Our first night

River is from Ohio — Eastern timezone, I believe. So his clock is three hours ahead of mine. About 6:30 last night, he started to crash. I bet he was exhausted. He’d gotten up extra early, traveled across the country, and met strange people and dogs. That’s a big day for anyone, much less a 9.5 week old puppy.

I thought he might be down for the count then, but he wasn’t. He was up and down, following me as I did some of the things I hadn’t been able to do while watching him earlier in the day. (You know, like eat dinner. It’s important to make only food that can be eaten cold when you have a new puppy, because it may take you a while to actually eat all of it.)

I took him up to bed about 8:30. I’d turned my nightstand sideways and put his travel crate on it. It was already dark, and he was tired, so I figured I’d just pop him in his crate. NOPE. He was having none of that. He didn’t just cry — he screamed. In fact, he was so upset, I thought he might have a desperate need to potty, so I took him out — yes, while he was screaming — and carried him outside. He didn’t potty. So I carried him back upstairs. This time I put him in bed with me.

For those who don’t know, the dogs are ALWAYS welcome to sleep in our bed. Pax sleeps there every night. Pflouff (and Rain and Aslan before her) usually comes up for part of the night unless it’s just too warm. It’s colder outside, so she prefers to sleep on the back deck most of the time. My only hesitation about having the puppy in the bed all night is that I don’t know his potty habits well enough yet. If I can trust him to stay put until he needs to go — and then wake me — he’s welcome!

So I laid down with him, expecting him to cuddle up and fall asleep. Not even close. He was seriously upset — shaking and crying. I’m totally anthropomorphizing here, but it was like it suddenly hit him that he wasn’t with his mom and siblings. I held him close despite his struggles and murmurred in his ear until he settled. “I love you. You’re safe. You’re not alone. I love you.”

He doesn’t speak English. But I do, and it made me feel better.

He settled, and we slept until about 10:30. I didn’t sleep well, because I was staying so attuned to him, so at 10:30, I got up and put him in his crate. He whimpered a time or two, and then went back to sleep. Score!

At 2:30 he woke me up. I got dressed and carried him outside. He ran over to the fence and pottied — both poo and pee. Yay! When he was done, he ran back to me. I picked him up, carried him upstairs, and put him back in his crate. I expected an argument, because I have no doubt that excursion woke him thoroughly, but after a minute he settled again.

He was up for good at 4:30. He’s on Eastern time, remember? I expect he was starving! So I got up without a fuss, took him out, and made him breakfast. Chow. Hound. Then we played for about an hour. This first hour after he wakes up will be a GREAT time to train him. Sooo much energy.

I know from past experience that puppies have a lot of energy first thing in the morning, but once they expend it, they’re ready for a long nap. When he began settling around 5:45, I took him upstairs. Interestingly, his initial reaction was the same as last night. He started shaking and crying and didn’t want to settle. But I held him, and eventually he did.

Jay was beginning to wake for work, and the big dogs came up and settled on the bed with us, so the whole family was there. It was nice! After Jay got up, River and I slept until 8:30. Nice nap!

So all in all, it was a successful first night. Hopefully I can get some pictures or video today — it’s his first training day. It is, unfortunately, cold and rainy, which limits our options.

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