Kunzite:

Puppy behavior

1/19/07 - 2/1/07

 

The past couple of weeks have been full of new developments for Kunzie. I knew she was a smart pup but she has been proving it.

 

 

 

 

I mentioned that I started weaning her to gruel from a bottle. I’ve been warming up her concoction in the microwave. Wouldn’t you know that this little pup figured out that the sound of the microwave predicts food for her! She caught on to that quite quickly and now, whenever I use the microwave she starts crying and yipping. If I start the microwave when she is sleeping all of a sudden she is wide awake and alert. Much to her dismay, Kunzie is beginning to realize that this sound doesn’t always mean food for her but she’s always hopeful.

 

She has been doing so well lapping up her gruel I decided to start leaving kibble out to see what she would do with it. At the beginning of last week she’d pick up a piece, chew on it, spit it out, pick it back up again, chew on it and finally eat it. I thought that the kibble might be too difficult for her to chew so I soaked it to make it softer and offered it to her. She took a few pieces and ate them but tired of it quickly. It was almost as if she was trying to tell me that she was no baby any more she could handle the crunchy stuff. By the end of last week she was chewing up that kibble like a pro! This week I’ve decided to cut back on the gruel a bit and start making crunchies the main part of her diet. Kunzie is a good eater with a healthy appetite and she is 7 pounds now. We just celebrated her birthday on Thursday when she turned 7 weeks old!

 

Kunzite has also shown me that she is a very neat and tidy little pup. She has decided that she much prefers a clean and dry crate to a wet and messy one. So much so that she will now notify me when she has to potty! I never expected this from a 6 or 7 week old pup. The other night her stomach was a bit upset; I can only guess it was from the change in food. Though I have to say it was no party getting up every couple of hours, Kunzite woke me up each time she needed to poop so I’d let her out of her crate so she could go on her puppy pads. I was thankful to be notified especially when the alternative would have been cleaning out a poopy smelly crate. And might I say she is about 90% puppy pad trained! I am very proud of my girl. I’ve worked in the puppy department here at the sanctuary and it is rare to see a puppy this tidy. Many of the puppies I’ve taken care of are content, at this age, to pee and poop and play in it etc. Not my Kunzie! I’m surprised she hasn’t started organizing her toys by color yet.

 

Since Kunzie is an orphan puppy without littermates and a mom to socialize with I’ve been spending a lot of my time researching behavior development of puppies. Unfortunately, Kunzie is missing out on a lot of important socialization and learning how to be a dog without other puppies and mom to interact with. Orphan puppies in these types of situations generally grow up to be under socialized adult dogs that have trouble integrating in to a normal home environment. However, I am doing as much as I can to make sure that she develops as normally as possible as my ultimate goal for her is to be able to adopt her into a loving home. Kunzite is still very young and cannot meet other dogs because they could be a threat to her immune system. She can, however, meet other people as long as they are careful to wash their hands before handling her. Molly, one of our staff photographers, came over the other day to take pictures of Kunzie and it was then that I realized I needed to step things up in terms of familiarizing her with new people. Kunzie was very shy and hid when Molly came in to the room. It didn’t take her long to warm up but it made me realize that this pup needs to start meeting new people. What I found interesting was that Kunzie wasn’t at all afraid of the sound and flash of the camera. I realized that it was because I had taken so many pictures of her as she grew that she had gotten used to it. This brings me to another important aspect of a puppy’s social development.

 

Many people don’t realize that socialization does not just mean interaction with people and dogs it also includes familiarizing a puppy with as many different objects, smells, sights and sounds as possible. There are so many things in our environment that we don’t think about that can be very scary to a pup that has never experienced them. Sounds like: pots and pans clanging in the kitchen, the washer and dryer running, water running in the bathtub, dogs barking, and a computer printer are all things that puppies need to learn to get used to. Kunzie can’t walk on the ground yet but I’ve been carrying her around outside so she can get accustom to the smells, sounds and sights of the out doors. She has gotten used to the sound of my dogs barking and has even started joining in. Have you ever met a dog that was afraid to walk on linoleum or wood floors? That’s probably because they were not socialized to it as pups. Even something as simple as different surface textures (grass, carpet, linoleum, tile, cement, gravel etc.) are important to take in to consideration. Kunzite has a collection of toys that are all made out of different materials with different textures, shapes, sizes and degrees of softness/hardness. She has tennis balls, rope toys, squeaky toys, Nylabones etc.

 

It is also very important to teach a puppy to inhibit its bite. Many people think that it’s so cute when a puppy chews on their finger or grabs at their clothes but what they don’t realize is that these puppies grow in to adult dogs that are very mouthy. It’s not so cute when an adult dog grabs your hand with its mouth or jumps up on you to grab your shirt. So, I’ve been trying to be very consistent in teaching Kunzie that it hurts when she bites me but that she’s got toys that she can bite and play with in a rough manner. When puppies are in a litter they learn a lot of this from their litter mates and from mom and I’m doing my best to be a good substitute.

 

 

There are so many things to think about when raising a puppy it can be overwhelming at times. I have to say that I’m learning so much and Kunzite and I are having fun in the process.