Recently I switched Cygni to a new brand of dog food. She had originally been eating a mix of Royal Canin and Eukanuba Puppy Food. But, the stores that stock those two brands were a little out of the way for me so I decided to switch her food. I always want what is best for my puppy and this time it meant buying the pet food that you can buy from the Veterinarian. Our Vet stocks Science Diet, so thats what Cygni will be eating.
Switching a puppy’s food is a serious process. You can’t just start feeding the puppy a new food or you could seriously upset the dog’s stomach and digestion. The best thing to do is start mixing the food together.
Over the course of several days use different ratios of the old food to the new food.
1. Start with about 75% old to 25% new.
2. Move to 50%-50% after a day or two.
3. You can go to 25% old to 75% new.
4. And finally you can then switch to just the new food.
5. If at any time you notice that your puppy’s stool is looser than it should be immediately stop switching the puppy’s food and remember to give more time adjusting the food.
So my sleeping routine with Cygni goes as follows;
1 – 2 hours of Cygni getting to sleep in my bed while I read
I go to bed, Cygni has to go back to her crate on the floor
Around 7am Cygni wakes up and gets to go back on my bed after she sits calmly for 5seconds.
She stays there until I wake up and start my day.
So with that normal routine you can only expect that I was insanely surprised when this morning I woke up around 8am and Cygni was in my bed asleep. I don’t remember her waking up me to get on the bed. I am starting to wonder if Cygni was able to jump onto my bed by herself. If that is the case then she is getting much more bold and much jumpier. My bed is still taller than she is and if she was able to make it up there then she might be able to make it up onto or over other things. Either way it was a surprise this morning.
In other news Cygni has learned how to walk up the stairs to the 2nd story all by herself. I just have to open the gate at the bottom of the stairs that keeps Leon out and she will bunny hop her way up to the loft. I am really glad because in the apartment the door opens onto the staircase that goes up to my living room, so Cygni will need to learn how to use those stairs if she wants to be at home in the new apartment. Unfortunately Cygni has yet to learn how to go down the stairs by herself. But maybe its a good thing that she is so cautious, I wouldn’t want her to fall down the stairs at the apartment.
It is funny how with puppies and children the best toys are often the least expensive. Cygni has a remarkable collection of toys ranging from little crinkle mouse toys (stolen from the cats) to traditional dog toys like chew bones, tug of war ropes, and Kong toys. She even has her own assembly of mini tennis balls. And even with all of these toys to play with her favorites are the worn and torn scraps of stuffed animals that Leon’s puppyhood sent to shambles. These little bits of furry cloth or amputated limbs are the perfect toy for her to just attack. Look at how cute she is in the middle of two of her favorites.
Sometimes its hard to remember what these scraps were before they met their untimely deaths in the jaws of Leon and Cygni. With puppies sometimes its best to just give them a box or an old stuffed animal that has gone to ruin. But remember to remove anything hazardous such as hard plastic eyes or noses.
I have said it once and I will say it again, Cygni has some kind of personal vendetta against my Q-Link! If you don’t believe me just look at these pictures.
I was talking to my friend Ahna the other day and she told me that her puppy Willow has this funny habit of picking up her food and walking across the room to eat it. Well, my Cygni does the exact same thing, so I don’t know if this is just a habit for small dogs or if it is because the kibble is too big for Cygni to sit and eat at her bowl. Either way it makes her look crazy when I feed her and she goes and grabs a bite then running across the room to eat it.
Cygni and Leon are at it again! This time though I got them on film. It seems like Cygni has so much energy that Leon just doesn’t know what to do against her. But after a while he tends to go running for a couch to jump on. Lucky for him she is still too small to follow.
My puppy Cygni has the funniest reaction to a person whistling. She just stares at you and tilts her head back and forth. I guess she isn’t used to noises like that or hears it differently, but it is still the cutest thing ever.
In one corner we have Cygnus the Mighty weighing in at 2 1/2Lbs and 100% of pure Pom power! In the other corner we have Leon the Zombieslayer weighing in at 40Lbs and bearing the true colors of a Beagle! Who will be victorious?!?!
Lol, but really, it seems like every time Cygni sees Leon she just has to pounce on him. She is unreasonably smaller than him but is relentless in her attacks. She tries to stand on her back paws to reach his face, she bites his tail, legs, and lips, and the whole time she is growling her little Pomeranian growl. Luckily for her Leon is a big softy and just lies down and lets her have her fun with him. I think he knows that if he gets tired of it he can just jump onto a couch, which she still cannot reach due to her small stature.
When you are bringing a puppy into a home with another dog it is important for all parties that they can get along. I know from experience with my cats that feuding pets is always a bad time. It can result in fights, one pet chasing another out of the house, and even pets blocking each other from access to food or affection. (The family’s cat Tiki is at odds with my cat Smoker and stands guard so that Smoke can’t get to the house to be fed without Tiki chasing her away)
Here are some tips to introducing a new pet into your family.
1. It is always smart to alternate genders of the pets. If you have a male dog already try getting a little female so that he does not feel as threatened, especially if one or both of them is not neutered yet. This works the same way for females.
2. If you have the option try to introduce your new pets on neutral ground such as a park, and make sure that both of them have already gone on walks and are worn out. Tired dogs are more submissive than energetic dogs and the chance of conflict is much lower when both of the dogs are calm and relaxed for the meeting rather than excited and wound up.
3. If the new pet is a young puppy then remember that the whole experience of moving is a stressful time. This means that you shouldn’t immediately go and show off the puppy to everyone in the family or you may stress the dog out too much or cause it to become anxious or frightful. Keep the puppy in a designated area where it does not have free roam of its surroundings for awhile before you start introducing it to more people, places, and other pets.
4. Do not neglect your old pets now that you have a new one. It is possible for pets to feel jealousy, this is scientifically proven, and I see it all the time at my house. When you show your new puppy to your other pets give your other pets the affection they are used to and they will associate that affection with meeting the new member of the family.
Hopefully these tips will ensure that adding a new pet to the family only increases the affection, not the stress level for the other pets.
As Cygni gets older I find the need to teach her basic commands more and more. So far she is doing very well with sit, but her other commands need some work. Here are some tips about basic puppy training.
1. You need to know what motivates your dog. Most people would think that all dogs react to food, but some dogs, like my Cygni, seem to respond better to praise and affection. Try seeing which your dog gets more excited for or holds their attention more. You and praises or a small piece of cheese.
2. Some commands are most easily taught in sync with one another. Some of these are Sit, Stay, and Come. Others like Down require Sit first.
3. Sit – to teach sit hold your treat, or your hand over the puppy’s face and slowly move it back towards the puppy’s tail. The puppy should follow your hand and have to sit down to keep looking back, and remember to couple the word SIT with the action of moving your hand back. If your puppy tries to jump up you may be holding the treat too high. As soon as the puppy sits say “Good Sit” and give your puppy its reward. This command takes many recitations and as you continue to teach this to the puppy use the reward more and more sparingly. Its good to remember to teach the puppy to sit near the front door and on walks when you stop as a car passes. This will ensure that your little furball isn’t a jumper when you have guests and remains safe on walks on roads.
4. Down – Start with your puppy already sitting and this time take the treat and move it down between the puppy’s paws as you say DOWN. If the puppy has trouble going all the way down then move the treat between the paws and give your puppy time to get down towards the treat. Don’t forget to praise them. For some puppies (like Cygni) the Down command is very difficult. You can also try moving the treat down and away from the puppy rather than between the paws. If this does not work try sitting on the floor with your legs straight out ahead of you with your knees slightly bent. Hold the treat beneath your knees and as the puppy follows the treat move it further under your knee so the puppy lies down as it follows. Remember to practice this command in a various of starting positions and locations.
5. Stay - Young puppies can stay for short periods of time and only can the time be increased with gradual training. Begin with the puppy sitting in front of you and command STAY with taking only 1 step back. If the puppy manages to stay still for 1-2 seconds then you may reward the puppy with its treat or praise. Do not give the reward if the puppy stands to receive it or you will be rewarding them for getting up, not staying. As you continue training this command you can start taking more steps backwards and expecting your puppy to stay for longer amounts of time. Teaching Stay takes a good amount of time and as you practice further distances remember to keep the puppy on a leash so it won’t go running off. Stay is a good command to prevent the puppy from running into any danger or hazardous situations such as running out the door, into traffic, or jumping onto company.
6. Stand – Teaching your puppy to stand is fairly simple. Start with your puppy in the sit position and move your hand above the dog so it stands to follow. Remember to stop when the puppy stands to award its treat.
7. Come – This command is the most important one for your puppy to know. Naturally young puppies will come to their guardian, and in many cases food or toy is not needed to prompt them to come to you. As the puppy ages though it will grow more independent and may need more reward for coming when called. Remember to never call your dog to you to discipline it. To teach the Come command just stand 1-3 feet back from your puppy with a treat or reward and call the puppy’s name and COME, use a happy and inviting tone of voice for this command. When the puppy comes praise them lavishly and repeat the process, moving further and further back with practice. Try not to call your puppy when it means ending something it enjoys, such as being outside or before having to go into its crate. When practicing in areas where the puppy has a chance of running off remember to use a lead and always practice with many different environments and distractions.
8. Follow – This command will help prevent your puppy from being a dog that pulls and lunges on walks. Start in an environment with litter distraction and begin with the Sit/Stay command. Always have the leash on so that you may control how far your puppy gets from you. As you leave your house the dog should wait for you to being walking and follow you on the leash. If they attempt to run ahead just pull up on the leash and put the dog back into the Sit position and have them wait before you resume the walk. Practice this often with varying distractions to ensure perfect dog walks and a perfect mannered dog in front of guests.
There are many different ways you can train your dog and even more different tricks and commands to teach them.
If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior problems check out books by Caesar Millan.