Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baby Louis Update

Little Louis is adjusting beautifully to his new home and family. As you can see in the above picture he is feeling quite comfortable here. Even though he is a lot larger than your typical 11 week old puppy, after one quick look at his cute face and the way he moves you know he is a baby. He loves to be held and cuddled like a baby too. I am trying to pick him up a bunch since I know the time is coming way too soon when I won't be able to.

Louis is about 95% house trained. In the last week he only had 2 accidents. The dog door has really made his training easy during the day. I only allow him in the kitchen and dogroom, so he is never far from the great outdoors. At night he sleeps in a crate at the foot of our bed and I take him out whenever necessary. His crate has a divider panel that keeps his living quarters just the right size to prevent him from having any accidents in the crate.

The first several nights were quite rough for both Louis and me. He was missing his littermates badly and I was missing out on the majority of my sleep. Thankfully, I took some time off work, so I was able to take daily naps during the main portion of our adjustment period. I tried so many things to make Louis feel secure and cozy during the night and after much trial and error I finally found the magic combination: soothing music played on a continuous loop from my ipod all night long, his crate raised up level with the bed so that he could see and hear me better, a nightlight, a blanket covering his crate to make it feel more like a den, a small fan to blow air through the den and also for white noise, Katie's favorite stuffed animal, an old slightly smelly sweatshirt of mine, Newman's Own organic chicken heart shaped treats every time he goes in the crate and my fingers dangling through the bars when he needs to be comforted. Obviously, I was DESPERATE for sleep to try so many things. Gary kept asking me when I was going to give up and I said "Never". Finally, on about the sixth night he started sleeping well and most nights I only have to take him out once for a potty break. I think that's pretty amazing for a puppy of his age. Now the only problem is that I decided to take away one of his crutches by lowering his crate back down to the floor. He eats 3 meals a day in his crate, so along with bedtime and potty breaks that means me lifting him in and out of the crate 5-6 times a day. That's not too bad with a 30 pound puppy, but in a month he will weigh about 42 pounds. Louis is not happy with this new arrangement and he has spent a few hours each of the last two nights telling me how he feels about it. I hope tonight is an easier night since tomorrow is a work day. [Monday morning update: I give Louis a B- for his sleep performance last night. There's room for improvement, but it wasn't too bad]

Louis and Katie have an incredible relationship. As you have seen in a bunch of pictures they love to cuddle. They also like to play although their "play" could more accurately be called "Louis attacking Katie". He loves to bite her ears, lips and tail. Katie is unbelievably patient with him. I have had to get on to him a few times to tone it down a notch and he seems to be not quite as ferocious now.

Louis is going to puppy school mainly to learn social skills. He has also learned sit, down, stand, come, and structured walking. In my opinion, Louis is quite brilliant :-) He is always the first one in his class to grasp a new concept. Practicing at home has been quite a challenge because big sister Katie doesn't want to be left out of the fun. She kept getting in the way until I finally figured out that I could be giving her a lesson of a different kind at the same time. Now when it is time to work with Louis I put Katie in a sit or a down stay. It was so hard for her to stay at first while little brother was getting all the treats and the glory, but she finally realized that if she held her stays mama would pull out all the stops for her when she was released. This evening Katie was in a sit stay while Louis and I were working for a few minutes. When I was done with Louis I said my usual very chipper "all done". When Katie heard that she popped up. I hadn't intended to release her, but since I did say her release word she was free. Then it was her turn for treats, praise and lots of love.

After only two weeks in our home, Louis has completely won our hearts (that actually probably happened the first day :-). We are so happy that he is part of our family now and we are looking forward to sharing many adventures with him.

Louis Showing Off His Playing Skills (We think he is quite talented ;-)
Louis Making a Classic Newf Face (You know the one that looks kinda sad, but in reality the Newf is ecstatic on the inside.)

The Young Master in His Domain with His Faithful Nanny, Katie, Watching Over Him

Louis in Shadow and Sunlight
Big Sister and Baby Brother


babyphat523 said...

What a face on Louis! He is almost edible ;) Katie must enjoy having her little brother to keep her company. It's a killer when you bring a new pup/baby home, getting zero sleep! Ugh! But it sounds like your little guy is adjusting really well to life at the Haus!
xoxo :)

Bubba the Newf said...

That is one contented looking Newf-pup.

Louis, you so smart! Sit, down, stand, using the doggy door ... amazing. You show all those other puppies how smart Newfs are. But c'mon Louis ... the sleeping thing ... you gotta get that one down. Sleeping is what Newfs are best at.

Let your mamma get some sleep now.


Gary,Charity,Scarlett,Katie&Louis said...

Bubba, thanks for your message telling Louis to get the Newfie sleeping thing down. I'll pass that on to him with the hope that he will listen to you better than me.

- the tired Mama