Sunday, March 18, 2012

[014] 4 month update :)

Rufus will be 4 months old on this coming Wednesday, the 21st. :) That means he'll officially be 17 weeks old, and he'll have been with us for 9 whole weeks!!

We've had some really exciting times with our "little monster" lately - and a bunch of firsts!

We have a few areas by our house that have fenced in areas specifically for off-leash dogs. Being a member of, I've heard my share of horror stories with regards to letting your furbaby play in one of those. For one thing, you have no clue if those dogs playing in there are up-to-date on vaccinations. For another, you have no idea if those dogs are well socialized around other humans/dogs (although you would hope they would be).

We don't have a fenced in yard, so Rufus can only be off-leash in the house. Because of that, and the fact that he plays so well with all the other puppies in his puppy kindergarten class, and because the weather was SO gorgeous last Sunday, we decided that we could give the dog park a try. The one we chose to go to was in a large park area, full of trails (and even a secret waterfall!), so our plan was to scope out the other dogs/owners, and worst case, just bring Rufus on the trails to walk instead of letting him into that fenced in area.

Rufus was so excited to go play with brand new puppies! Once we got to the park, we parked and Rufus met some new friends on the trail up to the dog run. Boooy was that dog run packed!!! Big dogs, small dogs, from yorkies to goldens and everything in between!

MOMMA!! I wanna go in!!
Patiently, we waited for our turn to enter the dog run, with momma and daddy watching the other dogs very carefully to see if any was behaving crazily, or starting fights. When it was our turn, we walked Rufus in, and kept him near us on the leash - letting him sniff and be sniffed by the other doggies :) Soon, Rufus was comfortable enough to be off-leash and we watched very carefully as he ran around with all the big dogs. At one point, he ran back to us to sit, and was very much loved by the owner of a pit bull that we were talking to. Suddenly, a huge, aggressive English Bull Terrier tackled Rufus from behind and it turned into an all out melee. All the big dogs rushed in to sniff and see what was going on, owners hot on their heels to pull the dogs away, the whole while Rufus was yelping, practically screaming really. Mike was already there picking him up and pushing the terrier away, but the damage was done. Poor Rufus was still yelping and crying as Mike carried him over to me, and we walked to the emptier part of the dog run. Rufus seemed upset, and wouldn't even play with the Yorkie and all the concerned doggie mommas and daddys that came over to find out if he was okay. The owners of the bull terriers gathered up their two and left, without so much as a second glance our way. It was when we put water out for Rufus to drink that Mike noticed that Rufus' mouth was bleeding. Turns out that during the altercation, whether it was an accident or not, Rufus' bottom right canine puppy tooth had been ripped out. Panic ensues. I'm ready to chase down the owners of the terriers and tell them off, and I'm sobbing my eyes out feeling like the worst puppy parent in the world, because I KNEW better. Mike was so incredibly angry as well, but we knew the first thing we really had to do was get Rufus to the vet ASAP to make sure that no other damage was done and to ask what to do about this missing tooth situation.

Poor Rufus. :( Usually he gets all riled up on car rides, but he laid quietly in momma's lap the whole way to the emergency animal hospital. We were admitted right away and Rufus was fully looked over. The good news? He's close to 4 months old and his baby teeth are going to start coming out soon anyway, so it was probably loose. Also, the damage could have been much worse and it wasn't. Rufus, aside from being shaken up, was fine. The only bad news was that if the root of his canine didn't come all the way out, we could have an infection on our hands later on. We watched him closely for 24 hours and he seems okay though, so we're not too worried about that right now. It was a scary experience for us all, but Rufus went right up to other dogs later on that night and that week, and played just fine in puppy kindergarten today. I was worried that it would prevent him from wanting to be friendly with other dogs ever again :(

There were more firsts this week though - the good kind!

One of them was that Rufus jumped up onto the couch on his own, PLUS, he wanted to snuggle and chew on his bone. He hasn't ever been this calm before - so we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of his crazy puppy need to chew everything/everyone, and need to be constantly entertained by momma or daddy.

The second one was that Rufus has learned DOWN

He's so dramatic about his DOWN command! When we tell him down, he flops down, as loudly as possible, as if to say, "LOOK I IS DEFINITELY DOWN! Treat here plz!" We're having lots and LOTS of trouble with LEAVE IT, especially if we're in the house practicing. If we're outside on a walk, he has no trouble when we say "AAAANT, LEAVE IT" and keep walking. Then he just keeps walking with us and changes his focus to something else. In the house though, if something drops on the floor that he shouldn't have, he'll be as sneaky as anything to try to get it. So far, we've been insanely careful about not having chocolate, or onion, or avocado anywhere near him (those are the three we have on a pretty regular basis in the house), so it hasn't been an issue in terms of anything being life threatening, but if we drop a paper towel he will go RIGHT for it.

Is all clear!

Rufus continues to be the neighborhood Sir Ham, and watch dog. When we go out, at least three times a potty break, he sits his butt down on the lawn, sniffs the air, and looks up and down the street. Not a car goes by that he doesn't sit and watch until he can't see it anymore. Also, on walks, he wants to meet anyone and everyone and is a sucker for attention. He will pull so hard and so fast that sometimes he nearly jerks my arm out of the socket (okay, that's not totally true, but Rufus will hear this and he'll want to know momma thinks he's a big strong boy). Luckily, everyone in the neighborhood loves him. We even have a family up the street whose kids wait to see Rufus every morning!

Watching daddy work

And finally, in new developments, Rufus has finally calmed down enough where Mike deems it safe to finally let Rufus into his office when he is working.

One of our biggest hurdles and things we needed to adjust to was that Mike was used to working from home at least two days a week. With Rufus being a rambunctious, LOUD puppy though, not much work was getting done, so now Mike goes into work every day of the week. He hates this arrangement, but his work has to get done. Rufus will bark and bark and bark if he knows you're home and not paying attention to him, and he hadn't fully graduated to sitting quietly and chewing his bone/bully stick yet. This past week though, all of that has seemed to start to take a turn towards the better (and more CALM!)

That's all the time I have to update for today, so I'll leave you all with one more picture of King Rufus to say goodbye :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

[011] 3 month milestones

Oh my, it's certainly been awhile since I've been able to post an update about Rufus. To make it up, I'll have to be extra sure to post some adorable pictures of him that I've been taking over the weekend.

At just shy of 15 weeks, Rufus and our "family" have definitely made leaps and bounds in understanding eachother - although we're still not perfect or comfortable yet! I can't believe we've had our "little monster" (as he is affectionately known around our house) for close to 7 weeks now!

Exciting new developments: with his parvo vaccinations complete, we've been able to take Rufus out for long walks around the neighborhood - and it seems that our little guy likes to run - which is great for Daddy, since he's the runner in the family. While there's still a lot of tug-of-war going on with the leash when Rufus wants to wander into the middle of the street, it's getting less and less.

Second - we finally started puppy kindergarten at our local PetSmart! We went into the store and met our trainer, Shelby, who's got 4 dogs at home of varying shapes and sizes, and promptly decided that she was qualified to train Rufus (the fact that she has a daschund and is biased towards low-riders went in her favor ;) ). We had our first class last Sunday and Rufus was joined by 3 other puppies that we hope will become his friends - Leiba, Bella, and London. Rufus was struttin' his stuff and getting plenty of attention - he's the only male in our class ;). Leiba is a gorgeous, extremely sweet pit bull, Bella is (I think) some kind of maltese, and London is a tiny little Yorkie. Rufus was a bit scared of the other dogs at first, but quickly he was romping and playing, and getting into all sorts of trouble! He's still afraid of Leiba though - I think even though he thinks he's a big dog in a small body, he's not sure if his big dog is as big as Leiba! We learned "Look at me" and "Sit" in class, and I was very impressed with how well Rufus listened and obeyed. We are still having some trouble with him at home, but having "look at me" as a mantra to fall back on has helped immensely! For homework we were supposed to practice giving the "look at me"

Monday, February 13, 2012

[010] 12 weeks and progress is made!

After speaking extensively and detailing the problem for a bunch of very helpful fellow-corgi owners over at, AND watching Rufus closely this weekend in as many situations as possible, it seems like we're making some progress.

Part of what makes me so frustrated with the process is that we're still trying to learn how to communicate with eachother. Whether it's us telling Rufus "No, that is not allowed", or him trying to tell us when he needs to go outside, it's still a work in progress. We may never have it entirely perfected, but it's only been 3 weeks that we've had him home with us, and my perfectionist self will never totally admit defeat!

Because Rufus HAS learned not to chew on wires or furniture, we've let him have (supervised) run of the house when we let him out to play. If we can't keep our eyes strictly on him, then we have a gated off area that is "safe" for him to play in,  as well as "safe" for if he has any accidents (read: HARDWOOD FLOORS!!). When he's out with us, he follows us around endlessly, unless something distracts him, but when he notices we aren't standing near him anymore, he promptly comes looking. He seems to understand his name more now, as when I say "Wheres Rufus?!" if he's not in sight, he usually comes running (again, unless there is something particularly interesting on the floor in his vicinity - if this is the case, we usually get a delayed run!). Last night, we were watching some How I Met Your Mother (almost all caught up to the current season!!) and Rufus was such a good boy. He sat on the living room floor next to Mike and chewed on his bully stick for 3 episodes!

The first problem we were having with Rufus was that he was getting very wild and riled up, and when this occurred, it didn't seem like there was a way to stop him from grabbing our pants/hands, and acting aggressively. A lot of people suggested it was an overflow of energy, as opposed to true aggression, so this weekend we tried to run him around as much as possible, and it seemed to work. We did notice though that when we gave him fruit as part of his diet (canned pumpkin in his food when the issue first started, a small strawberry yesterday) he seemed to get super hyper and riled up. I could handle some good frapping, but not when it's directed at us or our clothes/bodies. Eventually we had to put our little guy in the crate for a time out to calm down, but overall we only had two really bad episodes over the weekend, which is an improvement. When I go home for lunch to take him out now, I'm making sure that I bring him on a short walk up or down the street, and then running back to the house to help get some of that energy out. Also, we are going to be enrolling him in puppy kindergarten classes after his next set of shots, so playing with other puppies and having to focus for an hour a night will probably help with some of that energy also.

Our next issue, which is really a non-issue as much as it's a "how do we communicate issue" is knowing when to bring Rufus outside to do his business. From the beginning we've had him on a schedule for going out to potty. Rufus goes out as soon as he wakes up/wakes us up in the morning, and then he goes out every 3 hours until almost bedtime, where we bring him out right before he goes in the crate for bed every night. On the week days, this is "easy" I suppose you could say, because he is crated when we aren't home. We've only had ONE accident in the crate, and that was some serious diarhea, about an hour after he had last gone out, so I would say it absolutely would have happened even if we were home and he was out. On the weekends, because he's proven himself to be a good boy in his room, and also to give him more exercise, we've given him more run of the house, and we really only put him in his crate when he's tired and plops out, or when he needs a time out. Obviously we pay attention to the last time Rufus went outside, and keep to the 3 hour rule, however, we've had two accidents in the house now. Nothing major - one time he peed a little bit on the rug near the mini-fridge we have downstairs, and the second, he pooped on the rug in the living room. Lucky for us it was hard poop, so it was a snap to clean up. At one point over the weekend, he started growling and barking at me, and then he walked down the hallway to the door we bring him out. I said, "Hold on, momma needs to get her shoes" but I got growled at/barked at some more, so I just brought him outside as I was, and he was a pee machine! Rufus doesn't do this every single time though, and the two accidents were times when we didn't have our eyes strictly on him, or we would have seen the sniffing/circling signs. Pre-pooping accident, he looked at our front door and sat in front of it for a second, but then he got up and started sniffing in the kitchen. I like the idea of getting a bell, and having him ring the bell when he wants to go out - just so we know when its time if he has to go sooner than 3 hours. When he's actually outside, Rufus is really really good about "going potty", and he doesn't even come over to us immediately for treats after he does his business anymore, not unless we call him to come over and say "good potty".

Rufus is also making progress with some commands! We have SIT absolutely learned, and he'll answer to a sit from both myself and my boyfriend. My boyfriend's sister not so much, and we figured out the reason for this was because she was giving him treats just for breathing basically, so he didn't feel as if he had to do anything to earn them from her. We've had a talk with her so she corrects that, but I'm still nervous she's breaking our good training. No wonder Rufus got so insanely excited when she came over! STAY is a work in progress, and I've used it in two separate situations - the first when I put his food bowl down, and the second when I am giving him a treat so he doesn't lunge at my hand. He will sit and stay in those situations 90% of the time, so I'm going to start working on a stay while walking away from him. Rufus doesn't seem to lie down EVER except when he's tired, so teaching down has been hard. I've tried a bunch of different methods but none seem to work. When he wakes up from a nap/sleep though, and we bring him outside, he'll stretch and lie down while we put his leash on, so when he does that I've been treating him and saying "Good lie down!". Hopefully he'll learn to associate lie down with that action soon! In the realm of outside, we're almost there on "leave it", "drop it" and "bring it'. Over the weekend, I've been picking up sticks in the yard (Rufus loves sticks), tossing them and giving the "go get it!" command. When Rufus gets it, I say "Bring it to momma!" and 8/10 he'll run back to me. 6/10 times with the stick. Sometimes he drops it too soon. When he gets to me I say "drop it!" and lately he's understanding that more and more. Today on our walk he picked up a stick and I said, "drop it" and he did right away. It didn't work a second time though! I'll use drop it and leave it interchangeably, and it really seems like he's making some good progress with them!

I'll have to go through my copy of Mother Knows Best again to see where she suggests we should be at with training at this point. She has a week-by-week for 8-12 weeks which I found a good guideline for when we first brought Rufus home. We haven't taught "heel" yet, so when I take walks with him I have to keep him on a tight leash so he doesn't wander too far, but I figure the benefits of the walk (tires him out and uses that ever-suprising well of energy he has) outweigh the fact that he isn't walking with me "correctly" yet.

We had a lot of people at the house Saturday night since we went out to celebrate my impending birthday, and Rufus was very good with all of them. It was nice having other dog owners there who reassured me that the teething was normal, the hyper playing was normal, and that he would grow out of it once he got older, and went through obedience classes. It was also nice for Rufus to get attention from new people - and it's great for his socialization!

I don't think anything could have helped me to be prepared for a new puppy - its one of those situations you have to go through to actually get a grasp of it I feel like, but we're doing so much better now and the help I've gotten, along with the reassurance, has been beyond a relief!

Will definitely update soon with some pictures of our "little monster" :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

[009] It's good to be the king...until Momma catches on!

This week has been a really frustrating one! This morning, momma definitely left the house feeling anxious, defeated, and really annoyed. Then, I found a blog by a fellow corgi owner detailing all her joy and delight in her fur baby, and I felt myself get hopeful again.

The gist of the problem/what's eating me is basically this: while I love Rufus, I'm getting frustrated with his training and I'm starting to feel like the breeder we got him from wasn't as reputable as another we could have gone to, who would have been more available to answer questions, and probably more helpful with our current issues. I won't get into details, suffice to say that part of me feels that maybe I didn't make the connection I thought I did, and maybe now I'm seriously paying for it.

Regardless, I wanted a puppy, I got a puppy. Who's to say that we wouldn't be having these problems if we got a different puppy from a different place? So, I'm trying my BEST to just do the whole carpe diem thing and not look back. I can't change any of it, so I just have to make some lemonade out of those lemons!

In my mind, I don't think I ever fully realized how challenging it would be to raise a puppy. The practice itself is challenging, but then you throw in how many different ways there are of going about training a puppy and you not only have one confused momma, you have one confused puppy. Add in the fact that corgis are herders and can be domineering at times, and you've got a pickle similar to the one we have right now!

In the beginning we jokingly called Rufus King Rufus because he required so much of our time and attention between play time and potty schedule and feeding schedule. Now though, momma has the sneaking suspicion that Rufus really does think of himself as the King and of all of us as his peons, there to amuse him at will. If I'm in his play room and standing up, I get tugged on, barked at, growled at, and nipped on until I sit down, at which point nipping on/at my hands commences. I've tried redirection, I've tried yelling, I've tried "No!", I've tried time-outs, ignoring him, yelping. I feel like I've tried every method everyone in the world has suggested, and maybe that's the problem - poor guy doesn't know what's what anymore, although I can't feel for him as a poor guy right now considering the bite marks I'm sporting on my hands. I feel like I'm dealing with an insolent toddler, and though we're at the beginning of regression right now, I don't want to go another day even with him acting like this and letting it slide/not correcting it. The question is though, how?

I already feel like a terrible parent as it is. It breaks my heart to have to put him back in his crate when I leave after lunchtime to go back to work. I feel even worse when I lose my temper and just snap at him or put him in his crate because I need a time-out myself. It gets frustrating though - because this isn't the puppy experience I signed up for, and this most definitely isn't the puppy whose personality I would have chosen. When we picked Rufus out, there were no signs that he would act like this. When we picked him up, he wasn't happy at all, but I expected that - poor guy had never really been in a car before and we WERE taking him away from his family. To have the behavior continue though, and to make progress and then chart backwards is really getting to me, and Mike too at this point.

As much as I hate to admit defeat, I think its time to call in an expert and get an expert opinion on what is okay, and what isn't, and how to go about teaching/training Rufus to understand that. A potential part of the problem also is that Mike, Steph and I are all using different tones, methods, and attitudes towards teaching him right from wrong and dos from don'ts, so he probably is having an exceedingly hard time trying to keep it all straight.

The end goal is a happy, healthy puppy, who won't have problems with anything from vegging on the couch to hiking in the woods. It's a work in progress.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

[008] Rufus is 11 weeks old!

Time is really flying by. Between work being busy this time of year, the Superbowl, my birthday coming up, and puppy play time, I can't believe we've had Rufus for ONLY three weeks. That being said, I still can't believe he's 11 weeks old already!

I like Rufus best when he first wakes up from naps/sleeping. He's super mellow, and he'll let me pet him and snuggle him and give him lots of kisses. Once our little man gets going, he's hard to stop, and he thinks everything is a game - and therefore a reason to put something he probably shouldn't into his mouth.

We just switched his food from Nutro-Max Puppy to Canidae ALS. I transitioned him onto the Canidae by mixing it into his food, but our little monster loves anything new - so he took to the food right away, and ate around his old food. When I put his food dish down now, I have him sit and stay until it's all the way on the floor and my hand is away. Even then, sometimes he looks at me as if to say, "Is it okay now momma?" We're still mixing in some Wellness Puppy formula wet food with every meal (couldn't see the harm), which he isn't having adverse side-effects to anymore. I stopped giving him canned pumpkin because for whatever reason, it seemed to make him much more hyper and out of control/cranky.

I want to get Rufus enrolled in puppy kindergarten classes, but I'm also wary, especially since the classes we've chosen are at PetSmart with other doggies ranging from 10 weeks - 5 months. We're due for another set of shots next week (I think), so after those, we'll see about official classes outside of the house in a potentially germy environment. Rufus is responding better to sit, stay, and go get it, but he doesn't quite get lie down yet. He'll lay down of his own accord when I'm putting his leash on him by the door, but he hasn't associated the words with the action yet for when we aren't getting ready to go out.

Because Rufus is a bigger boy now, we've given him a little bit more run of the house. His room is at the end of a hallway in our house, with our room immediately to the right, Mike's office to the left, and the bathroom on the right before the bedroom. There is also a hall closet on the right before the bathroom door. We close off all of those areas, and put up his exercise pen/gate across the opening to the kitchen. Now, Rufus can run up and down that hallway from his room down the hallway, into the pool room where the side door is that we take him out through, and back. When we're in the kitchen he can see us, and he sits at the gate and cries when momma is eating her lunch and not sharing! Giving him more run of the house when we're home helps us out a ton because it keeps Rufus busy so he can help tire himself out, but also, we can rest easy knowing if we need to run into the kitchen or use the bathroom, we don't have to herd him down, pick him up, and put him in his crate.

Speaking of being a bigger boy - I can't believe how much our Rufus has grown!! He's definitely getting noticeably heavier (its harder to pick him up now). Until the other day, I couldn't tell if his body was growing any or not, but then one of my friends posted a picture of a baby corgi on my Facebook page, and I noticed that Rufus has definitely gotten bigger size-wise also! I definitely need to be better about taking pictures of him! The one a day thing didn't happen - even though I tried! He doesn't sit still enough for us to take a picture, silly boy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

[007] Its only been two weeks?!

Yesterday was officially the second week we've had Rufus home with us. I can't believe that it's only been two weeks. It feels almost like it should be closer to a month, but he just turned 10 weeks old on Tuesday.

In two weeks of being with us, he seems to be doing extremely well!

Rufus RARELY chews on things he shouldn't anymore, aside from people's hands/clothes when they come to play. He's completely stopped trying to chew on the corner of the end table we have the lamp on, as well as the handles on the sides of the recliners we have in his room currently. Everytime we bring him outside, he responds to "go potty!" even though sometimes he just wants to explore and smell everything. So far, he really prefers wet food to dry, but if we mix it together he'll eat both, although I have a sneaking suspicion that 1) his dry food wasn't doing good things for him on his own, and 2) he doesn't seem to like the dry food. He's a curious growing boy and he wants to chew on everything! Rufus is also so smart! He knows where his food and treats are (and has tried multiple times to get at them), and just the other day he tried to make a jailbreak, almost successfully. Rufus knows his name (even though I think he has selective hearing), and he responds sometimes to "come here!". 9/10 times he'll respond to sit, and maybe 5/10 I'll get a successful stay if I back away more than one step. Rufus does not seem to like drop it, or down.

He loves new toys the best - and he gets bored with old ones fast. Funny thing also - the expensive dog toys don't appeal to him at all either. He would much rather roll around on the floor with an ice cube, a water bottle, a red solo cup, or a toilet paper roll. Most of these things are things he can tear apart, which I think he likes also ;) In the morning, and when he's relatively calm, Rufus will come sit in momma's lap and chew on his nylabone which helps him since he's teething. He plays nice with girls, but rough with boys, and when he's in a new place with new people all he wants to do is play - roughly.

Rufus does not like to be put in his exercise pen. He most definitely does not like peanut butter either! Our boy is very vocal when he wants our attention or we aren't pleasing him, so the fact that the peanut butter stuck his mouth shut scared him. Rufus is also terrified of brushes. His doggy toothbrush (I had to use the rubber kind you slip on your finger), the soft brush we got to brush him, and also the brush for when he is shedding (metal). Material that makes swishy noises (think wind-pants) drive Rufus crazy.

Behaviorally, I want Rufus to learn down, and drop it/leave it. I'm going to try to work with him this weekend to see if we can get some of these, but Rufus rarely ever lays down so it's hard to get him to figure that one out. Drop it should be a little easier - all I have to do is offer him a treat and he'll drop whatever he has in his mouth. Also, while I understand that he's a puppy, and that he is playing, it's not okay that he tries to bite people's hands/clothing when he plays. He does this with everyone except for me - I'm thinking mostly because I was firm with him from the beginning about what could and couldn't be chewed on. Sometimes he will get riled up with me also though, and telling him no just makes it worse. We will be enrolling him in a puppy obedience class shortly (hopefully next week) that is taught in PetSmart, but by a good friend's step-mother - who I know for a fact is an amazing trainer and has been training dogs for years. Hopefully this will help Rufus learn some more basic commands and also teach him not to bite hands anymore.

As technical as that all sounds (ugh looks like a report card), I just wanted to have a clear note of his progress so far, and what my expectations are written out. Mainly for scrapbooking purposes ;) but also so that later on down the line if we ever get another puppy, or if someone with a new puppy has questions, I can have some facts recorded to help out.

Having Rufus, while challenging, frustrating, and exhausting at times, has really been overall great. Being responsible for a life other than your own really puts a lot of things in perspective. Also, not that we meant it as such, but this is great practice for having a baby. Obviously, babies are different in their needs and attention requirements, but I won't have to be constantly keeping my eye on baby telling it not to chew on things (at least not right away), or making sure it doesn't go potty on the floor. In some ways its comparable - I don't think either Mike or I have had full nights sleeps since before we got Rufus. I usually have to go right home after work, and while sometimes I resent that I HAVE to, 9/10 I WANT to.