Thursday, January 19, 2012

[004] It's puppy day!

I never thought today would get here, and I'm so excited it finally has!

I don't have much to say right now that I haven't said already. Just wanted to push out a quick entry though in case I don't get the time later. I'm anticipating lots of puppy snuggling and playing!

I called our breeder this morning and she said Rufus is so excited for us to come get him. He had a special bath last night so he's all squeaky clean! She shared with me that he loooves his dry food (they get Nutro-Max puppy), ice cubes, and mowing everyone down! Sounds like the high energy puppy we were looking for! I just have to make extra sure he's a good boy and doesn't mow me down! Seeing as how this is my first doggie, I want to make sure I'm a good mommy, but that I can discipline him also when it's necessary.

I feel kind-of sad that I'm taking him from his mommy, daddy, and brothers and sisters. The day had to come eventually, so I'm sure whether he is 8 weeks, 10 weeks, or even older, that I would still feel sad separating him from his family. We'll be the best family ever for him though! I'm also sad, because whenever a puppy is adopted, the breeder posts up a picture on the website of the new parents-to-be and the puppy, and so far only Rufus and one other littermate have been adopted I think. That leaves 1 more little girl, and 2 more little boys that still need homes! If any of you are in the Northeast near NY, CT, or the surrounding areas, and are looking/know someone who is looking, please let me know!

My copy of "Mother Knows Best" came in the mail this morning. I'm pretty sure I've read enough advice on here for housebreaking Rufus - which is what my main concern is right now - so I've got some time to read the book and hopefully get some helpful tips and tricks for teaching him some basic obedience. If he really is a mower, then STAY might be the first one instead of sit!

Mike, being a cat person, still isn't AS excited as I am, but I think once he realizes that I'm doing all the feeding, training, housebreaking, and he gets to do all the fun stuff - playing, snuggling, taking Rufus with him for jogs, then I think we'll have more of a balance of excitement. He shows off pictures of him like a real proud poppa right now though, so I can't complain too much. My only concern is making sure that when we do discipline, or any kind of training, that we use the same methods/routines so that Rufus "gets it" a lot faster.

That's all for now - I'll be posting tomorrow with some pictures and stories I'm sure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

[003] You're only a day away!

I seriously must've woken up at least 10 times this morning beween 5AM and 7AM. A few of those times (silly me) I bolted up in a panic thinking I had to take Rufus out to go potty. The rest of them, I woke up super excited thinking that today was the day we were bringing him home.

Clearly, I'm beyond excited for this little fur baby to come home!

That's part of the reason why I waited so long to go out and buy supplies for him. Setting up last night got me so much more excited than I was - Mike thought I was cute, but I couldn't help but to feel a little bit crazy at how hyper I was.

So right now, Rufus has the life! His crate is in our room, on my side of the bed and it's stocked with two super worn in comfy towels, a fleece liner, and a fleece blanket I have. We covered the crate with another fleece blanket to give it a "den-like" feel for him, and I snuck in a few plushie toys for him to snuggle with.

His leash, and treats are right by the door we'll be bringing him out of to do his business. I'm anticipating some late night/early morning wakeups where I'll be groggy, so having everything right by the door, ready to go is the route I'm going. His food and water bowls are also by that door, as our kitchen floor never is clean! No matter how hard I try, since its the room right when you come in the front door, dirt, mud, leaves, etc ends up all over that floor no matter how often I clean it. I might end up moving them away from there though, because when he goes for the door I might not know if he's going for food or to go out! I've read on here that some people feed their puppies in their crates, so maybe we'll experiment a little with that too

Similar to the 365 project, and because I hear they grow so fast, I'm going to try to take at least one picture a day of Rufus for his first year. It'll be fun to look back at the end of the year at a slideshow and watch him transform from a little puppy to a full-sized corgi

The hunt is on for an x-pen now. I've gotten a few good suggestions from members on here as well as friends, so we're going to see how the weather holds up (snow and sleet predicted for this weekend! Yikes!) for the rest of the winter I think before we find any kind of solution for having Rufus outside. Obviously, we will still be walking him every day in addition to potty time, and we have a room set up for him to play in without a leash on - but I'm sure it doesn't compare to being outside with no leash at all!

Also, after more great suggestions, I think until Rufus gets his second set of shots, most behaviorial training classes won't admit him, so I'm going to try to train him at home from day one to do the simple commands - sit, stay, lay down, come. My boss, who raised a golden retriever puppy, told me how he used to tell her to sit, lay down, give paw after she came in from doing her business and then he would give her another treat. That seems like a good idea, especially since we're going to be going out in some muddy patches with spring coming up, so having Rufus sit so I can clean off his paws before he comes in the house would be a huge plus!

There are so many things I'm looking forward to with having Rufus home with us! Of course, playing with him the instant we get home, and watching him explore his surroundings is top of my list right now. I'm sure nothing is going to beat the feeling of coming home after a long tiring day and having my little buddy to snuggle with (aside from Mike of course!!)

So tomorrow is the day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[002] Coming down the home stretch!

We've got two more days until we pick Rufus up, and I've already gone into full-blown mommy mode!

What's really been making me laugh since day one when we picked him out is how differently Mike and I are approaching raising/parenting a puppy. Sometimes I want to yell at him because he seems so disinterested but then I realize he's recognizing the fact that I'm crazy about being in control and I need to know anything and everything to be prepared, and that I WANT to explain it all to him. Multiple times. I'm so super obsessed with making sure I'm prepared for all situations, and Mike has always been more of a hands-on, I'll figure it out as we go type. One example that comes to mind that highlights how that difference is when we went rock scrambling in upstate NY. He had gone to this particular area dozens of times, and I had gone only once before. Obviously, he knew a lot of paths that weren't specifically marked out, and he took me on one of those for our adventure. Needless to say, the higher up we got, without a visable path in sight, the more upset I got. According to him the path was "Up more and to the left" and as far as I was concerned, if he couldn't show me, or tell me in exactly how many more steps we would get there I was done! We ended up coming back down and the next time he went with his friends, they went up the same way, and he found out we were really only 15 feet more from the path! What a disappointment! It seems like being parents is going to be similar to that for us - him following his instincts and me needing to have all the facts first.

I want to give a major thank you to everyone on here for providing helpful information, and answers to my million questions. We've decided that we're going to nix the bed in the crate until Rufus is old enough to not have frequent accidents/chew the bed up. We're also going to bring the crate in our room for bedtime and for when we are not home. He will be allowed to have playtime in the empty room we have when he's under supervision, and occasionally when he's not. Once he proves we can trust him, he'll definitely have free reign over the house.

I'm going to go and return the Innova I bought to switch him to, and get some of the same food the breeder is feeding him, just until he gets adjusted to us and being in a new home. We definitely want to be feeding him the best, but not at the risk of upsetting his little tummy. Also, since I won't have Mike hurrying me along, I'm going to look at some more toys, specifically for Rufus to chew on since he will be teething twice in the next year (if I've got my facts right on that). I definitely will have to pick up a spot cleaner also for when he has accidents.

While I'm at Petco, I'm going to talk to the dog trainers they have there about puppy training classes. I know some people don't like the big chain stores and how they train puppies, but the staff at our local Petco is extremely courteous, and very knowledgeable. I think for basic obedience training, it wouldn't hurt to bring Rufus to these classes (1 a week for 6 weeks), especially because he will get to socialize with other puppies.

I did order Mother Knows Best at the advice of breeder one that I had spoken to, so I'm looking to that to help us train better at home also - plus, the breeder we are picking Rufus up from has definitely made me aware that she is available any time to ask questions and that she expects lots of updates on his progress.

Later tonight is when we'll be doing last of the puppy setup! We still have to take down our Christmas tree, and now we'll have to get his crate all situated in our room as well

Monday, January 16, 2012

[001] Every story has a beginning...

Our story begins a month and a half ago.

Actually, I guess it begins earlier for me. You see, since I was little, I always wanted a dog! Unfortunately, due to the fact that we lived in an appartment, dogs were not allowed. We had stints with hamsters and goldfish, but they just weren't the same thing as a dog! So, I promised myself from the very first moment I understood why we couldn't bring home a lovable, cuddly friend that when I moved out on my own, one day, the first thing I would get would be a puppy.

Fast-forward to a month and a half ago, where I finally convinced my boyfriend to take the plunge with me and adopt a puppy. We decided, or I should say, I decided on a corgi because I had heard great things about them - they were absolutely adorable for starters! Loyal, cuddly, active - and small. It all seemed to fall into line with what we were looking for. And then I saw the corgi flop video on YouTube and fell in love. Mike, being the best boyfriend ever, agreed that a corgi was still indeed manly enough for him, provided it would run with him when he went for long runs. I think my excitement over getting a corgi puppy was infectious though and before I knew it "I don't know" turned into "I can't wait"

I did my research. Ohhh believe me I did my research. Tons of hours on the internet between the American Kennel Club, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Association of America, and various other blogs and websites about corgis. Corgis live 15-20 years, if cared for properly, and I was obsessed with being the best corgi momma ever. What should they eat? Do they like to cuddle? How do I housebreak this little thing? You name it, I had a question on it.

After I felt like we were very well versed in all the ins and outs of a corgi (or as well as we could be anyway - each dog will have a personality of its own after all), we started to look for breeders. Mike was pretty content to sit back and let me do all the work on this - mostly because at this point he was still at the "I don't know phase". I decided to steam-roll him, Leslie Knope style, into being on board and excited. I found quite a few between all the links and information available online, and started sending out general email inquiries asking if any had puppies available and how much they wanted.

Most breeders take the stance that if you are asking how much the puppies cost, you aren't a serious potential puppy owner. I wanted to cover all my bases though. A puppy won't only be a huge responsibility as far as care goes, but financially as well. Just as I wouldn't bring a baby into this world without knowing I could care for it in all ways necessary, I didn't want to bring a corgi into our home not knowing if we could afford to maintain the kind of lifestyle for him that was necessary. Fortunately, I was contacted back by 3 breeders who consented to discuss price with me after I explained it was just to ensure that financially we could do this.

The first breeder was definitely a momma hen about her pups! The line they came from was champion, and she wanted a significant amount of money for a puppy, plus a deposit up front, which could only be placed if we drove all the way out to where she was, met her and the puppies, and she approved of us. Quite a daunting task considering she lived an hour and a half away! I read up on breeders though and knew that a responsible one would insist on meeting us and asking us a dozen questions about our lifestyle and home to make sure his/her babies were going to good homes.

We had a lot of uncertainty about breeder one. What if she didn't like us? What if we didn't raise the puppy the way she wanted? Would the contract let her take it back? In the middle of all of these questions (and quite a bit of shock on Mikes part as to how much this puppy would cost and the types of food this lady fed them), a second breeder that I found via the American Kennel Club website contacted us back.

I spoke to her briefly to get the basic information. She wanted much less for her puppies, and was much less strict about how they were raised, what they were fed, etc. provided that they did go to loving families. The momma and daddy dogs were not from champion lines, but for us, showing our new addition wasn't something we were really interested in doing. We figured that there would be no harm in meeting her and the puppies and quickly set up an appointment for two days from then to go out and visit the puppies.

On the day we drove out to meet breeder two, we went over the river and through the woods (literally). We drove up to the house, walked up the walk, and quietly discussed whether or not I had copied the right address from her website, because we didn't hear a peep from inside of the house. Mike was brave, and rang the door bell, and then we heard barking. Three short, quick barks, which ceased when the breeder's son opened the door, and momma dog came up, rolled over, and begged Mike to pet her. Daddy followed suit. We exchanged glances - what well behaved doggies, and oh how cute! A corgi in real life is so much better than anything you can see in pictures or on the internet!!

The breeder brought us back to see the puppies. There were 5 little ones, all just two weeks old to the day. I was a little wary about picking out a pup that was only two weeks old, who had literally just opened its eyes, but they were so adorable that we just couldn't help holding each and every one of them. The breeder asked us a bunch of questions about our home life, like who would be home to take care of the puppy, what hours we worked, etc. Eventually we got down to the nitty-gritty - did we want a boy or a girl?!

Mike and I live in a house that he owns, and we have a downstairs roommate, Steve. Of course, my brain was immediately like "GIRL!! Then I'm not outnumbered!!", but then we asked the breeder questions about the temperament of her momma and daddy dogs. We indicated we wanted a puppy that would be active, but snuggly on the couch also, and for me, it was definitely important that the dog we picked would want lots of love and attention from us - because I definitely want to give lots of love and attention and get it in return!! The breeder indicated that daddy dog was more of the snuggler, while momma was a little bit more independent.

I could see Mike had already settled on a boy. Three of his friends are expecting, and all are expecting boys. We understood that we might not get the same personality as daddy in a male pup necessarily, but for us, in the end (and I had to agree with him) a boy would be best. The breeder gave us each of the boys one-by-one and we held them, clearly agonized over which one we wanted.

Eventually, we both held one that looked like a little guinea pig (well, they all looked like guinea pigs), with a little white stripe on top of his head. Because we woke him up from his nap, he let out a few squeaks of protest that sounded like "EH HEH HEH HEH", before he snuggled up against me. Ohhhhh boy, this was our boy! Mike held him next and fell just as much in love with him as I did. Forget about traveling an hour and a half, forget about feeding crazy foods and having to train to be a champion dog - this was our puppy!

Since we didn't know what gender puppy we would pick, we were really unprepared when it came to names. I liked the idea of naming him Chunk because corgis are so cute and cuddly like little chunk monsters, but I had a feeling the breeder would definitely not let us bring him home if I named him that! Although, to be fair, Chelsea Handler named her dog Chunk! I decided on the ride over that I liked Lucy if we picked out a girl, but since that wasn't the case, and Chunk was out, we were stuck.

The whole ride home, I agonized over names. Teddy? Chucky? Mike just quietly shook his head at all of them and told me I was thinking too hard about it. Here I am fuming in the passenger seat, half panicked that we are bad parents for not having a name, because well gee, I don't see him suggesting anything, when he just turned and looked at me, and said, quite simply, Rufus.

I'm still mad that he pulled that out of thin air

That night we were the most disgusting proud parents ever. We sent out pictures of our two-week old furry baby to anyone and everyone we talked to. We put up the pictures on Facebook, and must have fielded the same questions 8 billion times (how old is he? When do you get him? What did you name him?). When the texts and comments finally died down, I was just awestruck at how many aunts and uncles Rufus will have. "That puppy is so well loved already, and he isn't even home yet", I remember thinking.

Weeks dragged by. And I mean dragged. You try picking up and snuggling with a 2 week old puppy you've wanted all your life, and then have to give him back for 6 more weeks!! The breeder was so accomidating, and so nice, and answered the 50 million questions I emailed her about - from food to puppy proofing our home, to what we would need to have before we brought our new addition home. Not to mention, she made time during the HOLIDAYS to take an updated picture of Rufus for us! We have one handsome boy coming to live with us

Finally, this weekend, we went out and bought Rufus a snuggly bed, a Kong toy (I've heard such good things about these), doggy toothpaste and toothbrush, food and water bowls, a brush, and some toys. We set up his crate in our spare room, which is officially known as Rufus' room right now, and we've been hoarding newspaper like crazy! At some point before we pick him up, I'm going to go out and pick up an exercise pen for him because his bed takes up his WHOLE crate, which wouldnt be good if he had accidents in the middle of the night.

The long wait is ALMOST over! Rufus is coming home on Thursday night, and we really couldn't be any more excited.

I'm a little worried for him. I feel bad taking him from his mommy, daddy, and brothers and sisters, but just like I had to move out, it's something that every puppy has to do. Also, because he will be 8 weeks old, he needs his first set of shots, which we have set up an appointment with a vet for at 9AM on Saturday. We will be sure to give him lots of snuggles and some treats to cheer him up, but I worry that maybe momma corgi would be better for that job than we would.

Stay tuned (if you managed to get this far, I'm sure that won't be too hard) and keep reading for more updates on how we do with Rufus!