Happy Monday! This past weekend was Harper’s four-week checkpoint as our new pup. It has felt like 6 months! We knew adopting an 11-week-old puppy would be tough, and we prepared ourselves pretty well, but we still had no idea what we were getting into.
Age: 15 weeks
Weight: 22 pounds (she’s gained around 7-8 pounds since we got her)
Quirks: tail-chasing, eating wood chips, napping under the couch, looking like a bat/rat
Growth: puppy teeth are starting to fall out; adult hair is coming in, too! Her pig belly is almost all gone as hair is filling in.
Obedience: She knows sit, down, touch, look, and responds really well to her name! She stills needs practice demonstrating all of these skills during periods of high distraction, but puppy class really helps with that. Stay is next on the list!
Two days after we adopted Harper, I started almost-every-weeknight rehearsals for Hello Dolly, and six days after adoption day, Nick sprained his ankle and had to postpone training for his 100-mile race. The combination of those two things has been pretty unfair on The Man, as he’s been confined to the apartment and supervising her almost constantly with no runs around the park to help him feel less cabin-fever-esque. I, on the other hand, want desperately to be helping out more, but work and rehearsals have owned my soul during the week, and when I get home, I am a walking zombie. Oof!
We also didn’t anticipate the mental exhaustion that would happen. As people who are quite familiar with self-discipline and a high level of mental focus and stretch, we have been continually surprised by just how tiresome the constant Harper attention is. This Saturday, I took a nap at 7:30 am and another at 1:30 pm… and those were hardcore weird-dream-infested sleeps. How do people have children?!
That 1:30 pm nap was after we went for a run around Wash Park, our first lap together since the day after we got Harper! Side note: I realized that I’d been wearing the same sports bra and wrinkly T for 24 hours. Showering and changing out of rehearsal activewear is not a priority lately.
She was napping after a 10 am Puppy 1 obedience class at the Denver Paw School, so we jumped at the chance to eat a burrito in peace and then 20 minutes later took advantage of Nick’s clearance to run and did 4.5 miles at the hottest part of the day (90+ degrees). Remember the last time I went for a run after a burrito? Needless to say, the post-run nap that we both partook in was necessary for multiple reasons.
I think part of the exhaustion, too, is that we are trying to do everything right and make every moment count. When she’s hyper, we do a 5- or 10-minute training session because her brain is ready for a challenge, and then we’ll take her to the yard for playtime or try a walk around the block, which requires constant redirection since she’s not leash-trainable just yet. When she’s tired, that’s a good two- or three-hour window to do housework or something else that needs attention. When she’s just eaten or drunk water, we need to keep an eye both on the clock and on her to prevent an accident. And then, of course, we need to make sure she is playing with her toys and not our shoes or electrical cords.
This is all heightened by the lack of a yard! Taking her up and down stairs is a difficult task, because she either bolts up/down or protests them altogether. When it’s the latter scenario, we either carry her 22-pound heiny or we have to coax her with treats every third stair (that’s not an exaggeration, and we’re suspecting she’s training us in that regard!).
With a yard, a lot of this would be avoidable. She could just roam and play and pee wherever she wanted! Apartment life, y’all. But we are working so hard because we’d like her to still get all the benefits of having a yard, and I think we’re doing a great job. We’re also so consistent with training that we can see a massive improvement in her attention to us, her skills (she now knows “down” without leading gestures), and her overall temperament with distractions. She got cleared to move on to Puppy 2 obedience class after three Puppy 1 classes! But man, does it get tough sometimes.
Another thing taking a toll on us is the lack of just N | V time. Trying to figure out how to stay connected and enjoy our still-brand-new engagement has been an adjustment! So we made an effort on Saturday night to put the pup to bed and then do an at-home date night.
We made a delicious fettuccine with peas, mushrooms, and spinach in a cream sauce, and sipped a new rosé from our friends over at Joy, Wine & Spirits. Then we crushed some Whole Foods Oreo-wannabe cookies. It was a great night, thank goodness!
Nick also was able to embark on a long hike in the mountains with a friend on Sunday morning, which meant I got some introvert time with the pup before my first OrangeTheory Fitness experience (!!!), so perhaps we’ll be a little more balanced going into the week (I’m sure I’m speaking too soon).
All in all: We love Harper and are so happy she’s a part of our little family! But perhaps we bit off more than we could chew with the show and training for a 100-miler and spraining an ankle and working hard and trying to be normal humans all at the same time. 🙂 Such is life. More pupdates to come as she continues to grow!