Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wrapping Up The First Month

Alright, it's time to really get this show on the road and start condensing the early Miley days a bit more.  At the rate I'm currently going it will take FOREVER to get completely caught up.  This post will finish up the first month with Miley.
Puppies are cute.  Puppies are adorable.  And when you have a new puppy, everything that they do is just the cutest/funniest thing ever.  Naturally, you want to capture all these random moments for posterity.  I am definitely no different. ;) As I already mentioned, I was/am obsessed.  I took so many pictures and so many videos of this hilarious little girl.  As you might have guessed, sometimes she got a little tired of the camera being in her face all the time.
But she would do these cute things like sit there with a poop toy hanging out of her mouth!
How could I be expected to resist that?!  I did take advantage of moments when she was distracted by other things going on and snap some pictures with her. ;)

But then she usually caught on to what was happening....
I couldn't help it.  She's cute, adorable, and when the mood strikes her and she holds still long enough, I'm able to capture her looking beautiful.
As Heffner was gradually adjusting to having her around and getting used to this little thing who was not intimidated by him at all, I started letting them have brief moments of time near each other without a physical barrier in between.  I started slowly.  Initially it was just me letting Heffner sniff her as I carried her from her crate to go outside to potty.  Gradually these sniffing moments included nose to nose sniffing as long as Heffner appeared to be in a good mood.  Miley was beside herself with excitement during these times.  It was a good thing that I was holding onto her lest her puppy exuberance over come her to the point of pissing off the old man.  Throughout all of this, Heffner was quite accepting of her and was getting better and better with her around.  Maybe he was starting to realize that this one wasn't going to be leaving any time soon. ;) Any time I've introduced Heffner to another dog, once it gets to that point, I start by allowing them time outside of the house.  I like large open areas where neither dog will hopefully feel threatened and everyone will feel like they are able to leave the situation if they so choose.  So with the sniffing nose to nose going well, I finally started taking both dogs out for potty time together.  I still carried Miley out, but once both dogs were outside, I would put her down on the grass.  Because she had a puppy bladder, she would always immediately do her business, which also allowed Heffner time to do his.  Initially, I would restrain her once she was done and Heffner would come over to check her out.  They got a few minutes of this and then it was back inside and separated.  Gradually I got to the point where I would only restrain Miley until Heffner was done and then I would let go of her and she would go bounding towards him.  He would usually trot away, easily out distancing the puppy.  But it did allow both of them to start getting used to being loose outside together.  After a few days of this and bringing Heffner outside each time Miley went out to potty, I decided to change up the scenery a little and give both dogs an even larger area to get used to each other in.  I took them out to one of my favorite easy trail systems that are relatively close to the house.
They started out on leash so that I could also control the puppy a little more.  Plus, I just always start off any hike, regardless of the location, with the dogs on leash until we get to an area where I feel comfortable letting them off if that's the case.  Pretty soon we were a comfortable distance from the trail head and it was time to unleash the beasts!
Both dogs were pretty excited.  Heffner was happy that he could easily get away from the child while also being able to stretch his legs and check everything out unhindered.  Miley was excited because it was her first time in the woods.  So many things to smell, see, and test out!
She was also excited to spend some time with Heffner, who she already adored.  There were a lot of monkey-see-monkey-do moments.

Heffner was pretty relaxed and was slowly letting Miley spend more time near him.  My heart did a little pitter patter of joy each time they were near each other.  Any time Miley would get overly excited about being near him, he would just trot away and easily distance himself from her.  No corrections, no getting irritated, he would just remove himself from the situation.  Miley was very slowly learning that if she wanted to hang out near Heffner, she had to take the excitement down a notch or else he'd ditch her.  Things were working out very well. :)
If you're thinking to yourself, oh my word, did she take a giant breed puppy hiking??  That is a very valid concern.  You have to be very mindful about damage to growth plates and tissues in general in rapidly growing giant breed puppies.  Any sort of forced exercise is highly discouraged due to the risk of irreparably damaging their growing bodies.  As you can see from the pictures, part of the trail is paved and part of the trail is bark/gravel.  This allowed Miley to pick which ever route she wanted that was the easiest for her.  I also picked this particular trail because it's a very easy walk.  The terrain is gentle, it's not physically taxing, even for a puppy and there's not much elevation gain at all.  Additionally, I essentially controlled the pace by hanging way back and always allowing Miley to be in front and choosing what pace she wanted.  There were a LOT of stops to smell things and test things out.  I also made sure that this first trip was short, much to Heffner's disappointment.
Not too long after bringing Miley home, Jamie, Miley's breeder, contacted me about getting in touch with the owner of one of Miley's litter mates, Diesel, who happened to live in my general neck of the woods.  Diesel was also sold into a conformation home and Jamie thought it would be good for us to get together to practice and all of that jazz.  Within a few weeks, Miley got to say hello again to one of her brothers!  They were like two peas in a pod!  It was so adorable to see the two play together!  I tried taking some pictures, but they were just every where.  Diesel's mom was a lot better at snapping some pictures of them playing and she put this together:
Mostly the month of June was just a lot of enjoying my puppy, getting to know her quirks, and trying to capture as many memorable moments as possible.

Phew!  Those are the picture moments, and here are the video moments:
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Continuing With Puppy Miley....

After staying home with Miley for the first week, I went back to work with a slightly modified schedule.  I would go home for an extended lunch each day to take care of Miley.  Let her out of the crate to pee, clean up any accidents, and make sure she got some exercise during the middle of the day.  Thankfully the timing was right and my work load allowed for this for almost two whole months!  It was fabulous!
This extra time during the middle of the day allowed me to make sure that Miley was getting the attention and time and that she needed, while also making it so that I was able to spend "extra" time with Heffner as well.  Juggling two dogs who could not be loose together can be a little tiring.  I knew it wouldn't be permanent, but it was still wearing and I was perpetually feeling guilty because I was having to exclude one of the dogs from interactions while I was with the other.  I have a horribly guilty conscience when it comes to my dogs in the first place, this definitely added to it.
Minus the guilty moments, I was having a fan-freaking-tastic time enjoying my puppy!  And what wasn't there to enjoy?!  She was/is hilarious pretty much every minute of the day.  So much sass.  So much attitude.  So much "OMG PUPPY" cuteness.  I was obsessed.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time just watching her.  Everything that she did was just the best thing ever.  I was smitten. :) Naturally, I took a whole lot of pictures and video of her random entertaining moments. ;) Oh yeah, and I FIGURED OUT HOW TO REORIENT MY VIDEO!!!!  Turns out, there's this button on the video editing software right with all the other buttons that says rotate right or left.....Here's the first compilation:
You know what's also fun?  Tormenting little puppies by dressing them up in Christmas coats that won't fit them in just a few weeks!

It was also around this time that Miley found a new best friend.  The puppy in the mirror!  Watching her play with the mirror would crack me up every time!
Hopefully you're enjoying these pictures and videos as I slowly get caught up. :) I have a certain sassy-pants who is making it quite obvious that I've spent too much time on the computer.  Happy hump day everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Merry Christmas In January!!

I love Christmas and I don't think I've been all that subtle about it. ;)  I love the time of year.  I love all the ridiculous warm fuzzy feelings that come out with the holiday.  I love that there's so much warmth, love and happy feelings and memories associated with this time of year for me, that I really have a hard time holding myself back through the other 11 months!  My favorite colors are even red and green!  This December was pretty crazy for me between work and various other obligations.  I was burning the candle at both ends and wearing myself out.  Work got crazy busy trying to finish up projects by the end of the year.  And outside of work, there were all the various holiday gatherings, events and things to do and see that didn't leave me a whole lot of time to sit back and really enjoy the season as much as I normally like to do.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have cut anything out that I did, but I would have greatly appreciated a lighter work load during that month that would have allowed me the time to better fit in more quality time with everyone.  It's the time of year for being thankful for everything that we have.  To really realize all that we do have, be grateful for all the positives in our lives and try not to focus so much on the negatives.  I realize it's a little cliche to say keep Christmas in your heart all year long, but it honestly is a good message to be mindful of.  Be thankful for all that you have, spend quality time with the amazing people in your life and just keep those warm fuzzy feelings flowing!

To keep that "spirit" going, I really wanted to do a sort of Christmas celebration each month leading up to the actual holiday itself.  Granted, October does have Halloween and November has Thanksgiving and those holidays should be given their due.  But that still leaves the other nine months.  So starting this month, I'm celebrating the spirit of Christmas each month.  Conveniently enough, since I'm so behind in my blogging, it also allows me to get caught up on holiday pictures with the dogs.;)  So, I'll be posting pictures on the blog of the dogs during our previous Christmas to go along with the theme.

This month I'm going with pictures from our Christmas card shoot.  While I was more prepared this year with treats and toys for the photographer to get the dogs' attention with, I underestimated the antsiness of my "little" puppy.  The number of shots it took to get some decent pictures was pretty hilarious.  Getting Miley to hold still long enough, get everyone facing the camera, and keep Heffner from making faces; took a longer amount of time than I had anticipated.  And I even took them hiking that morning to burn off a little energy!!  Anyhow, without further ado, here are some of the out takes as well as some of the shots that almost made the cut for the actual card:
Last night, in honor of Christmas Eve in January, I celebrated with a friend of mine.  She cooked the dinner, I made reindeer cookies from a recipe that I found on Pinterest and we watched Scrooged while drinking wine.  It was pretty great!
So regardless of how you feel about the holiday or what you celebrate, cheers to warm fuzzy feelings, amazing four legged kids and the many fantastic people that we have in our lives!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday Heffner!!

I love him.....I love him.....I love him......
Here's to more good times ahead!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Off With The Cone!

About a week after I picked up Miley, it was time for her ears to be taken down from the cup and put up into "big girl" ears.  Since this was my first time dealing with a cropped puppy out of the cone, I drove down to Salem to my friend Karen's house.  She has a lot of experience in the breed and obviously with cropped dane puppies, and she was kind enough to help me out.  The final product is the pretty funny picture that you see above.  I think she looks pretty stinkin' cute!  Then again, I pretty much always think she looks cute. ;)
Since Salem is so close to Silverton, I decided to combine the taping trip with a little visit to my parents'!  Miley got to meet my mom, dad and sister as well as Jazz, my parents' golden retriever.
Jazz wasn't really sure what to make of the little pipsqueak.  Miley was polite at first, but once she had said her nice hellos, she really just wanted to play.
Since picking her up from her breeder, that was Miley's first big outing.  It involved an hour and a half car ride, getting her big girl ears up, visiting a new house, people and dog, and then another "long" drive home.  She was pretty great for both car rides.  After a couple minutes of crying initially, she settled right in and slept.  And for the drive home she was pretty much out as soon as I put her into the truck.  Ridiculous, ridiculous adorableness!

As I mentioned last week, starting on the 15th, I had Miley entered in the big Rose City Classic dog show for all four days of the all breed competition.  The show itself is a bi of a mad house.  It's great exposure and is usually a major in at least one of the genders each year, but it's also a little bit nuts.  I'm very proud to say that Miley took it all in stride and handled everything like it was no big deal.  She was her normal goofy self outside of the ring and thoroughly enjoyed all the attention that she was getting.  She was unfazed by kids tromping around on the metal bleachers.  She handled the commotion of tons of dogs, tons of people, noise, rain, and one very long day on Saturday like a pro.  I honestly couldn't be prouder of her!  She's also really understanding the difference between how she's expected to behave inside the ring versus outside of the ring.  Everyone has their own individual expectation for their dogs, and obviously I'm not different.  I really want a dog that I can grab from any where, doing anything and immediately take them into the ring and have them unruffled by it. I would love to have that for the performance ring, but that's also a little unfair to the dog.  For the conformation ring, I feel like it's a fairly easy mental switch for them.  And Miley is definitely meeting my "expectations!" (I say expectations loosely because she is a puppy and I don't expect this delineation to occur over night)  She can literally go from being a goof ball, rolling around on her back outside the ring, to all business and getting into the line up.  She also was a super star at holding for the judge's exam all four days!!  We did have one bobble with one judge where I didn't quite understand what he was wanting.  Turns out, he wanted ME to show him the bite and that's what his hand gestures were for.  Miley got a little excited and thought he was encouraging her to come say hello.  Other than, she was great!  She didn't have any competition in her class, so we got the gimmy warm up class.  Then it was on to the winners bitch ring where we got more practice.  Miley is young and she's been going through some awkward growth spurts lately, so I didn't expect her to do anything this show.  I'm just thrilled with how well behaved she was!!  She's a little rock star and I love this puppy to pieces!!

On one of the days, we popped by Bobbie's booth so that Miley could try out the large Dog Tread treadmill.  I'd been really wanting to try it out with one of my dogs so that I can get an idea of how well it can handle the full stride of a great dane.  I am happy to report that the treadmill doesn't disappoint!  It also takes up less room than I expected.  That little gem is now firmly on my want list!  Bobbie had her booth partner snap some pictures of Miley while she was on the treadmill too!
Miley was hesitant at first, but once she got the hang of it she started to relax.  Due to it being her first time and how crazy the venue was, the speed of the treadmill stayed pretty low so the "action" shots of Miley aren't super crazy.  Here's one of them:
The show was exciting, exhausting and fun, but I'm glad that it's over.  It was so great to see everyone that I got to see, to hang out, to talk dogs and to enjoy all things dog show related.  But I was seriously beat by the time we were done showing on Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a good week!