It’s hard to believe that these silly and sweet babies will be leaving us soon. We have spent a great deal of one-on-one time with them this last week to get them ready for their families. They are still babies, but we do try out best to prepare them for the obedience training that our families will begin as soon as they leave our care.
During our one-on-one time with this litter, we worked on not allowing the puppies to get underfoot while walking with us. It’s hard to take just a few steps when you have a whole litter following you around the yard. With the extra practice, they have done much better and vary rarely dart under my feet. We practically teach our puppies how to “sit” without them knowing it. Pets aren’t given to a puppy that is jumping up on us, we will completely ignore that behavior. We give out our attention to puppies that are sitting or standing patiently to get attention. Our puppies are observant and pick up on this quickly! Their first response is to get jealous of the puppy that is behaving and receiving the attention. Those puppies will try to tackle the “good” puppy, but I don’t let them do it. Puppies can be ornery little things! Soon all the puppies figure out how to get the attention they desperately want and need, and they start “sitting.”
I don’t place their food bowl on the ground until the litter as a whole is sitting and making eye contact with me. This is a great habit for our families to continue when their puppy goes home, because it doesn’t allow the puppy to act out badly to get what they want. Instead, feeding time acts as a reward when they calm down and are reading our cues. This is what you need a puppy to do during their short obedience training, eyes on you and giving their full attention. We have worked on this for several days, and they have picked up on it very well!
This litter has done so well on their crate training and last night they slept without any mistakes in their crate for 7 hours! I was so pleased! The first night we introduced them to crate training and they cried as a group for 4 straight hours! Once they stopped crying, they slept hard for me. Ever since then, they may cry for 10 to 15 minutes to see if I will let them out. They have learned that crate time is sleeping time and settle much faster and sleep well for me. Before any crating time, we make sure to let them run to their hearts content for 15 minutes to 30 minutes before bedtime. Once they are in their crate, we know that they don’t need anything and they know it’s bedtime.
We have also let these babies spend a lot of time with our Bosa. They love him and he is very patient with them. It’s important that our puppies have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with an adult dog that will teach them appropriate behavior. Puppies naturally will go up to an adult dog and nip at its face and jump all over the adult dog. Sometimes they will try to climb up on the its back. Humans wouldn’t let children do that, and neither do dogs. Dogs appreciate having personal space, and puppies have to learn what is good and acceptable behavior.
Bosa will give a low growl to communicate when they need to back off. If a particular stubborn puppy won’t listen, Bosa will pounce right next to it and growl again. The puppies learn very quickly not to behave that way around Bosa. If they get very comfortable with him and try to push the limits again, he will nip their back or mouth at their face. Our dams implement the same teaching method with their puppies as well. Once they have caught on to the rules, Bosa will start playing with them again and they play chase and wrestle. This whole process of watching dogs and puppies teach each other is always fascinating to me. These puppies will need to learn what our families other dogs will allow, but they have a good foundation before leaving us.
Nipping! Oh, how those little teeth can hurt! Puppies start learning how painful their biting can be when those little teeth first start coming in. When I’m deep cleaning the barn and my young litter is playing with each other in the whelping stall, it isn’t uncommon to hear a little puppy cry out in pain. They were bit too hard by a littermate. When a puppy bites down on a playmate and their playmate cries out, they learn that those teeth hurt and feel bad. A lot of puppies learn quickly how much is too much pretty soon. Over the next few days, they learn how to wrestle and use their teeth without causing damage and unnecessary pain. Occasionally, a puppy will get carried away while playing, or they don’t mind hurting another puppy by biting too hard. When the rough puppy has been mean, the rest of the litter show up to the hurting puppy’s side and the whole group will tackle the rough puppy. Puppies are little justice fighters. It’s fun to watch.
When a human interacts with a puppy, it’s as if the puppy needs to learn the lesson it learned with its littermates all over again, especially if small children are around. I don’t allow my 8 year old daughter to play alone with a litter of puppies without me present when the puppies are learning how much is too much with people. I encourage families with smaller children to act as a referee between the puppy and child for the first few days. Children for some reason like to stick their faces right in a puppy’s face, this normally ends up with the child getting their nose nipped. Children also like sticking their fingers into the puppy’s mouth, this tickles for the first few months but doesn’t feel good when a big puppy bites down on those little fingers. That is why our fingers are never chew toys in our house.
Puppies often view children as an equal in the new family pack and play with them like they would a litter mate. Puppies like to nip and wrestle with each other, that is fine, but not with children. Because of how puppies view children, I encourage families to have their children help with obedience training with the parent so the puppy will understand that they fall below the children in the pack. Dogs become family members and we love them deeply, but puppies are much more confident and content when the rules and pack order are established from the beginning. This is why we supervise our puppies and have them play with children as much as we can before they go home. Jumping and nipping at children is not allowed.
There is so much more we work on at Parfait Mischen! We are constantly learning and adding to our program, but we do this to create the best puppy we can for our families.