How am I doing?

(42 Posts)
fixtheironingboard Sun 21-Apr-19 12:32:09

Hello everyone

I have a puppy who is nearly 13 weeks old and has been with us three weeks. He's had his second vaccinations and we've been taking him out and about for two weeks. He's only little, so we've been concentrating on socialising him with other dogs, birds, traffic, bridges and water, different environments. He seems confident and happy and never runs away or barks. Sometimes he will pull on the lead a little, sometimes he will sit and refuse to walk (I'm guessing he is tired?) but otherwise there's been no concerns.

He sleeps all night in his crate with no problems. He will whine a little once or twice a night, and I get up and take him out in the garden to do his business. Then back to sleep until about 7am - which is perfect for me. No problems there and I am guessing the night waking will fade as he gets older and his bladder gets bigger.

He can sit - very reliably both with and without a treat. I make him sit at the kerb when we're out and about and he will wait until I tell him we can cross the road. He is unreliable about offering a paw. He will sometimes come when called - almost always reliable in the house and back garden - very hit and miss when out and about. He can't do 'down' and 'wait' is a very unreliable thing right now.

I am trying to teach him fetch but he seems to have no idea at all... yet!

Food wise - he's on Royal Canin (recommended by the breeder) three times a day. He's eating less than the packet recommends but he is putting on weight and the vet had no concerns about his size. I am not sure if I should leave his half-finished bowl down all the time and let him graze, or I should take it away and let him build up his hunger to the next mealtime. He quite often - I'd say at least once or twice a day - has a very loose and mucussy stool - I have to wash it away out of the grass rather than pick it up. There's no blood and he is drinking often and well and seems very active so I haven't been to the vet about this yet. Should I?

As you can tell, I'm a first time dog owner. I've read a lot and I'm a member of various force-free training groups on facebook. I want to do my best by him. Should I be doing a bit more with his training - especially on 'wait' and come when called? He's too young for long walks, so this would be practicing in the garden, I think.

What should I expect with house training? He will go when I take him out to the garden. He's reliable and I am taking him out after every meal and drink, every sleep, and every half hour generally. I still have misses and he will go in the house and he doesn't ask to be let out during the day (though he does at night). Should I crate him in the day to help with house training? I don't punish or shout when he has an accident inside, just clean with the enzyme cleaner and take him out. Lots of praise when he does do it in the garden.

In terms of being left alone: I will crate him when I shower - this is for about ten minutes and he has a special chew in there he doesn't get at any other time. He seems happy and doesn't whine. Last week I had to make an emergency trip to the GP with my child and I crated him then for one hour, with the special chew, and he was sleeping very happily and seemed happy and not anxious when we got back, though I know it wasn't ideal. I haven't left him otherwise. I will need him to be reasonably okay with being left for about three hours once a day on week days come October - so we have some months to work on that. How and when should I start? (If he isn't ready or it doesn't work, I have other options as stand-by).

We have a puppy party booked for two weeks' time. He's socialised well with other vaccinated dogs. There's a vet nurse who runs the party and I will mention his loose stool to her unless you think I should make a trip to the vet more urgently?

OP’s posts: |
billybagpuss Sun 21-Apr-19 16:50:55

It sounds like you’re on track with the training, just keep reinforcing it. They are like kids once they hit 6/7 months they decide to totally ignore everything you’ve taught them nd really push boundaries. We’ve mostly got through this but the recall is still hit and miss.

This is horrible to have to say but my experience with trying to get a cheaper quote for my pet insurance at 12m old I would say don’t even bother mentioning the stool to the vet as it will be on your record forever and any new insurer would refuse to cover any digestive issues. I’m still a bit cross. Maybe phone and not give your name to get the advice. Having said that some dogs react better to different foods, and I have heard Royal Canin being one that they sometimes react to. I wouldn’t change quickly but if he is otherwise fine maybe try a different brand. I use canagan and unless she’s been eating other stuff her poo is really good quality.

Obviously don’t put the dogs health in jeopardy by not talking to the vet but be wary how an innocent question can backfire.

Fetch takes ages, billypup is still really rubbish at it and she’s a breed that should be brilliant.

If you are worried about the recall try a long line, don’t use an extendable as they are rewarded for pulling and can jerk the end so damaging themselves.

Try and play lots of focus games.

It sounds like you doing really well so most of all have fun.

pigsDOfly Sun 21-Apr-19 19:23:55

Sounds like you're doing great with the training.

Don't leave food down for your dog to graze. Feed him four times a day, leave the food down for about 20 minutes, then anything left after that time should be removed.

His loose poo could be a reaction to the food, check the ingredients -corn or wheat used in a lot of dog foods as fillers can be a problem for a lot of dogs - or if you're leaving food down he could be eating too much.

It's good that he doesn't eat a much as it suggests on the packet. Most dogs don't need the amount suggested on the food packet, and it is just that, a suggestion.

My 8 year old 6.5 kg dog has two 121g meals a day of her wet food, so 242g over the day. On the tin it says that a dog up to 5kg should have 301g per day.

She's happy and lively on that amount and her weight doesn't vary. If I fed her what they recommend she's soon be a very fat little dog.

If you do decide to change his food do it over about a 10 day period, mixing them together and gradually introducing the new food and giving less of the old food.

Sounds like you've got the crate going well too.

All in all it sounds as if you're doing fine.

Wolfiefan Sun 21-Apr-19 19:34:32

Sounds really good. At that age they won’t need to walk far at all. Lots of sleeping!
Night waking definitely stops once they get bigger. Or if they’re unwell.
I don’t make mine sit at a kerb. Your choice but if ever a car mounts the kerb I want to be able to get her out of the way. I don’t do offer a paw as my dog is big and I don’t want her clobbering people. grin If recall is sketchy be very careful where you let off lead or use a longline. Total Recall is a fab book.
Use the words you want when you get the behaviour. So I would use a lead to make sure dog waits and then say the word. One person holds lead then other pulls treat out and down to get the position.
Forget fetch for now. wink
I wouldn’t let a dog graze. The amounts on the packet are a guideline only and my dog could never eat as much as she was supposed to on dry. If growing and putting on weight then I wouldn’t worry.
I would consider changing to a better food. Poo shouldn’t have mucus. Mine is raw fed though.
There’s a fab group called dog training advice and support on fb. They have brilliant toilet training advice. Basically he doesn’t yet know that outside is the place to go. So you need to ensure you get him outside when he needs to go and then praise. Good luck.

RedHelenB Sun 21-Apr-19 22:31:55

My dog grazes, has never really eaten much in one go since being a small.pupoy. I make him sit and wait near the kerb to cross the road Funnily enough fetch was his first learned command.. He never got the gamg of paw so gave up on that one! If puppy is happy to be left alone I would carry on doing or regularly.

fixtheironingboard Mon 22-Apr-19 11:51:35

Thanks everyone.

I have ordered Total Recall and also a whistle - I notice he will come to me, but not to the kids - I wonder if it's because our voices or intonation are different so it is probably as well to train to come to a whistle so the kids can take him out in the future (they are early and mid teens so old enough).

Have also put him on a schedule for meals. The breeder was feeding him 9, 1 and 5 and his bowels were fine before he came to us and for the first two weeks he was here on the same food so I will start with the schedule and see how he gets on. The breeder weaned him on Royal Canin and I don't want to change it just yet - but will see if strict schedule sorts out his bowels and not mention it to the vet just yet as he's very well in himself, drinking lots, bright clear eyes, active and not in any pain when his belly is touched, etc. If no improvement in 24 hours will consider a change in food.

Can anyone give any hints on focus games? I've googled 'focus games for dogs' and there are LOADS. I'm using a clicker to train general obedience and manners and it is working pretty well so far so I plan to keep up with that.

Can I also ask about bathing? He likes digging holes in the garden (I don't mind letting him do this) and gets pretty dirty. Also with the loose movements there's a need for him to be washed. I use diluted baby bath on him if he's filthy, and just plain warm water from the shower head if he's not. About twice per week so far. He will need to be groomed in future so I am also drying him with my hairdryer set on cool so he is used to being handled in this way and also to the noise. No real problems so far, but I don't want to damage his skin by over washing him.

I think once the kids go back to school tomorrow I will leave him on his own during the morning school run. It will be about 25 mins and he will be fed and walked before hand, and should just sleep in the crate, where he is happy. Is that too long for a puppy of his age to start with?

OP’s posts: |
billybagpuss Mon 22-Apr-19 14:57:41

Focus games:

Start off very simply, have loads of treats handy, throw one out, when he looks back at you, just in your general direction throw another one out. As he starts to get better, wait for him to sit and look at you, the automatic sit is very useful.

Then hold a treat out away from you, when he shifts to make eye contact then he can have it.

Then try ready steady go, on ready stay still but make the sound of ready very exciting so he looks at you, on steady move very animated a couple of steps and go throw the treat out.

I use the clicker too. With the training just remember it never stops.

With the bathing we just shower with water when its just mud and if its not too bad I just brush it out, then only very occasionally when truly stinky do we use shampoo. Mine definitely prefers her natural doggy smell.


fixtheironingboard Tue 23-Apr-19 09:06:31

Thank you!

We did some recall training yesterday in a field near where I live - he was very good (though I am not confident he'd be that good with any distractions) at responding and got lots of tiny pieces of ham.

His stool is much better now - very normal. I think it was the grazing that did it. There's also been no night waking the past two nights, though he's up a bit earlier instead, which is fine.

Will take him out on a walk down the canal this morning - there are always lots of cyclists and joggers there and he seems to feel the urge to chase them so I want him to have plenty of opportunity to get rewards for NOT chasing as early as possible. And some focus games this afternoon.

Any other socialising I should be doing at this age? He sees other dogs and cyclists every day, and goes in the car every day. He's met ducks, water, hairdryer, bin-truck, general traffic, lots of different sized and shaped people including crutches and mobility scooters and children and prams etc. I've walked him over a bridge, which he doesn't love, but will do it again this morning with more ham.

Anything I am missing out on exposing him to at this age?

OP’s posts: |
billybagpuss Tue 23-Apr-19 09:30:52

Cyclists are my nemesis at the moment billypup is now 14m and really barks at both cyclists and rowers less so with joggers but still an issue. I always try and get her on the long line but call her when n when I see one coming so I can put her on the lead but you have to be so focused. I’ve been trying since day 1 and it’s real hard

fixtheironingboard Tue 23-Apr-19 10:00:19

I think the only time I've heard mine bark so far is at our cats. I'm having to feed them very separately at the moment and crate him while the cats are fed and groomed. I see he wants to play, and he isn't responsive to their 'go away' body language - not being a cat, he doesn't know it, of course - but I am hoping as he settles down with age and they get used to him I can relax a bit more. I know the cats are interested in him - when he is asleep they go very very close to him and have a good stare. I reward like mad when he is with the cats and not barking, and I think that's all I can do for now.

OP’s posts: |
Easterbunnynearlyhere Tue 23-Apr-19 10:04:30

Your dpuppy is being deprived of photo opportunities!!
Rule of mn is nobody believes you have a gorgeous dpuppy without pics...

fixtheironingboard Tue 23-Apr-19 10:14:04

here he is.

OP’s posts: |
pigsDOfly Tue 23-Apr-19 12:23:50

Aaw, he's gorgeous; clearly worn out after all his excellent training.

Just a couple of more thing I'd suggest with socialising, if you can: runners in the park so he learns not to chase them, has he seen motor bikes - my dog was a bugger for lunging at them as a puppy, and strange cats - that one is still a work in progress although she grew up with cats.

I would also suggest getting him used to having his paws and inside of his mouth handled, both tricky and sensitive areas for most dogs - cleaning his teeth every evening is vital, and getting used to having his paws handled helps with claw clipping and of course any treatments that might be required on paws in the future..

Catsrus Tue 23-Apr-19 13:26:47

I'd second the getting used to being examined. Teach "stand" as a command and when you examine body parts tell the dog. "Ears" "teeth" "left paw" etc. It makes a huge difference if a vet can examine a dog without sedation. Do a thorough exam too - eg feel around the paws a bit, between the pads etc. At some point you might have to remove a thorn or bit of glass.

I don't need to clean teeth as mine are on raw, including raw meaty bones, so they don't have plaque or yellowing - but I still examine the mouth and teeth regularly.

Enjoy the cute stage but work on behaviours that won't be cute in an adult dog! You are doing great so far.

fixtheironingboard Tue 23-Apr-19 19:10:22

Ooh - I never thought about the examination. He's been fine the two times he's been to the vet so far. They recommend we come in when we pass and pick up a treat and say hello so that he's always used to it, and I do plan to do that (and get him weighed) once every couple of weeks while he's still young. But I never thought about eyes, ears, teeth and feet. He's handled a lot (we love him) but I can keep an eye on that.

Recall today went well. In the garden. I drove to the beach and he refused to get out of the car, and when I lifted him out, he just laid on the floor and refused to move even when tempted by sausage and lumps of cheese. Then my parking ticket blew away so I had to drive home anyway. Little bugger. It was windy and I think the wind spooked him - or he was just tired - I know he only needs very short walks at this age and he does get a good play in the garden every morning with the kids after he has his breakfast. That might have been enough!

How old are dogs when they can go on nice long walks? He isn't a high-energy breed so I don't expect him to need the kind of exercise that a lab or a collie would. But I would like to get him out at the weekend on longer walks, and we do have the time and inclination to give him two walks a day when he needs that. How will I tell if he is getting too much / not enough activity?

OP’s posts: |
kamillaw Tue 23-Apr-19 19:49:30

He's gorgeous! What is he? X

pigsDOfly Tue 23-Apr-19 20:23:24

Oh, and my dog loves a good back and shoulder massage. You might want to bear that in mind as well OP. grin

Catsrus Wed 24-Apr-19 07:19:50

Nice long walks once fully grown - ie their growth plates have fused - about 18 months - 2yrs. Before that you might damage them with two much exercise, setting them up for arthritis later.

It's repetitive movement that is to be avoided - 30 minutes walking on a lead is very different on the body to 30 mins rough and tumble in the garden, using lots of different muscles.

(If you don't already) watch the Bionic Vet - Noel Fitzpatrick- he's a bone man, talks a lot to clients about growth issues, growth plate damage etc.

I've got a golden retriever who will be 2 in June, this summer is the first I would think about very long walks. She's my 9th retriever and I've never had a dog with joint problems. I err on the side of caution.

fixtheironingboard Wed 24-Apr-19 12:04:09

He's a poodle / cavalier / bichon cross. And is utterly adored.

That's good to know about the walking. I do get him out of the house every day, and most of that he is off lead and scampering around until he lets me know he is tired, then I carry him. He's probably on his own feet about 20 mins. Though he runs around at home and in the garden much more often than that. I let him sleep whenever he wants and he is never disturbed while sleeping.

Went out today down the canal. He was hissed at by a giant swan and didn't bark but retreated to me and sat nicely at heel, so lots of praise and ham. Two very big off lead dogs came over for a sniff - I put him back on the lead to supervise - and all was fine until the dogs' owner came and started shouting at them and hitting them, then he was spooked and wasn't up for walking at all for the rest of the morning, so I just carried him about while we went over a few bridges, chatted to some neighbours and went to see some more ducks. No motorbikes yet but did take him out to see the bin truck this morning.

Will try the massage when he wakes up. He's conked out now after doing something disreputable on the kitchen doormat because I was slow to get him out.

OP’s posts: |
A1l2m3 Wed 24-Apr-19 13:23:29

It sounds as though you’re doing great! How have you found the first few weeks? We are picking up our pup in 3 weeks and we’re bracing ourselves for chaos from what other friends have told us. Have you found it to be really that awful?

pigsDOfly Wed 24-Apr-19 13:33:02

It sounds as if you and your gorgeous pooch are having a wonderful time together.

Lucky doggie. He's going to grow up into a well rounded, well socialised happy dog.

fixtheironingboard Wed 24-Apr-19 14:59:03

It's been intense. I think he's fairly mellow - there's been hardly any barking or whining, though the toilet training was very difficult for the first two weeks it seems to be coming together a little bit now. He's very attached to me, and I like that. He plays with my son in a way that he doesn't play with other people - lots of mouthing and play growling - and he seems to need that rougher play but I worry about it becoming a bad habit. I feel anxious - all the time - that I am ruining him in some way by not doing the training properly! And though I work at home, I've done basically no work at all for three weeks and that's fine - I factored it in - but I don't know how people who have normal jobs have puppies. It's a slightly more diluted version of having a baby. He sleeps more than I thought he would, and needs lots and lots more attention than I imagined he would when awake.

OP’s posts: |
pigsDOfly Wed 24-Apr-19 20:16:36

I hardly left the house for the first few weeks after getting my puppy 8 years ago. I'd just retired so it was easy for me. It is a bit like having a baby, and after all a very young puppy is just a baby, albeit one that will grow more quickly.

As the weeks go on you will be able to get back to doing your work, because he's going to have to learn to be by himself, amuse himself and settle himself. I suspect that people who get puppies when they have normal jobs just ended up leaving the puppy alone long before they should be left, which very possibly means they might end up with a dog with separation anxiety and one that chews the house to bits.

Yes, they spend most of their time asleep, even adult dogs sleep a lot more than you might expect. My dog also spends quite a bit of time watching the street and commenting on what's happening outside. I sometimes think she's turning into one of those old women who sits and stares through the window moaning about the neighbours; obviously we do other things as well.

Try not to feel anxious about getting it wrong. You sound as if you're doing great. Do be aware though, that puppy blues is a real thing and many new puppy owners do go through times when they feel overwhelmed, so if you ever feel like that, remember it's perfectly normal.

fixtheironingboard Thu 25-Apr-19 09:24:59

Thank you. No puppy blues so far though I suspect in the scale of things he's been very easy (so far) and there's plenty more to come as he grows and develops and settles in.

Didn't take him out for an evening walk about last night - it was raining and instead I was in the garden with him running about and throwing balls and generally getting him tired out.

Left him in his crate this morning for 30 minutes while doing the school run. I put him in five minutes before I needed to leave and let him see me getting my coat on, etc. He was fine. Just sitting wagging his tail and looking at me. When I got back he was laying down messing about with his pig's ear still looking very happy. So I will try that again tomorrow. I think 30 mins per day alone is more than enough right now, though I am noticing he is wandering off to explore different rooms and happier in the garden on his own than he was two weeks ago, so he is getting his own confidence too.

Here's a daft question. When he wees, he doesn't cock his leg but he leans forward. Is that because he's still small?

OP’s posts: |
pigsDOfly Fri 26-Apr-19 14:03:42

Yes, my dog is female so I'm not over familiar with male dogs, but as far as I know the leg cocking doesn't start until they begin to mature, it's a sign they're growing up.

And then you hit the adolescent phase around 8 months, depending on breed, which is 'fun'. That's when they decide, like human teenagers, that they know better than you and they don't have to do as you say; recall can go a bit off at that stage, but if training is solid, it will come back. It can be a bit trying at times, but at the same time, can be very funny; if that makes sense.

My dog was very independent when she was a puppy but has begun to follow me about in the house a bit more now as she's getting on a bit, which she never used to do, although as a small breed, at 8 years she's around middle age rather than old.

Your puppy sounds very calm, mine was like that and I always felt very lucky as puppyhood was a breeze. Some puppies are a nightmare apparently.

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