Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Raising a Puppy: 21st week in his new home

A day in the life with Bruno the Boxer puppy. Bruno's 21st week—27 weeks old, 65 pounds, 23 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).

Bruno the Boxer sitting outside in the grass

About 6 months old

Listening

Bruno the Boxer puppy laying in a dog bed next to a brown leather couch

If I have Bruno's attention and I can make him understand what it is I want, he's overall a very good listener. However, there are times when he just seems oblivious to the rest of the world. He's caught up in his own thoughts and getting his attention is next to impossible unless you can get yourself close enough to him to either capture his attention by making him see you, or by actually touching him to distract him from his mission at hand.

Some examples...

Let’s say a car comes down the driveway or a car is leaving our driveway. Bruno will go over to the car and literally walk in front of it. He's oblivious to the fact that the car may hit him and he's deaf to my calls. I have to walk over and make him SEE me or touch him to distract him. Once I get his attention I can get him to listen to me. I can tell him to come and he will follow. If he turns back toward the car, I can say "Aaatttt!" and he will immediately respond by directing his attention back on me and following me.

If Bruno is outside eating something that he should not be, such as horse poop, etc., I can yell at him until I am blue in the face and it's like he does not hear me. I have to once again physically get his attention. I can get his attention by making a loud noise, and he will turn and look, but I will still not have his attention on ME. It's as if he is reacting to the noise he heard, but not relating it to the fact that I want something of him. He will look and then go back to whatever it was he was doing. If I walk closer to him and do the same, I can get his attention on me and he does respond. I find I often have to use my body language to get him to focus on me. I sometimes have to assertively walk toward him and when he seems to be responding, I stop and allow him to come to me. If he stops walking, I walk toward him again, using my arms to guide him from a distance. I then do not need a leash to bring him back; I just need to keep his attention. So if he turns around and starts to go back or starts to look back, I must correct him at that moment and his attention goes back on me and he will continue to follow me, no matter how bad he wants whatever it was he was into.

Dogs communicate with humans in this order:

  1. Energy, by feeling one's emotions
  2. Nose, by scent
  3. Eyes, by seeing
  4. Ears, by hearing

Because Bruno never runs away from me I can only conclude the reason Bruno does not listen when I call him from a distance when he is distracted (he listens to my voice command if he is not distracted) is because he truly is not making the connection. If I get closer to him, he can smell me and he can feel me. I can then get him to look and focus on me. Then and only then can I get him to hear me. My older Boxer is more in tune to my voice. She is quick to respond. I still get a better reaction from her if I am closer to her and I am able to get her complete attention, but she is a lot more in tune than Bruno. Bruno is only a 6-month-old puppy. I am not sure if he will change with age, or if he's just going to be like this forever. He appears to be come across as being dumb; not all that smart. Not by me, but by others (for example, people who had him run in front of their cars). Only time will tell. Overall, he's still an excellent dog for only 6 months old.

Bruno Wake Up!

Bruno the Boxer puppy sleeping in a brown dog bed

One of the hardest things to get Bruno to do is wake up. When this pup is tired, he's just plain old beat. I often go to bed pretty late. Before I go to bed every night I take Bruno outside one last time to pee before putting him in his crate for the night. Once again, calling Bruno does nothing for him. He's in his own little world. Yes, he can hear, I have tested him. I could get him to open his eyes and he'd look at me in a daze. I found myself pulling him up from the lying-down position, often he'd slump back down as if his muscles did not work and I'd drag him off of his dog bed until he started to walk on his own. This is not good. He's 6 months old, over 60 pounds and growing. He needs to get up on his own. I am guilty of carrying him outside when he was just a tiny puppy—something I always recommend NOT to do with a dog, toy to extra-large.... Hey, no one is perfect! I have been working on this and he is getting much better to where I don't have to physically stand him on his feet. I think physically standing him on his feet is not a good way to handle it. In order for me to actually get him to stand up on his own, I have to walk over to him and point and poke him, which seems to get his attention. He will then stand up on his own. When I get him walking, he walks like an old man.

In the morning when we open his crate, he often does not get up. At times it takes him an hour to bring himself to a standing position. Eventually he'll mosey on out and over to the front door to go outside. Not sure if this is because he's a BIG growing puppy, or if he's just going to be a lazy dog.

FYI, when Bruno is not tired, he does get up from his dog bed when called and he does leave his crate when it's first opened. The times he does not get up are late at night and early in the morning, or whenever he is exhausted.

Bruno Barking

Bruno has a bark that is more like a howl. When he actually lets out a typical "bark," it is only half a bark; almost as if he has not yet discovered his "bark."

Here is a video clip of Bruno Barking. Notice the howl bark in the beginning and how he only lets out "half barks" afterwards.

Housebreaking

Bruno the Boxer puppy sitting in front of door looking at the door knob waiting to go outside

Bruno has not peed in the house in two months (since he was 19 weeks old). When he wants to go outside he walks to the front door and waits. He also has not peed in his crate in months. I do not recall exactly how long it's been since he peed in his crate. I have lost track, but it has been a long time. Bruno has never pooped inside the house, other than times he was locked inside his crate when his stool was loose.

Peeing on Command

Bruno has gotten very good at peeing on command. We have settled into a routine for the most part. He goes out first thing in the morning to pee and also goes out to pee right before he goes in his crate for the night. In between he either goes to the door, or I decide it's been a long time and it's time to make him go out and pee. If I point to the yard and say "Go Pee," he will find a spot, squat and pee. He has learned if he pees it means he is allowed to come back inside the house.

The "Crate" Command

Bruno has gotten very good at going into his crate on command. When I want him to go into his crate, it does not matter what time of day it is or which family member is giving the command, we say, "Cage" and point to his crate. If he even tries to walk the other way, which is rare, we use our bodies to block him. He does not fight it, he walks into his crate. The hardest part about getting him into his crate is when he is already sleeping and we need to wake him up. But as soon as we get him on his feet, piece of cake.

Bruno's First Snow

Bruno the Boxer puppy outside with Sara, who is making snowballs as Bruno eats them

Bruno has officially seen his first snow. He thinks his job is to lick it all up off the ground. Silly puppy!

Bruno Learns a New Trick

Amie taught Bruno a new trick—when she says "Dead Dog," Bruno lies on his side. Bruno just learned this trick not too long ago. Amie is still perfecting it.

Watch Bruno play "Dead Dog" This is an excellent trick for dogs to learn. A dog lying on its side is the ultimate position of submission. For a child to get a dog to lie on his side as a trick using a food reward is great, as the dog sees it to be very rewarding to submit to a child. The dog is less likely to ever bite a child. Children will be his leaders. Bruno enjoys doing tricks. He loves the cheese. Heck, he even does tricks for a snowball.

See Bruno Play "Dead Dog" for a snowball. Silly puppy loves to eat snow! A dog that clearly knows his place is a happy dog. A dog that does not know his place, flopping back and forth between leader and follower, is an unhappy dog. In order for humans to live in harmony with a dog, the dog must be the follower. Bruno is a very happy dog :)

A Puppy Thief

Bruno the Boxer puppy in a dog bed with a stolen bag of Welchs Gummies all around him

Bruno is under investigation...I was in the bathroom and when I came out, Bruno was in his bed with a bag of gummies. Now I am trying to wrack my brain as to where those gummies were before I went to the bathroom. They were most certainly NOT in his dog bed. He either got them from the kitchen table, kitchen counter or the living room coffee table. The living room coffee table would be best, as it's at his eye level. I don't like the thought of him actually jumping up at the kitchen table. I will have to ask Sara when she gets home from school just where she left them.

Update: Sara informed me she left her gummies on the living room coffee table. Which means Bruno did not jump up to get them. They were eye level and he picked them up and carried them to his bed. Case closed.

Trash Picker Strikes Again!

Close Up - A crumpled up napkin, which was taken out of the trashcan

We were outside and I just happened to look over at Bruno. He was chewing something. "Hey! Drop it! Drop It!" Bruno spit something white out. I walked over to see what it was. Some type of napkin or tissue. Bruno, we do feed you, you know!

Another Dead Toy

Bruno the Boxer puppy laying on a dog bed ripping the cotton out of a plush dog toy as Allie watches from the other dog bed

Bruno killed another toy as Allie looks on. That blue stuffed star is trash.... Now I see the importance of not leaving these stuffed-type toys with Bruno inside his crate. I would not put it past him to eat that stuffing.

Another Mouse

Bruno the Boxer puppy sitting in front of and looking down at a dead mouse

Bruno didn't kill this mouse or take a bite out of it, but he would have gladly finished it off! "Hey, No!" I am sure this mouse was courtesy of the cats.

Close Up - partially chewed dead mouse

A few days later...

Close Up - Dead Rat outside

Bruno was outside carrying around a dead rat. Sara told him to drop it. I went outside to remove the rat while Bruno followed me, thinking I was about to give it to him. I had picked it up by its foot, Bruno got excited. "NO! You’re not getting this back!" I chucked it over a fence into a field where Bruno cannot get to it.

Bad-Puppy Moments

I was sitting at my desk when it occurred to me I am hearing Bruno snarl and snort away as if he is really into chewing something. Normally this would be his bone, so I had not paid that close attention. When I finally looked over however, I realized he was not chewing his bone at all!

Close Up - Hole chewed into a dog bed with the foam showing

He was chewing his dog bed! He was lying on the bed as you see him below, his face smashed into the corner of the bed as if there was a big juicy steak tucked down in there, and he was trying to reach it. "HEY!"

Bruno the Boxer puppy laying on a dog bed looking up at the camera

Bruno stopped...and just looked at me with this face. "Duuuu, what???" He did get the picture however; he didn't try and chew the bed again. Instead he went to sleep.

The insides of the crate liner with pieces of the stuffing scattered about

Well, I stopped him from chewing his dog bed, but he decided to chew his crate liner. Notice the hole in the back where he pulled out the stuffing. So much for putting a nice liner in his crate. I'll sew this one and save it for when he's past this chewing stage. Bruno, I am pretty sure all of your teeth are in, so you’re not teething anymore. What's the deal? Quit chewing on everything!

More Bad Puppy Moments

We were outside working on the barn stall. I spotted Bruno proudly carrying around a hay rope. Cute! He was so happy. What I didn't realize was he also mistook the power cord going from the shed to the horses’ water heater for another toy. I didn't catch him. I was informed by my husband that he had pulled it tight, practically pulled the heater out of the water (it was wrapped around the fence post or he would have) and bent the plug on the other end. We had just put the water heaters out two days before. Another thing we need to teach Bruno—power cords are off-limits...now to catch him in the act; it's the only way to teach him.... Bruno, you are sometimes more work than the kids!

One cool thing about dogs is since they live in the moment, at the moment I was told about his bad deed, Bruno was not doing the bad deed. He was his normal calm self. So I was able to bend down and tell him in a sweet voice what a bad puppy he was, while I pinched his cheeks and he licked my face. He didn't have a clue what I was saying. Sometimes that face is too cute to resist, but don't let that face fool you. Bruno, I will be watching and when I catch you there will be no hugs and kisses. Actually I will only need to give him a verbal command of "HEY! NO!" while I move close to him, so he zones in on me. When I do this, he is very responsive to my verbal corrections, especially when I put some body language into it.