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Gem’s ‘education’(10 Posts)
I’m a new dog owner. I’ve got a Shih Tzu puppy called Gem, who is just a bundle of delight. I’m besotted. She sort of fell into my lap.
Now, I’m not overwhelmed by the whole thing, turns out she just moulds onto me. I know the basics, feed, walk, train, love more than I could possibly think I ever could.
How much food and when? (She is 6 months). Before or after the morning walk (she doesn’t seem interested first thing, is that because she’s had too much the night before?)
Do I just randomly give her a carrot, a bit of apple etc, in between meals, or do I keep to the two main meals? I’m a feeder.
Where do I start with the training? I don’t want her to perform, she walks nicely on the lead, she responds to ‘no’, and ‘come’. I talk to the poor dog constantly.
She’s so good in the bath, but how warm should the water be? Is it the whole ‘elbow’ thing again? What’s a good towel to have for her?
Look, I’ve got a ton of questions. I would really appreciate your wisdom and experiences here. What are the pitfalls?
How much food depends on the brand. Typically higher quality food usually means less as it's not padded out with fillers. Use the site allaboutdogfood.co.uk to compare brands for quality and cost. Brands will have a feeding guide for how much to feed. Start with that but really hard poos often means underfeeding and soft means over feeding so adjust based on that and the amount of exercise she gets.
I split meals so that mine gets about 25% in the morning and the rest at dinner as he isn't a morning eater. I feed before morning walks but others prefer afterwards. Up to you and your dog.
I feed carrots as treats or 'pudding' as mine loves them. Again there isn't a hard or fast rule.
On training I would be looking at the basics so sit, stay, settle, recall (very important). If you are struggling then how about a training class or 1-1 trainer to start you on the right path.
For baths I tend to only hose down if really muddy and the water is only just warm. For towels I have a few micro fibre ones as they get the water off quickly.
Food. Take the manufacturers recommendation for the food you are using. Then calculate 75% of what they say and start there. If she loses weight then up it a bit. If she puts on weight then drop it a bit.
Feed two meals a day while she is this age. At six months old lots of dogs experiment with not eating breakfast but most start to want it agin in time. For now breakfast can be fed at lunchtime if she seems to prefer it then. If she doesn't eat within 15 mins or so then just give up on that meal and feed her the next meal as normal.
Print of a list of things that are toxic to her - can be found online - and stick it on the fridge. Then you know any treats you give are safe.
Treats in between meals are up to you. But can be useful if you ask her to do something to get them (eg sit or get in her bed).
Training. Go to a class. It's a good experience for you both. Over and above that it's with just understanding HOW dogs learn rather than watch to teach them. There is a good, if slightly technical book, called How Dogs Learn (Burch and Bailey) but others exists. The very short summary is that the dog will do more of whatever she thinks results in her getting something she wants (including the cessation of something unpleasant) and will do less of anything she thinks results her her getting something she doesn't want (including the cessation if something pleasant) or that results in nothing at all.
Bath water should feel cool to your touch. Not cold. Just tepid. Use a specific dog shampoo as the ph of her skin is different to humans so she'll do better with a shampoo to match.
Mine's 7 months and now on two meals a day.. breakfast is after her morning pee/poo walk. Sometimes she eats it sometimes she doesn't. Dinner is at about 4.30pm, and if she hasn't had breakfast she will have a few doggy snack...mine won't touch carrots but loves pigs ears or those dried sausages you can buy in pet food shops.
As she will still be training(and will forever) you need lots of high value treats for recall..I use bits of chicken, or cheese mostly, in a little bag in my pocket. Puppies still needa lot of calories so aslong as she is getting exercise I wouldn't worry about over feeding. If you do overfeed she will have the runs but also if you change foods a lot.
As PP said.. look at the allaboutdogfood site ad find a decent food ..the amounts will be on the package. I feed kibble in themornings (with a value mince topping as she likes it) and raw in the evenings. Lots of snacks in between but she's slim and healthy.
I only bath her if she rolls in somehting grim, but I do brush every day.
I didn't find puppy class a lot of use tbh but am planning on getting a 1:1 trainer in spring t improve loose lead walking. Is she spayed? She may come into her first season soon and then you will have to keep her on lead and away from other dogs for about 3 weeks!
I'm a first time owner too..and loving it!
Thank you all so much!
Sorry it took me a while to get back to the thread, life is very busy now😂!
Thank you for the food website recommendation @BiteyShark! Very helpful! these little gems, like start with 75% of what they recommend is exactly what I am after @RoombaSavedMySanity!
@StillMedusa thank you for explaining the whole treat thing. I bought her treats, but she’s just really good for now and just does what I tell her (come, no), but I suppose I need more incentives once I start properly training her.
I don’t want her to beg for food, so I never share from my plate, when we eat, I give her a carrot. I suppose I’m just trying to establish good feeding habits.
Now, every time we go out, no matter at what time and how for long, she does a poo (yup, same patch of carpet, I’m on it with the training pad). What am I missing? Why is she doing that? Can anybody shed some light?
Are you cleaning the area properly with an enzyme cleaner? Dogs can smell where they been to before and therefore think it's the correct spot to go on so keep returning.
Most don't bother with doggy pads as they are teaching pup that it's ok to go indoor when what you want pup to be learning is the opposite. We took Ddog out every 20/30 mins, always after sleeping and eating and as soon as we saw any toileting behaviour like circling.
I agree with PP.
Yes some people do really well with puppy pads but if your dog is toileting inside then using pads I would says it's confusing her because you are saying it's ok to toilet inside but only on certain things like pads but how will a dog differentiate between that and other things like rugs/carpets/beds. Ditch the pads.
As mentioned you can buy a special enzyme cleaner which removes the smell that dogs can still sense which encourages them to keep toileting in that area.
I just ordered some enzyme cleaner, thank you. Do they eventually regulate the times they wee/poo?
She wees outside every time we take her, poo...not so much. I’m rolling the rug out and taking it out of the living room for a while till the enzyme cleaner arrives and till she’s a bit more toilet trained.
God, she is the most affectionate creature on earth. I get proper hugs and mornings are just a delight. And evenings. And in between.
My Ddog seems to go at pretty regular times now he is older.
What we did was take him outside really frequently and keep a close eye out for toileting behaviour like circling. We used a command so he associated it with going. We used to say 'go toilet' and praise him like crazy. If he did it in the house we would ignore it or if we actually saw him doing it we would whisk him outside.
Sounds like your doing everything right! Never had a small dog but from what I've read they can take a bit longer to toilet train.