Raising a Puppy: The Second 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 second week—11 weeks old, 19 pounds, 13 1/8th inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
About 2 1/2 months old.
It was morning and Spence was happy to be out of his crate and full of energy. I was walking through grass for pee time and he playfully started biting my pant leg. I know he's little and cute but he has to be taught at a young age not to mouth humans. I touched him in the neck and said "shhhhh." Spence stopped biting at me, but still happily followed me. A few times I noticed the kids correcting him the same way for puppy bites. Everyone in the house is consistent and realizes not to play any games with him where he is allowed or encouraged to mouth at humans. We did this from day one and it will go a long way in preventing any puppy biting issues in the future.
Spencer was outside and I called him over for some puppy breath sniffs. Spence came running over, all happy to see me. I bent down for some loving and his breath smelled like horse poop! Spence! Getting into the horse poop already! It can't taste good and it certainly does not smell good! You only have puppy breath for a short time. Don't cover it up with horse poop! YUCK!!
Where to Poop
Spence, while I am extremely happy that you prefer to poop outside, the porch is not the place to dump upon. I was not outside when he did this so will have to work on directing him to the proper place.
I was standing outside with Spence when he started to chew on his porch dog bed. "Hey! NO!" Spence stops chewing and looks up at me. I go and get a bone for him to chew on to show him what he IS allowed to chew. I wonder how long that dog bed is going to last? Its days just might be numbered. All puppies have an urge to chew. It is an urge you cannot stop. What you do need to do is direct them to things they are allowed to chew and teach them not to chew everything else.
Morning Pack Walk
We head out for our morning pack walk. When I first walked off the porch Bruno and Spence were both following. I realized I forgot something and walked back to the house. When I left again I had not looked back, I could hear a dog behind me and knew it was Bruno. Bruno suddenly stopped and walked back toward the house several feet and I realized he was looking for Spencer. The pup was back at the porch preoccupied with something else and had not realized we were off again. I called, "puppy, puppy, puppy, puppy." Spence looked up and saw us. He took off, running to us and we were off to pick up the Great Pyrenees from the back field. I leashed them all up, made them wait at the gate for a second and off we went. Good boy, Bruno, for looking after your little brother.
Oftentimes Bruno is told he may go off and hunt during our walks. We heel in the beginning, I send him off in the middle to look for rabbits, groundhogs, fox, deer or whatever he can find, and he heels at the end coming back. Today at the spot he knows he is allowed to hunt he started to look for critters. I called "Bruno, Back!" and he fell back in line with the rest of us. "Back" is the command I use when he is off leash and I want him to heel. No hunting today Bruno, we are teaching Spence how the pack walks—beside or behind me.
"Wait for me!"
We walked through the trails in the woods. The two Great Pyrenees were heeling on leashes and Bruno and Spencer were heeling without leashes. At one point during the walk Spencer ventured two feet off of the trail and into the wooded part of the woods. He was still next to us, just not on the trail. "Spence, what are you doing over there?" There was a thick brush between Spence and the rest of the pack. I called the pup and he tried to come straight over to us, but we all soon realized there was a rut with a tiny stream going through it just deep enough that Spence could not cut over. Spence had gone down into the rut, but could not make it up the other side. Spence whined to his pack. The other dogs in the pack had stopped and watched him very intensely as if they knew this pup was not where he was supposed to be. "Kid, you gotta stay on the trail." We all walked back to where Spence got himself off the trail and the pup was smart enough to back track. Silly puppy has a lot to learn!
Spencer's crate has been dry ever since his first crate accident when I never got up in the middle of the night to let him out. I now get up once at about 4:00 a.m. to walk him out to pee and he goes right back to bed. Bruno sleeps in the dog bed beside his crate. I have always walked him to one area of the yard to go to the bathroom and it seems that he has picked up on the idea that if he pees or poops he is allowed to walk back to the porch. I will walk him over there and at times can tell he really would rather be doing something else. Spence will squat to pee right away, sometimes he only has a tiny bit to let out, and he will look at me for the OK to walk back to the porch where he likes to hang out with Bruno.
Housebreaking: a Few Days Later...
I get a video baby monitor to help me keep an eye on Spence during the night. This way I will hear him if he whines to go to the bathroom. I will also be able to see if he is awake or still asleep. I stopped getting up once during the night and so far, so good. The crate has still been dry.
Responding to Commands
Spencer is so smart. Hate to admit it, but he seems so much smarter than Bruno did at the same age, unless I am just better at the human to dog communication, which very well could be the case. Spencer picks up on routines very quickly. He has learned that the "aatttt" sound means stop doing whatever you are doing. He responds immediately. For example if he starts to chase a cat, he will back off.
Another example: I had just fed him and told him it was time to go outside. I use the word, "outside." "Outside, Spence." Spencer had just eaten his breakfast and I wanted to walk him out to go to the bathroom since puppies always have to go within five minutes of eating. Spencer started to follow me, but stopped and looked toward the dining room. He seemed to want to go explore that room. As he turned towards that room I said "aaattttt, outside." Spencer turned back toward me and took a few more steps in my direction. I turned away from him to let him know that was what I wanted, easing up on my correction with body language. He tried once again to turn toward the dining room and I turned in his direction once again, "attttt, outside." Spence turned toward me again and followed me outside. We walked to the potty area where he pooped and then we walked back to the house.
Bruno the Mentor
Bruno has taught Spence many wonderful things, however I just caught him up on the cat food table helping himself to a second breakfast as Spencer watched. Bruno, Bruno, Bruno do you know how much cat food I have to buy already, and to do that in front of your baby brother?!
Um, excuse me Spencer, but I am pretty sure that is not your sock. Since Bruno has not taken my socks out of my boots in over a year now I am going to guess that YOU are the pup who stole it.
Spence was so full of energy this morning that when I was walking in the yard with him he jumped up in the air in front of me. Boy was it cool to see him jump, however I went with the training route. "Aaaattttt. Down!" While he did not put his paws on me I wanted to teach him that when he is around humans the paws stay on the ground. It is respect and a lesson that will go a long way in helping him to learn that you do not jump on people.
Rowdy Morning Pup
Spencer is so rowdy in the morning. He is itching for something fun to do. Barking at cats and I am sure soon will be chewing everything in sight. I just give him a bone to chew as I get ready to take the pack for a long morning walk before the rain moves in. Otherwise I am going to have a terror pup on my hands until our nighttime pack walk with all of our doggie friends.
As an adult I taught Bruno to ignore while on a walk. As a tiny puppy with Spence, while I don't allow him to react, I give him time to take in all the noises. Spence will hear a noise and turn to see what it is. I give him a few seconds to soak up what noise went with what object or person and Spence on his own turns to move on after he checks it out. He used to turn to look at cars, but cars whizzing by are no problem for him now. He turns to look at things on the walk much less now at 11 weeks old than he did when I first adopted him at 10 weeks old. I do not, however let him pull where he pleases on the leash. That's bad leash manners. Looking to take in the new experience is fine. Pulling toward or away from the object is not.
Everything is new to Spencer. He hears the music coming from the car speaker and cocks his head as he investigates the voice coming from a car door.
I took Bruno and Spencer to a neighboring neighborhood so Spence could experience new things. At one point on the walk Spence spotted a bird and bolted towards it. A quick tug on the lead and a "Chshhhhhh" noise made Spence drop back beside me on the leash. He soon tried it again and received the same correction. We'll be working on this during walks to come.
We kept walking and across the street I spotted two ladies walking their small dogs. To my amazement the dogs were heeling. Was this my imagination? Dogs actually heeling next to their owners, and toy-size dogs at that? I kept watching them and soon I needed to focus on Spencer who also noticed them. I walked toward them and stopped in the middle of the street when Spencer decided it was time to bolt toward them to say hello. I needed to calm him and teach him how to approach. I asked the other pack if they minded standing there while I calmed the puppy and they said they didn't mind at all. They were not cooing at Spencer, they were not talking to him, which allowed me to work on getting Spencer to sit down. As soon as Spencer was calmed down I asked if I could let them meet. The dogs sniffed one another to say hello. Bruno was calm as usual. However, Spencer got a bit too excited, as he tried to lick them up and I had to make him sit down once again. Once again the other owners did not do anything to get Spence or Bruno excited, which would have made it that much harder for me. They were calm and I was soon able to calm Spencer. The pup sat down. When one of the ladies pointed out Bruno had an Illusion collar on and that Spencer resembled Cesar's dog, Junior, I knew why their dogs were so well behaved and why they knew not to excite my dogs while I tried to get the pup under control. They were Cesar fans. A rare sighting out here in these parts and such a pleasure to come across! As they were walking away I told Spencer to sit. He soon lay all the way down and I allowed Spencer to watch them walk out of sight. If only I could run into more balanced dogs while out on the walk and meet more owners who knew how to act around someone else's dogs, it would make my job easier in training Spencer by not exciting my dogs while I try to teach them manners.
This is more like it. Spencer went from crazy morning puppy to this. They always say a tired dog is a good dog. What a difference taking him for a morning pack walk makes. Otherwise he would be getting himself into lots of trouble.
Spencer and the Horses
When Spencer first sees the horses he watches them with curiosity. Spence walked over to check out Amie's tack. Oh no, Spence, the horse tack is off limits to little puppies. She told him to leave it and blocked him away from it. She then tosses a horse brush onto the ground and tells Spence to leave it. Spence gets a bully stick to chew on to show him what he is allowed to chew.
Morning Pack Walk: Bruno Teaches Spence to Hunt
The pack waiting at the gate before we go off for our morning walk. All of the other pack walks in the woods with Spencer I did not allow Bruno to go off and hunt around because I wanted to teach Spence to follow and who was leading the pack. I had a good feeling that Spence knew what was going on now. I decided to let Bruno teach Spence how to track around for whatever wildlife is out there.
The pack heels until we get down the hill and around the corner. "Bruno, find it." Bruno stops in his tracks and points. At what? I am not sure he knows either. Bruno looks at me, puts his nose to the ground and starts looking for ”it,” whatever that ”it” is. I don't think Bruno knows either until he finds it. So many little critters to track. Spence follows Bruno as best he can.
I don't let Bruno wander off out of eye shot since Spence is following him. The two of them sniff around looking for ”it.”
Bruno shows Spencer how to cool off in the pond.
Passing Barking dogs on a walk
While out on a walk we pass by a couple of dogs barking from inside a fenced yard. Bruno the Boxer is very good at ignoring other dogs; Spencer the Pit Bull puppy tends to want to look at them in the same way he looks at other objects he encounters for the first time, yet he has no reaction. My ultimate goal is to just keep walking with no reaction from any of my own dogs, however Spencer decides he wants to take this opportunity to get in a rest. It's hot and the pup is tired. I finally convince him to keep walking. Had I not been trying to video and walk at the same time I think I would have been able to keep him walking without stopping, as we passed other dogs later in the walk where Spencer just kept walking by. Or perhaps he is just getting used to barking dogs. Watch the video clip below.
Spence is growing so fast his back end touches the back of his crate while his nose touches the front when he lies on his side. Time to switch to a slightly larger crate.
That's more like it. Spence's crate has continued to be dry every morning. I still get up once in the middle of the night to let him out to pee. He does not yip to go out; I wake him up to take him out. He pees and goes right back to bed. I think at some point his bladder will be mature enough that he can hold it all night long, and maybe he can now. I just have not tried it yet. Bruno used to pee and poop in his crate so much that I feel lucky Spence does not.
Spencer, just because the car door is open and your leash is snapped on does not mean you can jump out of the car! "Back!" with a small bite of my hand just enough to send him back.
That's more like it. Wait until I say. This could save your life someday.
Puppies Have so Much to Learn
Spencer, I don't know if that is your poop or someone else's, but PLEASE stop licking it. You are voiding out your puppy breath! "Leave it!"
No, we don't eat paper towels either! "Leave it." Wait, what's that in your mouth now? A beetle. No, we don't eat bugs. There is enough protein in your dog food. Here, chew on a bully stick instead. I give Spence something else he is allowed to chew on.
Oh my, Spencer, this is one lesson you had better learn fast. One, you do not play with a horse’s tail, two, you do not puppy bite on their legs, and three, you do not walk right behind them. One kick from that horse and it could crack your skull. "Back!" ;I use my hand to bite Spencer away from the horse.
“Hey there, kid brother, I used to get into that fire pit too when I was just about your age. Only mom would always yell at me and since she is standing right here I recommend you get your nose out of there.” "Hey, Out!"
This pup has to learn not to chase those birds. They belong to our pack. His older brother Bruno the Boxer learned this and he can too. It took a while for Bruno to accept we do not chase and eat our own birds and I suspect this will not be the last time for him either. I have to work on this a lot now while he is still a slow puppy. This was the first time he had decided to chase them. All of the other encounters he just watched them and I was able to cut him off at the pass. Spence is corrected for chasing them and the correction is followed through until the end when he gives it up and sits down. Bruno is now trained that when we hear the guineas putting up a fuss we look for the fox, not chase and eat our own birds. That is the goal for Spence; to teach him to protect them, not eat them.
Spencer checks out the goats for the first time and the goats check out Spencer. I have not let Spence into the goat field yet because he cannot run fast enough to defend himself should he decide to try and play with or test the goats. When I do let him in, the goats will let him know his boundaries very fast.
Socializing at a Horse Rodeo
We want Spencer to experience all kinds of sights and sounds while he is young and have him associate good things with those experiences. We take Spence and Bruno to a barrel racing rodeo. I take the pack for a walk early in the morning before we leave for the rodeo to ensure they do not have any bottled up energy, which can frustrate any dog. At the rodeo everyone is impressed with this 11-week-old Pit Bull puppy with the ice blue eyes heeling on a leash next to his almost 100-pound brother, Bruno. Spence does not try to jump on anyone and no puppy bites from this pup. He seems to have picked up on how to act respectful even at this young age. All of the time and energy we have been putting into his exercise and leadership seem to be paying off.
Spence does really well with all of the noises and activity around him. Sara practices some tricks with Spencer to keep this pup’s intelligent mind challenged. Spence is able to pay attention to Sara even though there is a lot of activity going on around him; a very good mental exercise for any dog.
Neither Spencer nor Bruno are fazed by the John Deere tractor dragging the ring. What a good role model you are, Bruno. Bruno completely ignores all of the horses and other dogs around him, even if another dog is barking. Spence mimics his big brother and is very well behaved.
Spencer chews his bone while the runners race their horses.
At first Spencer tried to pull toward this well-behaved Corgi. After correcting Spence for pulling by giving him a quick tug on the lead and asking him to sit, we allow the two dogs to smell one another. Then I ask Spencer to be polite and leave the Corgi alone by directing him to come back to the bleachers, sit down and ignore. Spencer decides to take a nap.
Spencer lies down as he watches horses zip by the ring.