|What do puppies do best? Play! Watch Kunzite in her element.|
When Dara asked me if I would take over Kunzite’s foster care, I was more than happy to agree! I mean, who wouldn’t mind spending time with an adorable fluff ball? This was also a chance for me to see how much this little girl had grown and developed and also, in a kind of selfish way, an experience I felt that I needed. I was one of the foster moms who had cared for three of Kunzite’s siblings and sadly, all three of them passed away. I would not trade my time with those three for anything in the world and although their lives were short, they were filled with love, care and happiness.
I went to Dara’s house a few nights before taking Kunzite home, just to meet and get to know Kunzite. Dara said she may be a little shy with me at first; well she was the farthest thing from shy! The minute I walked in the room, she was in my lap covering me with puppy kisses!
I picked up Kunzite (and all of her supplies -- puppies need a lot of stuff!) on Tuesday night and brought her home with me. Our own dogs were of course very curious about the little crate that Mom carried in the door that evening. I set Kunzite up in her very own room complete with a puppy pen and nightlight. As our three dogs all sniffed underneath the door (Orbit can do a really great imitation of Darth Vader), Kunzite ran around, familiarizing herself with her new digs. We played, she ate dinner, we played some more, she ran over to her puppy pad to take a potty break, and then, of course we played again!
I am truly amazed at how smart Kunzite is. She’s doing wonderfully with housetraining; she uses her pee pads almost all of the time. Dara had started working on "Sit" and "Down" with her; so I continued the training and she now knows that she needs to sit before I will but her food bowl on the floor. We’ve also been using "sit" and lots of treats to help her with some of her heeler behaviors. She has a tendency to attach herself to your ankles as you are walking around, her way of "herding" you. At first, this seems kind of cute, but if you flash forward six months from now and she’s a 45 lbs. dog exhibiting this behavior, it’s no longer cute, it’s a problem. I feel one of the greatest ways we can help Kunzite is to show her proper behavior. Now, as soon as she starts pulling on the bottom of our pants, we give her the signal for sit and reward her live crazy when she actually does it (which right now, is probably about ¾ of the time). Kunzite can also be quite a flirt and she has my boyfriend, Ross, wrapped around her paw! (He’s also recently taught her how to actually give "paw", I’m telling you she is one smart puppy!) As soon as she hears the garage door go up, she runs to the door to her room and does this silly little dance back and forth, until Ross comes in to say hello. She also has a domestic side to her; we learned that she really likes to help sort clean laundry. As soon as you open the dryer door, she runs over and pulls out the first piece of clothing she can find. Now, if only we could teach her to fold.
I decided it was time for her to get used to wearing a collar. I found a very glamorous purple glitter collar and adjusted it so that it fit her properly (I also made sure that it was a quick release collar, this way, if it happened to get hung up on something, it would come apart and not cause her any harm). I started out putting it on her for a few minutes at a time everyday, and then graduated to her wearing her collar anytime she was out of her puppy pen. She now sports her snazzy collar all the time and is quite comfortable with it on (there was a whole lot of scratching at the funny thing on her neck at first). This week, we will start working on leash walking in the house, since she can’t actually go outside yet. Many people don’t realize how important it is to start introducing a leash and collar to puppies at a young age, and then they wonder why their new puppy’s first reaction when they want to take them for their first walk is to drop to the ground on their backs and refuse to go anywhere!
Next week, we’re planning on taking Kunzite out for her first real ride in the car (she’s only been on very short trips so far). Since she isn’t able to get out & explore her world on four legs yet, we figured this is a safe way for her to get out and see the world!