses – she was named after one!!
But one of the funniest things that has happened recently is the day Leia answered the phone. I found her in the family room with the landline receiver in her mouth. . . well, that’s another blog post. Stay tuned.
What will the next six months bring!?
PS: Leia really is a wonderful puppy. I love her joie de’vivre, her smarts, and affectionate nature. She keeps me laughing. I’m a lucky gal.