Friday, April 21, 2006

21 - 22 Weeks

Because Savage is only 156 days old, he hasn't had experience with some things, and I've been anxious about introducing him to them. Kids, for example. The other day he met a friend's little girl, the first human he's seen that's smaller than him. Both R. and I were really nervous that he would knock her over, or nip at her, or scratch her with his big paws. But he really surprised us by being pretty gentle, though she was teasing him by chasing him and then running away.Only when all the adults started calling him and clapping their hands did he get a little too excited and I decided to take him for a little walk to calm him down. He is still a clumsy, huge puppy who doesn't know where his feet are half the time, so even if he's careful around small children, he could unintentionally knock them over. The girl's parents were having fun, and I was obviously more concerned than they were! All in all, his first playtime with a kid was a success.
I know some dogs (though not hunting breeds) that are frightened of guns, so I wanted to introduce Savage to the sound of gunshots in a way that would make him feel safe and comfortable. With me not knowing how to accomplish that, the other day R. made the decision for me. A couple friends of ours wanted to do some target practice outside our house (which is a pretty rural area) and R. just started shooting. Savage was outside in the yard playing with another puppy friend, August, a 10 month old yellow lab, and was so intent on August that the gunshots were just background noise. Immediately he was fine with standing right next to me when I fired the pistol, so that made me pretty relieved. I'm confident that I could fire the gun anytime and he wouldn't have an issue with it, which is important because I carry a handgun on our walks in the woods.
Because we live around dozens of lakes, and I enjoy fishing in the summer, I want my puppy to be at home in, on, and around the water. Every day we've been going down to the shore and playing along the waterline. He will fetch sticks from very shallow water and really likes it even though the water is still extremely cold.Yesterday he actually waded in up to his belly and I'm sure as the weather gets hot and the lake warms up he will be swimming in no time! Getting him to ride in a boat may be a different story, but usually he just goes with the flow and doesn't seem to have much of a problem with things I'm dreading introducing him to. Keep in mind that this is my first dog and I'm like a new mom.
The other day I caught him chasing ants on the deck, which was really cute. He still watches his ducks closely but won't run over to them. He doesn't have much of a prey drive yet, which is fine considering we have much bigger animals around that I'd rather he not chase.
Last week I finally bought a new truck, a 2003 Dodge Ram quad cab. Of course Savage still wants to be in the driver's lap at all times, but he has tons of room in the backseat now. He's finally decided to understand the command "stay" so he doesn't leap into the front seat unless he's really excited. I have always used the command "get back" to move him out of the driver's seat in the Cavalier, so he's used to that.He can't climb into the truck on his own so I have to pick him up (all 77lbs of him!) to put him in it. Seems like he's comfortable back there on his blanket, and sticking his head out the window with his lips flapping everywhere.
We took his tape off last night around 9:00pm and let him go overnight with his ears free. Today they are still standing, if a little floppy at the tips. They look wonderful, and I can't wait til ear-taping is over!! He's so handsome!


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