Monday, June 16, 2008

Scout comes home

Scout at homeOn Saturday morning, we drove to Roosevelt, Utah to pick up Scout, the golden retriever puppy that Nan is giving me for my fiftieth birthday. The breeder and her family were in Roosevelt for a stock show, which worked well for us since it is a couple of hours closer than Provo, where we drove two weeks ago to pick out our puppy.

We expected Scout to whine and howl on the three-hour drive home, but he slept in Nan's lap most of the way, occasionally waking up to look calmly out the window at the passing scenery. For a seven-week-old puppy, he is remarkably confident and well-socialized.

Scout at the front doorScout spent the first afternoon and evening settling into our home, and we spent it following him around to make sure he didn't pee or poop inside. Fortunately, puppies usually give a little advance warning, sniffing the carpet and making little hopping spins, so you have time to scoop them up like a fumbled football and run them outside.

We are crate training Scout to expedite his house breaking. The idea is to put the puppy in the crate at night and during short unsupervised periods during the day to prevent him from eliminating in the house. Dogs, even very young ones, will not eliminate where they sleep, so they quickly learn to control their bladders and bowels while in the crate.

At night our crate, a medium-sized plastic transport box with a wire mesh door, sits next to my side of the bed. The first night was a long one. Scout woke me up almost every hour whining to be let out of the crate, sometimes because he needed to pee and twice because he soiled in the crate. We weren't sure if it was stress or the hot weather, but Scout had developed diarrhea that first evening. The second night went better. Scout woke me up only twice, both times to pee, and he didn't soil his crate. So there's some hope for tonight that I may get a full night's sleep.

Scout snoozing on my lapThis morning we took Scout for his first hike in the desert near our home. It was hot and buggy but he did better than expected. He is at that stage where he wants to follow us everywhere, so we let him follow us down the trail. He willingly took water squirted from our CamelBaks, and when he tired I carried him in the doggy sling Nan gave me as a birthday gift. Scout already seems to be on his way to becoming the same terrific hiking companion that Charlie was.

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