Howard the Dog & All His Accomplishments

Joe and I were reminiscing the other day about when Howie joined our family as a tiny, teddy bear puppy. Thinking back to how he behaved in June and how he behaves now, I realized just how far he's come and how much he's learned.

(Top) After his first haircut about 15 weeks. (Bottom) A recent picture.

Our mini monster still has A LOT of energy (hence his nick name) and he can get a little carried away with his excitement sometimes, but he sure has calmed down a lot since we first got him. We kennel trained Howie for a while, but Joe is weak and always wants to snuggle with his fluffy friend at night. When he was little and had major anxiety about sleeping by himself, I worried that I would squish him in the middle of the night because he was so tiny. Now he curls up against my back while I sleep and I'm stuck, I can't roll over or move around because he's like a little rock.

Howie loves to cuddle and be lazy in the morning but that wasn't always the case. Joe used to wake up to an energy filled ball of fluff who was one of those annoying morning people. He'd lay on Joe's chest and stare at him until Joe opened his eyes, then he'd pounce on Joe's face and bite his nose, eager to play. It was always so entertaining because I was rarely, if ever, the victim of his playful, morning personality. If someone moves or gets out of bed now, he'll lift his head and stare at you for a few minutes and then he'll give one of his heavy "my life is so rough" sighs and curl back up to sleep. He loves to snuggle up next to Joe's face and chew on his bone until Joe gets out of bed in the morning, it's pretty cute.

We've been taking Howie to puppy training classes for the past twelve weeks and while they are super tiring and sometimes frustrating, we've seen a big improvement in how he behaves and obeys. My new favorite thing to do is make him perform the one trick that he's mastered for anyone who'll watch. He will, dance/stand up, sit and then lay down all in one smooth move. It's really lame, but I'm super entertained by it because it took us forever to get him to do the down part and now he'll do them on command. He's getting really good at fetch, although sometimes he gets sick of Joe stealing his toy from him so he'll stay just out of his reach and protect it with his life. 

He still runs off with things he knows he shouldn't have (socks, my flats, pencils, napkins, bras, etc.) but he's much better at dropping things when I tell him to. You can always tell when he's got something because he has a sneaky, "I can't get caught run" but he rarely runs under the couch with his treasure and stays just out of reach until I'm yelling at him out of frustration. It's kind of cute because after he drops it, he'll stand there looking ashamed for a few minutes. I probably shouldn't be entertained by that, but I am.

Around September or October, Mr. Howard finally learned how to legitimately bury something. Up until that point, he would dig in the dirt and sometimes put his bones in the holes, but he didn't quite understand how it worked. He used to "bury" all of his milk bones and dentastix inside the house and it was the funniest thing to watch. He'd find a corner, "dig a hole" in the carpet, put his treat in the "hole" and then push the carpet toward it with his nose to "bury" it. He'd come back later to retrieve it, and finally eat it. I was a proud puppy mom they day he took his bone outside, dug a hole and covered it with dirt.

Howie loves playing in the snow and forging new paths in the yard after a storm, but he doesn't like being a fluffy snowball. He won't ever let me use the hair dryer to thaw him out, instead he sits for 10-15 minutes chewing on the snow clumps all over his legs.

Pumpkin, cream cheese, cheerios, watermelon, turkey and recently tuna fish are his favorite human foods. If you pull out the peanut butter, carrots, any kind of cereal or open a can, he thinks they're for him and he'll stare at you until you share. He used to bark like crazy and jump all over my legs while I cooked, but he's learned some manners over the past month and knows that if he's patient, he'll be more likely to get a treat from me.

He hates bath time so much, especially when you get his face wet.

This puppy makes my life so happy! I love coming home every night and have someone so excited to see me. I can walk up to the garbage cans and stay within his sight the entire time and he'll still get excited and start jumping up and down the closer I get to him when I'm on my way back inside.

Howie has a lot of energy and gets really excited over little things but he's really great at snuggling and being lazy too. He is the perfect puppy for us and I'm still so glad we spontaneously decided to get him.

What's your favorite thing about having a family pet?