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Archive for the ‘New Puppy’ Category

Scared Puppy

I was out for a walk the other day and met a new puppy that had just come home from the humane society. It was a cute little puppy but obviously a little nervous about the world. I started thinking if this were my puppy what would I be teaching it?

Initially a new puppy needs time to acclimate. Remember the fear period for a puppy (the time they can develop serious fears) is 12-18 weeks or so (give or take a week or two). Some puppies will even go through a period where they are nervous at random things and then pop out of it just as suddenly as it started. I remember with Nitro one day he noticed a fire hydrant. He acted like it was out to get us and he had to protect me from this awful yellow thing. He pretty quickly learned that fire hydrants are pretty darn cool. All those great smells! (Yes gross I know.)

So in seeing this puppy, what would my recommendation be as a dog trainer? Get a puppy socialization check list and start going through it. I like to introduce a puppy to something new 4-5 times. Keep a check list and if they are nervous, write it down so you know you need to revisit it.

Now when you are in the moment and your puppy is not wanting to meet someone, or scared of something dont push it. Hang out, ignore the puppy and start interacting with the object or person. If the puppy moves forward, then you can praise the puppy. You can also give treats to help the puppy along. Often times dogs will overcome their nervousness on their own. Its also VERY important that nervous puppies get into a puppy socialization class. A professional trainer can help you setup your plan for your puppy.

Watch your puppies body language, lip licking, yawning, shaking off, turning around, moving away are all signs your puppy is nervous and you should move slow.

Worlds Strongest Dog

Blaze is a bit of a beast. He’s a sweet beast, but none the less, he is strong. I had Chesapeakes before, and I thought they were strong, but Blaze may just take the cake. Granted he is an intact male, so that doesn’t help either. I’ve written before about impulse control and we are still working on that. When he starts to walk ahead of me on walks I turn and walk backwards and get him back to the correct position. We are also working on leave it with mailboxes (that may take better treats!).

I recently heard about a harness that some say is just amazing for dogs who pull on leash, I’ve ordered one and I am praying that this works for him, otherwise he may just be too strong for me to walk. So far we have tried every management device out there and he is just a strong puller. Maybe age will help too!

I do remember that when Nitro was this age I couldn’t stand walking him. He was an awful puller too. Now, he is a dream to walk. I would love to be able to walk both of them together but for now, we are solo walking.

Christmas 2010

We’ve had a great Christmas this year. My dogs both enjoyed their new Pogo Plush toys and of course their kong wubbas. Our last one lasted more than 4 years, so I think the dogs were happy to get a new one. The Pogo plush toys are wonderful because they are stuffing free, and have a rubber ball inside. They bounce and have squeakers, but if they get a hole in it, we wont have stuffing everywhere!

We also got a nice surprise, some Christmas snow! Enjoy some of our pics and may you all have a happy new year!




The adolescent dog

Blaze is 10 months old. He is a strong, big (80+ lbs), gorgeous yellow lab puppy. His size would make you think he is full grown. In reality he wont mature until he is closer to 3. He has started showing some confidence and barking at things he wouldn’t normally bark at. I attribute that to testosterone spiking. I dont know if its true but its my theory.

The question of the day is how to handle a large strong adolescent dog. I can’t speak to small dogs as I haven’t owned one of those but I imagine the same principles apply.

1) Exercise. This is a must for any dog, but especially at this age. I think a puppy at 10 months old needs sustained exercise in a safe way. Their bones aren’t done developing so you have to be careful about running. We do a lot of retrieving and we are going to start teaching some impulse control with it (wait to be released).

2) Mental Stimulation. Daily training is a must. Not just any type of training will do, it has to be training where the dog is required to do some thinking. Tracking is a great sport, but our choice is clicker training. Currently I am teaching blaze how to pick up a dummy and hold it. I’m purely free shaping this exercise (making the dog figure out what I want and slowly making it closer to the final behavior). I’ll try and video a session or two. After 20 minutes of this game, he’s usually tired.

3) Chewing. My personal favorite: antlers.

4) Time. This too shall pass. I keep telling myself that every day. I remember when Nitro was young, the troubles I had with him. He was a sniffer, a puller, a barker and now he is a really nice dog.

Puppy Teething

I walked in the door and found my older lab with blood spots all over him, was I freaked out! I searched through and couldn’t find any problems, and it dawned on me, the puppy must be loosing his teeth. I opened up his mouth and sure enough, he’s lost about 7 teeth in the last two days. We’ve only seen proof of a few laying around, normally I never see any teeth at all. I dont know what it is, but puppies get absolutely wild when they are going through that nasty puppy teething stage.

So, the question is, what can you do to help these poor little guys? Well they aren’t like kids, you can’t give them tylenol. You can however give them things that will help soothe their desires. Look at what they are chewing on, wood, socks, soft or hard? Give them what they need. If they are going for soft things, get a soft plush toy. If its harder things, try some ice cubes, that can help sooth and cool their gums. I typically avoid things like raw hides, and prefer antlers.

If the puppy is just being crazy, just put them in their crate and plan on going for an extra long walk to see if that helps tire them out. I’m sure they have issues with sleeping when they are teething. The good thing is, the puppy teething phase is short lived and lasts only a week or two at its worst. The biggest and most important thing with puppy teething is to always watch your puppy. Not only can you lose your kitchen cabinet but you can also have an injured puppy.