Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Raising a Puppy: 15th week in his new home

A day in the life with Bruno the Boxer puppy. Bruno's 15th week—21 weeks old, 50 pounds, 21¼ inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).

Bruno the Boxer Puppy sitting outside in grass

About 4 1/2 months old

Mice

Bruno the Boxer Puppy laying on a dog bed with a little dead mouse in front of him

Now I know this clumsy puppy is not catching these mice by himself. It seems the cats gave him yet another mouse! Sorry, Bruno, but you gotta give that mouse to mommy. You're not a cat and you’re not allowed to eat mice.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy sitting in front of a pile of chopped wood

I looked out the window and could tell, Bruno was up to something. As soon as I opened the front door Bruno sat down and looked at me. There was something hanging out of his mouth. It looked like a tan cigar. I walked over to him, just as the object disappeared into his mouth. "Bruno, Drop It!"

Bruno spit it out.

Close Up - something that looks like a dog poop log

Gross! Bruno was out eating poop again. I don't know if it was his own turd or that of a cat, because I didn't dare smell it. No wonder his puppy breath is gone!

Bruno and the Guineas

Bruno the Boxer Puppy laying on a blacktop in front of a line of guinea fowl

I looked out the window and spotted the flock of guineas walking right past Bruno. Bruno's attention was focused on something else.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy laying in front of a line of guinea fowl

The guineas were very loud behind Bruno.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy starting to turn and look at the line of guinea fowlBruno the Boxer puppy sees the guinea fowl

Bruno finally starts to turn around.

Bruno the Boxer puppy walking towards the guinea fowl

Then he slowly gets up and starts walking. I could tell he was not in a predator mode, just a curious mode.

The Guineas are running away from Bruno the Boxer Puppy

The guineas begin to run and squawk even louder. I knocked on the window to redirect Bruno's attention. Bruno jumped, did a 180 and turned facing the window, staring in my direction, but not seeing me. The guineas went off in their own direction and Bruno walked away from them. While I don't think Bruno sees them as prey, I don't trust that he may sometime decide to "play" with them and discover how much fun a bird can be for a dog. I'll be keeping my eye out.

Bruno and his Crate

Bruno was looking so comfortable sleeping in his dog bed in the living room, I was thinking about not putting him in his crate for the night. After all, it was a weeknight and everyone was going to be up bright and early in the morning. He had been so good about not going to the bathroom in the house.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy sleeping in his crate

Just as I was truly considering it, Bruno got up, walked into the kitchen and went to sleep in his crate! The pup apparently does not mind being in there...

The Walks

I forgot to grab Bruno's backpack before leaving for his walk. I can definitely say the backpack makes a big difference in the way Bruno walks. I am still able to keep him behind me without the backpack, however I feel like I have to constantly remind him to slow down. Meanwhile, I am practically dragging Allie, the Boxer with bad knees. I am going to start keeping the pack in the car so I do not forget it.

The Walks and Barking Dogs

I do feel I am making great progress in walking by barking, growling dogs. Allie, the 7-year-old Boxer is the dog that I had previously considered unpredictable around other dogs. We have two Great Pyrenees that live outside with our farm animals. They are working dogs, protecting the birds from the fox, raccoons, skunks and opossums. We used to lose a bird a night before I adopted the Pys. Since my two Great Pyrenees are outside working dogs and my two Boxers are indoor dogs, I have two packs living at my house, my Pyrenees and my Boxers.

Allie, my 7-year-old Boxer would always pick fights with these dogs. She has several scars on her from previous vicious, relentless fights. After watching a lot of "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan," I realized Allie was the problem dog, and I learned how to humanely tell Allie to knock it off.

I was on my way down to the horse field where I had put the two Great Pyrenees so they could chase away a fox that had almost eaten one of our guinea fowl. The Pys were very proud of themselves. Allie and Bruno were following me, and for a split second I thought, "Oh no, Allie’s with me, she'll get into a fight with them." But in the next second I thought, "No, I'm not going to LET her get into a fight." Knowing dogs can feel what I am feeling, I walked to the fence thinking in my head how I was not going to ALLOW a fight, NOT TODAY. I watched my 7-year-old Boxer for any signs. Sure enough her ears perked and she got that "look" on her face, a look that meant she was ready to "Get ‘em." I turned to her, cupping my fingers like a claw and "bit" her in the neck "Aaaatttt!" I moved toward her, blocking her with my body, all the while feeling pretty powerful. Allie backed up and sat down, and there she stayed while I greeted my Py's for a job well done in chasing away that fox while ignoring my birds. I am happy to say she has not even attempted to fight with them again. Today I even fed all three dogs, Allie the Boxer and the two Great Pyrenees, some ham without any incidences. While the Great Pys were on one side of the fence and Allie on the other, they ignored one another, whereas in the past, we would have had a fence fight. One previous fence fight was so bad the fence post actually snapped. Allie the Boxer had stuck her head through the fence (it was a horse fence, large enough for her head to fit). Allie bit one of the Great Py's in the lip and was not letting go. The second Great Py came running over and grabbed a hold of Allie's neck. Both 100-plus pound plus Py's were pulling the 60-pound Boxer through the fence, only she didn't fit of course. The post snapped at the base. It was a very difficult fight to break up. Allie was left with bloody holes in her head and ears. The Boxer has scars all over her from past fights, fence fights and face-to-face fights.

On our walks we often pass barking dogs. Since I have been working with Allie and her aggression with other dogs, she will turn her head and look, and I give a short tug on the lead to keep her moving forward. Bruno is a bit harder. He's still a puppy, but he's a 50-pound puppy. Once again, following the advice of Cesar Millan, when passing these dogs, I keep moving forward. I find myself having to use my leg to step in front of Bruno to block him from pulling toward the fence where the dog is barking, along with giving tugs on his lead. Unlike a couple of weeks ago (slow progress, but progress), Bruno is not barking or growling, just pulling and we keep walking, keep moving forward. I am happy to say tonight we passed a lot of barking dogs, more than normal. A half-hour into the walk, Bruno was only giving them a glance and not pulling toward them. I kept redirecting his attention with a tug on the lead. Bruno, at one point, was totally ignoring a barking, growling dog and started to playfully hold the other end of the lead, which was hanging down in front of his face. Prancing in a high-step puppy walk and looking up at me in a way that told me he was getting frisky for him; it was playtime. Usually I tell him, no, not time to play, however I was too proud that he was totally ignoring this dog that was going ballistic. For him to go into this play mode while passing a dog that was going as nuts as this one was is pretty good. After we passed the dog, I told Bruno to stop playing with the lead and he happily listened, however he started playing with Allie instead (something I am trying to break him of, playing with his older sister while walking). I told Bruno to stop playing with Allie, as she was too tired. He gave up on the idea of play and kept walking. We were making progress. Looking forward to more barking dogs on the next walk :) After all, in order to fix a problem or issue, you have to face it head on.

One Month Later Update on Allie the Boxer and the Two Great Pyrenees—There have been no more fights since I have been applying Cesar Millan's methods on my own dogs. I have learned when it comes to dogs fighting, there are three things a dog will do: fight, flight or avoidance. I was taking my Boxers for a walk through the woods, which means we had to pass a long section of fencing where the Great Pys were on one side and the Boxers and I were on the other. I had Allie the Boxer on a leash on the same side as the Great Pys. When the Pys came walking over to the fence Allie actually moved herself to the other side of me and tried to get as far away from them as she could. On our way back we passed the same long section of fence, however this time Allie was off the leash. She again walked WAY around as far as she could go and still be walking on the same trail back to the house. She didn't look at them; I could see her being careful not to make eye contact. Avoidance! We went from vicious, and I mean vicious, bloody, fence fights to nothing; all dogs can pass and not a single bad look. This is because it was Allie the Boxer starting the fights and I communicated to Allie I was her pack leader and I say NO FIGHTS. I bet I could even walk them together as one pack now. I know it can be done. Thank you, Cesar! BTW, Bruno is friends with the Great Pys. He always goes to see them.

A Rainy Day

It's been pouring rain all day today, so Bruno missed his walk. Normally by this time of night (10:00 p.m.) Bruno is beat, crashed for the night. However tonight he was rearing with energy, tossing his toy through the air and pouncing on it with great excitement. Everyone was in bed and he was making a lot of noise. So I put on my raincoat and ran with him in the rain. Bruno didn't mind the rain in the least. We ran until I was tuckered out and we were both soaked. But Bruno was still full of energy. He came back inside and began tossing another toy around, pouncing happily all over the living room. Only one thing to do: teach Bruno how to walk on the treadmill.

Bruno the Boxer puppy sits on the treadmill

Before I turned it on, I had him sit on it and gave him cheese for doing so.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy walking on a treadmill

Then I turned it on. Bruno was not so sure about the way the floor was moving, but he walked. Every once in a while he would stop walking, but as he reached the end, he would speed up. I started holding cheese in front of him and feeding him little pieces. He soon forgot the floor was moving and walked, concentrating on the cheese.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy looking into the distance while walking on the treadmill

At one point I tried backing up to take a better picture, however Bruno tried to follow me and he jumped off. I knew I needed to get him back on and walking. I have to be the one to end the walk, not him. I stopped the treadmill, put him back on and started it back up again.

Bruno the Boxer Puppy walking on a treadmill looking at the tread

Bruno walked nicely. When we were done, I turned it off and had him sit on it for a little while. Then I called him down. Bruno did well for his first treadmill walk. He's now tuckered out in his bed.

Worm Medicine

Three weeks have gone by, so Bruno and Allie received their second dose of worm medicine. They also got new tick collars. We use Revolution because the fox passes mange around to all of our dogs. Revolution covers everything but ticks.

Jumping on People

The issue of jumping on people has not crossed my mind in a while, because Bruno has been very good about this. However at our recent trip to the dog park, I realized just how well Bruno does with not jumping on people when a 6-month-old Boxer constantly jumped on my daughter and me with muddy feet, while the owner did nothing to stop him.

I am happy to report Bruno keeps his feet on the ground when meeting people. He does lick and curl his body practically in a ball as they pet him, but he doesn't jump. When the UPS guy pulls up to the house, my Boxers always go out to greet him. Bruno's entire back end wags and he licks the guy, but he never jumps on him. He did however, submissively pee on his foot once this week while the guy was petting him. Although Bruno has not peed on him since, I always remind the guy to watch his feet while he pets Bruno. Good thing it's always outside!

Bad-Puppy Moments

Bruno the Boxer laying in a dog bed with chewed up homework

For all you teachers out there: it's true, it's true! Dogs really do eat homework! My daughter had just printed out a paper for one of her projects. Before she could get to the printer and get her paper, Bruno carried it to his bed and started to eat it. I was not able to correct him, because I didn't catch him taking the paper. For me to correct him now would only confuse him. So I took a picture instead. I'll be watching the printer in case he decides to be a homework thief again!

Raising a Puppy: Bruno the Boxer