When we got Buddy, the grandkids happened to be here. We thought we were getting him at the end of the week, after we drove them back home. Instead, we got a phone call that our puppy was ready for it’s new home now, piled the grandkids into the car, and drove the 4+ hours to New Jersey and then back. What a loooonnnggg day. But our puppy was finally home!
Buddy was a nippy puppy. Part of it a herding breed issue, part of it him. I looked back at some of the videos the breeder had posted of the puppies, watching them this time to find Buddy in the group and see how he interacted. In one video, I heard the breeder say, “oh, you’re a biter!” to one puppy that looked very much like Buddy.
Pepper was a nippy puppy, too. So we just needed to get through this stage. However, the grandkids were here for the week, at ground level with those razor-sharp teeth. At one point, Leiana put her face too near to Buddy’s, he lunged with mouth open and, with lightning-speed reflexes, I grabbed him by the scruff and issued a firm “NO!” I was on hyper-alert that whole week. I felt like I had 3 puppies! The grandkids didn’t understand that their quick movements (especially running away and/or flailing their arms) and high voices were NOT helping the situation. I spent the whole week correcting both Buddy and them. On top of that, I was trying to help Landon with online school. I must say, it was the worst week I’ve ever had with them. I felt like a bad Nana. Constantly correcting. Repeating myself over and over and over. It was a week I prefer to forget.
A few weeks later, at 11 weeks, Tracey asked if I could watch the kids again. Truthfully, I didn’t want to. Because it involved school work (and I had learned that Landon needed way more supervision than I gave him the first time). And Buddy and I had settled into a semblance of a routine and it was important to me to give him what he needed during these early weeks. But, after recruiting Andy and Kelly to cover Leiana and Buddy while I focused on Landon, we made it work. During that visit, Buddy was still nippy and was now bigger. The day he jumped up on Leiana and caught her lip with his claw, making it bleed, I called Roberto and said I was done. I needed to bring the kids home. I was ready to burst into tears. That day was supposed to be Andy and I bringing Buddy and the kids to see Pinky. But for whatever reason, she didn’t want the kids to come. So it was just me and the three puppies again and I had run out of what it took for me to cope.
All this makes it sound like I don’t enjoy the grandkids coming here. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was getting a puppy that changed things. But I know this is temporary until we raise the little guy and he settles into his adult self. Our house didn’t feel like a home without a dog.
So, I asked Tracey if we could have the kids come up during Landon’s February vacation. Which, with COVID and the new ways of school, didn’t happen. But there were a couple of teacher development days around the weekend of President’s day, so they came up here for about 5 days. They head home tomorrow.
I just want to say, what a difference 9 weeks makes! Buddy is mostly past his nippy puppy phase. I say mostly because he is a herding dog, after all, and herding dogs and mouthy go together. But he is remarkably self-restrained these days, considering his age. This week has been incredible and signs of even more wonderful dog/kid time to come.
When we first got home from picking up the kids, and came into the house, the kids wanted to play with Buddy. And he wanted to play with them. But he was overexcited about seeing them. So I told the kids that they needed to try to bring their energy down until he got used to them again. At one point I remember exasperatingly saying to Landon, “are you going to listen to me?” Because I’m actually trying to teach them how to be with a dog, and they need to learn self-restraint, too. It can’t be all on Buddy. I feel like the fairness police!
So, Landon did listen. Leiana was up at the counter eating an apple. And Landon took some time to interact with Buddy in a calm way. He almost looked like a dog whisperer. Once he gets past little kid self-focus (I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s normal) and learns how to read a dog, he’s going to really be something. Because he has the gift. And it does run in the family. On both sides.