Raising a Puppy: The 16th Week in his New Home—Spencer the Blue-Nose Brindle Pit Bull
A day in the life with Spencer the American Pit Bull Terrier puppy. Spencer's 16th week—25 weeks old, 59 pounds, 20 3/4 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
About 5 1/2 months old.
Missing his Walk
We had company all day long up until bedtime, therefore the pup only received one short walk rather than his usual two to three longer walks. Yet the pup slept all day.
On top of that Bruno had been limping earlier in the week after tearing through the horse field in hot pursuit of a groundhog. I wanted him to rest his leg, so I had not tried too hard to get them out walking.
I was thinking maybe the pup was going through a growth spurt and that's why he was so tired even without his usual amount of exercise. Maybe he will still sleep all night. Well, I was wrong. He woke up at 1:00 a.m. and yipped. I let him outside to pee and put him back in his crate with a new bone. But the pup was just not tired. He chewed his bone for a while but was very restless! When I saw him start to chew on his crate bedding I knew he really needed a walk. Luckily I had seen him on the puppy camera and got out of bed to tell him "no" before any real damage was done.
Spencer was quiet in his crate after I corrected him for chewing his bedding but I could see on the puppy cam that he was wide awake, tossing and turning. The pup had energy to burn making it very hard for him to relax. Knowing that I should have walked him before bed I decided to take him for a short walk through the goat field. This would also give him a chance to poop so when I put him back in his crate I would know he didn't have to go. I had thought about leaving Bruno who was happily sleeping at home, but an extra guard dog was comforting. I didn't want Bruno to run so I brought a leash for him and made the pup heel without a leash. We went for a 20-minute walk through the goat field/woods using a flashlight in the darkest areas of the woods and walking by moonlight in the open areas of the trails and fields.
The pup could have gone for another hour, but I needed to get back to sleep and the 20 minutes was enough to take the edge off of his restlessness. When we got back I put him back in his crate. It took a few minutes but the pup did go to sleep. It's hard to make out, but that white triangle spot on the left side of the crate is the white spot on the back of his neck. He had his back to the cage door.
In the morning the pup was ready and raring to go. When he saw me getting the leashes out and heading back to the Great Pyrenees he ran for his bone. What's a walk without taking a bone along?!
After the morning walk the dogs were content to sleep all day. Rest up, pup, because tonight is the big, long pack walk with your doggie friends.
A Strange Cat
I took Spencer to a pet store that allowed dogs. There was a cat inside the store wandering free. Spencer was intrigued and very curious. The cat had been in the cage sitting up on that black ledge, but the door was open to the cage on the other side. The cat was free to come and go. Spencer and the cat were having a stare-down. I debated whether or not to correct him for staring so intensely, but before I even had time to decide, score! The cat corrected Spencer on his own with a hiss and a swat toward the nose. Even though the cat did not touch Spencer he jumped back. This cat was nothing to mess with. I didn't have to put the pup in his place; the cat took care of that on his own. No better way to teach a dog to leave a cat alone than to let the cat do it itself, assuming it can be done safely and it's the type of cat with the right kind of personality.
We later walked back in view of the cat that was now out of his cage. Spencer kept his respectful distance.
Ignoring While on a Walk
I noticed that while out on a walk if Spencer sees someone riding a bike he tries to pull toward it. I guess it looks like something fun to chase. I will be working on this issue by taking him around more people on bikes and telling him I do not agree.
Spencer tries to chase a squirrel while on a leash and is corrected and asked to ignore it and keep walking. Notice the lack of wrinkles on the top of his head with the ears slightly back in the beginning of the clip. This is before the pup saw the squirrel. I had seen the squirrel and was ready for him to react. Right after he sees it he bolts forward, ears go perked and wrinkles appear on the top of his head. The ears and wrinkles indicate his excitement. I communicate with him by body blocking him as soon as I see he is going for it, preventing him from pulling toward the squirrel and asking him to leave it. Then I continue to walk. Spencer is still excited, but he walks beside me knowing I do not agree with him pulling toward the squirrel while he is on a leash. Timing is everything when using this method. You cannot let the dog get past a certain point of excitement. It is much easier to stop if you step in and correct the dog right as he starts to react and not wait until he is full-blown excited. Sometimes when you wait that long it is impossible to get a dog to calm back down and the only thing you can do is to keep walking and try again later. We will be working on this.
Spencer walking past barking dogs. Good boy, Spencer, now to get you to do the same for squirrels and people on bikes.
Spencer was off leash following me through one of the horse fields as we checked the border for any down fences. As we passed one of the neighboring houses a couple of small dogs ran over to the fence and starting barking. When Spencer first heard them, even without a leash he turned AWAY from them, right back to me without me having to say a word to him. He had absolutely no interest in starting any type of confrontation with the dogs on the other side of the fence. I circled around passing the dogs one more time in order to get the clip. Once again the pup looks over at the dogs and could have very easily run over to see them, but does not. Good boy, Spencer.
Chase of the Chickens
I had taken Bruno and Spencer down with me when I visited the chicken coop. I was not paying close enough attention to the pup, my bad, and the pup started to chase a chicken before I had a chance to stop him. When I looked over he was about to pounce. I did all the usual "Hey no, leave it" and making growling noises as I ran to save the chicken but the pup didn't even seem to hear me. There were only seconds. As the pup got on top of the chicken I grabbed an empty plastic bucket and threw it in his direction. The clunk of the bucket next to him was enough to snap his brain away from the chicken he had just pounced on. Hunting down chickens is a big no-no.
I fetched the same chicken he pounced on and made Spencer lie down. I put the chicken on top of him and told him to leave it.
I then walked him all around the chickens watching him very closely for any signs of a hunt. This is as close as he would get to a chicken. He was in avoidance mode. The only way to work on this issue is to bring him down to the coop more often watching him very closely, paying attention to and correcting any signs that he wants to chase one. Spence, you can sniff out and chase wild animals when we hike in the woods, but there are some you cannot, our birds and cats for starters. When you are on a leash you cannot chase. All things your big brother Bruno needed to learn when he was your age and things you will learn in time too.
Traveling in the Truck
We took the dogs on a weekend trip to the mountains. The dogs traveled in the back of the capped pick-up truck. At one point I noticed Spencer looked a little unsure about being lifted into the back. There is no way he can jump up himself at this point. It's too high and he is too short. In the past he had been very comfortable back there. Something must have startled him, making him unsure about it. It was time to associate the back of the truck with something positive. This time when he was lifted into the back there was a cup of chicken waiting for him. Spencer smelled it right away.
Amie lets Spencer smell the cup of chicken as he stands on the tailgate.
She gives him a taste.
Then puts chicken on his dog bed.
We were careful not to sweet-talk or pet him at any time when he appeared upset. Spencer lies down and eats his chicken. This time when the gate was shut he didn't seem to mind one bit. The back of the truck was not so bad after all. No worries, Bruno got his share of chicken too!
Camping Trip and Burying Bones
We took Spencer on another weekend camping trip to a site the pup had never been to before. Bruno and Spencer had a blast hiking and running around chasing one another.
Just like at home Spencer carried around his bones.
"Where's the pup?" "Over there with his bone." At one point Sara told me she saw him bury a bone in the ground. I asked if she was sure and she said yes. We looked around in the area she had seen him do it but could not find it.
Spencer carrying around his bully stick.
Later on that same day Sara pointed out that he was burying yet another bone. By the time I had looked over I saw him very carefully and strategically moving dirt and brush around with his nose underneath a small bush. I took this picture from inside the camper window. He spent a long time under that bush as if he was trying to get something just right.
We walked over to the area where it looked like he had just buried a bone. At this point I was not sure he had really done it. I moved dirt and brush around with my hands but could not find anything.
Then I dug a little deeper and uncovered the bully stick he had just been carrying around!
I pulled it all the way out of the ground.
Yep, his bully stick for sure! Had Sara not seen him doing it and pointed it out I would never have known it was hidden in the ground. Now this leaves me to wonder how many other things the pup has very carefully buried. Does he do this at home too? Or just felt the need on our camping trip? Going to have to keep an eye on this. Hopefully he only buries his own belongings!