Recently my Scottie puppy, Glenfiddich “Whiskey”, turned six months old. Since we brought him home from the breeder four months ago, it’s been a whirlwind of activity!

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First, there was potty training in the midst of frigid temperatures and deep snow. Then there was adapting to new “traffic patterns” in the house, with gates and barriers to confine Whiskey. We also worked with him to understand and learn household manners and rules; particularly regarding biting, nipping and chewing. Trips to the vet for vaccines and checkups, entailed me waiting outside in the car. Once my battery went dead!

After he was safely inoculated, Whiskey and I began kinder puppy classes. Important sessions not only for early obedience training, but also socialization with other humans and dogs.

During the last few months, there’s been a few bumps in the road; including car sickness, switching puppy food, and Whiskey’s aversion to grooming and nail clipping. But mostly, he’s been a bundle of energy, playfulness and affection. Having a Scottie Dog again, has filled our home with activity, laughter and love.

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Pandemic Puppy

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Our first peek of Whiskey (top left) and his three brothers. Of the four, the brindle pair were much more low key. Another female Scottie puppy had already gone to her new home. They were a little over eight weeks old.

The first time we met Whiskey was the same blustery February day we picked him up from the breeder, Jacqueline Wise. Originally, I had hoped to decide between two Scotty puppy brindle males in the litter — based on personality. Or, to have the puppy choose me, so to speak.

But, with the pandemic still raging, we were only in the breeder’s home for about 30 minutes. A health care professional, Jacqueline had received her first vaccine. But, we and her teenage daughters were months away from even being eligible.

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In the picture above, you can see where the vet had to shave hair around an injury near the other pup’s eye — likely incurred during some rough sibling play. That, coupled with the fact one of his testicles had not yet descended (and might require surgery), made the choice easy.

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Quick Turnaround

So, I got down on the floor and the breeder put Whiskey in my lap. Mr. Buzz was in charge of photography and it’s not exactly a Hallmark moment.

You can just see the tip of my N95 mask at the top of the frame. But, I am dressed for the occasion — note the mad for plaid blouse and Scottie puppy print turtleneck lol!

Whiskey was very calm and quiet while I held him. He also didn’t seem distressed to be separated from his siblings.

Bringing Home Baby

A few minutes earlier, we had met both Whiskey’s parents and an aunt. The entire visit was pretty quick out of necessity; including finalizing paperwork.

As explained in, Preparing for a Puppy: Favorite Dog Supplies & Toys, I had already readied a travel carrier for the two and a half hour car ride home from Ohio to Pittsburgh.

And, Jacqueline provided a small toy that had the soothing scent of Whiskey and his siblings.

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She also sent us home with a Scottie puppy gift basket. It was full of practical and fun goodies, including; collar, harness, sweater, blanket, collapsible bowl, treats, poop bags, and assorted toys.

There were human treats too; like a Scottish Terrier calendar, cookies, and candies.

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While Mr. Buzz drove, I sat in the back seat with the travel carrier positioned so that Whiskey could see me the entire time. He was calm and quiet nearly the entire trip — until getting car sick only half an hour from home. Poor guy!

Fortunately, I had packed a plastic bag, paper towels, wipes and an extra bath towel.

Settling In

Once home, however, Whiskey was playful, happy and inquisitive.

Although hubby had shoveled an area in the yard, going to potty was a rude awakening for the little Scottie puppy. After all, Whiskey had never been outside before; let alone in the snow and freezing wind.

I suspect that’s what led him to later have an accident in his crate. He cried on and off for hours. It was a long, rough first night for all three of us.

But ever since then, he’s slept through the night and happily settles into his crate at bedtime. For the first month or so, I tucked Whiskey in with a large Snuggle Puppy. It simulates being with a littermate with a battery operating beating heart and heat pack tucked inside.

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Whiskey as a nearly three month old Scottie puppy, with argyle blanket and Wubba squeaker toy. One of his ears was fully standing and the other was almost upright.

Now he’s content to cuddle up with his special blanket and favorite dinosaur toy.

Life with a Scottie Puppy

Over the next few months, we’ve expanded the living areas where Whiskey can freely roam.

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Whiskey on the carpet side of the fence, while the kitchen’s tile floor was being mopped.

Once housebroken — and we were confident he wasn’t going to chew on electrical wires or furnishings — the fencing came down between the family room and open kitchen. There’s still a gate and crate separating him from the formal living and dining rooms, but he’s also allowed in the front hall.

Short of stature, with a elongated body, Whiskey is still somewhat leery about using the stairs.

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Whiskey playing with a Kong ball stuffed with kibble. His hair is very long, as the picture was taken right before his first Scottie puppy silhouette haircut. But, it makes it easier to see the handsome brindle coat with blond, brown, silver and gray shades.

Whiskey’s actually been really good about only chewing on his own toys. He loves his stuff! As I mentioned in, Preparing for a Puppy, it’s an excellent investment to purchase a wide variety of toys, and rotate them often. That helps to alleviate boredom and keeps a dog — young or old — productively and happily occupied.

Going to School: STAR Student

As a pandemic puppy born in the winter, I wanted to insure Whiskey was well socialized by attending dog training. At the time, pandemic restrictions meant reduced class sizes and wearing masks.

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Whiskey wearing his Martingale training collar and identification tag. He won’t be microchipped and neutered until later this summer, after his current six-week obedience course ends.

Honestly, I overextended myself; signing Whiskey up for three different kinder puppy classes. They were staggered over several months, so that some weeks we had one or two sessions, but others three. It felt hectic — particularly keeping up with class homework (practice) and my own physical therapy.

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It wouldn’t have been so bad if Whiskey hadn’t suffered from car sickness. Too young for meds, the vet suggested zero food two to three hours before a car ride. That worked okay for 15-30 minute trips.

But, Animal Friends (where I volunteer) is normally 40 minutes. Construction on a major bridge added another quarter hour; each way.

He’d manage okay on in the car carrier on the trip to class. But, after all the excitement and filling up with rich training treats during class, he’d get sick nearly home. It made for a mess, and was distressing for both of us.

However, Whiskey actually loved attending training classes and began to relate the ride to having fun at our destination. He particularly excelled in being fearless, and was willing to take on any challenge.

Although much larger breeds or mixes, several puppies were rather timid. Not Whiskey! He’d race with glee around a puppy agility course; no treat luring necessary! A person in a wheelchair or using a walker; no problem.

We even earned the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy designation and medal. Through basic training and socialization, the program is designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start.

Braveheart or Bonaparte?

A favorite part of each class was the final 15 minutes. That’s when puppies were allowed off-lease for supervised play. Problem was, there were seldom little dogs to pair Whiskey with. Almost all the other puppies were considerably larger. Even though some would lay on top of him or get really rough, Whiskey kept coming back for more!

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Here’s the little rascal, tuckered out after chasing his Babble Ball and playing “shake and kill” with a large stuffed duck. Whiskey is such a perpetual motion machine, I’ve had trouble getting good pictures — unless he’s ready for a nap.

That earned him the nickname, “Braveheart”; for the legendary Scottish hero. I swear, every Scottie dog’s middle name should be, “Bonaparte” — short in stature but full of themselves lol!

Two weeks ago (after Whiskey turned six months), we started regular puppy obedience classes. After that, I hope to evidently earn Canine Good Citizen, or possibly Therapy Dog. But, only taking one course at a time going forward!

On the Road

As Whiskey has matured, his car sickness has abated somewhat. It certainly helped that he learned to associate car rides with positive things like going to “school.” My vet had advised me to make sure his brain didn’t hardwire to think, car = bad consequences.

First, I spent a lot of time acclimating him to car travel. In the beginning, I’d just have him sit in the travel carrier with a toy and treat for a few minutes. Next, we’d take short rides around the neighborhood.

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But, I think graduating him from the enclosed travel carrier to Fibber’s old dog seat is what has helped most. While riding in the backseat booster with a harness, he can look out the window, see me, lie or stand up. Now, rather than shying away from the car, he puts his front paws up in the doorway and waits to be lifted into place.

At five months of age he was also old enough for medication — $18 per pill two hours before each ride! But it was worth the investment for the six hour trip to and from Philadelphia; to ensure it was a positive experience for all of us. We also stopped every couple of hours for a potty break, water, and a little exercise. Still though, no food in his belly for the entire ride.

Puppy Playtime Pandemonium

We spent a wonderful 10 days visiting family and friends, including hubby’s oldest brother and his wife. Whiskey and I even overnighted at my college bestie’s with her sweet doodle Joey. Later, our older son and his girl came down from Manhattan for an extended weekend.

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While there, we stayed at younger son’s 100-year old, city row house. It’s got three floors of living space, a finished basement, fenced back yard/patio, and a rooftop deck where he grows herbs and veggies.

Oh, and did I mention my son’s then nine-month, lab mix puppy named, Bentley! He’s many times bigger than Whiskey. It got a little crazy at times because — unchecked — the two puppies would play rough non-stop. They never seemed to tire of the game or run out of energy.

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Inside the house, we kept them separated most of the time. Often, we’d used Bentley’s flexible playpen for Whiskey.

For the July 4th holiday, everyone — including both puppies — will be here. They’ll have a lot more space, but I anticipate we’re still going to have to keep Bentley and Whiskey on leashes much of the time.

Dog Whisperer Arrives

On day six of our visit, we picked my mom up at the Philadelphia airport. Sistah B and I arranged to fly her direct from Charleston, SC. She was absolutely thrilled to see both her grandsons, the row house, and meet both puppies. Me too, lol!

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We all had a fabulous time being together, barbequing, gardening and playing games.

Afterwards, mom rode home to Pittsburgh with us, bonding with Whiskey in the back seat. They became really good buddies over the course of her nearly three-week visit.

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You see, my mom has raised many dogs — including Dobermans — and is a dog whisper of sorts. During the time she was in Pittsburgh, mom worked daily with my Scottie puppy on obedience skills and loose lease walking.

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At six months old, Whiskey is a 15 pound Scottie puppy, and should grow to between 18-21 pounds as an adult.

Whiskey would anxiously wait for her to come downstairs every morning. After she flew back home, he noticeably moped around, missing her.

Before summer’s end, I’ll have to share details and photos from our visit and trip to Philadelphia, as well as both our adult sons’ urban, rooftop gardens. But, right now I’ve got to prepare for a full house to celebrate July 4th! If I don’t talk to you before then, have a wonderful holiday!

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