My puppy group this morning were talking about how their puppies were causing havoc in the living room in the evening, yet feeling that 8pm was too early to leave them out in the kitchen when the family are ready to relax. I have to say I disagreed, 8pm is late enough for baby puppy’s, my Betty is only in the living room if she is dozy and cuddles on my lap or I am just going in and out again. For the most part she stays in the kitchen and utility room, where there are hard floors, at this time in her life carpet is not understood and she is likely to toilet on that type of floor, it is just too like grass in her little mind. By keeping her out of the rooms with carpet, at least for playtimes, toilet training goes smoother and if she does have an accident (usually my fault for not getting her out!) it is easy to clean up!

My puppy owners all reported bad and silly behaviour from their puppy’s in the evening, behaviour worse than any other time of the day, this is often a sign of tiredness and a resistence to resting, by keeping the puppy in the familiar sleeping area they will settle themselves and not develop bad behaviour issues. I would say that many of the behaviour problems I see in older puppies often stems from them being over stimulated in early life, having too much attention can often lead to as bad if not worse behaviour than too little! As the grown up we have to tell them when enough is enough, just as we do with young children.

After 8pm I still take Betty out to the toilet as needed, give her a last meal around 9.30pm, then out to the toilet until I see her have a last pooh! After that she is in the kitchen until I go to bed, when I take her out for one last toilet, this week she then comes upstairs and into her crate for the night, by next week she should be in her crate downstairs. I like my puppy to have the first week, where I shut the crate door at night, by my bed to give them comfort, after that they are fine in the crate anywhere, and I feel okay about it too! I must confess the first two evenings I had Betty, I did keep running around after her until around 10pm, this just meant I was wacked and if I had kept doing that I would have enjoyed her less in the day, and it was not necessary, we all need down time.

Last night Betty had her first vaccination, šŸ˜¦ she was so pleased to see everyone in the vets waiting room, her tail didn’t stop wagging! She was especially pleased to meet the 12 week old Labrador sitting next to us, who’s poor owner had bite marks all up her wrists, though the puppy looked very sweet! Betty was wearing her collar and lead, which she is used to now, and the Labrador was not, though four weeks older, her owner commented on Betty wearing hers and said she had not introduced the collar as yet! What a shame, the puppy was now ready to go out formally and would have no previous experience of wearing the collar!

One of the reasons I introduce the collar and lead and anything else needed later is to give the puppy something to think about, it is giving them these tasks that helps reduce play biting, a bored puppy, that is one that just gets to do their own thing all the time will be worse at play biting for sure! In fact I do not wait, as you will know by now, to take my puppy out. Now I do not take them to high risk places where many dogs will have been, but my friends houses and the paddocks near my house are all great for stretching and solialising and training, all of which helps prevent the puppy learning and practising behaviour we do not want!

Betty yelped when she had the injection:( and was very sad afterwards, sleeping most of the evening, unusually for her! I opted not to have her micro chipped yet as that is even more painful and I do not want her to be anxious about the Vets so early in life. I will wait until she is a little older as she seems to have a low pain threshold, unlike Pie who didn’t flinch at injections or the chip! It is a touch life for the young:). Today is the first time her pooh has been less than firm (despite all the garden bits she enthusiastically eats) which is the stress and possibly the vaccination, though she is fine in herself! I am sure she will be completely back to normal tomorrow.

Betty on the move!

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

I hope some of you managed to listen in to hear me on BBC Essex today, if you missed the show you can still log on and listen to the show on the BBC Essex Web site. It was a very appropriate day for me to be at the station, following the tragic death of a four year old boy in a dog attack in his Grandmother’s home. I had a sense of carrying a big responsibility as I drove to the studio. I felt strongly that some sense has to come from such a tragic event, if we can only get through to someone out there and save anotherĀ  child or hopefully children.

I can honestly say it is the most passionately I have spoken at any time on the radio! I am glad to say there was a strong response to the show with many calls, so many we had no hope of addressing them all, sadly, but at least we had peoples attention! I pray that even more were affected by the dog behaviour we discussed.

One ofĀ  the controversial calls was from a lady with a 2 year old Golden Retriever, the dog had recently bitten her badly on both her arms, 2 vets had recommended the dog destroyed and one dog behaviour professional had alledgedly said the dog’s behaviour could be changed and they were prepared to work with the owners. This lady has a 13 year old son, would you recommend her to train this dog? Professionally and personally I would not, if there were just 2 adults in the house that would be there choice, but with a child present I would not and will not. It is a tough event to walk into the vets to have a dog put down, I know I have had to do it, but that is the responsibility we must embrace when we live with and love dogs, people and especially our children must come first.

With any dog attack there are always or almost always warning signs if we don’t heed them we can find ourselves in a similar position to the lady with Golden Retriever or worse. Nip it is the bud, do not ignore dog aggression, prevention is always better than the cure, for once a dog has bitten to this degree there is no way back!