“Look how big she’s getting”, “She’s growing so fast”, “Does she sleep through the night?”, “How’s her poop today?” Geesh…you would think I had a baby at home. But wait…I do. She just happens to be furry and has four legs and runs already, but believe me…she’s a baby. And as the proud foster “mom” of this furbaby I smile proudly as people gush over this 10 week old puppy. I happily report to others that she’s already 18 lbs and sleeps through the night. I very comfortably discuss her “bathroom” issues without getting squeamish. I even book playdates for her. I try to be a good mom, but this puppy is growing fast and not only needs lots of love but guidance as well.
The love and affection come easy with a young puppy but teaching them good manners is also an important part of raising them. Guide dogs need exceptionally good manners, as they will go places most of their canine pals will not. So rules and boundries must be established at this early age. It’s so tempting to cuddle with Keller on the sofa, but this special puppy must learn right from the get go that that is not allowed. Puppy raisers have to be strong and disciplined and not get sucked into those soulful eyes as they jump up on the furniture to snuggle with you. It’s important to think of the role Keller will play in someone’s life. Good behaviour is a must.
Like babies, puppies have milestones too. Keller could not do the stairs when she first arrived (which was great to keep her on the main floor). But taking her in and out for bathroom breaks, meant it was time to tackle those front steps. It took a week before she finally mastered going up the steps, and in the process developed a couple of approaches to these stairs. Watching a puppy learn to go up the stairs is the cutest! There was the slow and steady method which took a couple of tries with each step or if she was particularly energetic, there was the direct leap from step to step. Going down will take a little longer to learn, but she’s working on it. Getting these dogs to be comfortable on all types of steps will be important in her future role, so we will tackle a variety of steps in her training.
Like any proud momma, I take lots of photos of this fur baby as she’s growing. Being a newborn photographer, I have the advantage of having a photography studio right in my home, so I couldn’t help myself from capturing a few adorable shots of Keller. Of course she was the perfect model.
And throughout my days with Keller, the words keep ringing in my head….I will not get attached, I will not get attached, I will not get attached.
Next: Keller’s First Outings