Sunday, December 04, 2011

I'm sure there are a thousand more articulate posts on this ..

in fact there are a whole lot of, perhaps excellent, blogs devoted to the subject!

that said I think my perspective may be a little unique on this subject

Puppy Raising 101

We are not breeders but we have opportunities to play with puppies quite regularly ..some of these puppies seem to have had an OK start but many many more arrive at the door ill, scared and out of balance. Most of these puppies stay 2 or more weeks and our goal is to make up for the tragedy in their early life before heading to a forever home. The puppies are always different breeds (often unknown) but the basic principles of how we rehab them is the same.

Ronnie knew screaming meant attention
when he arrived in program!
Have you heard of attachment disorder? In a nutshell it's a human thing where a child, after being neglected or abused in infancy, becomes disassociated with people (usually parents) and extremely difficult.  When some puppies arrive it is obvious they have either had no attention or they have been coddled to such a point they many have never been asked to think for themselves. In many ways they show some of the signs of this reactive attachment disorder. This state is not how we want a puppy leaving our house.

We combat both of these extremes in the same way. Clear, consistent routine and tons of TLC. Foster puppies do not sleep in our bedroom - yes in an ideal world they would but reality is some homes won't have a dog in the bedroom and we need our sleep! House training isn't actually slowed much in my experience by having an x pen sort of set up overnight with an open crate, water, a couple of toys and pee pads down in one corner. Theorique slept through last night from 11- 7:30. By the time they are 8 weeks old it's not at all unusual to have them clean overnight.

I am VERY careful to let them keep a clean crate. After Brody (who was endlessly kenneled before he came to me) I'd prefer a dog never ever have to do anything in a crate. I can generally tell the pet store puppies quickly tho as they will cry once or twice then make a mess. We learn to react pretty fast to a little noise in those cases!

That said if I know a puppy is empty and comfortable we have no qualms at all about letting a baby whimper and fuss for a few minutes. Unless they have been over coddled before joining us they usually cry less than 5 minutes and fall asleep or find a toy to play with. If they have been coddled they can carry on for a LONG time before settling. This is known as an extinction burst and is a ROYAL pain. Super important lesson I can share here - DO NOT reinforce the nonsense or it just gets worse next time. Eventually you'll have to work through it so you might as well do it now!

A quick note on coddling ... we truly do not believe you can spoil a baby of any species .. when a puppy is tiny and baby coddle to your hearts content. We will make sure little puppies are tired before we leave them alone- I set them up with a hot water bottle (actually a snuggle safe in our case). Try not to forget that puppies grow up much faster than humans and your baby will be a pre-teen in no time at all. Limits matter for youth!

Balance is the key in puppy raising ... find a routine that works for you and pup and stick with it. Provide lots of non judgemental love and let the puppy have lots of contact with you (Theorique is currently snoozing in the chair beside me)  but also make sure you start rewarding Independence. (There is a small crate on one side of the chair and a small bed on the other side - Rique is learning to use both - as Quiz and Coco also did). More tomorrow on the concept of training a baby - what can they learn?

1 comment:

Laura and The Corgi, Toller, & Duck said...

That is wonderful what you're able to do for those puppies!