This little sweetheart has charmed us with her sunny personality.
At this point in her development I was still worrying. By now I had read many articles online, and listened to Cesar Milan. They all had in common this advice, “BEFORE you get your puppy make sure she has had her proper socialization with her mother and littermates, find a puppy that matches your lifestyle, a medium energy level dog. Find out about her parents, what is her breed, her general temperament.”
We were WAY past all that. All I knew I got from the shelter – lab mix. Her papers said she and her abandoned litter mates came from a trailer park. She was still so young that she nursed as she slept.
During this part of her development she was very busy running, playing and also biting everyone. She was intent on going out to see everything. She was curious and careless, also a bit of an oaf, often tripping over her own feet.
She was very sensitive though. She would just lay on the floor near the heater vent and just look at me. She would often look at my face, as if waiting for instructions. But, I had already given her instruction .. QUIT BITING!
She loved to cuddle. When she was half asleep she was very gentle and sweet. She had adopted us and was at home.
Potty training was a major concentration at this point. We stayed with the principle that every time she awakened we took her out. We have a spot in the back yard, we had put it there for Daisy, it’s a fenced, overgrown corner that has been designated for dog business. Every couple hours we were taking her out. It was long and tiring. Just like a little baby we had to get up at night. Night after night we would be awakened by her whining, stumble to get dressed for nighttime cold, unzip her black travel crate and be greeted by a happy, sweet, hand biting puppy. Out we would go into the night. With a flashlight, we would wait till she was done. AND since she was still battling worms, we had to keep everything picked up .. at night.
Her first puppy visit she was tested for worms, she had them all. She was malnourished even though I had given her chicken breast and white rice, cat food, dog food, eggs, cream. Anything I could find that she would actually eat. She was a mess, a true pound puppy. She got her first series of shots, a bag full of anti worm meds and words of caution to get her on a proper puppy food.
Continual cleaning and training. I read strong instruction to stop her biting. There are 100 different methods on how to stop your dog from biting. One really important bit of advice that stayed with me was
As a pet owner we wanted to be assertive, not aggressive.
I really liked that because at this stage we still didn’t know her temperament or breed, leading assertively would reduce puppy aggression. She is not a robot, she is a living creature with a mind of her own, be it a dog one, but she still has her own will. We could have slapped or hit her, we could have handled her roughly, which I am sad to say, out of frustration I had done on occasion, we consistently told her no, put appropriate biting items in her mouth and praised her. That was a constant battle. There were many times that I would hold her down, not angry but firmly. Sometimes, she would be out of control biting me and growling aggressively. I would try to hold her down, she would continue to fight me and I would hold her down using my upper body. (Being careful about too much weight on her) I wouldn’t get up till she was calmed down. I would tell her “No ma’am! You may not bite” Don and I both had to do that several times. She started getting the idea that she was not in control here. We are.
She still had her puppy breath and endearing, audible yawns.
We are thankful for her and continuing on the journey of Joy.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13