Buster is a great puppy, very sweet and gentle - a real cuddler!! We got him a few days ago, and it has been smooth sailing so far!
I have a few questions. First, though, we did research this breed, and it took about a month of deciding, but we think he will be a perfect fit for us - good size, temperament... We have 2 boys, ages 10 and 6.
#1 - crate training: We have a crate, fluffy pad inside it :) and we keep a couple toys in there for him. A little background, the first night, he fell asleep on my son's bed. I took him, sleeping, and put him in his crate, closed it up, and went to bed. I should say *tried* to go to bed LOL. After about a minute, he was barking, and I didn't want him to wake up my boys. His crate is in the kitchen. I took him outside, he did his business, and I tried to put him back in the crate. We put the towel that he rode home with in there, along with his toys, but as soon as I walked away, the barking started again (cute bark, btw!!). SO - I slept out on the couch, with him sleeping ontop of me. He woke up the few expected times to go out. I took him on a leash, he did his business, and we came back in, went to sleep on the couch again. The 2nd night, I tried the crate again, but when he started crying/barking, I took him out, then brought him onto the couch. It takes the dog about 30 seconds from the point where he melts into you until he's out! After he fell asleep, I put him in his little bed next to the couch. I figured, it's a step in the right direction at least - if he wakes up and realizes he's not with me, but I'm right there, that's OK. Last night, I put him to sleep IN the bed, kept it next to the couch by me. He didn't fall asleep on me first. All went well, he woke up, we went outside, he did his business, and came back in, back to sleep. Now my question - when should I put him to sleep in his crate? I figured since everything is new to him - house, family, food, I'd ease him into the crate training. Is he too young now or should I go for it? I know that once I put him in there, I have to let him "cry it out". I also know he will wake up a few times and have to go potty. Will he have to cry/bark it out every time he goes out/gets back in the crate? How long will the crying it out each night take? (5 minutes - more?) How long before I should expect him to not cry/bark when I put him in the crate for the night? A week, more? I should mention that his crate is open all day long, and he doesn't go in it at all (I work at home, so I'm here most of the time). His toys are in there, and it takes him a long time to get one out - he won't step his whole body into it, just his front paws, and just for a few seconds LOL. I dont' want to force him and have him bark all the time and hate it, as he's supposed to feel safe there...
#2 - feeding. We've been feeding him Natural Choice puppy food since he came home. He did go through the first day or so not eating, but he's eating and drinking fine now. He was on purina at the breeder's, and we probably should have bought some of that and mixed it with the NC, but we figured that stuff is not good, and probably has soy in it, which his breed can't tolerate well. Going by the bag, he should be having 1 1/4 Cups per day. Is it better to split that into 2 or 3 feedings? I had been doing 2, but now that he's eating much better, he goes to the food dish (we keep it down all the time, but only with water in it) every time he wakes up. Today I decided to split that into 3 feedings, but I have also read that it could be as many as 4 times a day! Not sure what works best, or if it's a personal preference thing.
I think those are my only questions (for now)! I am going to call a vet who we used to take our other dog (we don't have him any longer) to. I found out that he has a bulldog himself, so that cinched it for me. We were on the fence between 2 local vets... I'll ask him these questions as well, but I can get a feel for what to do here first :D
Unfortunately, if you're going to crate train him, you are putting off the inevitable by taking him out and letting him sleep with you.If you are going to take him out to do his business, put him back in his crate, right beside your bed, and cover it with a blanket, pat him, and give him a kiss, and say 'night night'. You may get a horrific show of misery and feeling sorry for himself, but if you're going to crate train him, you must stick to your guns. Make sure your bedroom door is shut, and stuff a towel under it, so the boys don't hear, or get them ear plugs. I completely understand your wanting to slowly integrate him into the home, but best to get it over and done with or you run the risk of confusing him, and also, he'll think all he has to do is bark, and you'll let him out.If he keeps up the barking, tell him in a stern voice,' NO BARK,' and ' Night Night'.Give him something to chew on, like a kong with peanut butter in it, or some other tough treat.Make sure he's got a soft toy, sometimes they like sucking on them, mine do anyway.You could also put one of your sweaters in there, after you wear it for a couple of days. Good luck, and give him a big kiss from me. Let us know how you make out.
I forgot to talk about the food.Personally, I would have him on the best food I could get. Bulldogs are famous for allergies, and skin problems, I can't believe the breeder was feeding pedigree. I would let him have the run of the bowl until about 7 in the evening, depending what time he gets up, and when he goes to bed. I would also with hold the water from about the same time, if you want to successfully crate train him. I can tell by the amount of food you are feeding that it's not a high quality food. Sorry to be an old wet blanket!
I guess there is no time like the present to start the crate training then... Is it better to leave the crate in our room? I was planning on leaving his crate in the kitchen (close to the door as well). I really do want him to go in there whenever he wants, and thinking that the kitchen is pretty central to where people (and he) will be the majority of the time. Like I said, I have the crate doors open during the day so he can lay down or just take a break. I figure putting the crate in our room would make it a little easier on him (and us) for now, but in the long run, would it make it worse if I don't intend to keep the crate in our room?
On the food, I was under the impression that the food that I have is a good quality. It's Natural Care by Nutro. I've had a couple people as well as the PetSmart guy recommend it (we had our bulldog with us when we bought it, and we were sure to mention the skin problems with the breed). I knew that Purina from the breeder was a no from the start... If the Natural Care/Nutro isn't a good food, what would be recommended? I don't want to switch his food too often and upset his tummy.
And thank you for the 7 pm part - my hubby thought it was too early to cut out food and water, but it worked with my other dog! I haven't been free feeding him, just leaving the water available. Should he be eating more or less? He only weighs about 6 pounds, and he heats right around 1 1/4 cups a day...
Just from my recent experience have I learned this, so I will share with you...I too felt bad for my puppy crying at night in the crate...he too is simply irresistable! However, I did, and now you are doing it completely backwards ( I am not judging you, please dont think that!) but you have now taught him (what my puppy knows) that the moment he cries, you will be there to save him, and believe me he will use that to his advantage!! I let my puppy sleep in my bed as soon as we got him, for the most part he is great, I get up during the night about 2-3 times (we also put food and water up about 8pm). But one day I was changing my sheets and lo and behold was a little yellow stain...I had a mattress pad on so it did not get to the mattress. So, in short, you are running the risk of awaking to a pile of poo or puddle of pee : ) Now, we have had the puppy for 3 months now and he has the occasional accident, only if I leave the food and water out, but he has learned to get out of the bed and pee on the floor...
Sooo, if that bothers you, I say put him in the crate starting tonite and put some soothing music on next to him, put in some ear plugs and try your best to ignore it, he will eventually adjust to his new setting, and I have heard :) that they really do enjoy sleeping in their own private dwelling... You will get back to your normal restful nights sooner than you think...
Wishing you the best...
BTW; as far as food, I feed my doggies royal canin dry kibble (they are free fed) and chicken or beef for lunch and dinner. A high quality food will give you less poo and healthier coats, skin, etc. Don't let your vet tell you its all the same, it really isn't and don't let him tell you, that you are unable to cook for your dog, I cook lunch/dinner for my dogs as I do the rest of my family. The vets (most anyway) have their hands in the food companies pockets...
Thank you!!! I completely do intend to put him in the crate. Our last dog that we had (APBT that had way too much energy around our little boy, who was 4 at the time), he loved his crate! But, he was already used to being in one when we got him, so we didn't have to start from scratch. I think I will wait until tomorrow to start the crate training. My main reason - my husband will be out of town, and I won't have to listen to both the dog AND him I'd much rather get it done and over with, since I now know that it is okay to do this first, at such a young age, and second, with him being so new to our home.
I will keep your advice in mind when talking to the vet on the food - I can completely understand how the pet food companies can manipulate their way into getting a "good" reccomendation from a trusted vet...
Are you feeding the Nutro Natural Choice Premium blend? (for Puppies?) It looks like a pretty good food, but it's got 30% protein content, and I'm not sure if you want that much for a Bully. Of course I could be looking at the wrong bag too. I feed Eagle Pack Holistic, and I'm very happy indeed with it. I raise Bostons, and if there's any dog with a more finnicky gut, I havn't found it yet. They love this food. Basically you go by your dog. If his skin is healthy, no yeast problems, hot spots, or other weird skin complaints, you're ok. Then again, your puppy is'nt that old. If you change a puppy food you do it in the following formula.75% old food, 25% new, for a week.The following week 50% old, 50% new, for another week. The third week is of course 25% old food, 75 % new. So as you can see, it takes a month, and you're right, you don't want to change the food all the time. When my dogs are older, I supplement mine with other foods, because I figure it would be so boring eating the same old kibble every day. Of course not everyone agrees with that.I'm not called the crazy old dog, cat, and kid lady for nothing. I'd be interested in seeing more pictures of that lovely puppy, and of course, we're all here for advice. Big Smooch for puppy.
One thing I haven't heard you mention is WHERE you feed him? I highly recommend feeding him inside the crate. Not closing the door..just put it in the far corner so he has to go all the way in to get it. You need him to associate GOOD things with the crate. So the toys and soft bedding you have down are great. Someone mentioned a piece of your clothing..that's a great idea.. Feeding himm and giving him his treats only in there should definetely help.
Good luck and be strong!! As much as you just want to go pick him up and carry him...right now is the time for him to learn and figure out his boundaries.
As far as food..I'm glad you realize purina isn't the best! THere are a lot of great holistic, all natural foods out there. It really depends on your dog, what they like, and what is best for any conditions they have. I highly recommend Canidae..it's great for food allergies and skin issues. Your puppy needs lots of healthy protein right now..so why not supplement his meals with a few pieces of boiled chicken or ground beef here and there? Nothing wrong with that. As long as he still gets his high quality kibble.
You can split up the meals throughout the day so they don't feel as hungry. You can follow the bag instructions to an extent. The higher quality ingredients..the fuller he will feel..and his stools will be smaller. Not to mention he will just have a healthier start in life in general! He's still growing, so don't worry too much. Unfortunately, it is hard, with MOST dogs to tell if they are truly hungry or not since they will eat anything at anytime!! :)
Are there any treats or foods you've noticed he isn't super fond of? My trick is..if I'm not sure if he's still hungry..i'll offer a food I know he hates...if he doesn't eat it..then guess what? he's just being a brat! HA!
Good luck with the training! Remember be firm! It will pay off in the end. We show our dogs how much we love them by bringing them structure! They need that.
rikalik2, I would like to point out that it's much better to feed the dog uncooked poultry, (no turkey skin), because the bones get brittle and dangerous when they're cooked. Also, it depends what breed you are dealing with, but there can be joint problems from feeding a puppy a very high protein content food.
Well, last night he was in the crate - success!!! Actually, yesterday morning, I moved his soft bed into the crate. At his naptime, he was looking all over for it. I put him in the crate (he didn't fuss at all), and he went right to sleep. I left the doors open, wanted to try to get him accustomed to it/comfy/feeling safe. His next nap, he went right into it himself! He did that all day yesterday, and about 9:30 last night, when he was asleep, I closed the doors, put on the radio, and went to sleep myself. He didn't wake up - I did! I woke up at 2 a.m. and went to check on him. I took him out, he peed, and went right back inside! How wonderful He did cry this time, but only for about 4 minutes. He woke up at 5:30, and I took him out - he did #1 and #2. Now my kids wake up at 5:50 for school, but I tried to get a few minutes of laying down, so I put him back in is crate. He cried for about 8 minutes or so this time, but I think he was ready to stay awake a little longer. I am so happy, he did really well! He took all of his naps in his crate today as well.
Now I do have a question - when he woke up in the morning, he stunk! Not a poop stink, and I don't think it was puppy breath (although some people have smelled him and said that's what it is). His bed was dry, clean and smelled fresh. The crate padding was the same. His body smelled fine (I even smelled under his tail) and he smelled fine, nothinig like the smell that I was smelling. I smelled around his mouth/nose, and there it was. P.U. I can't really describe it - but it's not good. It isn't the typical puppy breath - at least not what my others have had. Could it maybe be from his first shots? They were just the standard immunizations (1 shot), plus dewormer. Now I also was given advantage multi and I put that on his neck last night. I took him to the baseball park for my son's practice, and everyone said it was just puppy breath...
Anyway, his food dish is next to his crate, he's good with that. So far, he's been really really good with everything. We'll see how his behavior/teething gets in the next few weeks! Thanks for all of your help, I'll be back I'm sure with more questions!
Are you cleaning the skin folds on his face at least once a day? Dogs with heavy wrinkles can get food trapped in this area and it is a breeding groung for bacteria and odors. I use baby wipes that don't have alcohol in them for cleaning my Bullmastiffs' faces. Sometimes they will get pimples just like teenagers have acne. Using the baby wipes can prevent this from happening.
Hmmm. No, I haven't tried that yet. I figured since he really doesn't have many wrinkles yet, I wouldn't need to yet. But - I will! I read somewhere to powder their wrinkles as well - do you do that? If so, what kind of powder do you use? Not sure if it has to be medicated powder or not. I would assume unscented...
I have taken care of a friend's Bulldogs as well as my Bullmastiffs and the babywipes and Gold Bond powder seem to work well. I don't know if a Bulldog breeder would have other methods. Maybe you could contact a breeder and ask. I know they often need eye drops too, but I was never told the actual reasons for the drops. Also this breed because of their structure may need the anal area cleaned frequently.They are usually very sweet natured with people but can be very dog agressive as they mature and have a problem with stubborness as well. NILF method is a big help in training and if you want to use food treats they are very controled by their stomachs. Just make sure the treats are low calorie as they can become over weight easily.
All this talk of "powdering a dog wrinkles" and "using earplugs" is very entertaining and making me laugh. = ) It is so funny what people go through for their animals. It is nice to see that people do care about their pets though.... I wish I could find people like you all, as I have three puppies to find excellent homes for. Where are the people like you guys? = )