We’ve had our puppy for 3 weeks now. In some ways it seems like a long time, and in other ways it has been very fast. During this three week stretch, he hit the 12 week old mark.
Life Around the House
It took a few days for Griffin’s personality to come out. It has since come on like a storm. The good news is that he seems to accept and embrace the house. There are a lot of trials about dominance, but even that is getting better. There is no question he is happy, full of energy and healthy.
He likes his crate. As a puppy, he needs his sleep and has no problem getting good rest in his crate. When we tell him “bed bed”, he runs full speed into it. He knows there is a treat after.
He also knows where he gets his food and he seems to be adding other parts of the house to “his house”. I say this because he isn’t using other areas as a bathroom as much. Once he realizes that it is his house/den, he won’t have as many accidents. The good news is that the accidents are less frequent.
Part of being a puppy is being uncoordinated. He has run full speed into the sliding glass door, tripped on stairs, fallen over, taken spills on the hardwood floors and plenty of other funny antics. He bounce like a ball when excited and playing and is super fast.
Yes, he goes when he needs to and sometimes that is in the house. The good news is that it is less and less frequent and usually isolated to specific spots. He won’t go where he thinks it is part of his house. The reality is that all accidents are because we aren’t watching close enough. Many times I’ve seen the dance and gotten him outside in time.
We started with a pretty good “Every two hour” schedule. After a week or so, he seemed to get that. Then we stretched it out a bit causing him to hold it longer. Now he seems to get that and isn’t just going when he feels the urge. That is the biggest first step for him; understanding the urge and controlling his bladder. A good step. He is still 12 weeks old, so there will be accidents.
The other part to the “house” for him is still just getting to know it. He does not get to just go everywhere. He is learning a few rooms at a time and I think that is smart. He seems to adapt to a room and take care of it better (no accidents). But, he seems to always be able to get to his bed/crate at full speed from anywhere. It is funny to watch.
At first it was up and out every 2-3 hours to go to the bathroom. He quickly got better at falling asleep again. By last weekend he was only going out one time. Monday night it was 9pm to 5:45am; I’ll call that all night. That is still a long time for a puppy his age, so I’m sleeping and listening a lot. It is getting better though.
His general manners are getting better, but when he is tired, he gets grumpy for sure. Lots of naps during the day are still in order.
Being a Puppy
Our youngest daughter now wants a dog and not a puppy. Puppies are not easy. Constant attention and puppy play involves biting. He is trying to figure out where he fits in the family. The adults are big, so he has slotted in below us. Our oldest daughter is just enough more mature and authoritative that he slots below her too. But our youngest? He tries very hard to bully her. He bullies both of them a bit, but our youngest the most.
Shots seem to be a necessary evil with puppies. I say that as there is some debate about negative side effects of the shots. Ultimately, there are so many fatal illnesses that the dogs can catch, we need the shots. The shots take a while to fully immunize the dog. During this period, he isn’t supposed to be around a lot of dogs. This is hard as this is prime socialization time and we want to go places with him. We will be out of quarantine soon.
Puppies don’t have hands, so they use their teeth. They don’t know that their teeth were the inspiration for razor blades. When dogs are with each other, they bite each other. When they bite too hard, they let the other dog know. This is a learning process all puppies go through. When you bring a puppy home he isn’t with the rest of the litter any more. In our case, we don’t have another dog either. So he bites us. He bites to learn and establish dominance. Both are bad, but both are very hard to control since we are dealing with instinct.
I will say that he is starting to learn and is biting less, but he still bites. Mostly he bites our youngest daughter which isn’t good.
With the shots schedule, we have been avoiding other dogs for the most part. The vet cleared us with older dogs, so he has harassed our neighbors 10 year old dog. They didn’t play too much, but Griffin learned about crossing the line a few times.
We also got him together with a friends puppy of about the same age after talking to the vets. We know the history of both puppies and both have had some shots.
They needed that. After 10 minutes of sniffing, they finally made it to the lawn and did as puppies do. The chased, bit wrestled and tired each other out. It was fun to watch them try so hard to get the other one only to have their own lack of coordination be their doom. A lot of wipe outs.
Training and Stuff
They say it is never too early to train, and he is doing pretty good. Right now, some of the best parts are the general interaction with him, establishing trust and getting the kids to learn about teaching him.
Training and Tricks
Right away we started with “come”. He gets it, but needs to be paying attention. The “come Griffin” game is great for all of us to play. He is also good at “sit” and understands when we tell him to go to the bathroom. So, he is leaning a fair amount already.
Walks are getting better too, but we are limiting his walks significantly until the shots are done. We do walk in the backyard and on the sidewalk a bit. He doesn’t fight having it on, but sometimes he wants to play with the leash and sometimes he just won’t walk. He likes to chase leaves he sees, but more and more he gets that a walk is an adventure and likes it.
Kerry Blue Terriers rank pretty high on the grooming chart for dogs. Meaning, they need a lot of attention. This is because they have hair, not fur. They don’t shed, so they need hair cuts. The hair needs to be brushed and washed (with conditioner). The good news is that the rewards of this are great. They are super soft, smell nice, look nice and learn to be handled. A Kerry used to grooming will take a lot of poking and pushing; they may not love it, but they do it for their reward of pleasing us and a treat.
Griffin is doing well getting brushed. Every morning I’ve been brushing him. He fought a fair about the first few times, now he is a pretty good sport. I’m even cleaning his eyes every morning. This had more protests, but he is learning that he feels better after and the treat is nice. A Kerry also needs attention on their ears, so those are getting some cleaning too. He has even had two small baths. The first wasn’t so fun (hot water took too long), and the second was better. His ears are setting now (glued in place to encourage a “show” shape) but starting to grow out. I think in about two weeks I’ll need to cut the glue out, so he’ll need to sit still for that one.