Sunday, we went to pick up our new Goldendoodle puppy at the breeder‘s. Of course, we still have Beta, our 6-year-old Australian Shepherd / Poodle mix. We figured that while I’m working mostly out of my home office, now would be a good time to give a puppy the attention it deserves.
Alfie is a surprisingly calm and quiet little guy. Oh, he’s playful. But he sleeps a lot and calms right down, getting all snuggly when you pick him up.
We were also surprised by Beta’s reaction to him. We’ve seen her with a lot of puppies, and she’s always been great: playing with them, very patient and generally enjoying their company. As a puppy herself, she was relentless with bigger dogs, always on the attack and goading them into a pursuit.
Anyway, her initial response to Alfie could best be described as: “WTF?”
On the first day, she wanted nothing to do with him, and very little to do with us. She would come when called, but would duck away when we tried to pet her. She didn’t know what to do with herself. Where she normally would have lay down on the floor near us, she would circle around a bit, realize we had Alfie with us and then take off again. We’d never seen her so upset.
Yesterday and today were a bit better. Beta’s hostility towards Alfie and the rest of us has abated, and she actually played with him a bit outside. That said, the play was a bit rough: she’d get a running start, then bomb past Alfie putting her jaws around his shoulders on the way by. Alfie would inevitably roll over a few times, try to recover his wits and present his belly. Beta kept running. Well, it’s progress.
It’s been a while since we’ve trained Beta, and we had forgotten a lot of it. For one thing, puppy poo stinks far worse than grownup dog poo. Or maybe it just seems that way when you’re cleaning the carpet. Oh, and puppies, when presented with a hard, smooth surface and a soft, porous surface, will always choose to relieve themselves on the latter.
Housebreaking has been tricky in the -25°C weather. We’ve been taking Alfie outside often, but he starts to shiver and whine after about 5 minutes, usually before he’s done his business. The trick is to pick him up, stuff him in your coat for a few minutes, then put him back down in the snow ’til he’s done the deed.
Leo loves Alfie, and Alfie seems to like him. I can’t leave them alone together, though, because Leo sometimes stops paying attention and Alfie will chew something or leave a mess. Or Leo gets a bit rough with Alfie. Beta’s no help in entertaining Alfie yet, so I type this as Beta sleeps at my feet, Leo watches Treehouse and Alfie snoozes on my lap. Fun stuff.
More pics of Alfie here.