Monday, May 8, 2017

What I Know and Continue to Learn About Our Puppy

The one thing that I knew well in advance of getting a puppy is that both my husband and I had to be committed to taking on a BIG responsibility. It is not for the weak of heart, nor for a lazy person. In our minds, there really are no 'bad dogs,' just owners who are not 'good' at raising a dog or taking the extra time to do it the right way. 

Once we were ready, we did our research and decided on a Goldendoodle. In searching, I was only finding breeders who were a day's drive away or even further. Both my husband and I are hands on type of people. No way could we pick our puppy from pictures and have him delivered to us. We want to see where they are bred and how they are cared for, etc. So of all things, I put a little note out on my Facebook page, that if anyone knew of someone local who raised Goldendoodles to please contact me. 

A high school friend did just that. We followed up on it and sure enough...this was the breeder who had the perfect puppy for us. She was friendly, invited us in to her home and showed us the puppies a couple at a time. Our puppy continued to be the one that kept coming back to us. No rough housing from him. He was such a loving little wavy, curly furball with a tail that looked like a question mark. He was most definitely the one for us.

To be honest, I had envisioned a golden
Goldendoodle. I had never seen a black one before, yet all of this litter was black. Their momma was a black standard Poodle and their daddy was an English Golden Retriever. His expressive eyes tugged at my heart immediately.

Besides researching for a breeder, we also researched for a well respected veterinarian. The one that we found had a few doctors, a groomer, boarding and doggie day care. It was perfect. The day that we went, the whole office took turns with Davis. Our puppy and had so much fun with them. Of course, he ate up the attention and did his famous prancing when put down on the floor. He was a hit and the vet said that he was in perfect health.

Basically, we have only had two issues with raising this puppy. House training was fairly easy. He is so very smart. Never did he mess in his 'crate' at night, or anytime for that matter. He also never cried at night. Both of us have had dogs before, albeit quite a number of years ago when our children were little. We have experienced the sleepless nights of a puppy dog crying. This is a very special puppy that seemed to trust us from the very beginning. 

The first issue that popped up to greet us was that when it was storming and raining, he would not go out to take care of business. It was as if he did not want to get wet. It shocked us a bit that he did not seem to like water being that he was part golden retrieiver. Steve went out with him, gently calling him out to be in the rain. Nothing much was going to get this puppy dog out in the rain. Finally, through constant and steady talking and splashing around, he followed Steve out and took care of his business. It took a few times before he was totally comfortable. Now, he is happy to go out and get in the water, plus he has learned of a small leak in a drain pipe where water squirts out when it has rained hard and steady. All he has to do is open his mouth and the water squirts in, like a water fountain. This seems to make him so very happy.

The next issue we had and still have is his chewing. The furniture that he attempted to chew was fairly easy to train him to stay away from by giving him one of his own toys and just keeping a close eye on him. What has been a challenge is keeping him from chewing up his very own blankets and bedding. He does not bother old towels that are put in his crate under the nice furry, fluffy blankets or a doggie padded mattress. No, no, no. He destroys the good stuff. 

Being the researcher that I am, I gathered everything that I could find on the subjects that were giving us trouble, such as the rain and the chewing.
It all boils down to treating your puppy as if he were a child. Using good child-rearing techniques works just the same on a puppy. 

Our puppy's breeder validated all of this for us after we talked with her. As far as the rain, we know that he was not feeling anxiety from us about the rain. No one here is afraid of the rain, nor of getting wet (after all, Steve is a Brit). What we needed to do more of was to get in touch with our own inner child and show him how much fun it is to be in the rain. It worked! Our puppy will go out in the rain now without hesitation. Even doing a rendition of Singing in the Rain helped out. Any rain song that came to my mind is what I would sing when I had to get him out. I am sure that our neighbors thought that I was ready for the funny farm.

The chewing is going to take a little longer in training. Puppies are like us. They like something to do while sitting. Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs. Our puppy does not do this as a part of separation anxiety. In fact, nothing is ever chewed on when he is left alone, which is not that often, nor for very long. He seems to do it right in front of us. We think he is on top of his fluffy bed or blanket chewing his rawhide stick which he takes with him to the blanket/bedding. After about 15 minutes, we notice that the stick is just there, and he is actually tearing apart the bedding. 

It is at this stage that we have learned to calmly go to him and in a voice that shows disappointment and dismay, remove the bedding and give him what he is allowed to chew. Talk with him. He may not understand the words, just do not try to tell me that he does not understand that he has done something that does not please you, his master. He wants to please. It will take more times and repeated efforts to get this across. Reintroduce the bedding at a later time and try again. It is not play time when you give him what he is allowed to chew. It is talk time. Praising him for chewing what he is allowed to chew. All the yelling, degrading and punishing in the world will NOT work. It is confusing to your puppy, just as it is children. Some puppies, as are children, more sensitive than others. You must let them know that you love them, just not what they did. (Like chew up an $89.00 bed).

Truly, I can guarantee that this method will work. It takes time and patience. Using a softer scolding voice is fine when you are removing what he has chewed. Letting him know that this is not allowed and you are taking it for now. Then going to a soft and soothing voice when you give him what he is allowed to chew and talk about his bone or chew toy for a moment. He will get the idea a lot faster this way then the bully way, as I call it. We all have witnessed this kind of behavior from parents toward their children out in stores. It is hard for me to keep my mouth closed. Hard to imagine, I know! Somehow I manage, as raising other people's children is not my business.

Helping to spread information about training puppies is a whole different ballgame. I can tell you that having what we believed to be doing was right validated by a very knowledgeable breeder certainly made us feel better. If you are looking for a reputable breeder, I can highly recommend Goldendoodles by Kim's Design at 901-412-1174. Please let her know that you read about her on my blog. 

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