Monday, May 9, 2016

Our First Week with Finn

It's been just over a week with the two dogs, and they're both doing great.  Finn seems to have a great personality, just like Charlie...I don't know if it's a breed thing, but both of these two have very people-oriented, friendly temperaments.  Even though Finn has been here so short a time, she is always so interested in people - she sits down and looks up at us and just watches our faces - it's a little like looking down into human eyes, they're so intent and expressive.  I love it.

Finn has, it appears, a very feisty personality...she's going to need that with Charlie, but I'm thinking she may be a handful to train. :)  She loves to cuddle for a quick minute or two here or there, but then she suddenly wants down and will try to leap out of one's arms to make it happen in that moment...we have to watch carefully that we're holding on to her or risk having her fall in her enthusiasm to be on the floor to run and play.

She has a round barrel of a body, and eats at least three times what Charlie does in a day (she's on a raw food diet like Charlie)...I'm shocked by how much more food we're going through in a day as she attacks the food dish several times/hour!  She's like a cylindrical sausage on stubby little legs.  She weighs almost two pounds more than Charlie did at this age, which on a small breed of dog is quite a lot!  But lest her squat body fool you, she is fast!  Charlie's fast, too, but Finn is almost as fast as her.  They two of them chase each other around the backyard and on the occasions when Charlie is in pursuit, Finn's body rolls in somersaults when Charlie catches up and bumps her from behind.

The two dogs are getting along remarkably well, overall.  I've been impressed by Charlie's general level of patience with Finn - it's happened a few times that, while Charlie is eating at the food dish, Finn crawls under her belly to eat at the same time...and Charlie has usually allowed this to happen with great patience.  There have been a few occasions when Charlie has been a little too aggressive and too playful with Finn, but I've tried as much as possible not to intervene...and by the third or fourth time that Charlie was being a little too much for Finn, I heard Finn growl at Charlie...and I thought good girl...stand up for yourself.  Nine days later, Finn is pretty much holding her own.

Finn is just starting to connect herself to her name, it seems; on the weekend, she turned when I called her name, and then came running.

She's pretty smart.  A few days ago, when I was doing a little training with Charlie, Finn came bounding over, wanting some of the dehydrated liver treats that Charlie loves.  Finn was jumping all over me in her efforts to get the treats.  Finally she got frustrated and just sat down; I immediately said "good sit, Finn" and gave her a treat.  The process was immediately repeated.  But by the third time, there was no jumping all over me - she sat her little rear end down on the floor and looked up at me and waited for her treat; she had connected that she would get a treat if she sat down.  She's doing that regularly now.  Smart girl.

Because she's just eleven weeks old, she has no real bladder control yet...that should start happening in the next week or two.  She's confined to just a few rooms on the main floor (other than when we carry her upstairs and put her in her crate for night) so any accidents happen on hard floor and are easy to clean up.  We haven't had very many accidents, though, because of our vigilance; we've basically just hung around the house over the past week and tried to be super observant about when she naps/drinks/etc so that we can take her outside immediately.  She seems already to be making one small connection: When I take her out to pee, I always take her back inside as soon as she's finished, so that she connects being outside at that time with just doing her business; I noticed on Friday for the first time that as soon as she had finished doing her business, she ran for the back door to go inside...I was impressed.  I think that if we can continue to be consistent she'll connect all of the dots in the weeks going forward.

Nights have gone amazingly well so far.  The very first night home, she was really tuckered out.  I put a soft blanket into the crate beside my bed, along with a loud alarm clock just outside of the crate (theory has it that this can sound like her mother's heart beat); I tucked her into her crate and then crawled into my bed beside her (with Charlie).  And guess how long she whimpered??!!  Not at all!  She was awake for just minutes, silently, and then she just slept.  And that's happened every night since.  I'm getting up once during the night to take her outside for a minute, and so far that's worked; no wetting in her crate, and she goes back to sleep until 6:30 or 7:00.  It's been awesome overall and has exceeded my expectations for these early days.  I can hardly wait not to have to get up during the night to take her out, but that will resolve itself in the coming weeks.

Three times, we've left Finn and Charlie at home alone together for two or 2.5 the big crate on the main floor.  The crate that we bought for Charlie is a large one (I was thinking ahead about the dream of two dogs, though I said nothing at the time!!) and it came with a divider that we now use to separate the dogs in the crate when we leave the house.  Eventually they'll just be together in the crate without the divider, but I'm just not sure quite yet how they'd get along in one big crate together.  I think they'd be ok, but I'm not 100% sure; they're still getting to know each other.  So for now we just use the divider and leave them each with a stuffed kong and a couple of toys.  And so far, all three times, we've left quiet dogs at home and come home to sleeping dogs.  I'm very thankful that both dogs are happily crate-trained; it makes life quite a lot easier (and safer for them) when we have to go out.

And of course the kids...the kids adore both dogs.  The boys, in particular, have become very good and loving caretakers of their pets - they diligently help with cleaning up poop outside (and inside if there's been an accident), they're great about leaving the dogs alone when they're sleeping, and they love playing with them when they're awake and playful.

We have already come to love our little Phinnea, strange name and all!

(As a side note, I have realized about myself that I tend to give female dogs rather masculine names.  First there were my cats, Frodo and Sam (both females but named after the male figures from The Hobbit); then there was Buddy (our female rescued American Eskimo); then came Charlie (whose full name is Charlotte); and now Finn (full name Phinnea).  I don't know what that says about me, but it's true.)

Having two dogs is a dream come true for me...and I'm lovin' it!

Enjoy a few pictures of our girls:

Finn with her mother nine days ago, the day we brought Finn home.  This also gives you an idea about how long Havanese fur/hair can fact, it can grow as long as floor length.  I love this picture of mama and baby.  

The day we brought Finn home.


When they're playing in a field, the two dogs usually hang out together...usually Finn trails around after Charlie, watching and doing whatever Charlie does.

These following pictures are all from yesterday, Mother's Day, when the dogs had an hour to romp.  I love these pictures.


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