One year ago today, we picked Uli to join our family. Back then, he was tiny enough to fit into one of my hands. Now he overflows our laps and fills our house with happiness!
He is getting a bit big to be a lap dog, but we make it work.
In the last year, Paul and Uli have become nearly 24-7 buds. Since Paul largely works from home, they have daily routines and rhythms of their own. I am not privy to their Monday-Friday life because after kissing each of them goodbye at the front door each morning, I head off to work. On evenings and weekends, I get to join in the fun with visits to the dog park, training and play sessions. And, of course, the gleeful, butt wiggling greeting from Uli when I walk in the door each evening is a pretty awesome end to a workday.
As he transitions from puppy to dog, we are getting to know his quirks and characteristics. For example, he has developed a cute, pouty, bottom lip that emerges when he is wanting of some attention.
He loves to be a part of whatever is going on and doesn't want to miss out on anything. I think it causes him to be stubborn about naps. He often falls asleep while sitting up. He does that thing like a kid falling asleep in class, where he sinks lower and lower as his muscles relax and he nods off. He eventually and inevitably startles himself awake as he starts to fall over (he is doing it as I type this!). He recently figured out how to fall asleep while propped up against the couch, which sometimes saves him from jerking himself awake. Life is just too exciting to give into naps without a fight!
His life isn't all snuggles and naps. though. The life of a young, athletic dog involves a lot of exercise and an abundance of canine and human friends. We are regular visitors to the local dog parks and have found a good doggy daycare where he can play with other dogs indoors. The doggy daycare has been really helpful when it is brutally cold outside.
At the end of December, he officially turned a year old. To celebrate and help remember some highlights from the last year, Paul put together a video. It includes a vocal track of Paul singing Uli-related lyrics. (Paul warns you of the amateur but enthusiastic vocals.)
Over the last year, Uli has met so many people (family, friends and strangers), gone so many places (parks, houses, stores, cabins, cars, yards) and learned so very much. The intensity with which we approached socializing and training during the first months of his life is definitely paying off. I was concerned and a little overwhelmed by the job of teaching him and shaping him into the kind of dog people want to be around and welcome into their homes. It feels really great to see him demonstrate his confidence and understanding of how to function in the human world and the dog world. I would say that the evidence is showing us that he's an all-around happy and well-adjusted guy.
For posterity, here are the commands he knows so far:
- lay down
- get up
- roll over
- go get it
- bring it back
- drop it
- where is it (hide and seek)
- leave it
- let's go
- walk with me
- take it
- get down
- go potty
Skills we want him to learn in his second year of life:
- how to balance something on his nose and/or head (mostly for my amusement)
- how to "play" with Fanny better (they have an uneasy friendship at this point)
- run alongside a bike with a walkydog (we have to wait until he is fully grown)
- direction commands - left, right, slow down (to help with biking and loose leash walking)
- carrying his own hiking pack (waiting until he is full grown to fit him with a pack)
- ride in a canoe without tipping it (so he can go to the Boundary Water Canoe Area with Paul)
- side (his "roll over" is a flip and he needs to learn how to just turn over onto his side)
We are so happy to have shared this last year with Uli and are very much looking forward to sharing future years and adventure with this fun-loving and smart doggy. One year ago today, we made a very good choice.
Look for Uli to appear in a few other posts I have coming up over the next few weeks. I have a lot to share here as I have been making the most of the January slowdown by prepping photos and posts. The last quarter of 2015 included a lot of birthdays, short trips and finished projects!