Thursday, 25 September 2014

Puppy Follow up

I have just sent a follow up email 
or had recent Facebook contact with the owners of the last litter of the pups.
Just checking how things are going and answering any questions the owners may have.

The pups are 4 months old now and all probably very blond with fluffy ears,
long lanky legs, higher in their hip than the front, muzzle too big for their head,
coat short as it is transitioning.
This is the ugly duckling stage and age!
The biggest issues at this stage (4 month old pups) are perhaps dealing with:
food aggression
 and rambunctiousness

So, let me talk for a minute about food aggression.
It is normal.
Most pups will try to be possessive about their food and they will tell you to back off by a growl, snap, lip lifting or tensing up their body.
It is their form to communicate to you.
Some, will stand over and guard their food, almost hugging the bowl.
However, you do not need to be told by the upstart to back off.
It needs dealing with now.
Some pups  may be okay with people around their food,
but will probably want to chase off all other dogs at this stage.
Neither is acceptable.
Food aggression does need dealing with before it escalates and there are a number of ways to deal with it.
The most important thing I have found is simply to make feeding time a non issue.
I will feed my dogs separately,
as we feed outside,
 I will most of the time chain each dog up and away from each other so that they can eat their own food in peace and not bully the other dogs for their food.
Each dog has time and peace to eat their own food.
Some dogs in a home situation,
 may need to be fed in another room, outside or in the garage. j
Just feed them alone and leave them be, until they are done.
Remove all bowls and left over food.
No stress, no aggression and no problems.

Work on a "sit and wait until I put the food down" training, stroke the pup while eating and do not tease or mess with his food.

Escaping.. aah that age where they want to explore the world.
Now, is the time to work on respecting fences and boundaries.
Ensure the fence is good, plug holes,
teach the pup not to barge through open gate ways,
teach them now, that electric fences need to be respected,
add a hot wire top and bottom if needs be.

This is THE time to teach fence respect.
Never stand on the other side of the fence to pet them or even talk to them,
as this encourages jumping up on fences.
it is also not fair if you do run a hot wire,
 to then talk to the pup, who  happily wants to great you and then gets zapped.
Go into the fenced area and talk to the pup
and when you are on the other side, just ignore them.
Most going through fences starts with the pup wanting to meet and be with you
and learning to climb up on the fence.

Rambunctiousness, the pups are maybe a little wild, and racy and may want to jump up against you.
It is all great while they are little but it is not a joke when they are grown up and the jump up and wrestle with you.
Teach the pups to greet you respectfully, come calmly to you, sit and get petted.
No jumping, no knee breaking runs into you, no mouthing, no taking your hand while you walk, no tripping you up,
no dragging you around on the end of a leash, no pawing you.
If you make these boundaries clear now,
 your pup will be respectful and mindful of you
and that behavior flows over to the stock as well.

The two pups left here, Shara and Nina are doing really well.
Shara is the pretty one and Nina has the brains, so together they make a great team.
They are in their ugly duckling stage and are also testing some boundaries.
Every day is a learning curve for them  ( and me).
They have always been very respectful of the stock, they move out of the way if a sheep wants to go somewhere, they are polite to the rams and things are looking good.
Neither pup is over playful and that is something I like to see.
The remain in the fences really well, with the odd dig under the fence trick attempt.

This week I thought Nina was a genius pup,
then again, most parents think their kids are genius..
Well, the pups were turned out into a bigger pasture, that has one side with electric fence.
( I am teaching them that electric fences need to be avoided and respected).
They love to explore all the new sights and smells.
Nina found a huge old bone,
and considering that most shars are genetically prone to hoarding,
this bone needed to go into the stash.

The problem was, that I had closed the gate to their "normal" pasture and Nina could not take her bone to the hoard.

Shara was eyeballing the bone and was plotting a bone stealing expedition.

Nina, needed to safe guard her prize.

So after checking if the gate to their pasture really was closed,
she checked out the rest of the fence to see if she could get in another way.
This was not possible, so she did a smart thing.
She laid her bone down and then pushed it with her nose under the fence into their normal pasture.
She could then go and check out the rest of the field and not be concerned about Shara stealing her prize.
I thought that was a smart thing to do.

Life on the other side of the electric fence.

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