As promised to PW, this is the update everyone has been waiting for… okay, maybe not everyone, but many (some?) dog afficionados perhaps. First, thank you all for the wonderful name suggestions. I would never have come up with so many great names in a reasonable length of time, and I’m keeping the entire list for future use ’cause there are always more dogs in the world of tomorrow. It will come as a surprise to no man that my wife had made a short list of her own (without my consultation or knowledge thereof). While I lobbied hard for my list of TNB-provided and -approved pupper names, after a few days of back-and-forth I caved to her pleading. It may have been the way she said “plee-ease” so emphatically that made me realize how badly she wanted her number one pick. In the end, I decided it was always best to keep the wife happy, and we went with her primo choice: Heidi.
Heidi has come out of her shell this past week. For the first 24-hours she was shy, quiet, and reserved, but became very comfortable with her new surroundings (complete with twelve member dog pack) very quickly. The guy I got her from said she never barked. Turns out she just needed inspiration. After just a few days of observing her new pack (who bark too much in my estimation), she found her voice. She’s surprisingly loud and sounds more like an adult than a puppy, a bit shocking from a pup who may be as young as only three or four months old. She’s fairly outgoing with a number of other sounds, too, including the ability to ‘gargle’ like a gargoyle when she’s trying to communicate. Yes, that’s a weird description, but she has a range of weird sounds in addition to her big-dog bark.
The reason for the three-to-four-month-old age estimate, is that the young man who gave her to me said he detected puppy breath when she first showed up at his place. Puppy breath typically goes away at 10-12 weeks of age, so that would put her somewhere between three and four months of age now. She still has all her puppy teeth which should start falling out any time. She definitely must be younger than five or six months old. I gave her a chew toy to play with the first day in her new (but temporary) kennel. I had to take it away in less than eight hours, however, when a chunk of it went missing. She has a brand new toy now, a bright green, soft plastic dumbbell, which is holding together so far. Heidi would just as soon play with her stainless steel dog food bowl, or the big black plastic bowl (BBPB – seen in photo above). I put the BBPB in her kennel as a place to put the stainless steel dog food bowl, as she kept flipping it. The BBPB keeps the kibble puppy food from going all over everywhere. She soon discovered that flipping the BBPB is even more fun than the stainless steel bowl, and she can chew on it too! The most fun is knocking over the water pail and splashing in the puddle like a little kid.
When she’s not playing with water or chewing on her dumbell toy or the BBPB, she enjoys chewing on my gloved hands. (She also loves attention and petting.) We’ve had some rain here so everything is muddy, including her paws. Funny how easily mud transfers from paws to pants. I cannot stay clean, and I’d forgotten how much much work puppies are. Just to keep her kennel clean I stay up late and get up extra early, in addition to cleanup several times during each day. It’s worth it though. It was worth it with all our other dogs, and it’ll be worth it with Heidi, too.
Heidi is wicked smart, already understanding several voice and hand signal commands including sit, off, down, and no. Saturday morning I caught her watching very carefully how I worked the kennel gate latch. As soon as it was closed she was up on her hind feet, front feet outstretched to push the latch up, which must be about four and a half feet above the ground. She’s not quite big enough to reach it yet, but soon will be at the rate she consumes the puppy chow. Now I have to get a pin to lock the latch closed. One of our other dogs taught himself to do this. Unless there’s a lock pin in the latch, he can let himself out in a second or two. Darn smart dogs. (I use PTO pins for the latches, which conveniently come with a wire piece that fits perfectly around the gate frame, ensuring the pin can’t be pushed out accidently. PTO pins are available at farm and ranch supply stores.)