Raising a Puppy—the first week in his new home
A day in the life with Bruno the Boxer puppy. Bruno's first week—7 weeks old, 12 pounds, 10 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
A little over 1 and 1/2 months old.
We adopted Bruno when he was 7 weeks old. We had to wait until he was ready to leave the breeder before we could pick him up and bring him home. The breeder's policy was not to let the pups go until they are 8 weeks old, however Bruno's mother had died at birth and therefore he was not going to get that extra week with her and because of a schedule conflict on our end she made an exception. The wait was hard—we were all very excited—however I was also counting down the days of a good night’s sleep.
We decided to crate train our new puppy. Most puppies will cry all night in the beginning days because they miss their mother and their littermates. I placed Bruno's crate in the kitchen since it has a floor that can easily be cleaned in case of an accident. Dreading the sound of a crying puppy all night, and knowing this was the first night away from his litter I told two of my children to set up camp on the kitchen floor next to the crate. I did not want to bring the pup into our bed since we do not plan on allowing him on the beds when he is older. It worked, Bruno slept in his crate and didn't yip all night because he was not alone. Allie, our adult Boxer and two of our children were next to his crate. This allowed Bruno to learn what the crate was for, yet not be left alone. Bruno was exhausted from his three-hour car ride home and all of the attention he was receiving. Amazingly enough, he slept until 6:00 a.m., at which time he woke me with his high pitched crying. I jumped out of bed and ran down to take him out to pee. It was then time for breakfast, another trip outside and playtime.
7 weeks and 1 day old
The second night Bruno slept until 7:00 a.m. I was up for the day because when he woke up, he needed to be taken right outside to pee and poop. Then he was hungry. After he ate he needed to be taken immediately outside once again to go to the bathroom. After a puppy eats, it stimulates them and the vast majority of time, they need to eliminate, it's a rule of thumb with a puppy. Then he wanted to play. After all, he just woke up! No time like the present to get hyper and want to play.
7 weeks and 2 days old
We are trying very hard not to let Bruno go to the bathroom on the floor inside the house. He had three accidents in the last two days, which is very good for a brand new puppy. If Bruno is out of his crate, he needs to be watched constantly. I don't mean watched from across the room, I mean watched as in "hovering over him watched" to ensure he does not pee, poop or chew anything he is not supposed to inside the house. During the day we try not to crate him. He's either being held, hovered over or outside. We are lucky enough to have a very large fenced yard for him. If we did not, he'd have to be walked on a leash to go to the bathroom, which would be much more time-consuming.
We have to teach Bruno not to bite our hands and feet. Yes, it is cute now and kind of funny, but when he is 70-80 pounds it will not be so cute anymore. Rule of thumb with a puppy: if you do not want him doing it when he is full grown, do not allow him to do it when he is a puppy. This includes sitting with him on the furniture.
Another thing we must break him from is chasing our cats. Again, it's cute and funny now, but this tiny little Boxer puppy will not be tiny for long and our cats would not appreciate an adult dog chasing them around. Cats are smart, if we allow this to go on they may even decide to take up residence elsewhere.
"No!" We'll be saying that quite a bit over the next year.
Allie the Boxer meets her new brother. Adult dogs usually do not attack puppies and Allie rather liked the little guy. She did have to put him in his place a few times, which is normal dog behavior. An adult dog will often growl at a puppy to let it know its behavior is not acceptable. For example, when Bruno wanted to play and Allie did not, she let out a small growl and stomped at the pup to tell him enough was enough. Bruno took the hint and backed off his play and started chewing on Allie's collar and dog tags instead. Allie didn't seem to mind getting her tags chewed. She realizes Bruno is just a baby.
I am lucky enough to be home with the puppy. If I had to leave for work things would be much more complicated. Bruno is young and he can only hold his pee and poop for a certain amount of time. The point of crate training a dog is you put the dog in a small enough crate so there is only room to comfortably sleep. Dogs do not like to eliminate where they sleep. However, if you leave a young puppy in a crate for too long, they cannot physically hold it in and they must go, even on their bedding. If you allow this to happen, you are going backwards in your housebreaking. If you are going to be gone for many hours a day, longer than the puppy can physically hold it, it is better to pen the dog in an area such as the kitchen where the floors are easy to clean up and place some pee pads down. It is not fair to crate a puppy or dog longer then they can comfortably hold in their waste. It is much harder to housebreak a dog if you are not home. This can really give the puppy a bad start in life and will be no fault of its own when they do not understand the concept of housebreaking. Keep in mind, you cannot yell at a dog for something after the fact, you must catch it in the act. If you do not catch it in the act, your yelling is pointless and confusing to the dog.
I am writing this at 1:30 a.m. as Bruno sleeps in his crate, because during the day I am too busy tending to him to actually get to sit down and concentrate. However, he will be up bright and early wanting to eliminate, eat and play...
Oh but I only THOUGHT I was shutting down to get some sleep. It's now 2:00 a.m. and the yips from the kitchen crate started. Bruno had to go to the bathroom. I walked him outside to the spot where I prefer him to do his business. He peed and I decided to give him some time to see if he had to poop as well; he is still outside and I must go and check on my adorable bundle of a puppy...
2:05 a.m. Bruno is back in his crate.
2:07 a.m. Bruno is yipping. I instinctively go and see him. I take him out, give him some puppy/mommy hugs and place him back in his crate with a bone. Goodnight, Bruno, you have a lot to learn my young puppy. Sshhhh, lets only hope he does not keep me up all night because I will have to put up with his yipping in order to teach him what nighttime means. As I type this he is yipping from his crate. I am off to shower and go to bed. I decide to let Bruno get a drink and put him outside with Allie one last time before I go to bed to ensure he does not have to go when I ignore his plea to come out of his crate. Sure enough he had that “I have to GO" walk and he pooped.
2:45 a.m. When I turned off the shower water I could hear Bruno yipping up a storm. It woke my 9 year old who was almost sleepwalking when she opened his crate to put him outside to pee. I did her the favor of taking the pup out and told her to go back to bed. I put Bruno outside. He stayed out for a few minutes then wanted back in. It is only his third night away from his littermates and he's a tiny pup. After getting the usual puppy kisses all over my neck (yeah, nice after my shower, huh?) he curled up on my lap and is there right now as I type. I will give him a few minutes to get good and sleepy then place him back in his crate and hope for the best. Even with all of this work, I look at him like I did my newborn babies; I just love this little puppy!
The next morning: 7 weeks and 3 days old
6:00 a.m. Bruno's up, hungry and ready to play!
6:40 a.m. Bruno is tired and ready to go back to sleep. But first, his head smells like pee; he must have rolled in it. Time to clean him up and then put him back to sleep.
8:30 a.m. Bruno’s awake asking to come out of his crate. He's taken outside to go to the bathroom and to play. He is now awake for the day but will take numerous naps as puppies need a lot of sleep. We will try not to allow his naps to last for hours on end, as those long sleep periods should be adjusted to the middle of the night hours.
This size crate is the perfect size for this puppy. There needs to be room to sleep, stretch out and stand, but not enough room for him to pee in one section and still have a dry place to sleep. It's Bruno's fourth day with us and he has already picked up on the concept that his crate is the place to sleep without being disturbed. We are not being extra quiet as it is the middle of the day and he must get used to noises. Also most of his quiet sleep should be adjusted for the middle of the night. He'll soon wake to eat his lunch, go to the bathroom and play. He'll be awake for a few hours and then need another nap.
This crate may be perfect for now, but very soon he'll outgrow it and we'll have to get him a larger one.
Puppies needs sleep and daytime naps are very important to a puppy’s overall health. I let Bruno sleep for two hours and decided it was time to wake him. As soon as he turns his hours around and is sleeping through the night I will no longer worry about the length of his daytime naps. I know he can sleep through the night; he did it the first two nights, but not the third.
Bruno's 4th night: 7 weeks and 4 days old
Bruno woke up at 4:30 a.m. crying to come out of his crate. I came downstairs and put him outside. He peed and pooped. I carried him back to his crate and closed it. He laid down, then a few minutes later he started crying again. I walked back to the kitchen and was about to tell him to be quiet and give him a bone to chew when some motherly instinct inside me opened the crate door. Bruno walked out of his crate and over to my feet then sat down, leaning on my leg. I picked up the little fellow, he put his head on my shoulder and started to go back to sleep. My typical advice would be to put the puppy back in the crate if you are sure he no longer has to go to the bathroom, however I walked over to the rocking chair and rocked him back to sleep. I then put him back in his crate and he woke back up in the process, but this time he went to sleep and stayed asleep until 6:00 a.m. He is just like a newborn baby and he's sweet as can be.
Bruno's 5th night: 7 weeks and 5 days old
Bruno woke up at 3:30 a.m. yipping in his crate to go outside. I came down and took him outside and he went to the bathroom. I held him for just a bit until he calmed back down, then put him back in his crate and he fell back to sleep by 3:45 a.m.
5:45 a.m. Bruno woke up again. He was ready to play and eat his breakfast. I was beat, so at 7:00 a.m. I tried putting him back in his crate to see if he would go back to sleep. It seemed like it just might work. I headed back to bed. At 7:02 he started yipping just as I lay down. I went back to his crate and held a bone up to him to chew on and talked quietly to him. His eyes started drooping as he half chewed his bone still inside his crate. I waited there for just a bit until his eyes stayed closed for a minute or two, then I went back to bed for an hour.
Bruno is now 7 weeks and 5 days old. He seemed to be doing so well with housebreaking. He was either inside being watched, in his crate or outside. As soon as he woke we put him outside to pee. He is not in his crate unless he's sleeping. Bruno was falling asleep so I decided to put him in his crate for a nap. As I leaned down to put him in his crate I smelled something. I felt his blankets and sure enough they were damp. Bruno had been peeing in his crate and sleeping in it! I changed his bedding and he seemed quite pleased. Now I have to figure out how to stop him when he's not doing it in front of me. The crate is not too large, which would have been my first advice to someone, to check the crate size. Hmm. He is only 7 weeks. Maybe I am not always hearing him wake up in the middle of the night. At this age, puppies can only physically hold it for so long before they have to go, no matter what. Baby monitor??? Maybe??
Bruno smells like pee from sleeping in his crate. Time for a bath.
Bruno's 6th night: 7 weeks and 6 days old
Bruno was up at 2:15 a.m. I let him out to pee. He went back to sleep shortly after and re-awoke at 5:30 a.m.
Bruno peed in his crate again, in the very back corner. I had to throw his bedding in the wash again and replace it with new bedding. His crate is not too large. I believe I need to watch how much he drinks right before bedtime. Puppies at this age have small bladders and cannot physically hold it in for too long.
6:45 a.m. Bruno asked to come back inside the house and wanted to curl up in my lap, which means he's ready to go back to sleep. I put him back in his crate with the fresh bedding.
Allie and Bruno sharing the dog bed. Yes, I do believe they like one another.
Why Bruno...WHY?! Bruno peed on his dog bed, the bed we keep on the porch for him. I had to hose his bed off and prop it up to dry. This is him asking mommy why she got his bed all wet with the hose. Actually, it is him discovering some new and interesting smells the moisture is bringing out from the bed!