Monday, July 25, 2011

2 Months With Hank

As of today, we've had Hank for two months!  Two months - it sounds like such a short amount of time, and yet it feels like it has been awhile.

Developmentally, so much has happened with this dog since we first brought him home.  He's shown how smart he is through the quickness & ease he learns new "tricks."  Thus far he's mastered "sit," "down," "Hank come," and "crate."  We're trying to work on "stay" and on moving from "down" back up to "sit."  He also seems to understand the word "potty" and if we say it to him, he'll force out a tinkle, even if he probably doesn't need to go.

Potty has actually been one part of the puppy experience that hasn't been entirely rosy (although, it seems like potty training anything, puppy or child, isn't necessarily rosy).  After no real method but taking him out every few hours, we've decided to bell train him (i.e., have a bell hanging on the doorknob that he can nose when he needs to go outside to the bathroom).  It's been going alright.  He'll use the bell - so he seems to have made the association between ringing the bell & going outside - but most of the time once he's outside, he won't immediately run out into the yard to potty.  It often takes some coaxing on our part. I'm dying for him to master potty once & for all!  Hopefully in this month!

Another thing that's quite clear about our little guy is his love of toys.  He looooooves to play with toys - it's actually pretty great because he's totally happy and content playing by himself with his toys if we're doing something else.  And I guess by "playing," I end up meaning "destroying," because just about every toy he gets is destroyed a few weeks down the road.  He just loves to run around with them, chew them, and jump up & smash them.  It's no surprise their lifespans are somewhat short (but as long as he's not destroying my furniture/shoes/baseboards/anything else I'm perfectly happy buying a couple new ones each month).

We've made some good strides, I think, in his apprehension towards new people.  While he still gets nervous (and sometimes barks a lot) when he meets new people, it's become a little more hit & miss, meaning that some people he's just fine to meet, while with others (i.e., poor Patti, who he just hasn't quite taken to) he freaks out.  He did surprisingly well at our neighborhood 4th of July parade, where there were hundreds of people and many, many kids.  And he did decently when I hosted book club at our house (Jonathan had taken him to his parents' house, but then they came back home just as we were closing up club and chit chatting).  This is another thing I hope he grows out of as he gets older.  I can't wait for the weather to cool down so we can take him to a lot of outdoor activities again (i.e., outdoor patios at restaurants, the dog park, Shelby Farms, etc.).

And finally, in the two months we've had him, he's gained about 10 pounds (so went from 30 to 40).  He's not really filled out at all, but his bones have gotten taller and longer.  Since we have no idea what kind of dog he is, it's hard to guess about his growing and/or adult size.  Most dogs are full-sized by one year old.  But if he has any Rottweiler in him, it could be two years before he's fully grown.  In my mind, I envision he'll be around 70 pounds full grown.  I'm not sure why exactly I think that, but it seems like a reasonable size given his age, rate of growth thus far, and his paw size.

Sadly, in these two months, his hair has pretty much changed over from the soft, sweet puppy fur (that smelled so freaking cute and puppy-like) to normal, adult fur.  So it's a little more coarse and has a little bit of wave to it.  And as an added bonus, he doesn't seem to shed very much.  When you pet him, no hair comes off in your hand - the only real time we see hair is in some dust bunnies on the floor.

Overall, it's been a great two months.  It's been difficult, but also rewarding.  It seems like he loves Jonathan and me about equally, which is nice because it makes it easier for both of us to adore him and want to teach him new stuff and share the responsibilities of having him around.  It's hard to deny that getting home from work and having a puppy FIRED UP to see you and wagging his tail and whimpering and trying to clobber you isn't a pretty good feeling.

(Note - I was going to add some pictures with this post, but stupid blogger isn't letting me upload.  Another time...)

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