Raising a Puppy: Mia the Blue-Nose American Bully Pit—20 weeks old
A day in the life with Mia the American Bully (Bully Pit) puppy. Mia's fourteenth week—20 weeks old, 39 pounds, 16 1/4 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
20 weeks old (About 4 1/2 months)
As I was preparing the dog's food a piece of kibble fell onto the floor right next to the food dish. Mia ran over and tried to eat it. "Hey, no!" When I am preparing your food you can't just rush over and eat unless I tell you to eat it. Mia backed up and sat down watching. Good girl, you must have manners. If you correct a dog for a behavior and they respond by running away from you and hiding, you have over corrected. The dog should listen, but not be afraid. Finding that middle ground is how you gain trust and respect.
A couple minutes later as I was stirring the food a couple pieces if kibble dropped onto the floor and Mia rushed over to eat them. "Aaaaahhhhhhttttttt!!!!!!" Mia stopped and looked at me. No, you can't just rush over and snatch up things that fall. Respect my dear pup. Good girl. Your food is almost ready. I put the kibble back into the bowl it had fallen out of.
Learning Not to Bolt
Mia is a busy little girl. She has loot to sniff out and puddles to play in. When the door opens she tries to get out before everyone else. The entire family, including Spencer and Bruno, has been working on teaching her some patience. No Mia, just because the door is open does not mean you can bolt out. Good boy Spencer, show her how it's done.
Out and About
Mia spots some balloons tied to a sign. There was a slight breeze and they were moving around. She is very curious so we pause to let her stare at them for a while.
Out and About—The Stream
Mia goes for a walk along a stream.
I first introduced Mia to slow rushing water and large easy rocks. She quickly learned what happens when she steps off the rock. She gets wet.
Mia loved watching the water rush by.
Mia decides to do what Bruno does, step from rock to rock to avoid getting her legs wet.
We walk over to see the waterfall and Mia is intrigued.
Mia, stay. Good Girl.
Mia continues to curiously pick up everything with her mouth. On one hand it seems funny, but on the other hand it is a problem. Mia searches out and scoops up anything she can find. I suppose if she just carried it, it would not be too bad, but I am always afraid she is going to actually eat the object. It's going to take a lot of patience, effort, and training to teach her that it is OK to play with a stick, but it is not OK to scoop up and eat a used tissue she spots on the ground. There has to be some kind of guideline for her to follow or she will be very confused. I think the rule will be that she is not to pick up objects as we pass them on a leash. That is where she sees most of the strange trinkets she picks up, although even at home she manages to find the oddest things. I am hoping that when she is finished teething she will have less of an urge to be a trash picker.
Mia finds a piece of plastic wrap, "drop it!" I only capture a few of her trash picking ways on camera. Mostly it happens too fast to document. I have to ask her to drop it as fast as I can because I am afraid she will eat it.
Just a few seconds before this picture was taken Mia had that old piece of a rag in her mouth. I asked her to drop it and she did, but she would have loved to pick it back up again. "No Mia, leave it." I don't even want to have to touch that thing.
I was watching Mia and saw her suddenly pick up and eat something brown, small, and round. I had said out loud to Stephen "I think Mia just ate an acorn! She's actually eating the stuff she picks up!" He had replied "That wasn't an acorn, it was cat poop. One of the cats had gotten into and pooped in the shed and I scraped it out the door." It looked like an acorn, although now thinking back we don't have an oak tree in that area, but we do have cats, lots of cats. Ewe! Obviously to her cat poop is edible loot.
Carrying Things Around
Mia is not only a trash picker, but she loves to carry toys around in her mouth. She brings people things daily like sticks, toys, and yes, trash. It's the same issue, picking things up in her mouth. That is where it gets tricky. She is allowed to carry her toys around. It makes her happy and the humans happy when she brings someone a gift, dancing around them with her tail wagging. She “woooooos” and shares her prize with the human with her head low and her entire back end wiggling from side to side. "Look what I have. I have a gift for you." If she walks up to you acting like that you know to check her mouth. Even if you don't see anything, there's always something in her mouth. It never gets old. It's funny, touching, and cute every time. Silly Mia, but Mia, no trash, only toys. OK? At least don't ever eat the object. If only it were that easy to explain to her. Maybe she never eats it, but what if she does? I think the no picking up objects on walks will help her to learn to only pick up her toys.
Her habit has proved to be very handy, at least in this one case. I had been looking for my glasses all night. I looked everywhere. I decided to give up for the night and look again tomorrow. As I was sitting on the couch Mia walked over with something in her mouth. No way! She had my glasses! I could see the end of one lens sticking out of her mouth. Mia give me that. Good girl. I looked at them and they were wet but there was no damage. They must have dropped onto the floor. Mia is always bringing people presents, usually a toy, rock, stick or trash. This time she found my glasses and brought them to me. Amazing. Thanks for not biting down on them baby-girl. I am very happy that you happily turn over any loot you find. If you didn't this would be a big problem, as it would indicate possessiveness and guarding, but she is doing quite the opposite. She is giving gifts.
The days are getting warmer and there is less of a chance things will freeze so the hose is now hooked up again. It's 37 degrees and Mia comes barreling over as I wash off my boots. Water! She's fascinated. I have a feeling she's going to love water play in the summer.
She stares at the stream of water and starts to pounce on it. “Mia, it's a little cold for that”, but she doesn't care. She loves it.
I move the hose around and Mia chases and paws at the stream of water. She's going to have fun in the summer when it's hot outside. “You silly puppy.”
Mia's sense of smell is excellent. She can sniff out things that are buried in the dirt and smell something from far away. She's always sniffing things out. That is part of her carrying things in her mouth issue. They all smell different and it fascinates her. Her nose seems to be better than average. Her eyes on the other hand are not so great. She can see, but like all dogs her eyes are not as good as the average human's daytime vision. Mia's eyes are on the lower end of the average dog scale.
When I was cleaning out the vacuum filter by banging it on the side of an outside trashcan a cloud of dust moved with the slight breeze, which happened to be in Mia's direction. It freaked her out. Mia started barking and ran away from it. As the banging continued the dust kept coming. She could smell it and it obviously was not very pleasant. It was an unknown thing following her. When the filter was carried past her she ran away. This had to be dealt with. We had to show her there was nothing to be afraid of.
I put the used filter on the porch. I let Mia check it out at her own pace. Mia, being the brave Bully Pit that she is, didn't take long to sneak up to that dust cloud maker and smell it.
She decided it was not so bad after all. I do not want her to turn out to be a skittish dog who fears the unknown. Giving her time to investigate things will help her realize that just because she does not know what it is does not mean it will hurt her.
Mia, where did you get that? That's a bad puppy. Give me that. No paper towel chewing.