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Guide Dog Puppy – Week 1

January 16, 2012

Actually its almost two weeks now, we’ve had two weekends with Tout plus a day or so either side. There have been some frustrations as well as some good times.

The effect on family life continues, we’re still adjusting to having an extra body to look after and care for. My daughter continues to be nervous of this jumpy and bouncy thing as he is not at all careful with his teeth. So we have to spend a bit of time being mindful of that.

First the positives

He is a very healthy and bouncy puppy and full of energy.

We’ve got him sitting pretty much on command now and most of his ‘busy’ business is done outside on the gravel area we have assigned for the job. We give him praise and a treat when he does this, which usually means that when he has done his stuff, he sits by the food cupboard and waits for the treat, so there is definitely an association there.

While we have not measured or weighed him, we agree that he has grown a little, but noticeable, in the time we’ve had him. Later this week we’ll get our first visit from out Guide Dog Association rep to check out the first fortnight.

He still likes and seeks out human company. Often he’ll clamber onto my lap as an indication he wants to sleep. He is also now very comfortable with his cage and will go into there for a rest several times a day. He also likes to take his treats into there for consumption.

In my last post I mentioned that we would be turning his cage about at night to give him a safe open area at night and a mat to do his stuff on. This was an alternative to being locked in the cage all night. Its worked out better for us all, but he will still wake us up in the night whining after he has done his midnight ‘busy’. Of course we ignore it and he eventually settles. Hopefully he’ll soon stop the whining and just do his stuff and resettle.

We’ve discovered that he loves ice cubes. It must be a combination of being hard, so good for crunching, and cold on his teeth. So we use ice cubes as an occasional treat, which means we don’t need to worry about over feeding him when giving him a treat.

Now the negatives

We’ve had some very aggressive behaviour from him at times; aggressive to the point of snapping deliberately at hands and barking at us, usually at me specifically. On some occasions we’ve taken him out at this point and he’s done a ‘big busy’ and calmed down afterwards so there may be a correlation there.

It usually starts off with gentle play, we constantly remind him to be gentle and are firm with him when teeth get used; as directed in the training book that was left with us. However, this tends to spiral into worse and worse behaviour until we have to cease the play.

My wife spoke to our Guide Dog Association rep this morning, who suggested that we were not being hard enough with him and we should grab him very firmly by the back of the neck and pull him away when he bites. This is what his mother would have done and if we do that it’ll get the message across. She said, not to worry if he yelps when we do it. We’ll try that out and see how it goes.

Another issue we’ve started to have is weeing in the middle of the kitchen floor. It happens whenever my wife leaves him alone in the kitchen, less so with me. She only needs to step out of the kitchen for a few minutes and as soon as she is back there is a puddle waiting for her. Even if he’s recently been taken out for a ‘busy’, he still manages to find some more to leave. It certainly seems like its intentional, though we are not entirely sure why. Our Guide Dog Association rep thinks that it’ll stop when we get the biting behaviour sorted out and we’ll just have to deal with it until then.

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  1. Guide Dog Puppy – Month 2 « A limey's ramblings

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