Get Adobe Flash player

Archive for the ‘Blaze’ Category

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.

Our first basic obedience class

We joined into a regular basic obedience class. Blaze did a puppy kindergarten which included mostly socialization with some basic commands. I’m a big believer in keeping pet dogs in training for the first year of life, not necessarily consecutively but 3 or 4 classes is good. It keeps them socialized as well as forces you to practice their obedience commands.

So this class is mostly older dogs (over 8 months) and large dogs. Blaze is the youngest and smallest. The dogs were all pretty hyper, nervous, stressed. We heard lots of barking, whining, jumping, panting, etc. In my classes I always encouraged just feeding dogs for relaxation and looking at the owners. I think it helps calm the dogs to do that for the first five minutes.

Blaze immediately saw friends he wanted to play with and began barking at them to get their attention. So I just ignored him and when he stopped and looked at me (like why aren’t you letting me go over there) I said “yes” and gave a treat. This lasted for about the first few minutes of class and he finally decided it wasn’t worth it, he would just look at me and get food.

We learned sit, down, come and a bit of stay. All of these were easy for Blaze. His struggle was just paying attention to me. I have a game I like to teach dogs early on called gotcha. I pinch their hind area (not hard but in fun) and when they look I say “yes” and give a treat between my knees. This helps them learn to zip around and come to me when they are distracted. Its helped me numerous times with his older brother Nitro.

Another thing we practiced was the come game. The instructor held Blaze by his chest up off the ground slightly and I teased him with some food and ran away from him. I then called him and as he came running, I ran backwards until he caught me at which point I grabbed his collar and gave some food.

I’m hoping next week will bring more relaxation with all the dogs and more focus. No matter how calm or attentive your puppy is, getting them around 8 other crazy dogs will always pose a challenge.