too young pup, and positive reinforcment training advice.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by pinkfoxfarm, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. pinkfoxfarm

    pinkfoxfarm Chirping

    Oct 6, 2011
    In LaLaLand
    without making a very long story even longer, a week ago today i found myself rescuing 2 then 4 1/2 week old puppy from a not so great situation.

    puppy #1 didnt make it, he had a 3" hole i his stomach from an umbilicle hernia that ruptured and infection had already set in. [​IMG]

    puppy #2, despite being grimey and flea infested and about 1lb under weight and a belly full of worms seemed fine and home he came with me.

    so some basics these are facts i manged to get out of the less than caring owner.
    dob: october 1
    mother: a hybrid type american bulldog,
    father: a stunning cane corso x american bulldog

    i do NOT and NEVER will advocate or suggest or think its a good idea to bring a puppy under 8 weeks home...but choices in this case were not just limited...they were bad and worse!

    now...ive raised many a litter in my years, beeninvolved in the dog show/breeding circute for a while now and occasionally raise a litter of my own when im looking for something special so the technical aspects of young puppy care isnt a problem...
    hes eating well slowly gaining a little weight back and the vets happy with his overall condition a week after finding him [​IMG]
    were working on the belly ful of parisites and dish soap took care of the fleas.

    ive also raised a few orphaned litters in my ive got the general basics of raising a puppy without its mother...

    however ive NEVER raised a singleton puppy and NEVER raised a this kind of mix before.

    i have had a few great danes in my life and worked with many a mastif...(and ADORE corsi!) but ive never had the pleasure of working with an american bulldog or any kind of bandooge type mix...
    im expecting an amazingly loyal, inteligent but BULL HEADED dog...

    im lucky in that hes taken to my 2 chinese cresteds very well and they arnt taking any bull from hoping this will continue at least for a while as i belive theres notihing better to teach a dog manners than a well mannered dog...
    however i know as he grows hes going to outweigh them increidbly quickly, and i do belive am-bulls can be a little dog agressive, so once he gets to that age i dont want to have to rely on my little guys to be his only doggy disaplin.
    (no worries he will NEVER be left unsupervised around my 2 small dogs!)

    so, generally i REFUSE to set him up for failure...
    my 2 adults are doing thier job of puting him in line if he gets too much,
    but being im new to too young singleton land im looking for suggestions from others who have more experience with this puppies kind of genetic makeup.

    right now the only problems im realy having with him is teething...those milk teeth are sharp and hes a chewer....
    Im tackling this problem with a simple verbal correction and redirect method...teeth on something they shouldnt be = "ah ah" and replace with something they should be interest in the should be then all fun stops and a time out insues, to put it simply teeth dont meet skin or clothes...and im hoping 5 weeks isnt too young for this kind of method...
    he is already displaying that bully stubborness and intleigence...he knows hes not supposed to and stops with an ah-ah, but he still finds it hard to resist fingers...

    housebreaking is proving to be a 50/50 shot right now...the vet has us under strict no outside orders...hes not had any shots yet, and we have no idea of mothers immunity, and i literally just bought this house, before i moved in 3 weeks ago the house and the land its on stoop empty, the neighbors dogs have ben using it as a playground and theres at least 2 local coyote families and planty of deer, squirrel, rabbit and woodchuck using it right now.
    i have a small fenced off area, but being its only been a few weeks sinc emoving in my vet is concerned about parvo and distemper...but wants to hold off on shots untill hes 6 weeks old (fine by me i typically practice a limited acination schedual anyway and prefer to wait untill 8 weeks)

    right now were doing wee wee pads and hes about 98% accurate, but i REALY want to start him outside asap...any thoughts on the parvo/distemper risk on the property, i know parvo lives a long time in the dirt and without knowing...well im warey.
    thoughts?! should i stick wiht the pads untill hes had his first round?! or would it be safe to take him out in the fenced area where my 2 healthy dogs go (both dogs are regularly titer tested and negative for parisites) i know am-bulls can be tough to housebreak so id rather get him started on good habits ASAP.

    i am planning on starting puppy class with him as soon as hes all ready with shots...

    were working on name recognition, crate training and very very short sessions with sit and come, and today he got his first collar...not going too badly...

    but i cant help thinking theres more i should be doing to ensure this puppy doesnt develop the typical "too young" issues.

    he will be staying with me for life, he gets on great with the cats (interested but respects a clawless bop on the head) getting on increasingly better with the cresties...the female is interactive and a good male is still a little short with him if he gets into his personal space...but thats to be expected.

    im hopign for good things from this guy, and plenty of plans for his mental simulation as he gets older (REDYRE id LOVE some tips on carting! i dont need him to pull me, but one day id love to get a little cart so he can help haul light loads of livestock feed and such.)
    (i have 4 1/2 acres in a tiny town thats slowly going to become a working homestead [​IMG] )
    and mabe, just mabe, if his personality is right, perhaps get him working as a therapy dog.

    any tips, tricks ect from folks a little more familiar with bully breeds and POSITIVE reinforcment would be HIGHLY apreciated.

    (im not interested in being told to roll him on his back, shake him, leash pop methods ect...)

  2. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

    Oct 7, 2011
    I had 8, 2 week old pups go through parvo. All but 1 (the first to get sick) fully recovered. I have no idea where it came from. My dogs were vaccinated, and my yard is fairly secure from other animals. Each pup went through a few days of terrible sickness and needed to be given water by dropper. I also gave raw eggs by dropper [​IMG] as recommended by a breeder. Nevertheless, I think I would just wait it out for the next week and a half.
  3. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    Quote:#1) Teething and mouthing, as you know, all part of a growing puppy. What you are doing with redirection is very good. I would make your "ah-ah" your forever correction command -- and a correction is what that is. I use the word "no" or "ah-ah" or "phooey" with my dogs. They all have learned from puppyhood that those words mean "stop what you are doing and look to me for further direction". It works wonders if you use it in that context. I always teach my clients this with their dogs too. A verbal correction doesn't have to mean you are following it with a physical correction. But "NO" or whatever you choose needn't be some arbitrary sound you are making either. You can teach that it has a specific meaning. So when you use a verba correction praising him for eye contact and a toy redirection will get you well on your way to teaching him you are communicating with him.

    Secondly a dragging leash on at all times will help you get more control of him while you are interacting. You can pick up the leash and redirect if he gets to sassy with his mouthing. Then redirect. Crate training him of course will also do wonders for you both. When a puppy gets too full of themselves it is sometimes just easier to crate them for an hour or so, instead of getting in a battle of "stop biting me". If you want to do 100% positive methods crating helps a ton.

    #2) For housbreaking -- at 5 weeks he is at a very good age to start very consistent expectations of house breaking. I know four week old pups that have been trained by their mother and breeder to not go potty in their kennel area and by 5 weeks can be close to 100%. If I were you I would first start giving a food treat, something very tiny for him to make a quicker connection to the potty area and the act of going potty. That means you must supervise 100% and make sure you have that treat on hand 100% of the time. It is work but can be done.

    Secondly I would maybe take his potty area to the garage or back porch if you don't want him to be on the grass. That way he is getting the idea that potty is *outside* and NOT being rewarded for potty in the living areas of the house. In the very least you can have his pee pads right next to the door for him to at least connect the door area with pottying. I would do everything in my power for him to get ouside ASAP for hous breaking, including making a specific area maybe next week for him --though I understand you not wanting to take chances..i would be taking him outside by 6-7 weeks. I would be more afraid of later having to go back and retrain (done this lots with older dogs and it is a PITA).
  4. pinkfoxfarm

    pinkfoxfarm Chirping

    Oct 6, 2011
    In LaLaLand
    thank you! definatly what i was looking for...
    i have a car port thats actually attatched to the fened in area for the dogs...i think im going to put a pad out there, his current pad is one by the front door and one by the back (my house is TINY lol) so he is associating by the door with potty, but id certinaly rather not use the pee pads if i dont have to. and the concrete might work perfectly for that since its a newer concrete pad the risk would be lower. on the parvo worry id hope at least.
    lol hes going to be a big boy so i certianly dont want him thinking poop in the house is ok LOL.
    right now hes only 3 1/2 lbs (should prbably be closer to 4 lbs but he is catching up.) hips are still a little too prominent for my liking on a puppy of his age, but the belly distention is going down so that makes me very happy and he is eating well.

    hes smart and incredibly determined...i dont like to have him on my lap 24/7 but thats prety much where he wants to be...well now hes figured out hes MUCH stronger in the uppoer body than either of us realized he would be and can literlaly haul himself from the floor to the seat cushion through shere force of will and upper body strength...

    hes such a cutie patootie though.


    i should add, his tail was not docked its missing and hes missing a toe in back and has a scar on that foot too so im thinking it probably got bitten off in the first few days of life
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  5. Jamie_Dog_Trainer

    Jamie_Dog_Trainer Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Washington State
    You are welcome [​IMG] Yes! He is adorable. The missing body parts could have come from when he was born. Sometimes young mother dogs will over-clean their puppies. I've heard of many first time Mommy dogs biting the tails off and even part of a leg.

  6. MetalSmitten

    MetalSmitten Songster

    Apr 11, 2010
    bloomington, indiana
    bitter apple (nasty tasting spray, you can get it at almost any pet store) for the teething thing. just spray it on anything you don't want chewed on, including yourself [​IMG]

    he is adorable! lucky pup to have you.
  7. navasima

    navasima Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    New Mexico
    Start doing the non-physical "Alpha things". Before he gets a meal - he watches you eat ( a cracker - whatever). You go into a room first. He gets attention when you say, not when he asks for it. You must always win. Do not sit on the floor when you play. The floor is for puppies, not Alphas. Even this young, he should never get something for nothing. Now, I'm a softie, so coming when you're called can get an hour of lap time [​IMG], but you had to come when I called.

    At this age, tug-o-war can be good - IF - you start and end the game. I say this only because you sound like an experienced dog person.

    Be in charge now and stay in charge and you'll be fine!! Lucky little fuzzy butt he is to have found you!!!
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I have absolutely no helpful input. I just wanted to say he is SO cute!! Good luck with his training - sounds like you have a solid regime in place [​IMG]
  9. OnBorrowedWings

    OnBorrowedWings In the Brooder

    Aug 4, 2011
    Thanks for taking in this pup and giving him a chance at a good life...he is a real cutie!
    There is sooo much you can do with him at this age. For my recent litter at five weeks, the pups were getting individual daily clicker training sessions. I was dividing the puppies' daily ration into three parts, and giving it to them during their training. Some of the things they were practicing:
    alternating tug with trading the toy for a treat, and also changing from one toy to another on request
    Hand touch
    Get on mat, shaped for a down on mat
    Puppy chase recalls
    Sit and wait for food dish to be placed down, feed one little piece of food at a time, pup looks forward to you taking dish, because he'll get another piece of food in it.

    I don't think that teaching bite inhibition at this age will be very productive. I don't usually see moms teach their pups bite inhibition prior to eight or ten weeks. Of course there is a lot of rough and tumble bite inhibition that litter mates teach each other. Redirect, redirect, redirect! Also, he can easily learn Sit at this age, and earn a reward, as a distraction from mouthing.

    A future farmstead/therapy dog will need the same kind of intelligence that a performance dog needs. It's important that he gets to solve physical challenges at this age. If you're not taking him for walks in difficult terrain, provide him with a lot of baby agility type toys. My pups always had access to baby wobble boards (tape half a tennis ball to the bottom of a round cat toy), hanging toys and empty water bottles that would brush against them, little ramps and different surfaces, and all kinds of human and infant noisemaking toys, (check out "piano puppies" on YouTube at MadcapPyrSheps)...anything that I could think of.

    Another alternative to the puppy pads is to put a kiddie wading pool in your carport, filled with pine shavings, perhaps pads on top to start. Easy for you to clean, and the shavings will feel more like pottying outdoors to him for later cleanliness. At five weeks, he'll need ramps to climb in and out.

    Have fun!

  10. watchdogps

    watchdogps Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Central Ohio
    I would also try hard to find him some bigger doggie pals, like maybe another litter or at least some other dog saavy dogs. My anatolians were also raised with small dogs, down to a 4 lb chiand they do respect them, but they still needed that mommy stuff. I know you are new to your area, so id suggest calling trainers and explaining your situation. They will be more likely to want to help since they know the behavioral probs it can cause.

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