Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Who are you stranger?
The first few days Jamie looked at me with those endearing puppy eyes and wondered what the hell was happening. Where was his mom, siblings and his home? Who was this stranger and where was this new place?
Apparently most pups go through a fear period from 8 to 10 weeks. But if your puppy is afraid and insecure and you mollycoddle and pamper him, he perceives this as a signal that it's OK to be afraid and insecure. So what a balancing act between making him feel at home, comfortable and not over pampering him!
Bedtime was the period when he became most distraught because he missed the body warmth of the pack. Ideally pups should sleep in their chosen spot from Day 1. In my case that would be the kitchen. But an animal behaviourist suggested I start off with him sleeping next to my bed until the second puppy arrived. I was to give him a hot water bottle and a ticking clock. When he cried, I was to lightly touch him but not encourage him to play. This certainly helped Jamie settle down each night.
The problem was that our bio-rhythms were not in sync. I was often up at night taking him out to do his business and rubbing his ears when he whimpered. (My bedroom carpet was covered with plastic and layers of paper and it smelt like a public loo!). He would wake up and want to play at about 5.00am and I wanted to sleep much later. I felt like a mom with a newborn that squealed, peed and pooped except it didn't wear a nappy!
After weeks of no sleep and brain fogged days, I decided the time had come for separate rooms. Jamie was going to sleep in the kitchen and I would have my sweet smelling, peaceful bedroom back. Jamie got the hot water bottle, clock, a stuffed beagle look-alike (which he decided was female) and the radio playing calming classical music. I got golden silence. End result: Harmony in the family again.