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.

Sun, 29 Nov 09 (prt 2) - trial and error

Jax gets friendly with Mum (Elsie), the third human in the household. I think they get on!

Well, yesterday afternoon and evening was a mixed bag. Liz and Mum went out shopping for Mum (major expedition these days now mum is pushing 91). I was left home alone with the Jax-meister. The afternoon was a mix of play, explore and sleep (thats the new routine!). Around 4.15pm we had a torrential rainstorm and the noise of the rain on the windows scared wee Jax to the point he was scrambling to get up to me on the sofa whimpering constantly. So I lifted him up and he immediately nestled down and shoved his head under my armpit. And there he stayed for about 20 mins until the rain and noise passed! There's never gonna be anyone around with a camera at moments like that. He stayed fast asleep on my lap whilst I watched the Arsenal v Chelsea game - good boy! (Chelski won - boooo).

Even so the experience unsettled him and the rest of the day's toilets were about 50/50 between proper toilet area and the wooden floor. We're spotting the signs though, but he seems to be so quick - sniff, sniff, wee! Before we can react. Oh hum. Early days still. I've papered some of the floor outside his pen toilet to see if this helps. Fingers crossed (lots of that now!).

I'd tried him in his crate and pen with the door shut a couple of times already at meal times and he just whimpered endlessly - which is a tad off-putting when trying to have a family meal. And its difficult for family members not to talk to him to calm him. Anyway, come dinner this evening, I popped him in the crate with his favourite chew toy and closed the door. I stood outside for a few minutes and nothing. He was fine. I stayed in the room and let Liz do all the ferrying between table and kitchen. I switched places with Liz so I was sat next to the crate, and all was OK. Jax played a wee while and then slumped down for a deep sleep. Great!

Time was getting on and he was still sound asleep. Afraid he wouldn't stand a chance of going back down later at bed-time, I woke him. We had a fuss, something to eat and drink, a pee in the pen (hooray!) and then he was alert and playful so brought him out to get to know Mum a little better. Mum has her own sitting room and spends most of her day in there. We haven't introduced Jax to her room yet, so we have to take advantage of meal times and the odd occasion Mum joins us. At 91 Mum isn't that agile and finds it difficult to bend down to reach him. But after a wee bit of fuss from her we lifted him on to her lap - what fun! They had a great time fussing one another but once he got too playful we brought him back down and got him loose on chew toys.

Then came bed-time. Liz and Mum had gone off so I settled him in to the crate and closed the door. I stayed in the room for half an hour until he was asleep and crept upstairs. All was quiet. But not for long. At 11.30pm he woke and started whining. Nothing too loud or yelping and 20 minutes later it was all quiet again. Hooray - time for me to sleep!


Sun, 29 Nov 09 - Jax's first night has passed!

Jax has already taken to keeping close to his new pack leader - Steve - and likes to follow Steve's house sandals and sleep by/across/in them! 29/11/09.

I was woken around 5.30am by Jax’s whining from the room below. He’d woken in the dark alone and must have been very confused. He continued for an hour before quietening down again. At 7.20am he was awake again and I went down. He was thrilled to see me after being alone. I could see he’d used his pen a few times during the night and the crate was clean. What a good boy! It was time to fuss him before his breakfast. I opened the crate door and he shot out and he was all over me as I lay down by the pen. He didn’t want to play, he just wanted fussing and giving me lots of licks! It’s amazing how quickly I’ve got used to it! Five minutes of fussing and I popped some food in his bowl – a mix of the breeders puppy food and an introduction to his new food, Burns’ mini bites. He still wasn’t over with the fussing and reassurance, so I continued to fuss him as I fed him a few bits of food by hand and led him to his bowl. That did the trick. He tucked in, had a good drink and then to the toilet. It was only then I noticed the two puddles on the main room floor. He’d been so excited by me coming down that he’d wet the floor a couple of times.

It was now time for play. We played together on the floor for a while when Liz came come. Again he was so excited to see her. He was straight at her slippers which he clearly remembered from yesterday. Liz sat down with us and the three of us played and fussed before Jax decided it was time for another nap – along Liz’s legs pinning her to the spot!

I went in to the kitchen and prepared breakfast. Jax stayed put and Liz obliged. 15 minutes later I called Liz. She popped Jax on the carpet but once he’d seen she had gone he was soon in the kitchen with us. He seemed very nervous although he’d spent some time in the kitchen yesterday. He sniffed around, tried to chew a few things and then Mum came in. Another familiarisation and he seemed more relaxed and flopped down under the table. He seemed restless and looking down at him I could see he was shivering. It wasn’t cold so I was sure he need the toilet. I’d popped some of his pee-soaked paper down in the corner of the kitchen just a few feet from him and which he had sniffed intently earlier. But he wasn’t happy. So I got him back in to the living room and he was instantly through the crate to the pen and a big pee! How fantastic. He’s learning some bladder control already as he wasn’t happy to toilet in the kitchen but was more than happy and very relaxed once he was back in the room he knew most and the crate and pen he had clearly taken to and settled in to immediately.

Its gone 1pm and he’s been so relaxed in the living room – playing and sleeping. When he needs a bite or drink he’s back in to the pen, drinking lots which is good, and again, whenever he needs the toilet, he makes his way back to the pen and relieves himself. Perfect! He’s fast asleep right now with his face buried in one of my house sandals – where’s he’s been for the last hour! He’ll be awake any minute so time for me to get ready for more Jax-time!

Sat, 28 Nov 09 - Jax comes home

Jax arrives home in the arms of Liz. Just a passing resemblance to Fozzy Bear!

We collected Jax late morning and he was fabulous on the drive back to his new home. He whined and was restless for the first 15 minutes, but wrapped in a blanket we had left with the breeder, and sat on Liz’s lap, he soon settled and fell asleep for the rest of the journey.

We arrived home and popped him straight into his pen and crate. After a sniff around he had a drink and some food and then a wee and pooh on his open pen area on the paper. Perfect! Time for more sniffing round the pen and crate, a wee play and then he crashed out in the crate. What a great start.

Jax settling in to his new pen. Is Liz meant to be in there?

On waking he made himself heard pretty quickly. When he had quietened down I went to him and made a fuss. Once he’d had a wee, I opened the crate door and he trotted out in to the room for the first time. Whoops! That floor is mighty slippy Jax! He never been a polished wood floor and his little legs were all over the place! He soon worked it out though and went for a snip round. Next new experience was the carpet. His claws immediately snagging. Again, he soon worked it out. We played a wee bit with some of his new toys. He hadn’t had any toys up to now, just his siblings and blankets to play with. He didn’t seem too bothered with the pink puppy chew Kong we had bought him! Ah well.

It was time for our lunch and time for Jax to meet Mum (90 years). He was very keen to follow me into the kitchen where he had not just a new room to explore but a new person to sniff and lick. Mum’s not too mobile and can only just reach down to him, but acquaintances made, he was more interested in the room! He was still playful, so after a sandwich, Liz and I were on the floor to entertain him.

All these new things, smells and all that play makes for a tired pup, so it was back to his crate and pen area. He was born and brought up until now in a crate and fenced off area, so this clearly felt little different to him, and he was quickly popping in and out to drink and wee on his papered area. The afternoon soon passed with a combination of play, exploring and sleep - lots of sleeping! He still didn’t seem too bothered with the couple of chew toys we had given. He has a great set of gnashers and is soon chewing your fingers, so whenever he started this we presented him with one of his chew toys, but he remained little interested in them. Not to worry, its still only his first day with us and there will be plenty of time to get his chewing sorted.

Come the evening and another test. Penned whilst we had our dinner. He wasn’t keen and was soon whining. Again, once he had settled down I went to him (so he didn’t associate the his whining with me coming to him) and opened the crate door and out he came. He just wanted to be with us and settled under the table as we ate.

Dinner over and he was up and wanted to play. He was clearly over-excited and soon puddled and poohed on the floor. His first mishap. He was keen to help us clean up though, as found an instant game chasing the moving kitchen towel!

That mishap aside, he was as good as gold during the evening with more play, exploring and sleep. He’d been given his final feed of the day earlier and was back on track with him using his pen area to toilet. Good boy Jax!

During the evening he was nervous of the TV – changing pictures, flashes, colours and all those different sounds! I don’t like that right not was the message, but he was relaxed and soon set his own distance and stuck to it!

We arrived at the dreaded hour – bed time. We’d decided that he would sleep in the crate where it was. Others start pups off in their bedroom, but we thought we would start as we meant to go on. I played with Jax to tire him and he eventually wandered in to his crate and snuggled down by the wrapped water bottles we’d put in his bedding. He had a pile of snugly stuff for bedding – an old removal blanket, the blanket we’d had with the breeder, the towel he travelled home on (which he has immediately taken to) and a t-shirt of mine I had been wearing all week – nice and smelly! Jax seemed nice and happy and was soon asleep. Fingers crossed!

We we’re in bed by 11.30pm but shortly after Jax woke and began whining. This lasted around an hour. He’d fallen asleep again. But for how long?

Jax at four weeks old (above) when Liz and I went to meet him. Below, one of the breeder's sons holding Jax up for a portrait shot at five weeks.

I'll no doubt stick some more picks up on here once we get him and he starts chewing the palce up! Here is what Jax will look like when he's full grown. Click here for a great site about these great dogs.