Don’t you put that in your mouth

I swear, at least forty times a day I ask Peach, “What are you eating?”

Alternatively, I’m telling her, “You don’t always need to have something in your mouth.”

The crime scene.

Peach has all kinds of toys. She doesn’t want for entertainment, either, as she has two people and two cats to keep her occupied during the day. But, inevitably, she finds something to play with that really doesn’t belong in her mouth. Up there? She has a toilet paper roll (Which she is allowed to play with) as well as her Skinneez duck, but instead, she chose to play with an arm torn off of another toy. That toy has been reassembled since.

"I didn't do it."

Often, what’s in her mouth has an unknown origin. A stick, a rock, a piece of plastic. About a quarter of the time it’s a piece of cardboard, and maybe one in ten times it’s an actual toy. She can be running around right in front of me, put her face down, and when it comes back up, there’s something stuck to her nose! As if she conjured it from thin air. And of course, when I try to get my boyfriend to look at her, she’s removed the unknown object… Usually into her mouth.

Puppies, like babies, explore their whole world with their most easily manipulated tool: their mouths. Peach really takes her job as a puppy seriously… Everything ends up in there.

1 Month with Peach

It was actually December 31st that Peach came home to live with us, but today is somewhere between her Gotcha Day and her actual birthday- the 6th- so I felt it was appropriate to post today. Also, until I looked at the date, I hadn’t realised that it had already been a month.

Day 3

This was the first picture I took of Peach, a couple of days after she came home. Such a little fluff ball! She was wearing a way-too-big “original” design of my collars, it looked ridiculous on her. Of course, I had been lucky enough to meet Peach before bringing her home, and even have her week-by-week photos stashed away for future “aww”ing. She already knew who we were, she was just unsure of the environment she was now exploring.

Today.

What a difference a month makes. It’s hard to see in the picture, but Peach’s fur has started to do what every good Pomeranian’s fur does: get ugly. She’s growing some adorable mutton-chops on the sides of her face, her butt-feathers stick out crazily, and the rest of her body has gone from baby-fine fluff to wooly, thick, and luxurious. I’m not sure where that’s coming from, since both her predecessors never went wooly, and both of her parents had fine, silky fur. I’m hoping it bodes well for a gorgeous adult coat! Easier to see are that her ears no longer flop cutely, and in the background, that her tail feathers are starting to make an appearance. No more little otter tail! She actually has a very long tail, it almost curls twice.

I like her expressions in both pictures. The first was very Peach: trusting, sweet, her brain a little learning sponge. Peach today looks at mw like she’s plotting something silly. In fact, I actually got down to take a picture of her napping in her basket, and when she spied the camera, she hopped out, laid down, and posed for me. Diva! She did just happen to lay down in the mess of torn-up cardboard rolls she has been gathering.

In a month, Peach has discovered that she loves Cesar’s treats more than anything in the world, especially the filet mignon flavour. There’s a close tie with peanut butter for second place. She has also outgrown her sweater as of last week (We got about three weeks’ wear out of it) and started to put her brave pants on for every walk. Most times she’ll ring the bell to go outside to potty, though there is that rare occasion where her brain slips out of her ears and she forgets, but it’s not as often as 9/10 times, or we’d be having an accident each day, and we really don’t. We get maybe two accidents a week, where she rings her bell to go out at least six times a day.

She has also been able to graduate from being crated in the kitchen, to being crated in the bedroom, because she is very quiet at night, and wakes up at about 8:30 to let us know she has to go to the bathroom. Peach sits on a dime, and loves to “up” for extra treats, though “down” is a bit troublesome. She’s now big enough that we let her play with the cats without intervention: if they need to sort out their business, no one will get seriously injured doing so.

Lots has changed in the past month, but Peach is still a lovable, squishy little furball. I hope that never changes.

Might as well be walkin’ in the snow

"Agh! It's got me!"

I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while, but today I actually remembered to whip out my cell phone on a walk (Something I never do: I’m walking my dog to walk my dog, not to play on my phone) and snap some pictures of Peach. For the past two weeks, Peach has been taking longer and longer walks, and being asked to accept more novel experiences while on them. At first, there was a whole lot of cajoling, bribing, and tugging to get her to walk along behind me ten feet away from the house.

Then, we started to cross the road and walk ten feet away instead- this, coincidentally, always lead us past an outside dog who is dog-reactive to large dogs, but generally accepting of small ones, so Peach was able to get some no-pressure experience with interacting with dogs, just by walking past her and looking at her.

"What's over there?"

Next, we walked up the road a whole block, and turned back. This lead to us being able to walk around the block, and this morning, we went for a longer walk of about 20 minutes around the neighbourhood. This one was hard for Peach, because it was the first time she was asked to walk on a busy road, and there were many cars and trucks driving past that made her nervous. Whenever Peach gets to the point of happily walking ahead of me, I change things up. Life is filled with novel experiences, and I want her to know that a walk will never be the same twice.

"More ducks!"

So this afternoon, I decided she needed a good, long walk, so we went up our street, and crossed the busy road, and crossed through a quiet neighbourhood with dogs barking indoors. Peach got her first taste of ducks. Our town has lots of ducks, geese, and seagulls, and a small group of ducks was hanging out near the entrance to the bike path. Peach was amazed when they quacked and flew away. More, she wanted more! She was so excited to get onto the bike path and see even more ducks, and the water, and the rocks. It was quiet, and there weren’t other people. She was in her element.

Frankly, being a rather a-social person, so was I. I love a good trail walk or quiet city hike, alone with my thoughts and my dog. It was very refreshing to be able to take a dog for a long walk like that, as my male Pom had had health issues that precluded him from having a good time on a long walk, and my female was reactive to everything under the sun and could never enjoy a walk without having twelve meltdowns.

"It's all water out there?"

We were even able to cross over the floating bridge, which Peach bravely peed on and peered into the water over. Once we had crossed it, I saw behind us a woman approaching with her standard Poodle. We continued on, and her and her long-legged dog passed us quickly. Peach was happy to walk alongside the Poodle- about 10 feet separated them- and watch him. It was exciting to her to have company on the walk, that she did not directly have to interact with. I think I may be putting too much stock into solid introductory socialisation with other dogs. Peach is very happy to share space with them, but she wants her own safety bubble, as well.

"Look, I thound a theather!"

Our walk ended after we left the bike path and went back up the busy street. By now, Peach was a Master of the Walk, and she was strutting along like she owned everything. A nice lady bent to say hello, and Peach charmed her by licking her fingers and hiding under my coat. She is the kind of pup who needs lots of reassurance, but is happy to enjoy life and the world around her once she has it. We passed all manner of person and loud car, and finally came to our door, where Peach took a final piddle before she came inside to have a snack, and a nap.

Myself, and my 4 pound puppy, were out on our walk in the snow for an hour. She’s a regular itty-witty snow dog.

Pupsonality

Having raised three puppies of the same breed, I’ve a good grasp of the characteristics associated with that breed, and also a few that aren’t often spoken of, or described correctly. Pomeranians are known as vocal, affectionate, protective dogs. You don’t often here about their tenacity, their spirit, their need to do anything they are asked to please their people. They’re part of the breed’s temperament, a set of characteristics deeply engraved in their genetic code.

But that doesn’t make each Pomeranian the same. Or any other breed of dog. Or any mixed-breed of dog.

My first two Pomeranians were similar to each other when they were pups: bold, fearless, eager, curious, and almost brainless. As they aged they became different from one another, but still the same. The male would persistently try anything to get a positive reaction, and the female would persistently do whatever got her the result she wanted.

Peach is different. She is just as tenacious, affectionate, and spirited. I have no doubt she would be protective of “hers”, after she growled at a dog at least 20  times her size at the vet’s. But Peach is not bold, or fearless, or brainless. She is curious, but cautious. She thinks. You can see her little cogs turning a mile a minute while she tries to figure out, Will this work? Will this thing get me good things?

She is soft-natured, where my other Pomeranians were bold as brass. She has all the good hallmarks of a Pomeranian, along with a little Peach. Sweet, trusting, honest, shy. And anyone seeking a dog should be prepared that that dog will not match the breed standard, or the common temperament associated with their breed.

A dog is an individual. They have pupsonality.

Working like a dog!

Since I was a wee thing, my family has told me I should be a veterinarian. I am passionate about few things, and animals are one of the things I hold closest to my heart. Learning about them, teaching them, watching them grow. Raising my cats from newborn kittens was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Being a part of Peach’s early development? A dream come true.

So when I had the opportunity over the summer, I became part of a local business project. At our farmer’s market, I made and sold dog collars, leashes, toys, and treats. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, mostly because my market was not actually our poor, destitute city, in which many dogs don’t even use leashes (Despite leash laws) After a time, I found that I was unhappy with the quality of the supplies I was using, and moved on.

Peach's leash and collar.

When Peach was coming, I was once again unable to find her any apparel I really liked. So I ordered new supplies, and when they arrived, I made new products. I had enough left over to make collars for both of my cats, as well. It struck me that, in trying to make something to suit my dog, instead of something to suit an arbitrary collection of “needs” I felt I had to fulfill, I had created the product I initially set out to create in June of 2011.

So today, I’ve opened the Etsy store Little Blond Dog designs, in honour of my little princess. Thus far, of course, with only a few supplies left, I have only a few items up. I hope to be able to add more patterns, more sizes, more styles, and more things to my shop, in time.

In time, I am also hoping to become a CCPDT certified dog trainer… I just need to find out how to get there!

Egon and Astrid's collars.

Stop Growing!

It dawned on me today that in the two weeks Peach has been part of the family, she’s grown.

It’s a little hard to see with a small breed. They start small, and end small. Peach was about the size of a big Teddy bear syrian hamster when she was born, and she was the biggest puppy. She’ll ultimately end up about 7 pounds as an adult. There’s not much of a change from here to there, considering how some giant breeds start out small (4-5 pounds) and end up enormous (200+ pounds)

Pictured: Most appropriate canine diner ever.

But Peach is definitely bigger. I can see it more in how she approaches the world than how she looks, physically. Two weeks ago, she had trouble reaching her double-diner, which is the Bone Bowl (It’s amazing and flawless and fulfills my need for adorable things) She would insist on standing in the space between the knobs on the diner to reach her bowls. Now, she stands with ease in the middle to reach either of the metal dishes containing her delicious meals and water.

A week ago, she couldn’t jump up over my arm and onto my lap(top) while I was on the couch. Now she bounces a little and I have to tell her she can’t use my computer. In a similar vein, she couldn’t reach the seat of the couch with her paws, and now she’s this close to being able to run and jump up on it with us. She is still dwarfed by her sibling-cats, but now she can hold her own against them when they wrestle with her. Also, she can eat a whole treat in two bites, instead of in four hundred.

It’s amazing to be on the inside watching an infant animal grow, but sometimes, you miss the little things. An inch or a pound, and to visitors, the dog looks totally different. But since we see that inch or pound gain millimeter by gram, it’s hard to see the growth. We just suddenly realise, hey! My dog isn’t as small as he was! And then I write a blog post.

Because that’s what crazy people do.

Puppies are like chips…

Adding a puppy to the family is a huge responsibility. There’s poop, and feeding, and training, and barking, and poop, and chewing, and that time in the middle of the night when it’s the greatest time to decide to play, and did I mention poop?

Regardless, January 1st, my boyfriend and I added a Pomeranian puppy to our family of four, which includes two adolescent sibling cats, Egon and Astrid.

Peep-a-boo!

Princess Peach- upon my boyfriend’s insistence- has been in our home for five days.  During this time, she has not slept through the night once (Bad for my waking-up-at-5AM boyfriend) peed on the carpet twice, and had her toys stolen by Astrid the cat, who insists all small round things and some large stuffed things are hers.

Peach is the third Pomeranian I have owned. The first had to be returned to his breeder when we discovered he had health issues that were beyond our capability of managing. Luckily, he has a new home with someone who dedicates her life to helping unhealthy dogs. The second… Well, my in-laws fell in love with her. How could I say no, when they make each other so happy?

Peach is going to be treated atypically by Pomeranian standards. I know the breed’s capabilities, persistence, and energy levels, and Peach will be a great walking/hiking buddy.  I hope to, while writing this blog, keep track of all of Peach’s milestones, and maybe entertain or even educate along the way.

So hey, Peach, whatcha think of this endeavour?

Do I get treats if I sit still?