This started out as just a Month 3 update, but after DragonCon madness, it’s also covering Month 4 now. We’ll be catching up now that 32 Days is behind us as well. As I write the first draft of this post, Kora is now seven months old and about sixty pounds! Not only are the puppy teeth all gone, but someone’s bulking up–her neck grew out of her little collar literally overnight. Since she’s been better about jumping on furniture and chewing in her supervised area, we’re trying to let her have freer reign in the house. The ottoman in the library has been gnawed upon a tiny bit, and moving the bells from the hall door to the front door somehow set us back a few times with the housetraining for a couple of days, but overall she has done really well with her newfound freedom. She’s morphing from a willfull toddler into a willfull teenager, it would seem sometimes. If she feels she’s not getting enough attention, she will find something she knows she’s not supposed to have and runs off with it, making sure one of us is watching. Usually it’s a shoe. She never chews on them, she just takes them, then finds one of us and runs. It’s as if she’s saying, “I’m being bad! Don’t you want to chase me?” If she doesn’t drop it when I tell her, I hold one of her kibble-filled toys or her current favorite toy hostage until she gives it up.
[ad#longpost]Barking is also a new favorite thing. Barking for no apparent reason. Yes, sometimes there’s an evil new object in the house (an eight-pack of toilet paper, for example), a mysterious flash of light outside, or a noisy vehicle passing, but often, there’s nothing that we can detect other than a noisy doggie. We’re working on “shush,” and thinking up times when it’s okay to bark so she isn’t told to shush all the time. The really frustrating thing is that she doesn’t seem to be able to detect where sounds are coming from a lot of the time. For example, Widge threw something into a trash can–which made a noise in his office–and she ran barking to the front door, thinking the loud noise came from outside. Even weirder is that Widge’s computer started playing a scene from a movie, and Kora ran…right past the speakers that were still making the noise that startled here…to the front door. It’s as though every noise is somehow translated, by her doggie brain, into “Werewolves are trying to break into the house”–and she responds accordingly.
The formerly favorite Tug-a-Jug has lost favor because she has to work at it for breakfast. She would rather lounge on her bed and be handed an easier toy with her food. She is getting better at not snarfing every morsel of food we give her down all in one gulp, though. We can actually put food in her bowl now and sometimes it will remain untouched for a while. She’s still getting fed out of her Kongs and Squirrel Dudes as well. And Widge has created a new frozen treat with her Kong Biscuit Ball. If we fill it with kibble (and sometimes additional treats as well), then cover the bottom half with aluminum foil before it goes in the freezer–so the kibble stays in–she has a whole ball of kibble to gnaw on, and the thawed stuff near the surface fall out when she rolls it.
Kora has also found a new Crack (to replace the wet food crack that we told you about last time): Bully Sticks. These treats are made from a bull…ahem, appendage…and are supposed to be a great alternative to rawhide because they’re totally digestible. We were happy about that last fact because Kora managed to snarf down a smaller one (6″) whole. With both of us watching. We had apparently underestimated her alien-like ability to open up her entire head when she feels like opening her mouth very wide, like for a yawn. After a frantic internet search to see what other naughty-puppy parents had to say about their dogs ingesting huge chunks of Bully Sticks, we watched her carefully. It happened close to bedtime, and we made her stay up for an extra hour just to watch her and make sure she was okay. Nothing even remotely weird went on with her because of it, thankfully. She thinks they’re better than almost anything–sometimes it even makes her forget about the werewolves–but she’ll be getting only the larger ones from now on with a lot of supervision.
Another new thing is her Big Girl Bed! We decided that since she’s spending much more time out of her crate, she needed a bigger, better crash pad than the small bed inside her crate. After a lot of shopping around, we decided on a Carolina Ortho Sleeper bed with bolsters so she can have a bit of a pillow or curl into a corner if she wants. The second it came out of the box, she decided it was hers, and then began gnawing on the not-so puppy-proof cushion. So the cushion got put away until I could get some nice canvas to cover it–now she has a more Kora-proof cushion cover that matches her bed. She’s also started sleeping in her big-girl bed at night. We cleared everything dangerous out of reach in the bedroom and put her bed where her crate usually went. The first night we did this, she was in mid-bound down the hall to the bedroom when she saw the bed instead of the crate and came to a screeching halt. Our mornings have been a lot quieter–she just wakes up and plays quietly for a while instead of whimpering to be let out of the crate. A few times, she’s even wanted to stay in bed rather than go downstairs for breakfast right away–amazing!
On her six-month birthday, we headed to visit family– a three and a half hour car ride which went really well. Kora slept most of the way and was a very good girl on our few stops. Even if she was too excited everywhere we stopped on the way to actually, you know, pee. But she didn’t end up doing it in the car, so all’s well that ends well, we guess. She got to experience lots of new stuff on the trip, stay overnight away from home, and meet some new dogs, including her cousin Bama, a very exuberant beagle.
She has also gotten to meet lots of new people. In addition to trips to the farmers’ market and vet, and now an occasional jaunt to the pet store, we have had houseguests multiple times in the past two months, and she’s done okay. She’s always wary of a new person at first when they come in the house, but she warms up pretty quickly. During Dragon Con, she also got to spend the night at Dogma for two nights because we were not around. She’s finally learning that she won’t miss everything if she needs to take a break and sack out at doggie day care. The past two times I picked her up (when Widge was at the D23 expo), she was resting quietly in the play area. She still loves it there, and gets really excited when we arrive. When we picked her up one day, she had a few scratches on her head– apparently she had been playing hard with another puppy. Having seen her in action, I’m not surprised, and she didn’t even seem to notice the scratches. We put hemp oil salve on them and they disappeared after a while. When I told my mom about the incident, she reminded me of the time she picked me up from preschool only to find that I’d fallen off the monkey bars and scraped my whole face up. So maybe Kora is still like a toddler in a lot of ways…
More on Kora’s progress shortly.