Mason is a Lover
We’ve had Mason, our Labradoodle puppy, for almost 2 weeks now. All in all, it’s been a joy. He makes us smile. He reminds us to have fun and play every once in a while. And he is just a bucket of love in the morning. (Adam and I are not morning people, but you can’t help but be happy when you see that tail wagging and get showered with puppy kisses at 6:30am).
Sure there have been not so glamorous sides of parenting a pup: 3:30am potty walks, cleaning up pee, 7:15am being our new sleeping-in time, getting nipped by needle-sharp puppy teeth, having to pick up and carry a stair-spooked puppy whenever we travel to another floor of our split-level house (that’s a lot). But it’s so worth it.
We picked Mason up from the breeder on Saturday, May 5th. She had given him a bath, so he was tuckered out and in a deep sleep when we arrived. He sat in my lap on the way home. We didn’t hear a peep from him. He just panted and drooled, most likely due to anxiety. We brought him through the house and out the back door to his potty spot as soon as we came home and lavished praise and treats on him when he went to the bathroom. He responds so enthusiastically, even still! We played with him in the yard for a few minutes. He loved it!
As soon as we started to go back inside, you could sense his hesitation. We had to pick him up and carry him, and his little body kind of froze and he closed off. He was fine outside – it was recognizable. But he knew that this house was not his house. After some timid exploring, he eventually settled in and fell asleep at our feet for a few hours.
I was lucky enough to take a few days off to spend with him. I’m so glad I did. We got to spend some quality time together. He is so smart. He knows how to “sit”, “shake”, “down”, and is learning to “stand”. He is learning what “ow”, “off”, and “drop it” mean. He is out of his shell now and completely comfortable. He bites a little too much, but it’s all in play. He is a puppy and we have to remind him that it hurts when he does that.
We put his crate next to my side of the bed the first night and it was pretty rough. He downright wailed for 30 minutes straight. We played Jazz on NPR and then brought out the iPhone sound machine app. We’ve fallen asleep to babbling brook every night since. He loves having background noise. If you want to know what’s happening on Days of our Lives or what Kathy Lee and Hoda are up to after 9am on the Today Show, Mason could probably tell you. We leave the kitchen TV on for him. He had to get up 3 times a night the first 3 nights. The 3rd night I followed the advice of our vet tech and put his crate in the kitchen. Bad idea. He cried all night. I called the breeder the next day – who is awesome by the way – and she told me he was way too little to be by himself. Her pups are very pack-oriented and need to be with their people. We basically ostracized him. I felt awful. I failed him as a doggie mommy. So the fourth night we put him back in our room and miracles upon miracles, he slept from 11:30pm to 6:30am straight. Hallelujah! He is regularly sleeping through the night now.
He doesn’t even bark in the morning when he has to go out; he scratches at the plastic bottom of his crate. How polite of him! He has gotten in his crate on his own several times and taken naps. It’s awesome.
Leaving treats in his crate, encouraging him to enter on his own the first few days, and never physically removing him from the crate really does work. He feels like it is his safe haven, his den. I haven’t heard him cry yet when I’ve left him, but I tend to get out of there quickly so I don’t have to listen to him. It would break my heart.
Mason is growing so fast! He is already much bigger than he was 2 weeks ago when we got him! He’s navigating the stairs – going up, not down. He can practically jump on the couch – a no-no for us.
The first day we got him he could easily fit under the coffee table, not so much anymore… The breeder expects he’ll be around 35 lbs. His dad is about 30 lbs and his mom is a little over 35 lbs. His mom was 18” tall at the shoulder and his dad was 17” tall at the shoulder. He looks so much like his dad it’s uncanny. He’s going to be a great dog and we have absolutely no regrets about bringing him into our family. Sure he’s a lot of work, but he makes us incredibly happy!
In anticipation of any allergy questions… I have not had any reactions to Mason yet. So far he doesn’t shed and I’m not allergic to him! Woo hoo!I think it’s the poodle in him. But speaking of allergies, I recently discovered that I am one of the few people in this world that react negatively to contact with Virginia Creeper. We have a ton of it in our yard in various places. I realized that every time Mason brushes up against it and I handle him, I develop these hives that look like bug bites and scratch marks. They feel like a chemical burn. I googled it and sure enough, looks like me and Virginia Creeper do not get along. I cannot even pull it up with gloves. My husband is going to get out there this weekend and rid our backyard of it. My hero! In the meantime every time Mason has contact with V-creep, I rub him down with baby wipes when we get back inside.
But because of my rash (I am not ashamed), I had to give Mason a bath. It was a traumatic experience for both of us.
The look on his face, combined with his panic attack and the image of him sopping wet almost had me turning myself in to the ASPCA. Washing this puppy is not for the faint of heart.
Be back soon with mailbox, backyard, and fence updates!