Diary of a puppy number 12: highs, lows and intervals of the first year of Sommer

November 27, 2018 Laura Tibert, puppy mom

Dear Diary,

Soon we will celebrate the first birthday of Sommer. What a trip this year has been! From a pickup truck, when she picked her up at the coach’s house and watched her lovely squadrs tumbling around the pen, until the rush in which she was thrown into emergency hospital after eating Advil, I wouldn’t trade a single minute for this for the whole world (well, maybe I would trade the Advil incident). But just because Sommer is a year does not mean that we automatically wake up this morning to an adult, fully trained dog. No, I expect Sommer to behave like a puppy for a long time. Even physically, she can continue to change as she is still thin, and her vet says she can fill up a bit. She is almost a year old, her energy level is high, although less frantic than when she was tiny. In a sense, now that she has matured, she needs more exercise in the fresh air than when she was smaller and could run around the house and get tired in the process.

Even when we finish the last official month of puppies, Sommer demands a huge amount of my attention: she is not an independent type. I was told that this “man-man” tendency is a characteristic feature. I'm not sure if this is true for every dummy, but I can testify that Sommer wants to be with me every minute of the day, under any circumstances. If I get up from the couch and walk up to a chair five feet away, she gets up from the couch and walks over to the chair. She is not a fool. She is going to stay close to the pack leader!

That brings me to the night time, which was one of the biggest challenges this year. She had better sleep on her bed on the floor of our bedroom, but she still jumps on our bed at 5:45 in the morning. And this is not the only habit that we still have to break. She is still very excited when visitors come to our house. She is still walking timidly. She still goes berserk after a bath, looking around the house and making a series of sharp lights, because of which I cover my ears while she cries. There are days when she rings the bell to go out dozens of times a day. I open the door for her and she stands on the threshold and sniffs the air for the longest time, which drives me crazy! Then she looks at me with those big, expressive brown eyes, and it’s like a hug. The first year really was a journey from a puppy to love.

Sommer was born in a litter of four girls and one boy, and the first time the breeder sent the photos by e-mail, I knew that she was for us. In a miraculous way, although we were the last family to choose (that is, we did not choose, we took the puppy that we left after everyone else had chosen), we received it. This relationship has only strengthened and more sure since i first saw her tiny face in the breeder's photo. We brought her home at ten weeks. Since that day, our life has never been the same. These first weeks were similar to the two times in our life when we brought home a new baby. Our dream was definitely contested. It turns out Sommer will tolerate staying in her drawer at night until she does. When she woke up in the early morning hours, she decided that she needed to be with the members of the pack, and she barked and whined plaintively. Unlike a child, we never had a method to "cry out." Sommer never stopped barking and fell into exhausted sleep. Instead, she had the willpower and stamina to bark for what seemed like hours in a row — not that we had the patience to let her bark for so long. Her barking led to the awakening of the whole family, an equally unattractive prospect when in the morning we were expected by school and work. Sommer's clear preference was to be on the bed with my husband and me. However, we did not prefer this, so when she was about 10 months old, we moved her from the box to the dog bed on the floor of our floor. The bedroom, which we considered an honest compromise. Location works, until she wakes us up early in the morning by jumping on the bed. Sleep certainly remains our biggest problem since we end the first year.

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