Jax's first walk!

Well, it was a day short of a week since his last jab, but it was Liz's birthday and all three of us were itching to get out! So we combined another car trip, across the fen, to a quiet and probably pretty much dog-free zone for our first walk along one of the main drains around here. We started him on the lead but soon let him off and he wandered freely but never far from us. He enjoyed all the new smells finding new things including Pheasant-stripped maize and . . . rabbit droppings! Oh, he enjoyed hoovering up all those droppings. 20 mins was his limit. Another walk tomorrow!

But . . . us being us we forgot to take the camera!

Merry Xmas Jax!

Jax decides to steal our new funky mat for his own doormat!

Well, Xmas has been and gone but we've been so consumed with all the eating, drinking (Liz anyway), family, etc. there's been no time for blogging. The revitalised photo bug also faded and we find ourselves with few photo of Jax over the festive period! He did however have lots of festive fun. He continued to love the snow which stayed with us until the 28th, and we bought him a couple of new toys and some new chews (not we hasten to add wrapped as presents!) and others sent him prezzies. He also had lots of wrapping paper, ribbons, etc. to play with which kept him happy for hours.

Boxing Day and Steve's sister Heather and her two girls, Courtney (6) and Aimee (nearly 2) come for the afternoon. Aimee decides Jax's crate is just toooooo good not to crawl in to and play! She eventually let Jax back in! It was the first time Jax had met small kids, and after some initial nerves, he was soon settled and playing around with them. It was difficult to see which of them had more or less energy! They all just kept going!


More snow!

More snow overnight meant Steve had to clear the bird feeding areas and top up all the feeders - the two big seed feeders going down in double-time with the influx of birds around (inc. Bramblings, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and the usual finches). Jax was there to help of course!


Snow, snow, snow!

Last Thursday it snowed. And then it snowed some more! Good job we've got a 4x4 as our drove is treacherous now. Its snowing again tonight. But Jax discovered that snow means . . . . fun!

And this is typical of Jax - moving too quick for the camera!

Cousin Cassie

Well, shiver me timbers. Cassie (see previous post) is Jax's cousin! The SWD world is a small one, but I didn't think it was that small. They both come from the Hollutrix kennel (Lincolnshire) which is from the Ubrique Spanish line and Kiucare de Ubrique for Hollutrix is both Cassie's and Jax's grand-daddy!


Get well Cassie

This is Cassie, Jax's online girlfriend over the water in Ireland. They were born only a day or two from one another and Cassie has been following Jax's blog with her humans Darren and Tracy.

Unfortunately Cassie broke her leg the other day whilst playing (Jax - what have I told you!) and she is all bandaged up for a couple of weeks. get well soon Cassie!


Treats for Jax!

Before we got Jax we bought some puppy treats from Pets At Home. They included Kong bites and some puppy chewy biscuit things. They were both OK, but I wasn't exactly pleased with Jax's ambivalence towards them. They sounded good when put in things - made a good rattle sound, but I could tell it wasn't like giving me a fizzy cola chew as a kid!

So, when I went over to The Pet Shop in Ramsey to collect Jax's new Orijen puppy food, I asked the pet shop owner what treats he recommended. Without hesitation he reached for the natures:menu treats. Oh, and he isn't wrong! Jax goes nuts for them! He can now even tell the rustle of the treat bags from other bags! We use them in empty toilet rolls, those small yogurt drink bottles and in his kongs - they keep him occupied for, well, minutes! I've even managed to start basic sit training with them and he is just starting to work it out that when he sits and settles hi gets the treat! But all in good time.

Oh poo!

Yesterday we thought Jax was constipated as he was unable to poo when he attempted to. Liz then noticed something around his rear end and on closer inspection it turned out that his whole bum area was clogged with poo. He hadn't shown any signs of distress other than when he couldn't actually poo, but when we started to investigate the problem, he was clearly in some discomfort. I managed to extricate the poo which allowed him to go out in to the garden and relieve himself immediately before gave him a fuller shower and clean up. Oh the joys of puppy-dom!

Jax goes for a ride

We finally got to take Jax out in the car the other day. We drove the 7+ miles out to Pets At Home with Jax on Liz's lap. He was very nervous but half way their he was his relaxed self. We hit the store in a lull with few people around to make a fuss of the lovely wee Jaxster, but one of the cashiers found him adorable and gave him lots of attention! We'll aim to build up his traveling ahead of his next visit to the vet for his final jab on xmas eve.


What does Jax eat?

Jax was on Purina with the breeder and we first weaned him on to Burns mini bits but after reading up on puppy food we are now in the process of weaning him on to Orijen Puppy food which he has as a 50/50 mix with Burns.

The Dog Food Analysis website is excellent, and Orijen is only one of three dry puppy foods they recommend and it is the only one I can get in the UK! Luckily, a local pet shop (The Pet Shop, Ramsey) is the Orijen area stockist and they also highly recommended it saying it was now their top-selling premium dog food. And I'm not surprised. If you care about what goes into your own body you should care about what you put in to your dogs. And Orijen contains nowt but top dog ingredients - meat and eggs from free-range livestock, wild fish, etc (70% meat, 25% fruit, 0% grain). Absolutely bob on! And he's looking great on it and has started to fill out.

Jax's toy fun ratings update!

Kong stuff toy
Initial Jax fun rating 3/10
Current Jax fun rating 4/10
Starting to get more out of this with some new treats.

Striped chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 5/10
Current Jax fun rating 2/10
Now part of his crate chew toys which he picks up voluntarily. But latterly he seems to be ignoring it.

Monkey soft plush toy
Initial Jax fun rating 10/10
Current Jax fun rating 10/10
Still the no.1 Jax toy! Saved for anti-biting and treat play time.

Kong wubba chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 7/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
Still one of his fave toys used for general play, with or without us, and anti-biting.

Kong stuff chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 3/10
Current Jax fun rating 1/10
Still not ready for this yet? Still pays little interest.

Cardboard roll
Initial Jax fun rating 7/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
A great free toy!

Dried leaf
Initial Jax fun rating 8/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
It was one of his fave chews but now completely disintegrated! So we've found him some more and he still loves these!

Cereal packet
Initial Jax fun rating 5/10
Current Jax fun rating 7/10
Now disintegrated but another one will become available shortly!

Small plastic bottle
Jax fun rating 8/10
A new freebie which is great for sticking treats in and he chews for ages to get it out - sometimes he doesn't succeed!

Where did the week go!

Jax at 9 wks and weighing in at 3.7 kg! Thats 1.5 kg gain in two weeks!

Well, I knew that being back at work would restrict things. Even working from home and popping down to see Jax every 1.5 hours each day meant that I only had enough time to toilet and play with him and the blog had to go by the wayside!

The days have been pretty much the same routine. Jax gets through the night without a peep (still not the energy to commence night-time toilet training - but it will have to start soon!). We get him out of his crate anytime between 6-7am depending on what time Liz is up and due out. He is allowed freedom until 8.30-9am when he then gets crated when I go up to the office. I come down after 1.5 hours, then again at lunch, then again mid-afternoon. He's then uncrated for the evening from 6pm until bedtime between 11-12pm. He seems very settled with this.

Indoor toilet training was going fine apart from a wobble yesterday when he weed and pooed on the wood floor and was very restless with fast heartbeat. So something was definitely up. He was fine again this morning and no accidents today.


Red hot!

Another good night and 7am get up call from the Jaxmeister. I went down and spent an hour with him until Liz rose. It was a howling gale outside and I gave Jax the opportunity to gauge the scene by opening the door to the garden, but the howling wind clearly didn't do it for him. He decided to wait. When the wind had died down later I took him back to the door and he went straight out and peed. So he's beginning to learn some control.

Since we would be in the house all day I decided to introduce Jax to the stove (above). He watched me make it - lots of new noises and smells for him. I kept him close and got him to watch the increasing flames behind the glass. His natural instinct to retreat was very strong but he kept returning and with reassurance was happy to be with me. Liz and I stayed in front of the fire for the rest of the morning and Jax was happy to be with us and eventually falling asleep - more in front of our feet than in front of the warming fire!
Well, without wanting to appear complacent, I think we've nailed the nigh-time routine. Jax in crate. One of us spends a few minutes with him. We go to bed. Jax has nice quiet night and we go town to him at 7am. Job done! The next step will be toileting him during the night. Maybe in a night or two!

Jax continues to den under the stairs with his most ambitious addition to date. The large blanket above was in his crate but got soiled on the trip to the vets yesterday so was laundered. It was lying on the kitchen floor this morning until Jax came across it. 'I recognise that' he thought, "Its mine!'. So with a good bite and grip he grabbed the blanket and dragged it down the corridor to his den and guarded it!

We continued to crate Jax on and off during the day without any problems. No whimpering, just a sniff round then asleep. Hopefully he'll be OK now when I'm in the office from Monday. He spend much of his time asleep anyway, so I'll just have make his hours out of the crate eventful and tiring!

Garden toilet training continues to go very well with Jax coming out on command and the one occasion he he needed to go and it was spotted, he went in his papered area without fuss. I don't think he's far off going to the door when he needs to go out.

From Jax's point of view the event of the day was my disappearance for the afternoon. For today was The Posh - Peterborough Utd home to Swansea City. Lix said he constantly sniffed around and appeared to look for me during the day and was so excited and demanding of my attention when I returned home at 6.30pm.


Jax's first visit to the vets

Jax getting lots of reassurance after his first traumatic visit to the vets.

It was another peaceful night in the Dudley household as Jax again sleeps through until 6.30am without a peep. Brilliant! Liz was first down to him and gave him his early morning fussing and breakfast. He had a new person to sniff and be fussed by today as Liz's brother Martin was over from Holland. He doesn't wear socks in the house and this meant free wash from Jax!

During the morning I continued to take him out to the garden to toilet and by the afternoon he was coming as soon as I opened the door and trotting out to his toilet area - what a boy! No accidents either, with just one indoors pee and that was in his papered area.

The big event of the day was Jax's first visit to the vet. I had to put his crate in the back of the car and take him on my own. I should have thought it through more, perhaps had him crated in the car the last few days with the engine running, cos he didn't like it! Not a jot. Well, I know few folk who themselves don't like the fen roads some are so bad - and some of our local drives are amongst the poorest I know in the fens. He soiled his cage on the way to the vet so was very shaken when we arrived. He got lots of fuss from me before we went in. The staff were great. Most hadn't seen a SWD before so they gave him lots of fuss. One of the other pet owners also fussed him and he calmed down to the extent he fell asleep in my arms! Our turn and he was as good as gold in the vets table. He didn't mind all the handling - checking his ears, etc for a thorough first check-up. Then came the jab - not a flinch! He got a treat from the vet for being a good boy and more fuss on the way out through reception. But then it was back in to the dreaded car! I spent five or so minutes with the tailgate and crate open fussing him to calm him him as much as possible. We went a different way as we had to go via the village to collect Mum's paper. He was at least led down when we got home but he was still very nervous. So, it was straight into his room and lots and lots of fuss to give him reassurance that everything was OK. After about ten minutes of fuss and play he was asleep - see, nothing to worry about!

The rest of the day was routine with outside toileting going very well and lots of play. The vet said we should introduce him to around 10 new things a day! Wow. I thought we were already overwhelming him. Anyway, at her word, and on the advice of fellow SWD owners in Ireland, Darren and Tracey (owners' of Cassie) he got a chunk of raw carrot. And Wow! what a hit. He demolished it in next to no time. I'll figure out other things he can play with over the weekend!

The other happening to mention is his new den area. Over the last few days it was noticeable that things had started to accumulate under the stairs, but today he emptied his crate of toys and my old t-shirt and deposited them all under the stairs (below) and then he dragged an (unwashed) bedshirt from besides the washing machine. Anything new also ends up there. I wonder if he has worked out that we don't actually walk through this area, just around it, so its a safe place for him?


Jax finds his voice

Jax in day two of toilet training in the garden. So far so good! Note the collar - been on most of the day!

Well, not just a good night from Jax, but a great night! Not a murmur from all night, which was great as I for one was have one of those killer cold nights! Liz was up first and down to him around 6.20am and he was awake, but no noise! She fussed him and got him his breakfast and left him in his crate while she got ready for work. He whimpered a little until I went down at 6.50am and fussed and played with him for an hour before crating him.

Following a great night we had a great day! No indoor accidents and garden toilet training going great too! He seems to be enjoying the garden, exploring the different areas whilst he's out there - but he gets soaked on this damp days when the grass doesn't see enough sun or wind to dry. Still, toweling him down later is just as much fun - eh Jax!

The other event of the day was Jax started barking! During some play sessions he barked a few times as we played together with his monkey and wubba chew toys. He's sounding very confident in his new home!

Jax's toy fun ratings update!

Kong stuff toy
Initial Jax fun rating 3/10
Current Jax fun rating 2/10
Maybe this is too large for him at present?

Striped chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 5/10
Current Jax fun rating 6/10
Now part of his crate chew toys which he picks up voluntarily.

Monkey soft plush toy
Initial Jax fun rating 10/10
Current Jax fun rating 10/10
Still the no.1 Jax toy! Saved for anti-biting and treat play time.

Kong wubba chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 7/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
One of his fave toys used for general play, with or without us, and anti-biting.

Kong stuff chew toy
Initial Jax fun rating 3/10
Current Jax fun rating 1/10
Not ready for this yet? Pays little interest. I found it buried in his crate. Accident or done on purpose?

Cardboard roll
Initial Jax fun rating 7/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
A great free toy!

Dried leaf
Initial Jax fun rating 8/10
Current Jax fun rating 9/10
It was one of his fave chews but now completely disintegrated!

Cereal packet
Initial Jax fun rating 5/10
Current Jax fun rating 7/10
Coming in to its own. Still contains a treat but he is getting nearer to the bottom!


Meet the neighbours

Another of Jax's favourite sleep spots - where ever my house sandals are - on my feet or not!

Overnight Jax continues to be a star waking only at 4am and 5am for about five minutes each time. He was asleep when Liz got up at 6.10am so she got him, gave him his early morning fuss and breakfast. He went back in his crate OK whilst she went off to get ready for work and I got up at 6.30am (a lot earlier than I normally do being a work@home hubby I can tell you!). I played and fussed the Jaxster and made sure he was eating, drinking and peeing - which he was, before crating him whilst I did my own breakfast and sorted out the kitchen (now a morning shore rather than my end of day chore).

Mid-morning, a real treat for us both was our work@home neighbour Debbie came round for coffee and to meet Jax. Introductions took place in the kitchen and Jax was great. He was clearly unsure at first, especially as Debbie will bring with her her own dog's (Keeper, a lovely long-haired golden retriever). Debbie being a doggie person new how to handle him, she got on to the floor and let him take his time and it wasn't long before his tail rose from between his legs to its usual cocky position! We took our coffee through to the main living room (Jax's realm!) and after a bit more fuss and play Jax soon curled up round my feet and showed Debbie that he's already a daddy's boy!

Debbie bid us farewell with Jax showing off to her that he can pee on the put down paper (well, he sometimes manages to!). I crated Jax for 45 mins whilst I got one with a load of housework and he went to sleep without a whimper. What a good boy! I let him out again over lunchtime including another visit to the garden where I got him to have a pee at last. I couldn't repeat it again later in the day though. But we seem to be getting the crating in to a routine which is the think I want to crak before next Monday and I return to my upstairs office and Jax will be crated between regular visits from me to toilet and play.

Weighed Jax today. The breeder told us he was just over 2kg at the weekend - he's 3.15kg now! No wonder he eats all he's food - we've only been giving him the recommended amount for a 2kg pup! We'll up it from the morning when he will be on the Burns mini bites only having now used up all the breeder's weening food up.

I took Jax in to Mum's room some more during the day, whenever he followed me into the kitchen I opened Mum's sitting room door and let him wander freely in and out. He's gaining so much confidence now around Mum, especially around the two wheeler she's got. He doesn't seem too fussed by them now, not even when he meets on in the corridor and it attempts to squash him against the wall! He's a tough wee nut.

The cold threatening to swamp me finally broke with a vengeance during the evening so I was grateful when Liz came home to bouncing, happy Jax, for her to take over puppy watch! I slunk off to bed at 10pm with the cold still worsening and left Liz to settle Jax down. Liz was worried that Jax was too alert when she eventually came up to bed, but after only a few whimpers all was quiet from below. But for how long? Would he sound his 11.30pm alarm as usual?

Our puppy info sources!

As puppy owning virgins, Liz and I needed some help with preparing for Jax's arrival and especially now we have got him.

Before we got Jax I subscribed to Pet Forums. This is a fabulous online community with loads of very knowledgeable dog owners willing to share their expertise. I've only had to ask a couple of questions as the vast pst thread resource and many, many stickies answered most of my early questions about getting Jax.

We bought two puppy books - one by Ian Dunbar and this, The Perfect Puppy, by Gwen Bailey. We soon abandoned the Ian Dunbar book, it was liked being preached at by the Rev Ian Paisley ('thou shall do it this way or your puppy dawg will be dooooooomed!' sybdrome!).

Gwen Bailey's book however is brilliant. Its easy to read, really well written and constructed and we thoroughly recommend it. Its by my bedside so I can gen up on puppy advice each evening!

The second bedside book we have is this Kennel Club guide, Spanish Water Dog by Christina Desarnoud. This gives us in-depth knowledge of this very rare and only recently recognised breed including the breeds history. Its fascinating to learn about their Turkish origin, their water dog relations (inc. the Portuguese Water Dog made famous by the Obamas puppy Bo) and how they have been used as working dogs for centuries for herding sheep and cattle, as well as harbour work in some of the northern Spanish ports, and are widely used on the continent today as police sniffer dogs and search and rescue.


Garden capers

Wee Jax asleep in one of his favourite places under one of the chairs. He likes to sleep across things, feet, shoes, toys, rolled up bedding - I think it must be part of that puppy thing where they lay across each other when asleep.

Well, what a night! All quiet! If Jax woke he didn't make a fuss and with me being such a light sleeper and him being directly below his whines usually come flying up the open plan staircase and straight into my lugholes!

Jax woke at 6.40am and we heard him straight away. Liz didn't leave for work as early this morning so she got up at 7am and went down to him first. After lots of fuss and attention she fed him and left him in his crate and pen to eat. I went down at 7.20am and he hadn't started his food and was still excited by our rising. So, some fuss in the pen and I got him to start his food by feeding him by hand then leading his nose to his bowl - worked first time.

After some time out of crate/pen it was time to get him back in there whilst I caught up on some house chores. As the work@home husband and Liz leaving early and getting home late its my job to make sure the house stays clean and washing gets done etc. So, having neglected the kitchen last night I spent half an hour cleaning whilst he was quiet in his pen. I then had breakfast in the kitchen during which time he woke up and began whining. I ignored him and continued in the kitchen and then set about with some chores outside - topping all the bird feeders (all 10 of them), break the ice on the bird baths (yes, we had a hard frost last night), etc.

Half an hour later I was back inside and Jax was overexcited as usual! I'm trying to keep the fussing low key rather than high and hyper. I 'm trying to get him to know the difference between play and fuss/reward and I think it is slowly working. He's beginning to calm more quickly with me and then go about playing. He's also much happier playing with himself and doesn't need me to instigate play with one of his toys. When I do play I only play with him with certain items, the others are his to find and play with, and this too is working well.

We're still hit and miss on the toilet front. At least all his poos are in the pen, so he's getting that right now (fingers crossed continuously!). When he gets his pee right he gets fussed and when it gets it wrong he gets ignored but he likes nothing more than to play with the kitchen towel I'm holding when wiping up his pee! I also have to wipe his willy area and feet as he inevitably walks through his pee spreads it everywhere. His thick hair around his willy just gets wet and drips. I have at least managed to tell the difference between his wet paws marks and his wet beard marks after he's had a drink!

He didn't half sleep this morning. For two hours solid. Had I had known I would have got him down in the crate and done more around the house and gone out! He woke up at lunchtime - long after his normal feed time, and was very hungry.

My lunchtime was another time to confine him to the crate whilst I was in the kitchen preoccupied. He whined on and off put I ate my lunch at the table next to him and he quietened down. Even with all the morning's sleep he seemed happy to have some more!

On wakening I decided I'd try him out in the garden. He peed on getting up and so I played with him for a while and then after half an hour decided it was time for a pee. I took him into the back garden. He just shivered next to me! After a minute he started to wander, shivering all the time and keep crouched to the ground. I thought I'd give it five minutes and see how it did. If he didn't pee it was at least getting him used to being outdoors. Unfortunately being rural can have its disadvantages and every time there was a sudden noise (car going past on the drove, a Pheasant calling , etc) and ran straight back to me. After five minutes he'd stop shivering (but I started as my toes were freezing - I'd gone out purposely in my house sandals he loves to sleep with so he had a reference point at his level!). He was calming down and beginning to walk around normally. Still no pee so I thought I would take him indoors.

We played for around 15 minutes - to start with with his towel I was 'trying' to drive him with - but then with a couple of favourite chews and toys. He was clearly still very excited about his outdoor adventure! I opened french door and he came straight away. This time I had forgotten about the step down which he was clearly daunted by, but with some encouragement he made it down (now a purposely placed couple of bricks there as a puppy step for him!). He wandered around slowly at first. No shivering or crouching, and within a couple of minutes he was bolting around chasing leaves and sniffing at everything he could. I thought if nothing else all the activity will get him going and will also help tire him. He was happy sniffing around and getting used to things. I could practice my call-back command when he wandered off too far, which he responded to each time (good lad!) and whilst he was so distracted I popped his collar on again which he didn't suss for at least gone five minutes! Even when he did start to scratch at it, it was only a short burst followed by an excited run and jump at some leaves! Despite a couple of near pee occasions I was giving up hope when he suddenly ran on to one of the paved areas and without warning crouched and pooed! He went without a poo the last two afternoons so one mid-afternoon today was unexpected. But great! No pee though, and as he was getting wetter by the minute and my toes were getting colder, I walked back towards the door and he immediately followed. Door open, up the puppy step and he was back in and the attempted drying started again! Oh he's gonna take some drying on wet walk days in the future! He took some calming down after all that excitement, but a big slurp and a nibble at his food helped, then he was in the crate. He will be both tired and need a pee in equal measure so whilst I busied myself with emails and blogs he went to sleep in his crate.

The rest of the day was now routine - play, explore, sleep. I crated him a couple more times whilst I got one with things and his whining is getting less intense and for shorter periods.

In the evening Liz came home and he got all the fuss he wanted from her. We spent some time in Mum's sitting room. He was not 100% at first. He would venture in but keep coming back to me for reassurance before going back in further. But he soon found his confidence and was happy trotting in and out at will. When anything crops up that really throws him its a quick sprint back to the main living room - his realm!

He slept again much of the late evening so we woke him to feed and toilet him in good time before we went to bed and wanted to settle him down in to his crate. Even though we wanted an early night and started getting sorted at 10pm, we didn't get upstairs until 10.30pm. Liz was still down stairs watching him in his crate whilst I was upstairs and he reacted to every noise from above. She came up and he was silent until 11.30pm when he whined for half an hour. But what of the night? Is he getting better or worse?


Mon, 30 Nov 09 - coming out of his shell

Jax trying his collar for the first time whilst distracted by 'monkey' - a very successful introduction. For more about his toys see here.

Well, Jax's second night was quieter than the first. After the initial 1/2 hour whining he settled down and woke only twice, once at 1.30am and again at 3.30am, each for 15 mins whining - no barking or yelping. He then woke up proper at 5.30am. Liz was due up at 6am to get ready for work, so we left him. He quietened down on and off, but he was still whimpering when we went down at 6.40am for Liz to leave for work. We fussed him for five minutes before Liz left and then I was left home alone with him.

After some breakfast for us both, and some play, we were both back to sleep - Jax in his crate and me on the sofa - from 8.30-9.30am. The rest of the morning was spent with some play, exploring, including voluntarily wandering into Mum's sitting room for the first time, and me sat on the sofa with the laptop and letting him get on with his own company and play.

The main event was the introduction of 'monkey' - a soft plush toy bought as an ant-biting and treat toy. And it worked a treat! As he got more excited with me and his nipping turned to bites, it was a firm 'ah-ah' and withdrawing my hands and introduced monkey. What fun time he then had! Once he had lost his focus on the toy I removed it and he played with other things. When I next played with him, I repeated the monkey toy as soon as his nips turned to bites. And so on. He gets to play with monkey every couple of hours and each time its a real treat.

The other event was introducing him to his collar. Since monkey was such as success, I put his collar on him for a short time during one of the monkey plays. He didn't bother with the collar until well after he had lost focus on monkey. I let him scratch at it a couple of times then removed it. A couple of hours later I repeated it, same routine, but let him scratch at it a bit longer. Once he stopped I removed it. More of this tomorrow.

We managed to get back on track a bit more with the toilet. He still doesn't understand the command, but a bit more diligence from me and all but two pees were in the pen - the other two, not even on the wood. Once on the carpet (a first) and the second in his crate (another first). I only discovered the latter when I was looking for his pee when I knew he'd been unseen. I'd checked everywhere other than the crate and bingo! found it.

It was time for confinement. I'm off work this week and my main aim is to familiarise Jax with being crated so that when I return to work next week he's OK. I work from home so popping downstairs for regular toilet and play breaks will be OK, but he will have to learn to be on his own for a couple of hours at time whilst I'm in the office or out. Thankfully he has already started denning in the crate - he takes most things he can get his mouth on back there! He frequently turns his bedding and has taken to burying one of his chew toys under everything. So the signs are good. So after lunch I kept him in the crate and stayed in the room until he fell asleep. I then tiptoed out of the room and was free for an hour or so do run some errands. I left the radio on as I have the radio on all the time in every room I'm using, so he needs to get used to that too.

I got back about 1.5 hrs later and he spying through the window I could see he was laid down quiet in the crate. On entering he was of course thrilled to see me and got lots of fuss and a long play session before he fell down exhausted and back to sleep. Mum said he whined for about 10 minutes after I had gone (clearly not asleep then but heard me leave) but he was then quiet for the rest of the time.

In the afternoon he voluntarily wandered in to Mum's sitting room where he immediately recognised Mum and was happy to have some fuss from someone else.

This puppy lark is knackering! So at 5.30pm I flaked out on the living room floor and at some point Jax came and lay across my legs as we were both woken suddenly by my mobile and a call from Liz at 6.30pm! At present Jax nearly always falls asleep around my feet or with head in one of my cast-off sandals. I think we've bonded!

It was time for Jax's feed. He's eating well and has visibly gown (I think anyway!) in the last few days. I left him eating his food whilst I went into the kitchen and when I'd come back he'd fully toileted in the pen. Well done boy!

It was clear that Jax was more relaxed today in his new home. He and I have bonded big time and when he went in to Mum's room he came back to me stood in the doorway for some reassurance before going back in to the strange room. His stance and gait has also changed. First he's got used to the different floor surfaces, but he occasionally forgets to change traction when he belts from carpet to wood floor! Hilarious when one side is on the carpet and the other is on the wood - whoops! He's beginning to strut around the main living room now he knows it but as soon as he wanders down the corridor the kitchen and Mum's rooms he proceeds much more cautiously in a semi-cower. But even that is started to change throughout the day. Lets see how is tomorrow in this part of the house.

Liz didn't get home till gone 8.30pm but she was thrilled to see wee Jax and he was thrilled to see her too! He got lots more fuss and followed her around whilst we prepared something to eat. But all the excitement of Liz coming home was too much and he as soon asleep. Long and deep and we had to wake him some time before we went to bed in order to get him up and active and tired again to match us going to bed ourselves. So, by 11pm we had settled him back down in his crate and we were in bed. He woke around 11.30pm and whined for half an hour then silence. But for how long?

Mon, 30 Nov 09 - Jax's crate/pen and toys!

This is Jax's crate and pen. The crate is a 91cm suitable for an adult SWD - so plenty of room to grow in to. We bought the crate from our local Petsathome store.

The pen is an 8x 61cm panel pen giving him 1.2m square of space which we bought from our local independent pet shop.

He's got lots to keep him happy at play - toys, blankets, towels, etc - all very chewable. here's a run down of his toys and what he thinks of them!

A pink stuff kong for treats and chewing. Jax's fun rating 3/10.

A plastic chew. Jax's fun rating 5/10.

A puppy chew kong which you can also stuff with small treats. Jax's fun rating 3/10.

The cardboard inner from a kitchen roll. Jax's fun rating 7/10. We'll start stuffing these with treats as he gets older for even more fun!

Kong puppy wubba. Jax's fun rating 7/10.

Dead dried leaf from a house plant. Jax's fun rating 8/10.

Cereal packet (put treats inside). Jax's fun rating 5/10.

Jax with his soft toy monkey. We're using this as a treat toy and when he starts to chew our hands/feet. He just loves it! Jax's fun rating 10/10.

And this is what we get after an active play session!

So, a mixed bag so far with a couple of the freebies (dead houseplant leaf and cardboard roll) real winners, but the soft plush toy monkey used for treat playing is the real hit.