Monday, May 26, 2008

Drew's Song

A, he's so adorable
V, because he's valiant
I, he's irresistible

Avi, Avi, Avi

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Other Dogs

Avi's met a lot of dogs in the past two weeks, including a slew of dogs in our apartment complex. He's also met nearly all of the family pets, including Molly, Snickers, and Piper. (Zoe wasn't around, but I'm sure he, like Snickers, will be startled by Avi's sheer size!)

Better yet, Avi got to meet Ben, Zach and Kristin's akita mix. We love Ben. He's a fantastic dog and he put Avi in his place. He's still a little apprehensive around our energetic pup, but Avi seems to love Ben's company.

Other dogs have had mixed reactions to Avi. Molly didn't seem to into Avi, so Avi just chilled outside my parent's house. Lots of fun playing in the yard and chasing Drew and Tara around a tree.

Meanwhile, Piper and Snickers spent quality time with Avi outside of Aimee's mom's house. Snickers was intimidated by Avi's bear-like stature, but Piper seemed to like him quite a bit.

And that's the way all dogs are reacting to him... they either seem really interested in him, or they want to bark at him and run away. On the other hand, Avi seems to be interested in other dogs, if not at least entertained... but he hasn't shown any sign of fear or intimidation to any of them.

...Maybe they can sense his future as a colossus.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Boy Bites

No kidding... This kid's got teeth!

SHARP teeth!

It seems he's teething on everything he can, including the legs of the coffee table, the straps of our laptop bags, the basket holding his toys, the door stop, our fingers, our ankles, our arms, our socks, the bottom of our pants legs, the sleeves of our shirts and jackets, and, his NEW favorite, Aimee's colorful, flowing skirts.

Never mind the fact that he's got some wonderful chew toys including his absolute favorite: Duck.

At four months he should lose his puppy teeth. Our friends have said that his teething should subside when he's got his adult teeth, but for the next two months be prepared to be chomped if you stop by to visit.

So for now... bite, bite, BITE!

What a charmer!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Learning to Love a Crate

Avi vs. the Crate (Round 1)

So we're trying to crate-train Avi to be used to going into his kennel at night for bed... "trying" being the operative word here.

The first night we brought him home, we placed Avi in the crate, said "Avi, kennel. Good boy!", offering lots of praise in order to help reinforce the command, and then attempted to sleep through a little over 30 minutes of whimpering and restrained barks.

The good news, if you're so inclined, is that he woke me up at 4:35 the next morning to pee. He didn't pee in his crate!

Avi and His Powerful Back Legs (Round 2)

On the second night Avi learned how to backpedal and attempted very earnestly to keep the kennel door from shutting. However, his crying didn't last as long and, once again, he slept well through the night.

A Fight Then Goodnight (Round 3)

Two nights ago Avi put up his usual fight to go into the crate, but then immediately lay down and rested... as though giving up and realizing that crying is worthless if he thinks we're going to let him back out.

But being the loving new-puppy owners that we are, we were completely devastated to have to struggle to get him into his crate in addition to hearing his whiny sobs from inside the kennel.

How can we make this puppy like his kennel, his crate, his den (feeding into his pack instincts)?

Making a Kennel into an Enviable Hang-Out Place (Round 4)

A number of friends said we just needed to hang in there and Avi would eventually get used to the crate. Two weeks seems to be the magic number.

But our dog expert pals all told us we should be proactive by finding ways to make Avi want to spend time in the crate. Why would he want to do that, you might ask?! Well, here are the things we're testing out in order to win him over:

1. Dinner in the Den - We're working on luring Avi into the crate by serving his meals in the crate and, meal by meal, moving the dishes further and further back into the kennel.
2. Playtime in the Pen - We're also trying to get Avi to play with his toys (or at least retrieve the toys) in his kennel. We've placed his toy basket outside his kennel door, but he hasn't yet chanced the move to retrieve a toy (we only started trying this out tonight).
3. Treats in the Toys - We've also been placing one of his favorite toys in the crate and hiding treats in it to give him something to work at to wear himself out.
4. Wear the Puppy Out! - One of our best allies has been exhaustion because no puppy sleeps better than Avi when he's worn out from some quality play time.

Things are on the up-and-up. It's only been five days with Avi and already we've seen changes. He's adjusting to new owners. We're adjusting to having a puppy. And we're both growing closer together.

I love that dog!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Avi, Hurry!

1. Stand like a tree.
2. "Avi, hurry."

Thank you, Michele for teaching us "hurry".

Within the first hour of being home with Avi he peed twice on the carpet. But we followed our good friend (and CCI puppy raiser) Michele's advise and we scooped him up, took him down to the grass outside, laid him down, said "Avi, hurry", then PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. And believe it or not, the following two times that he peed, we made it all the way downstairs to the grass and were able to give him the command! What great puppy progress!

And while we're on this note of thanks, Aimee and I need to extend our overflowing gratitude to the following people for the tremendous support they've already given in helping us prepare for our new Berner:

1. Michele, Lisa, and DeLea -
Avi loves his new toys, the treats, and his tasty food from Bark (where we will now be going for *everything puppy* we might need). Aimee and I love that his fur now smells slightly of lavender thanks to the shampoo you gave us. Well done!

2. Judith -
He's not absolutely keen on it yet, but the kennel you're letting us borrow is perfect for our little guy.

3. Mrs. D and Mrs. H's Kindergarten class -
The toys you picked out are perfect and our little guy seems to love tug toys... excellent choices!

4. Emma and Abby -
What a wonderful surprise to receive such thoughtful puppy housewarming gifts! Avi thanks you warmly with Berner kisses.

5. Wendy -
Over and over (in advance) for offering a home away from home for Avi to stay while Aimee and I are at school. I know he'll just love your abode and we already love that we don't have to be so far away while at work.

6. Everyone else -
What terrific love our new addition has already received, and you haven't even met him yet! Thank you for pouring out your love and support for us. It's always recognized and we're *always* grateful for it!

And now, it's time to catch a few Zzz's while the little one naps.


Welcome Home, Avi!

We brought Avi home yesterday, Friday, May 9th.

The drive to Reading was near excruciating... what with the on and off rain, the numerous accidents backing up traffic, missing our exit in York, and eating some terrible food that gave us both terrible indigestion. Oh, but the butterflies were bouncing around in both of our stomaches, making the additional hour and a half in the car seem less significant to the life we'll have to share with our new Berner puppy.

Avi's mom seemed to have a difficult time letting him go. She and a second pup were upstairs with us while we were completing the paperwork with Carol and Tim. The other puppy, a girl named Swiss Kiss, was affectionately playing with us while Avi spread out on the kitchen floor in his best impression of a surfboard, front paws tucked beneath his pointed snout and back legs stretched out straight.

Aimee sat in the backseat with Avi on our drive home and enjoyed some fun one-on-one time while Avi climbed over her to check out the windows and to demonstrate how sharp his puppy teeth are.

When we arrived home we made sure we thoroughly wore him out with lots of love and playing with his new toys.

We also gave Avi a bath and showed him his bed and his kennel. He wasn't too keen on the bath or being alone in the kennel... but his has absolutely fallen for his bed.

Aimee's sister dropped by for a visit, but by that point Avi was completely tuckered out. I laid with him on his bed and ended up falling asleep myself with my hand laying on his fuzzy belly. When it was time for Aimee and I to go to bed, we lad Avi into his kennel and shut the gate, then I laid on the floor with my fingers in the crate while he cried a little then lay down. We took him out to pee before laying him down for good, but when he returned to his kennel he was full of puppy dog cries. Aimee laid with him for a while to comfort him and reassure him that she was near.

Overall, we lost a little sleep... but that was nothing for all that we gained!

- Matthew

Our Reading Berner

No, no, no.... he can't read. You're pronouncing it wrong :)

We traveled to Reading, PA (pronouced like "Yesterday I *read* a book.") four weeks ago to select a Bernese Mountain Dog pup from a litter of six.

How do you choose?!

Of the two boys and four girls, one with a stripe running down his neck charmed the pants off of us. We played with the pups for a little over an hour and then, after calling dibs on "striper" (as they aptly named him), we made the long drive home to Owings Mills, MD.

Good thing we brought our camera (or perhaps bad thing for everyone we ran into over the past four weeks). We've shown of our new little guy to nearly every relative, friend, and colleague who's shown even the slightest hint of curiosity.

We're getting a Berner. We know our life won't ever be the same.

- Matthew

Avi Wordle

Wordle: Avi's Berner Blog