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Archive for the ‘Blaze’ Category

Puppy Heeling

There should be a few rules to teaching a puppy to heel.

1. Keep it short
2. Keep it fun
3. Dont worry too much about details or drilling

Here is a video of Blaze heeling – I do a few short spurts of forward motion, try to turn my hand out to reward him, and do some backwards walking. This will encourage him to learn to use his rear end which is especially helpful for turns.

Wild Puppy Days

It always happens. A puppy who has been calm, comes when called, never chews on the wrong things, suddenly goes wild. A wild puppy can be the symptom of several things. First, it could be that your puppy is normal. Second, your puppy may need some new mental stimulation. Or three, your puppy might be ready for some structured exercise. Perhaps all three as well.

Today was that day for us, baby Blaze was a wild boy. He has been bothering Nitro all day, barking randomly, trying to chew on the rug, continually going to the back door when he doesn’t need to potty. My first inclination would be to walk him a little further than we have gone before, but Blaze has a cold so probably spreading that around the neighborhood wouldn’t be wise.

So, what to do when the wild puppy can’t exercise? Break out the old Kong. The kong if you have never seen one is like a rubber shaped snowman with a hole in the top and the bottom. You can fill it with any number of things. My personal favorites are peanut butter (all natural is best), banana, or just a few big treats that are hard to get out. The best part about this is it keeps the puppy busy for 20 to 30 minutes. As they get better at it, you have to do more difficult kong recipies but this should help your wild puppy get tired. And after all, they do say that a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy.

Another idea is to rotate your dog toys. I try to keep only a few down at a time so that as my puppy becomes bored with them, I can get new ones out. With teething just around the corner, I need to stock up on some soft toys in addition to my chew proof toys and antlers. For tonight though, I will be freezing some banana in a kong to hopefully give my puppy some more fun tomorrow that will keep him from having another wild puppy day.

Puppy with Hacking Cough

My husband came home and called me and said – what did you do to the puppy? He apparently was acting like he was going to throw up but he wasn’t. He said it was off and on, not persistent. I got home and heard what sounded like something being stuck in his throat. It went on all through the night, off and on of course. As I paid attention to him, he seemed to have a few other symptoms, a hoarse throat, watery eyes and nose. It dawned on me, my puppy has kennel cough!

Now, I am a believer in vaccines for dogs and humans. The puppy had his first series of bordatella vaccine a few weeks prior so I think we are lucky that this is a mild case. I can tell today he is feeling better, drinking a bit more. Every once in a while you hear that barky hoarse cough.

I did call my vet and we are going in soon to get a check up. Now he could have picked this up anywhere – a neighbors dog who had been groomed and maybe wasn’t vaccinated, puppy class, anywhere dogs go really. Either way I wont be taking him to puppy class this week so we wont infect anyone else. He’ll just get some TLC for the next few days at home.

Puppy Socialization Ideas

As Blaze is getting older and has had a few series of shots, its time to socialize. Lots of people focus on just letting their puppy meet new dogs, so I’m going to share some puppy socialization ideas for ways you can introduce your puppy to the world.

Today I took Blaze to a local pet store. This is a great place to go simply for the sights sounds and smells, but I think most new puppy owners take their dogs here at least once. If you want a dog that can calmly go as an adult, then try taking them here once a week and just walking around, no fussing, no real obedience work – maybe a few sits now and again, but overall keep it calm.

The real puppy socialization ideas are outside of the store. First, the sliding doors that open and close. Those can be kind of scary to a puppy! Next there are shopping carts. You can have your puppy ride inside one, walk beside a moving one, or if your puppy is nervous, just meet it standing still.

I’m lucky that our pet store is near a baby store, so we got a slew of new moms, young kids, babies, and of course baby strollers! Most puppies like kids but be careful your puppy doesn’t jump on the child or bite them. I tend to stand on the leash so they can’t jump. My puppy is used to be holding his head still for kids to pet him, if you haven’t practiced that though your puppy might not enjoy it – so practice alone first.

Another thing I always try to find is someone in a wheelchair, or with crutches. We haven’t encountered anyone yet, but if you are planning on doing any type of therapy work with your puppy later in life, this is a must see.

Post your puppy socialization ideas in our comment box, we’d love to see what you all are doing!

Puppy Training Blaze Week 2

Its week two and official training has started. I am of course keeping up with our house training and socialization. House training has gotten better, he is still on a 30 minute potty break but he has started going to the door to let us know he needs to potty. I think its time to introduce the potty bells. Scroll down for his puppy training video this week.

This week we are starting some attention work (eye contact), sit and back up. Sit is pretty easy for most dogs, whenever they sit naturally I say “good sit” and I also use a bit of a lure if I have to. Once they get the concept I ask for it a lot, before they go outside, before they eat, before I love on them, etc – so it isn’t always just “sit for a treat”. If its somewhere new, I use a treat.

For attention, I use the doggie zen method – hold a treat in your hand, wait for eye contact and then say “yes” or click and give the reward.

Backup is not something most owners will teach, but I really want to do obedience and rally, so this is a very important behavior to me. I teach it by simply walking into the dog. I’ve started teaching a bit of a stand in between sits so he is used to me lifting him up. When he walks back I say yes again, and give the treat.

Puppy Training sessions should be short, to the point and fun. Incorporate whatever your dog likes, if its rough housing, treats (food), toys, or being held, use it to your advantage. My sessions are typically about 10 behaviors long.