A day in the life with Mia the American Bully (Bully Pit) puppy. Mia's second week—8 weeks old, 10 pounds, 9 1/2 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
8 weeks old (2 months)
Mia's temperament is excellent. So much about her reminds me of the way Spike the Bulldog was. She responds very quickly and wants to please her pack leaders. She LOVES people. If you pick her up she will give you puppy kisses all over your chin. She is super affectionate and likes to snuggle into your neck while you are holding her. She is smart as a whip. She picks up on things very quickly. Definitely one of the more intelligent dogs I have owned. She is a character, goofy and comical. She likes to lift her paw in the air the way Bruno does, so teaching her the “give paw” command was easy.
Mia no longer runs around trying to take over. She no longer growls when you disturb her. Although, she still does have a bit of a stubborn streak when she does not want to do something. In my experience I have found that the alpha dogs tend to be the more intelligent dogs in the litter. Mia needs rules and structure. She is smart enough to know what she will need to do if she is surrounded by humans who are not providing what the pack needs. Mia is a natural-born alpha female and we are going to have to continue what we have been doing with all of the dogs to keep order. Curbing a dog's behavior is never just a short training session but a way of life.
Mia is a stubborn little thing. For example, when the pack is headed out the door in the morning to go to the bathroom she will follow up until the point where she sees where everyone is going, out into the cold. Then she will stop in her tracks, turn around and run in the other direction. I have to put a leash on her to get her to go out on her own. She will try and run with the leash on and I have to stand there letting her get it out of her system until she calms down.
Her stubbornness also shows when I take her with me to do the farm chores in the morning and at night. She is on a leash. When we are leaving an area heading to another, if she thinks she is not finished sniffing around, she will refuse to come and pull to the area where she wants to be. Often getting down to her level and doing puppy calls and kissy sounds will get her to snap out of her focus on the treasure she sniffed out but never got to eat, but often it will not and I have to stand there and wait it out until she realizes she's not going to be able to go where she wants. It's my way or no way. We cannot hang out in the barn all day and I can't just leave her down there. She has to come with me. Especially since more times than not she just wants to eat someone else's poop that she just sniffed out. Oh yes, the power of food.
Mia is very food motivated. Real food sometimes works if it is tasty enough and I use it when I can, but I don't always have it handy when she decides she's not going to listen. In her opinion, poop is food and it tastes better than a dog treat. I refuse to carry around poop to lure her. I could pick her up and carry her, but if I do not make her walk the distance on her own it will not teach her anything and possibly make the problem worse in the future as she learns she does not have to walk the walk. She is still very young and it is normal for a puppy to not come when called or go out the door when told, but I see an extra bout of stubborn in her that none of my other dogs had. This little squirt is going to give me a run for my money for sure.
Mia wakes up at 5:00 a.m. "Yip! Let me out of my crate, I have to pee."
Mia is taken out by one of the kids and she does her thing.
Mia is put back in her crate.
A few minutes later: "Yip! I'm hungry and I want to play!"
Her yip wakes me up and I get up to take her out to go to the bathroom, not realizing she was just out.
It's cold out and Mia looks at me and groans.
Me: "Oh my gosh, just pee! It's cold out here!" I pointed to the grass.
Mia grunts and abruptly walks to the grass and squats. When she's done we quickly head back into the house.
Mia climbs the step going into the house and barrels over to the dog beds. "It's playtime!!!!"
Amie says to me, "You know I just took her out to potty and she peed and pooped."
Oh, the little squirt. I guess I'll get her breakfast.
Mia patiently waits for me to prepare her food. She stands near her spot instead of Bruno or Spencer's. She's learning the routine. After their early breakfast Bruno and Spencer go back to bed. They never get up this early.
Mia is taken out to pee after breakfast. She squats as soon as she gets to the grass and afterwards we head back to the house.
She barrels over to the dog beds. "Wake up, Bruno and Spencer! Do you know what time it is? It's playtime!"
It takes some effort but she finally gets the old farts up and they all play. At one point she walks over to the front door, sits down and stares at it. Wow! She's asking to go out! I open the door and walk out with her. She goes right to the grass and pees and poops. Good girl, Mia!
Back inside she gets her brothers playing again, but the play is slowing.
It's 7:00 a.m. and Mia is worn out. She finally goes back to sleep.
Mia does not pee in her crate the way Bruno and Spencer did when they were puppies. That makes housebreaking so much easier. It is a sign that her breeder had the proper setup during the whelp.
I took Mia with me to do the nightly farm chores. She is doing very well at not bothering the other critters. She is also learning not to try to eat their food. She had peed while we were out. We came back in and I put Mia in her crate for the night. Five minutes after I lay down to go to sleep, Mia yipped in her crate. Hmmmm, what if she has to poop? She's been so good at letting me know she has to go to the bathroom while she's in her crate. She has never gone inside her crate before. I’d rather be safe than sorry. I went downstairs and walked her out to the pee spot. She pooped. Good call to take her out. I gave her some time to make sure she was done. When we walked back inside she ran right to Bruno and Spencer and tried to sleep in their beds with them. Oh no, you don't. You would get into all kinds of trouble running free.
I put her in her crate with a bully stick and went back to bed. Five minutes later she started yipping. Oh boy we are not going to start this now, are we? She already went to the bathroom and I'm pretty sure she now wants out to sleep with the big brothers. The yipping continued.
I walked back downstairs, looked into her crate and there she sat looking up at me with those little puppy eyes. "Yip!" I pointed right at her and said, "No!"
She let out a groan and abruptly lay down and went to sleep. When I say groan I mean a groan. It was absolutely not a growl. It was a groan like a little kid saying oowwwww with a pout. It was a pout noise. If I didn't know better I would laugh out loud right there in front of her. Hold the pack leader feeling a while longer. Get up the steps and around the corner into the bedroom and then let out the laugh. Oh my gosh is she cute.
Housebreaking Just in Case
Now I don't even know if that's pee. It's raining outside and people are walking in and out. But you just sit there next to it for a picture just in case.
Housebreaking Sleepy Puppy
At 2:50 a.m. Mia yipped in her crate. I went downstairs and opened her crate. Mia didn't stand up. I called her. "Come on, Mia." Mia still didn't stand up. Hmmmmm. I picked her up and carried her outside. I'm already out of bed; let's just see if you have to go before I ignore more yips. Mia peed and pooped. So she did have to go. She was just too sleepy to get up.
Housebreaking the Squat
Mia had just eaten her lunch, a meal the other two dogs do not get. I had closed the door going out of the kitchen while Mia ate. As soon as she was finished she walked over to the closed door and squatted. "No, no, no, no," I said in a calm, but fast tone. Mia stood back up without actually peeing. I rushed her outside where she squatted in the exact spot I plopped her down. Good girl.
The first couple of days Mia barked at the person preparing her food. That's bad manners. We shushed her every time she barked. She responded very well by sitting down and looking at us. Now she no longer barks. Now she sits down and waits calmly, just like her older brothers.
Reminder of Feeding Time Manners
Mia was a wild woman in the morning. She was zooming around pouncing on her toys. I started preparing the dogs’ breakfast. Mia was sitting and suddenly lifted her little paw up from the ground and groaned. "I want my food!"
"Hey!" I looked right at her. The other two dogs didn't even blink. They knew I was not talking to them. Mia knew I was talking to her. She calmed down and waited patiently until I was finished. Good girl. Now that is more like it.
Mia heard the radio suddenly come on loud and ran behind a chair. Everyone was careful to not give her any attention until she mentally got over it. In about a minute she peeked around the corner and came out. If we would have given her any attention while she was afraid, she would have taken that as us saying “good girl, yes that was scary, be afraid of that.” Instead, we let her work it out. We do not want to create a skittish dog.
I let Mia ride in the back with the big dogs when there is another human back there watching over them.
When there is no one to watch, Mia rides in the floor of the front passenger side. I tell her to stay. Our first couple of car rides in the front she whined and I shushed her. Each time she would lie back down. If I give her love or sweet-talk her while she is unsure, it is telling her I agree with her feelings. She is getting better and better at traveling.
I was holding Mia and she was licking my chin. Then she started to puppy bite. "Yip!" Mia quickly laid her head on my shoulder.
Sara: "What was that?"
Me: "Oh, that was me. It's dog for ‘ouch, that hurt.’"
Me: "She understands what it means. Look, she stopped."
Sara: (announcing to the rest of the family) "Mommy is going to start going around yipping like a dog!"
Mia, why do you like that stick so much? Wow, look at you go. Oh wait, what is that? Do I see some pink? I don't think it's a stick after all. Mia, give me that.
Oh my gosh! It's a frozen mouse!!! You can't have that. I took it away and she starts nosing around for another one.
What's that you're chewing on? Oh crap, it looks like something dead. Putting the camera down. Quick! Yikes, she's swallowing it! Got it! I pulled it out of her mouth in the nick of time. It was halfway down her throat. Ewwww, it was all wet and squishy! It's another mouse! Yuck! I can handle holding them by their tail or even touching a frozen one, but when I have to touch a warm, squishy wet mouse's body...now I am getting the heebie jeebies! How can you eat that?! I don't know what's worse, having to pull a squishy, warm, wet, dead mouse from your throat or the fact that there are so many of them around the yard. I've got to remember to skip the puppy kisses for a while.
Now I don't even know what this is you were chewing on. Hey, you down there, quit looking around for another one! I am tired of pulling things out of your mouth!
Mia is always sniffing things out she should not have. Now what? You're chewing on something and I didn't give you any treats. Open up and let me see what that is. A stink bug. Really? Yuck.
After our morning pack walk and the dogs’ naptime, which I spent writing this page, I sat outside for a few hours supervising the dogs’ play. It was a whopping 55 degrees. Very warm compared to the last week. The dogs needed this bonding time. Mia is too young to be out by herself on this big farm and I want to make sure all dogs behaved, which they did with the exception of trying to eat two dead mice and some other unknown object.
I was walking over to the yard and called all the dogs. Bruno and Spencer came running. Mia paused, sitting at the front step and then took off toward me. I turned back around and kept walking. I looked behind to see if she was still following. Looking from side to side, I didn't see her. Then I remembered: before suddenly changing directions look straight down. Yep. There she is.
Spencer chomps on some snow, while Mia chomps on Spencer.
Don't let that innocent face fool you. Those little teeth were just chewing on that blue tag!
Mia loves to play under bushes. She bats at the branches and digs in the dirt. She had run over to one of the big bushes in the yard and was having a great old time biting at branches, digging and pouncing. Bruno and Spencer were watching her.
"Hey Bruno, why do you think she's going under there?"
"Gee, I don't know. She must have found some loot, like a dead mouse or better yet, a live one. Maybe we should check it out"
The big brothers walk over to the bush and squeeze under it. "Spence, do you smell any loot?"
"No, but keep sniffing around, there's got to be something under here."
"I don't know. I don't smell anything and I got a good nose on me. I think the kid’s just nuts."
"Could be, could be."
Oh, you're going to be a hole digger, are you? Look at you go. You remind me of a piglet.
Wait, what did you just eat? The ground is lighter there. Looks like clay. What the heck is that? I used a pinecone to dig at the lighter dirt. Yikes! That's cat poop! Cats bury their poop and you just sniffed it out, dug it up and ate it! Could this be why you like bushes? Do the cats poop in the bushes?
This cinderblock should stop you. Let's get out of here before you dig up more loot.
I picked Mia up for some puppy sniffs. Instead of smelling puppy, I smelled pee on her head. What? I checked her crate. Clean. I checked the dog beds. They were clean, too. How could that happen? Did she roll? Then it hit me. Bruno and Spencer always pee on the side of bushes and she's been going under every bush. She must have walked under the part of the bush where they had peed. Yuck!!
The First Week
The first week with Mia was exhausting. Now that we are all settling into a routine things are getting easier.
Learning to Come
The dogs were out playing in the yard. We all started heading back. Everyone except for Mia, that is. We reached the porch.
"Mia, Mia, Mia...." Mia cocked her head every time we said her name. It was incredibly cute. "Mia, Mia. Come on, Mia." She just sat there on the hill, tilting her head every time we said her name.
I walked inside and got the treat bag and walked back onto the porch. I shook the bag. "Mia, Mia. Come on, Mia." Mia cocked her head and took off in a sprint toward us. "Food!! I'm gonna get me some of that!"
No Bigger Than a Boot
Which one doesn't belong?
Hector the Pug Puppy
Mia meets Hector the 4-month-old Pug puppy for the first time. Before they play they get to know each other by smelling one another's rear ends. Mia is a good girl and allows herself to be smelled. A dog can get a lot of information about another dog simply by smelling them.
"Did you really get to eat that for breakfast?"
"Yep, that's what my mommy feeds me."
"Hey, Hector! Do you want to play?"
The two of them went at it for a long time. It's going to be naptime after this.
After Mia played with Hector she was exhausted. She was fast asleep in the dog bed next to Spencer. I decided to run up and take a quick shower. Surely she would stay asleep for 15 minutes, right? When I came back down this is what I found. Shoot, I should have put her in her crate. Hurry and get some paper towels and the deodorizer spray before it seeps down into the crack in the floor.
Help! I'm Stuck!
Mia was sleeping with Spencer. Spencer stretched in his sleep. "Help, help! I'm stuck under your legs! Wake up, Spencer! I'm stuck!" Mia rolled around like a piglet trying to get up as Spencer slept with his legs stretched on top of her. Mia worked at it for a while and finally freed herself. She adjusted her position and went back to sleep.
First Crate Accident
At 5:00 a.m. I woke up out of a deep sleep to a yip. I got right up and took Mia outside. She had to go so badly she was whining. I could hear the urgency in her little voice so I carried her running out the door. I put her down and she immediately pooped. When we came back in I noticed she had dug at her crate lining. It was folded over. Uh-oh. I felt the liner. Wet. I now had pee on my hand.
I had to throw the liner in the wash, spray and clean the bottom of her crate to get rid of the smell and get some towels and a blanket to use as new bedding.
I don't know if she had just peed right before I got down the steps or if she had done it in the middle of the night when I didn't wake up to her yip. Young puppies cannot hold their bladders and bowels for long. She's very young and at 8 weeks of age, when she has to go there's not much time to get her out before she just has to go.
After putting Mia back in her crate I went back to bed. I heard her whine. Again? Really? I went back downstairs and opened the crate to see if she had to go to the bathroom. She didn't stand up. I patted the floor. She still didn't stand up. I went back to bed. I heard her whine again. OK, this time I'm taking her out and giving her one chance to go before I tell her to hush. I carried her outside. She pooped again. A lot of poop. Thank goodness I gave her another chance. We came in and I put her back in her crate with a bully stick.
Little Mia, you are exhausting, but worth it.
Second Crate Accident
Two days later at 12:30 a.m. I sprung out of bed. Did I dream I heard a yip or was that real? I didn't know. When I got to Mia's crate she was lying down. I opened the crate. Do you have to go out? I patted the floor. She just looked at me. Maybe I dreamed the yip. I closed the crate and went back to bed.
At 1:00 a.m. This time I heard it for sure. "Yip!" I ran down and opened the crate. Mia stepped out. I smelled something. Great. I got her outside where she peed and pooped. I walked back in and checked the crate liner. It was wet. Darn it! I threw it in the wash and cleaned the crate with towels and put in a blanket as the bedding. I put Mia back in and went to bed.
A few minutes later, "Yip!" The little punk. I went downstairs, grabbing my coat off the rack and putting it on on my way to the crate. Mia was sitting there looking at me. I opened the crate. "Do you have to wee?" I patted the floor. Come on. Mia let out a tiny moan and lay back down. Fine. Thanks for getting me out of bed again.
As soon as I lay back down "yip!" That's it, you're going out. Grabbing my coat as I passed the rack, I scooped Mia up out of her crate. As soon as the cold air hit her she whined. Nope you’re going to the pee spot in the grass. I set her down. She did a whiny grumble and hurried out of the grass as she turned facing me and sat down on the driveway. "If you yip you’re going out to pee! Wee wee, MiMi,." as I pointed at the grass. Mia did that whiny grumble again. She sounded as if she was arguing with me. She headed for the front door. I followed her in. When I got to her crate I rearranged her bedding just in case it was too lumpy for her. She went into her crate and plopped down, very happy to be back. There were no more yips until morning.
We have now had two crate accidents and both involved the same crate liner. I don't know what it is about that thing. I had bleached it, yet there was still a small stain on it that Mia had her nose in earlier. Could that have been it? Could the liner still smell like urine to her? Or is it just so flat that it's easy to pee on? Or was this second accident on the same liner just a coincidence? I was thinking about getting a second liner to switch out as the other was being washed, because they are easier than folding towels and blankets, but now I am not so sure that's a good idea.
Mia's stool sample came back negative, meaning it did not have any worms or parasites. Yay Mia!
At only 8 weeks old Mia learns that the family room is off limits. There are two entrances into the room, off of the kitchen and off of the living room. There are no gates, yet Mia learns she is not allowed to cross into that room. Not even Katie with her scrapbook project all over the floor tempts Mia into the room. Having boundaries is important for all dogs.
Today was 45 degrees and sunny. We spent a lot of time just sitting out in the sun so Mia would learn that outside is a nice place to be. With all the precipitation falling from the sky and the frigid weather since adopting Mia, teaching her to walk out the front door on her own has been challenging. I have been using food, however, when the weather is bad Mia will choose dry and warm over food with cold and/or wet. "Mia, is there something hanging out of your mouth?"