Friends Helping Friends

One of the things I love about having friends in my Chessie community is for the most part we try to help each other out.

One of my friends needed a hand with temporarily fostering some of her pups while she recuperates. So I have the pleasure of having this little girl stay with us for a while.

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Meet Scruffy…she is 16 weeks old and such a little love. Her first night Maia and Riva weren’t to sure but Titan was curious about her. It only took a couple of days for them to warm up to her.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever (8)Riva finally letting her sleep on her.Chesapeake Bay Retriever (12)Maia finally caved and let her sleep next to her.Chesapeake Bay Retriever (16)Titan doesn’t mind her at all.

Of course leaving her littermates and the only home she has known was a bit over whelming for her but she was willing to go to my brother and nephew and be held.

My job over the weeks to come are to socialize her, house train, crate train, and leash train. Of course the potty training started immediately and she is a smart cookie so I don’t think it will take long for her to catch on. We also began the crate training, she had been introduced to the crate by my friend all ready but I need to get her to willingly go in, not have accidents and when riding in the car hopefully get her past car sickness.

Car sickness can happen especially when they first start riding. She has only been for two rides so far but has done pretty good as far as not whining but she did get sick. One thing I do to help with this is no food at least two hours before going in the car and sometimes ginger snaps will help an upset tummy. This was her second trip in the car.Chesapeake Bay Retriever (9)

We were stopped when I took this but as you can see she is pretty relaxed.

She has accepted the crate pretty well. She does do a tiny bit of whining when first going in, especially if someone is still in the room, but she quickly settles down. Each day is better than the day before so I think I will have her walking in on her own soon. I leave the door open when she does not have to be in there to see if it will encourage her to go in. But what did I find…yep that’s Maia on the left one night and Riva on the right the next night.

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This is going to be a great adventure for all of us!!

Tina and the Brown Dogs & a Lil Scruffy Girl

Biting/Mouthing in Puppies

I have been reading a lot of posts on Facebook over the past several months about puppies nipping/biting.

Puppies explore their world with their mouths so it is natural for them to bite/mouth not only objects but you, your family members and even other animals in the home as well. This is how they have played with their littermates from the time they were up on their feet. They put things in their mouths.

Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies ~ Misty Shores Chesapeakes (2)

Some do this more than others and some can be quite intense with this behavior. This does not mean you have an aggressive puppy so don’t despair!

However, it is important that you correct this behavior immediately, consistently and teach them what is appropriate to chew on. It is also important that the WHOLE family follow through with the same training.

While I have tried many different techniques, the most effective way I have found to correct the behavior is by gripping their lower jaw with my thumb in their mouth under the tongue and hold it firmly while telling the pup ‘NO BITE’! The pup will not be able to move because you have control over their head and this is quite uncomfortable for them. You are only trying to cause it to be uncomfortable not hurt them. Once you have corrected them offer an appropriate toy or treat to chew on. They will learn quickly if you and your family are consistent with this and all training.

Around four months old puppies will also begin to lose their deciduous teeth (baby teeth) and their adult teeth will begin to come in. So you may see an increase in chewing because this can be painful and uncomfortable for them.

To help them through this period here are a few ideas:

    • Freezing some of their toys such as a Kong filled with peanut butter/yogurt mixture will help relieve the discomfort.
    • Freeze a pumpkin yogurt mixture (half/half) in ice cube trays to give them to chew on. You can also put this mixture in a Kong.
    • Freeze a fresh femur bone, the marrow is good for them and the bone will keep them busy. Make sure you don’t use small bones as they can get lodged in their throats and wedged in their mouths. I use at least a 6-inch bone for my puppies. This will depend on the size of your breed.

I try to teach my dogs as puppies everything I want from an adult dog. For example, if you don’t want your dogs on the furniture, never let them on the furniture. I do not give old shoes or socks to chew on, they don’t know the difference between those old things verses your new Kate Spade boots. For the most part anything you let a puppy get away with they will continue that behavior as an adult. It is far harder to break bad habits than teach good ones when they are young pups.

While I am not a professional trainer/behaviorist, I have raised many puppies/dogs over the past 30+ years. I have changed the way I train my dogs many times as I learn better more effective techniques. The key to all training is fairness and consistency!

If you are unsure about the behaviors your puppy is displaying I always recommend contacting your breeder first. They are a wealth of information and can help you with any issues you may have. If you don’t have a breeder, contact a reputable dog trainer to discuss your training needs.

Tina and the Brown Dogs

E-Collars…Fact and Fiction

I have had my share of conversations about the use of e-collars (electronic collar)…the good, the bad, the ugly!

If you had talked with me years ago I had a very different opinion about e-collars. I would have told you they are “cruel” and “how would you like to be shocked like that!?!”

See my response back then was a preconceived opinion based on my lack of knowledge. It was made on what I imagined was going on when an e-collar was being used. It really was not based on fact but fiction.

When you talk to me today about the use of e-collars you will hear me say “used properly they are a great training tool”, “my dog is excited when he sees the e-collar”, “he is a happy worker when he has his collar on”. You see after working with my trainer and being shown the proper use I came to have a knowledgeable opinion about them; the facts.

FACT: As with any training tool in the wrong hands it can become a danger to the animal but properly used they are invaluable. Dogs that have been conditioned properly with a training collar are excited to work. They are a tool that is an extension of your arm, when a dog is hundreds of yards out in a field you need a way to get their attention and give them direction.

Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever TitanLook how HAPPY Titan is to be working with his collar on, because all of his experiences have been positive with the e-collar.

FICTION: They are not a torture devise unless intentionally used as such. They do not “FRY” the dog when used properly.

So with that being said I would like to direct you over to 2BrownDawgs Blog, they recently did an excellent post on The Myth About E-Collars. She covers this topic very thoroughly and factually.

Socialization of the Chesapeake

One of the greatest things I love about Chesapeake’s is their loyalty to their owner. With this loyalty comes a great responsibility to the owner.

When I am talking with people who express an interest in this breed the first couple of things I usually say are…

This is not a breed for everyone.

Chessie’s have a lot of great qualities but they are not typically a good breed for first time dog owners.

This loyalty includes a protective nature that is natural to the breed. It is one of the true characteristics that remain from the origination of the Chesapeake. Breeders have worked hard over the years to create a pleasing temperament in the breed while maintaining a protective nature. So socialization for Chesapeake’s is a must.

Quoted from the breed standard:

The Chesapeake is valued for its bright and happy disposition, intelligence, quiet good sense, and affectionate protective nature. Extreme shyness or extreme aggressive tendencies are not desirable in the breed as a gun dog or companion.

Two things can happen when Chessie’s are not properly socialized they can become over protective to the point of aggressiveness or extremely shy; and these are not behaviors you want. For now I am just going to talk about the protective side.

Socialization begins from the moment they are born. Breeders handle the puppies everyday. They expose them to different noises and smells once the ears and eyes have opened.                                                                                                                                      Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppy

I am fortunate that I share a house with my brother, sister and nephew so they were a great help with this.Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies

Once the pups were about 4 weeks old I started having people come over to help with further socialization. I took them outside to explore new sights, sounds and smells. I also invited adults of all ages, children and teens so the pups could be exposed to more than just me and my family. Due to the young age precautions were taken to prevent exposure to diseases.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies ~ Misty Shores ChesapeakesChesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies ~ Misty Shores Chesapeakes (2)Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Puppies

I stress the importance of socialization to new puppy people. It is much easier to do this from the time they are young than try to go back and fix it once they are older and develop an over protective nature. And in all honesty sometimes it can’t be fixed which is really a great disservice to the dog and can be a danger to people.

Socializing isn’t just limited to exposing your pup to new people but to different sights, sounds, environments and other animals. Beginner obedience classes are a great way of socializing while training those basic commands. Puppy play dates, going to the pet store or any business that allows dogs as well as walks through your neighborhood Christmas Shopping 2011 Misty Shores Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppiesare all great ways of socializing. I carry treats with me every where when they are young to reinforce good behavior as well as verbal praise.

The key is to expose your puppy to new and exciting experiences everyday so they grow into a well rounded confident dog.

So how do you socialize your dog?

Homecoming!

Yesterday was a very special day…I picked Titan up from my friends. My friend Dave asked if I wanted to do any training first, so I said sure, thinking that would help work off some of Titan’s exuberance…NOT! He was so excited that he fooled around with the bird when he returned so for a reward for his misbehavior he got a bath Winking smile I couldn’t really be mad about it he is such a great boy and he knew he was going home, I don’t know how but, he knew.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Titan (4)

I wasn’t sure if he would remember how to be a house dog but he has been great, he is soaking up all the lovin’s from everyone and when in the house he will lay next to whoever is seated to get belly rubs and then just chew on his bone.

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We’re playing a little musical dogs right now because Maia is in season and they are both so confused why they can’t play together. Last night she stood at the bedroom door pawing at it because she knew he was on the other side, won’t be much longer because she is almost half way through.

I took him for a nice long walk last night for a little bonding time and to help tire him out, he did great on lead and we worked on our “wait”, “sit” and “okay” at every street and railroad crossing…note to self buy better walking shoes! It must have done the trick because he slept like a baby!!

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What’s that over there

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It’s good to have my boy home!!