Week 9: Behavior and Training – Housebreaking Reminders. All puppies are housebroken with respect to the Barrett daily routine.
However – Your daily routine is different.
To keep up your puppy’s housebreaking habits, take it outside to potty IMMEDIATELY AFTER WAKING UP FROM EVERY NAP, and also every hour. Set a timer if you need to. Mark your puppy’s potty behavior with a phrase of your choice. When we tell our dogs it’s time to potty, we say “go piddle!” And as they’re peeing, we generally say “good potty!” Make it really exciting. Have a party. Give your puppy a really obvious message they’re doing it right.
Alternatively, if you catch your puppy pottying in the house, give it a stern talk, like “bad, wrong,” or “not in here!” and pick up your puppy immediately to take it outside. Have it finish it’s business outside. If it finishes outside, throw a party and celebrate. (!!!) Again, make it really obvious it did something right.
If you did not catch your puppy in the middle of the act, simply clean it up and let it go. Do NOT reprimand your puppy after the fact; puppies (and dogs of any age) do not connect delayed responses. They will have NO IDEA why you’re reprimanding them if it’s even three seconds after the incident.
Behavior and Training – Crate Training. Dogs are hard-wired by their genetic history to be den animals. A den is a small, safe, well-defined space. It is a place in which dogs feel instinctively safe. It is also a place that they instinctively avoid soiling. The combination of these two native traits are what make crate training, done in the right way, a kind and effective component in house-training your new puppy or dog.
Weimaraners need “down time.” A crate is a great place for your Weimaraner to have just that. For your new puppy, a crate can limit access to the entire house until your new dog knows the house rules. A crate can help with house-training by setting up a routine. For example, you can feed the puppy in the crate and, afterwards, carry him or walk him on a lead straight out to an elimination site where you can use a word or phrase to remind the dog what the trip outside is for.
At some point in your dog’s life, it may also be necessary to use a crate when you are traveling with your pet or when your dog is recuperating from an injury. (Or when I’m borrowing it back for dog shows!) These situations will be much less stressful if your dog is already familiar with and comfortable in a crate. Tip: I cover my crates with a blanket to heighten the den experience.
Question on behalf of Yellow Girl/Rilo from the 2013 Max x Friday litter: What if I come home to my puppy and find her wailing in her crate? How do I let her out without sending the message that she can control me through her whining? If you ever come home to you’re your puppy wailing, watch her through the crate and wait for her to stop. The second she stops, praise her, but don’t let her out. See if she starts up again. If she starts up again, ignore her. When she settles down, praise her. Do this a few times until she stays settled. Then praise her and take her out. This should only take a minute or two, tops, so well within your 25 minutes. Do NOT let her get away with her whining!
Also – Don’t feel bad about leaving her alone like that. It’s part of the routine and she’ll get used to it. She’s a puppy, so she’s naturally whiny. All normal.
Behavior and Training – Night-Time Routine. Your puppy may or may not be successfully sleeping through the night. If it wakes up and howls in the middle of the night (NOT because it needs to potty), it’s likely because it’s used to having a mid-night party in the crate with it’s litter mates.
What you can do. Nothing. Do absolutely nothing. This will teach your puppy that night time is sleep time, not play time. In a few days, your puppy should get over it and sleep through the night.
In the case your puppy howls because it needs to potty, simply take it out, go potty, and go straight back to the crate/sleep. Don’t let your puppy play or wander around after pottying in the middle of the night.
Behavior and Training – Alone Training. I’ve done a lot with your puppy in the first eight weeks. But, “alone training” hasn’t been one of them.
Now is a good time to teach your puppy to be alone. This is the first step to successfully crating your pup for times while you are away.
- Start by putting your puppy into a crate and leaving the house for 5 minutes. Hang out in the front of the house. Get the mail. Just make sure it knows you’re leaving it. Then come back and see if it’s stressed. Praise it and let him/her out if he seems okay. If it’s howling or scratching, don’t budge until it stops. Don’t coddle your puppy. Wait for him/her to calm down before you release it.
- Once successful, try again with a 10 minute interval.
- Then go to the grocery store or another short errand (30 minutes or so).
Hopefully, within a few days or a week, you will have stretched it out to a good block of time so you can go to work or run some errands.
More about alone training: Don’t take your puppy with you, everywhere, ALL THE TIME. It needs to understand that sometimes, you have to leave them at home. Alone. AND THAT’S OKAY. Encouraging a puppy to think you’ll be there for it all the time is setting yourself up for separation anxiety disasters. Don’t be that enabler. 🙂
Barrett trivia: 100% of puppies out of the Pioneer Seven, Declaration Nine and Circus Even litters are crate-trained. Their families tell me all the time what a benefit that is. 🙂
Behavior and Training – Clicker Training. Clicker training is a method for training animals that uses positive reinforcement in conjunction with a clicker, or small mechanical noisemaker, to mark the behavior being reinforced. It’s great for Weimaraners, since our breed is sensitive and doesn’t take well with negative reinforcement. The clicker is used during the acquisition phase of training a new behavior to allow the dog to rapidly identify the precise behavior of interest.
To learn more about clicker training, visit Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training website.
Health and Nutrition – Fleas. If you live in an area where there are lots of critters around the neighborhood and the puppies spent a lot of time in the bushes exploring the great outdoors, you may want to treat your puppy for fleas. Since we live in a high-elevation area with no fleas, I have not treated your puppy.
When you take your puppy to the vet as part of his/her wellness checkup, get your vet to put your puppy put in a flea/tick regimen. When we lived in Southern California, our dogs were treated with Revolution. NOTE: Four out of the seven puppies from the 2013 Pioneer Seven developed allergy symptoms from both Frontline and Advantix. You may elect to have your puppy put on an oral treatment.
The next time you’re at the local pet shop, you can also purchase and use a puppy-safe shampoo that helps minimize the occurrence of fleas.
Health and Nutrition – Puppy/Juvenile Vaginitis. Puppy vaginitis is also called juvenile vaginitis, and refers to inflammation of the vagina in a puppy that has not reached puberty (i.e., has not gone through a heat cycle). (Likewise, male puppies may have a greenish yellow crusty discharge from the penis sheath.) This condition is caused by the normal sloughing off of cells and is part of the hormonal and developmental changes in a puppy. (Most of the puppies out of The Pioneer Seven had this at some point in their puppyhood.) These opportunistic conditions are due to your puppy having a weak or underdeveloped immune system. It’s generally a mild condition and not something to be terribly concerned about.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Vaginal discharge (mucous-like, white to yellow to green, and usually not very heavy)
- Licking at vulva
- Mild irritation of skin around vulva
What you can do: Daily cleaning of the vulva or penis with an unscented baby wipe or alcohol-free ear cleaning solution is typically all that is needed to help keep the area clean and alleviate any irritation from the discharge until the condition resolves on its own.
Health and Nutrition – Feeding Amount and Proper Puppy Weight. (The below are photos from The Pioneer Seven (Spring 2013 litter). My Black Boy (at left below) is too skinny. (This is BoulderMan!) If you can see a hard “indent” in your puppy when you look at him/her from directly above, now is a good time to up the food.
We are moving to 3/4 cups Wellness Core/Original Formula plus 2-3 tablespoons The Honest Kitchen twice a day. We are feeding 1 cup Acana Duck and Bartlett Pear three times a day. At right below is what your puppy should look like on an EMPTY stomach (before dinner). Alternatively, if you do NOT see your puppy’s ribs when viewed from the side… you’re overfeeding.
What you can do: Please see page 20 of your Puppy eBook for a visual of optimal weight on a 9 week old puppy.
The Fear/Impact Period. You may notice that your new puppy is fearful of random things (Yellow Girl/Rilo from the Pioneer Seven litter had a fear of blue kitchen sponges at this age). Don’t fret; all puppies, regardless of where they fall on the temperament scale, will go through a “fear imprint/impact period.” This period started at 8 weeks and ends at 11 weeks. What you can do: Keep exposing your puppy to new things. Take a look at your “exposure checklist” and knock off a few more items. Your puppy will eventually get over it!
Behavior and Training – Follow a Routine. Routines minimize turmoil and confusion in your new puppy’s life.
Food and Water. How often will you feed your dog? I’ll soon move to twice a day but your schedule may allow for three times a day. Whatever you do, please do not over-feed as these will seriously harm your puppy’s health. Always feed to a set routine (same time every morning and evening) as this will keep your dog on a routine, and it also make it much easier for you to predict when your dog will need a bathroom break.
NOTE: Please note that you should NOT follow the feeding recommendations on the back of your bag of food. Weimaraners are highly active dogs and will likely need a lot more than the “generic puppy feeding guidelines.” Refer back to last week’s notes about looking at your puppy to gauge whether or not he/she needs more or less food.
Potty Breaks. When and how much your puppy eats also effects what comes out the other end. The following times are a MUST for every dog: let your puppy out after finishing every meal, after walks, when you wake up, and before you go to bed.
Grooming – Nails. Check the length of your puppy’s nails, and clip them back if they’re long. You’ll need to do this about once a week to keep them trimmed. Also, your first few attempts may involve some teamwork. Someone to clip the nails one by one, with lots of praise in between, and another person to feed the puppy treats to keep it distracted and happy (as much as can be, anyway) during the whole experience.
Grooming – Ears. Weimaraners have long, floppy ears, so they should be cleaned out about once a week. Ear cleaning solution can be found at the local PetSmart or Petco.
Here’s a great video that talks about how you can clean your pup’s ears: http://www.petmd.com/dog/puppycenter/grooming/evr_dg_cleaning_the_ears_and_eyes
Leash Walking. Barrett puppies are introduced to the leash at six weeks of age. If you haven’t already, start walking your puppy (and work on your leash walking skills) for short distances. Do your best to just “let your puppy be.” Put the leash on, but don’t yank it on the puppy. Instead, talk to your puppy and encourage him/her to follow you as you move along. If it stops and gets distracted, stop. Get their attention using your words, and then continue. At this point, do NOT yank your puppy or drag it along if it isn’t cooperating. If it’s being fussy, simply take a break and wait for it to calm down. Praise your puppy when it’s not pulling, and then use your words and/or some training treats to get your puppy to follow you. Bonus points if you can keep your puppy to your left side. Further reading: http://www.justweimaraners.com/walk-your-weim-without-setting-back-training/
Play and Exercise. Puppies need to play and exercise every day – no matter what the weather. Play with your puppy by running around, chasing it, tossing a small ball (not small enough to choke on) to it, or getting a short thick length of rope and playing tug of war. Be friendly while playing. If your puppy gets a bit too playful and nips at you, say in a low-pitched tone, “Fido, no!” Sound firm but not angry as you don’t want to scare your puppy, simply to correct the puppy’s behavior. You may also want to make “ow” noises yourself and audibly play up the fact that you’re hurt. Remember, your puppy sees you as a member of their pack, so if you let them understand they hurt you, they aren’t inclined to do it again. Note that without sufficient exercise, puppies tend to be restless and unhappy and far more inclined towards discipline problems.
A note about the great outdoors. There is grass, wood, rocks, tree droppings, dirt and plants. Puppies try to everything in sight. To keep them safe, redirect them, give them a toy, play a game, etc. Also, twigs and sticks are okay for chewing, but watch your puppy to make sure it’s spitting out the pieces.
Social Life. Don’t keep your little gift to yourself! Keeping working on that socialization checklist. If you invite friends over, and they are comfortable with puppies, all of you should play! Once your dog has had his/her second round of shots, if you happen to see another dog with his owner on a walk, introduce yourself and let the dogs sniff each other.
Confinement and special areas. If your puppy could damage furniture, keep him/her in your largest bathroom, or an empty backroom. Never put your puppy in an area with small objects on the floor, a low trash can, or nails coming out of the floor/walls. Even puppies can knock trashcans over and sniff out some leftover food. Nails can be bitten and will damage the teeth and perhaps rip tissue. Small objects can be eaten, without a very promising outcome. Always keep an open area for your puppy to enjoy. A small sample carpet on hard wood floors will seem like a special seat just for your puppy. Put a blanket beside your favorite couch, if you don’t allow him/her on the furniture. For a bed, you can get a small blanket, rip out the seams, and stuff the inside of the blanket with old clothes or stained pillows. This will make a cozy, inexpensive bed for your pet.
Night-Time. If your puppy is sleeping through the night peacefully, great!!! However, I actually don’t expect that all the babies are there, yet. At this point last year, some of the puppies were quite fussy at night, screaming and hollering to be let out.
Don’t give up.
If it’s not because they need to pee, the only thing you can let them do is cry it out. If they’re in your bedroom, you may want to move them into the living room at night so you don’t have to hear it. Or invest in ear plugs.
This will pass.
In the meantime, holler directly if you need some help to get through this time.
How’s everyone doing with their commands?
When you work on training, it helps to use high-value treats. Some examples: liver, chicken, small bit of meat, or soft chew treats. Freeze dried meat is good, too.
Behavior and Training – Puppy Mouthing. You may have noticed that your puppy has razor-sharp teeth. When it gets caught on you: OW! Here’s an article about what to do about puppy mouthing.
Health and Safety – Vaccinations. At WCA Nationals in June 2014, I listened to Dr. Dodds speak about the risk of over-vaccinations. There’s an article that talks about this subject here, that may be of interest to you.
Do you have a mouthy puppy?! time to reinforce the “NO BITE!!!” command. Holler if you need any tips about how to minimize the biting behavior. Holler also if you need some help with other areas. Don’t forget to UP the food if your pup is looking skinny – they are eating monsters and should be taking up to 1 1/2 cups per meal for the biggest ones.
Last updated: June 2019