I’ve missed a lot of weeks of writing. Feels like this fall is filled with too much of everything, covid on the rise, vaccination passports to do a lot of normal activities and a lot of divide amongst people. More anger and division than I ever thought I’d see. So writing has taken a far back burner. Everything just feels heavy…like everything is sucking the energy and joy out of the simple things in life.
Kane turned 1 this past Saturday. Feels crazy that he is already one. He often acts like a little puppy, but is definitely testing boundaries fairly frequently. He has a touch of separation anxiety. It’s not terrible, but we are really working on it. I talked to a trainer about building his confidence, which helps with that, as well as helps him meet new people confidently. They suggested scent detection. So we started that. I can honestly say it is the most interesting class I have taken with any of my dogs. Kane absolutely loves it, and in my opinion is pretty damn good at it. He caught on really quickly and now cries when he has to wait for his turn in class, and is even more excited when we start getting ready to do it at home. I love seeing how dogs noses (and brains) work when they are trying to find something. It’s really amazing.
For this class (and training style) he has wintergreen on a cotton ball in a spice style jar (that has vents on the top, but a lid to seal when not in use). In class it’s hidden in certain containers and we have to figure out (by how our dog tells/shows us) what container it’s in. At home we do that, but I also just hide the jar so he has to show me where it is. I have also gotten my husband to hide it outside and then I just follow Kane to find it. That’s always really neat for me. Because I don’t know where it is and have to trust that he knows what he is doing.
I don’t think he has grown in the last couple of months, hopefully he continues to fill out in the next year, but if not, that’s okay. We love him for who he is. And I know that smaller dogs do live longer generally. So maybe his size will work in our favor and he will live to be 15 or 16.
Rosco is 10 1/2 and although he is slowing down and is a little stiff and slow he is still healthy and happy. Hopefully he keeps going strong for many many more years.
I need to get back to my once a week posts. I miss it, and enjoy it when I’m doing it.
I haven’t been doing weekly updates because he hasn’t been changing that much lately. I do still take a weekly picture, but I honestly don’t see much different from week to week now.
He is being a typical teenager now and is definitely testing some boundaries, but I’m happy to report that his recall is back to almost 100%. Unless he is in our backyard and doesn’t want to come in. Then he has very selective hearing. However, it is back where it is important, so we can deal with selective hearing in the backyard.
I have started a bit more treadmill training with him and have done a few couch to 5k runs with him (a mixture of running and walking), he needs some extra energy outlets and I think he will be a great running partner if we put in the work now. Because he is still growing (even if it’s slower) I am very cautious about activity that he doesn’t get to chose pace or duration. He has been fantastic, but I don’t want to overdo it and cause any issues.
He LOVES all things water…And mud. The swimming this winter at the pool definitely paid off. I’m so happy he enjoys the water so much. The lake has been really busy, so he hasn’t gotten a chance to practice his swimming, but I’m sure when we are on holidays we will find a spot to get him swimming.
We still walk using a gentle leader. He walks like a dream with it. The one thing we are working on is “barrier frustration”. If we are on leash and he thinks he needs to meet someone (person or dog) he will scream and freak out trying to get to them. So we are working on sitting and focus. It’s coming along, but I’m sure it will be something we have to work on for a while. Because he is doing much better with people, but still struggles with dogs. He LOVES all dogs a little too much. We don’t go to the dog park that often, but when we does he couldn’t be happier.
Kane is continuing to grow although it’s not as noticeable week to week now. He is also getting more confident, but how he shows that isn’t the best, he barks at people and dogs that he wants attention from. Which isn’t going to get him many friends. So now we have to work on correcting that without causing him to become fearful. Might be a little bit tricky.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Rosco isn’t great on leash, he thinks pulling is the only answer. Because he is 10 I’ve kinda conceded defeat with winning the battle of leash walking with him. That being said Kane was starting to be a bit of a pain when walking on leash. He wants to be close to his brother, which meant I was correcting and redirecting more than I wanted to, and it was making walking them on leash together less enjoyable. In comes the head halter (we use the gentle leader ones because they were what we used on Kira, Gunner and Sloan). I figured if I tried it early enough with Kane it may be the answer. We did a few days of training in the house and then 1 day in the backyard. I would put it on click and treat, then take it off and repeat. Then we moved up to putting it on and leaving it alone for a few seconds, then minutes, and then finally moved to walking with it on with a leash attached in the backyard. We have since taken it out on our walks, and he walks like a saint with it. Doesn’t even seem to notice it is there. Just walks with a loose leash and doesn’t worry about keeping up with Rosco.
Kane isn’t a fan of the cold water at the lake, but he absolutely loves playing in it. We haven’t gotten him to swim in it yet, partly because he can still “bounce” when Rosco is swimming and partly because I’m not going in to encourage him to try swimming. He is fearless though, puts his head under water to grab things and runs after Rosco without any hesitation. He also continues to love his pool. I’m sure that will only get more use as we start getting warmer weather.
Fetch still isn’t his favorite thing to do, but he does do it now…cause it’s Rosco’s favorite, and he does like to do things his older brother does.
Our trick training is going fairly well, although I have to admit I haven’t been working on that as much as I should be in the last couple of weeks.
Kane has a perfect recall…until his nose catches a good smell…then his ears turn off. I managed to catch him twice when he was ignoring me, and correct instead of rewarding. When he does it right he gets a big reward, but ignoring me is not a safe option. And if he doesn’t catch on to that it may limit his off leash excursions. I saw a post about a training game. Essentially you drop a treat, call them and start running away. When they catch you give them a big treat, then drop another and do it again. I will definitely be giving that a try.
His swimming “lessons” have definitely paid off. He LOVES the water and is definitely capable in the water. He runs out of the lakes and soughs like a crazy dog though. I’m sure he’s thinking “man that’s cold, what happened to the pool water”. We all laugh at him, but I’m just happy he goes in and can swim.
We have also set up Brogan’s pool. He absolutely loves it. Tonight while it was getting filled he would pick up the hose and get squirted in the face. Another good laugh. He is absolutely the best for comic relief.
He will also stick his head under the water to get the ball out of the pool.
Tip over is slowing getting changed to “bang” for play dead. He can do it perfectly in a calm environment, but as soon as it’s busy or exciting he can’t. So we will continue to work on that for a while. He is definitely learning, but I won’t add another in until he has that one perfected.
All in all he is turning into a pretty great guy. Doesn’t have any mastiff look to him yet, but we are still hopeful it will come…And no matter what he grows up to look like I think he is pretty darn handsome.
We are definitely in the teenage “years” with him now. Haven’t introduced any new tricks because some days it’s like he can’t remember how to do the basic commands. So we just continue to reinforce all the things he does know how to do. I know we just need to be patient and consistent while he figures out boundaries and what he can and can’t get away with, but some days it’s really frustrating.
His recall is still so good if we are off leash and he isn’t 100% confident about where he is or where we are going. But in the yard and house he has very selective hearing, unless you have treats, then he has the best hearing in the world. I guess we should be thankful that he is food motivated. Brogan never was, so it made him harder to work with.
He has one more week in his 6 pack of “introductory swims” and since he is continuing to improve and absolutely loves it we are going to get him another 6 pack. He is so funny, when I make the appropriate turns to get to the pool he starts to cry, and he can’t get in the building fast enough. Getting in the pool takes a little coaxing, but once he is in he seems to love it. He has more confidence than skill, so I’d like to make sure that matches before he is swimming at the lake. He thinks he can just jump in, then gets sidetracked from swimming to try to shake the water out of his ears. That doesn’t go well when you are over your head 🤪
I have continued to do weekly pictures of him and Rosco so that we can document his growth. He is still getting taller each week, and is perhaps starting to fill out a bit, but definitely doesn’t have much “mastiff” look him yet. Perhaps in time we will see more width and less height, and a little bigger head, but if not, that’s okay. We absolutely love him. He is so affectionate and cuddly, and goofy with people he knows. His confidence is getting better with new people, but I think that will be a work in progress for a very long time.
He has become a real “road runner” and as soon as you grab keys for anything he races to the door so he can come. He is a great traveler, so I’m happy that when my job goes back to normal and I’m on the road more we won’t have to worry about him. We have also stopped kenneling him when we leave. He has been a great little guys with that. Nothing has been destroyed or stolen, I’m sure he spends a lot of time crying, but he cries about everything that doesn’t go exactly his way, so I don’t judge that for success or failure.
Kane is officially 6 months old. He has suddenly decided that he is brave and independent, which means he doesn’t always have the best recall…
I expected that, so we just continue to work on it. He is still pretty good, but went from 100% to 90%. We will get back the missing 10%, we will just have to work hard with him. Teenage years are tough with puppies. And it’s easy to get frustrated and angry, but we are working on making it a big deal when he does it right…And correcting him when he doesn’t.
We have also continued with his swimming. He is learning to love it. He cried and almost dragged me into the building when we got there this past week. I hope that by the end of classes he loves swimming and is capable enough that we don’t have to worry about him at the lake.
We are continuing with daily training sessions. Tip over is coming along nicely, so we may add something new in the week. He will be a little trickster soon.
Kane also had a play date last weekend with a boxer puppy. He had so much fun, but it definitely showed that although he has a lot of energy he is no where near where a boxer is. He was exhausted in 1/2 hour and his friend Jax still had energy to spare.
We have also been working with normal grooming things, he loves his baths, tolerates ear cleans and nail trims and teeth brushing. With practice and consistency I’m sure he will love them all.
We had a long weekend and the cabin this last week, which meant a lot of extra walks with the dogs. The weather was beautiful so Kane loved ever minute of it. My husband likes ice fishing so we walked out to where they were fishing and hung out there. 4km of walking in the snow and Kane still had energy to burn. I was really impressed with how close to us he stayed. I very rarely had to call him back, he would explore for a bit then come back to us.
His recall is still so good. I will make sure we keep rewarding that so that it stays consistent. He is getting more adventurous on our walks, so I need to be confident that he will always come back when he is called.
I also finally made time to take him for his first introductory swim. He is a terrible swimmer, and was very nervous at first, but in no time at all, with a lot of treats, he was going in the pool and the instructor was working on correcting his form so that he does become a good swimmer. I have scheduled him in for 5 classes so that hopefully by the time we have summer weather he is a confident swimmer and we don’t have to worry about him in the at the lake.
I also said we would add in a new trick every couple of weeks. This week we are working on tip over (where he goes from lying down on his chest to laying on his side). He caught on very quickly and we are practicing a couple times a day…some days more. I find that I use tip over all the time with my dogs. It’s handy for nail trims, and to let kids that are nervous meet them, not to mention vet exams. We tried sit pretty last week, but his balance isn’t very good yet and he spent more time falling over. We will let him grow up a bit more before we start that one.
Kane is officially baby teeth free…which means we are really working on his tooth brushing. He is okay with my finger and toothpaste (specifically formulated for dogs) and okay with the finger brush. We haven’t moved onto the dog toothbrush yet, but will in time. I always brushed my 2 rottie’s teeth and they both loved it and then with Sloan’s health issues I didn’t even try…then 2 puppies next meant I was too busy keeping them out of trouble to think about dental care 🤪. However I think it is very important to do and your vet clinic can definitely help you get started.
The other thing we worked on this week is nail trims. He used to be such a sleepy puppy that I could just do it as soon as he was asleep and he didn’t even wake up. That changed in the last couple of weeks 🙄. So I was getting my husband to hold him and feed him treats while I trimmed his nails. This week I figured I’d try something different. I waited until he was really played out and then put peanut butter on a spoon and while he was busy licking that I quickly cut all his nails. I was done before he was done his spoonful.
A few warnings about using peanut butter…
1. Make sure it isn’t a sugar free variety and check the ingredients to be 100% sure it doesn’t contain xylitol. As that is extremely toxic to dogs.
2. Please please don’t follow the video that was going around showing people wrapping their heads in saran wrap and smearing peanut butter on it and then cutting nails. In my opinion that is putting yourself at so much risk to get your face bitten. If you accidentally cut a quick or scare them while doing it your face is right in their biting zone. Smear the peanut butter on the floor or put it on a spoon like I did, but never put it on your face.
Since Kane should stop changing so quickly now I’m going to start including tips and tricks we have learned throughout the years. Hopefully some of our experiences can help someone else with their dog/puppy.
Wow, he is 5 months old. It’s hard to believe how fast the time has flown by and how quickly he is growing. He is still struggling with meeting new people, but we are working on it as much as we can. He will get there eventually because I do see improvement.
The past couple of weeks he has been teething like crazy. Seems like daily we find a new tooth on the floor. Or take it out of his mouth because he is rolling it around like something he isn’t supposed to have. He now has lost all but his canine teeth (The fangs) and those usually come out at about 6 months. Then we will be done with teething.
This week we are working on wait. He is getting better at it, but it will be something that will need continued practice. He catches on to new things quickly, so I’m going to start adding a new “trick” every couple of weeks…or as soon as the one we are working on seems solid. I really enjoy working with him. He is crazy food motivated and very eager to please.
I’m looking forward to summer when we can enjoy longer walks and not worry about slipping on ice. Right now the warm weather has made for icy streets and sidewalks if you try to go in the evening.
We have always been “practicing” for tooth brushing, but I didn’t want to do too much more than rub my fingers all over his mouth while he was teething so much. This week we introduced a finger brush and toothpaste. He did really well with it. It is so important to do a lot of puppy touching when they are young so that they are comfortable with people looking in their mouths and feeling around, same with feet, eyes, ears and really all body parts. It will make it easier for your vet when they go in for exams and vaccinations and it will also make it easier and faster for you to notice any changes or lumps or bumps.
Kane has definitely gotten more brave and WAY more energetic than he was in past. He drives me a little batty now when he is bored. Thankfully it has warmed up and we have been able to do longer walks and he can play outside with Rosco in the yard too. I am also very grateful that he is easy to tire out with training. Working from home means I’m around all day with him. He is a lazy bones in the morning and generally only gets up at 8:30am, which gives me an hour to enjoy my coffee in peace and quiet. When he does get out of bed he goes outside and then snuggles with me until noon. When I get up to make my lunch he figures it must be time to play and wrestle and generally make a pain of himself.
After I’m done eating I usually do a little training session with him and sometimes that plays him out enough for a few more hours of cuddles and sleeping while I work, but sometimes it’s not enough and he bugs Rosco until he comes and plays with him. I’m very thankful that Rosco is such a great big brother and will play with Kane for hours on end.
We also finished our puppy classes this week. I’m sad that they are over, it was an outing for me, and I’m happy to say I learned some new training tricks, which I will share in future posts. Kane also loved them, the first class I had to coax him in, the last few classes he cried to get in because he was so excited for them.
Because he is so young (as all the pups in this class were) the trainer recommended that we all work with our puppies on what we learned, but don’t start another class until they are a couple months older. Which fits with what my plan was. I want to put him in swimming and do that for a bit and then we can figure out what class to do next. I know I was very interested in the scent tracking class that they offered and I think Kane might really excel at agility. However, he is young, so we will make those decisions on what we should explore next when he is a little older and his brain can hold focus for more than a few seconds 🙄
The one thing that we NEED to focus on with him is building confidence when meeting new people. This last bit he has started “bluffing” at new people. He kinda barks, but it’s more a puff when he blows his cheeks up and backs up when he meets new people. If they keep coming for him he barks and backs up. Tail between his legs the whole time. I find if people ignore him he warms up faster, but most people see a puppy and want to say “hi” right away, so I am getting people to offer him treats and get him to sit or shake a paw for them. That seems to work almost as well as people just ignoring him until he comes to them. The problem of course is that due to the covid19 restrictions in our area it is hard to get him to meet new people consistently. The trainer from our puppy classes suggested bringing them to pet stores, which I think is a brilliant idea and I will try with Kane next week. Stay tuned for how that works for us.