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?

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