Puppy Help!

We just got an adorable 10-week old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross puppy yesterday, and after some trials and tribulations in the first night I turn to you, the all-wise and knowing Doper community.

  1. Sleeping arrangements - We want Capone to sleep in a basket we’ve set up for him, in the corner of our bedroom. There’s two problems there. One is because of his age, he’s still not got proper bladder control (though he is trying!), and two is because when he knows we’re in the room he’ll whine and cry and jump up at the bed and try to get up on there. Hubby’s let him on the bed once or twice (which I know is a mistake), but really I’d prefer he get used to the basket. Hubby managed to get him sleeping in the basket through most of the night, with cuddles and praise and a couple of treats, but each time one of us went to the bathroom, he got up again and it had to be done all over again.

So the question is - Should we put his basket in the laundry, and abandon him in there with some newspaper and some toys, until he gets the idea that the basket’s the warmest and best place for him to sleep? Once he’s got that sleep pattern sorted, will it disturb him greatly to move the basket to our bedroom again?

  1. Poo - At the shelter, Capone was on puppy food. What brand, we’re not entirely sure (they mentioned a couple of brand names, I think they swap depending what’s cheapest). When we were meeting/greeting with him, he did a poo and it was firm and not too horrible. We got him home yesterday and gave him a small meal, some puppy pellets with puppy tinned food mixed in. Now he has sloppy, stinky poos, two of which (luckily) ended up on the linoleum, so they were relatively easy to clean.

Should we ditch the tinned food and just concentrate on small amounts of pellets? Cut down the portion sizes even more? He’s been drinking a lot of water, it’s always available to him, is that helping or hindering the poo process?

  1. Cat - We have a cat, she’s relatively old (about ten years, I think). She’s “had” dogs before in the past, but hasn’t had to deal with one in over a year now. We tried to block off one portion of the house for her (the lounge/computer room, where all the cables and crap are), and put her dirt tray and food and water in there. At about five this morning she decided that wasn’t good enough, and started howling/scratching at the loungeroom door. This woke me up, which in turn woke Le Puppy up. Are we doing the right thing keeping them separate like this? Is the cat just having the shits because we’ve stopped her from roaming the whole house like she used to?

Puppy and cat have come face-to-face on a couple of occasions. Cat fluffs and spits, puppy whines then hides behind our legs. That sounds and looks about normal. I have no hopes of changing the cat’s behaviour, but is there a way to train Capone so he doesn’t chase after her once he’s more settled and confident? Right now I’ve taken to distracting him with his favourite plushy toy whenever the cat walks past, and making a big fuss of him when he looks but doesn’t jump at her. Is that the right thing to do?

Any answers, or tips to questions I haven’t asked will also be appreciated. I have had dogs before, but only when living at home with my mother, so I haven’t really been involved in the ‘puppy’ side of things (the last puppy we had we got when I was 8. I’m 21 now G). I want to make sure my little boy is as happy and as comfy as we can make him, without losing our whole night to trying to ensure he’s not shit on the bed, or that he isn’t whining at our feet.

I would ditch the canned food - you’re just paying for water. Buy the best quality puppy food you can afford and feed as recomended. Anytime an animal has a change in diet, the stools can be loose and messy for a few days. If it keeps up, get him to the vet pronto.

I was reconsidering the wet food, but the vet-lady at the shelter suggested giving it to him at least once a day, just for a bit of variety. But if it’s really going to be causing problems, then we can ditch it.

I can’t help you with the sleeping basket. I was told dogs just love those things and automatically take to them. Mine chewed theirs up and slept next to them. :rolleyes: And they do sleep on the bed now. I gave up that battle. They’d jump up after I was asleep and get down again some time before I woke up. I know this because I’d find their fur and culred-up-dog shaped impressions on my blankets (often still warm) when I’d wake up.

As for the poo, I agree that a lot of moist food may be too much for a puppy. Maybe you can try just a table spoon or so for taste but not so much as to give him the runs! Or you can do what I did and add a table spoon of cottage cheese to their meals. However, mine always have irregular poo for a few days after being in a kennel. I don’t think they poo the entire time they’re away. It’s like the stuff stacks up or something. (I’m sure you’re glad I shared that.)

Instead of locking up your cat (away from you–the horrors), try getting a baby gate that the cat can jump over but not the puppy. That way, the cat has an escape, but can still be with you when he wants to. When I had a cat, I let her figure out how to deal with the dogs. She pretty much put them in their place (which was away from her). She was a tough old thing though. You can try filling a soda can with pennies and shaking it when the dog chases the cat (dogs hate soda cans filled with pennies). But I wouldn’t try to eliminate all interactions. Just the chasing. Allow them to interact when the cat approaches the dog or when they are being friendly.

I don’t have a problem with him sleeping on the bed, it’s just right now while he’s still exciteable and up and down, and doesn’t have full control of his bladder, I’d really rather he not if we can help it. Still, I’ll see how we go with the laundry tonight.

The cat seems to have gotten over it, more or less now. She now walks past his head while he’s sleeping/cuddling with us, and we haven’t had any chasing incidents. But we’ll see.

Thanks for the tips, though. It can only help. We want a well-adjusted puppy, so any info is very valuable. :slight_smile:

Capone has only been with you a day. Give him time, he’ll sort things out (and you will too). Consistency is important – I wouldn’t move the basket. The basket is fine in the bedroom, if that’s where you want him. When you get up, he will awaken to see what’s going on. Returning him to his bed with a treat when you go back to bed sounds about right. He’ll soon figure out the bed is the best place to be. Be patient. He sounds like he’s just settling in.
The puppy food reaction sounds like his system isn’t used to the food you’re giving him. Again, he’ll adjust. A high-quality puppy kibble is probably best for him right now. He might also have some stress due to moving to a new home, and unfamiliar things, which can upset little pup tummies. If the problem persists, see a vet.
Can’t help you with the cat-dog dynamic. I understand cats are more territorial than people think and may be freaked at the invader. I wouldn’t leave them together unsupervised, but would let them get used to seeing and smelling each other for brief periods, and lengthening the time gradually. The cat will probably accept Capone, but much depends on the dog’s personality as well as the cat.
Be patient and enjoy the puppy months. You’ll learn as much as he will, which is the whole point anyway . . .

Second night was okay. He went to bed with us at about midnight, with a bone to chew on. I woke at six am, he was snoring on the bed with us. I went to the loo, let him out for toilet, then we both went back to bed and slept until nine. So that’s coming along nicely…

Dog trainer here…

While Capone seems like he may take to the basket idea, I would recommend you consider crate training both for housebreaking, and sleeping through the night in a comfortable, safe place. As he gets older and hits the teething phase, having him contained will save your furniture and quite possibly your sanity, too. If you want to stick with the basket, I recommend you keep him near by so you can hear him ask to go outside. Generally, dogs won’t soil the area they sleep in (which is why crate training is so helpful for housebreaking - they don’t want to have an “accident” where they sleep, so they ask to go out!) but if he’s free to roam your room, he’ll find a spot just fine if he can’t wake you up to go out :wink:

As for food - scrap the wet food and go for the best quality kibble you can afford to feed. That should solve your gastro-intestinal issues. I currently feed Eagle Pack and Innova foods to my dogs and they all do well on it, including the puppy.

Enjoy puppyhood while it’s here. Soon, he’ll start teething and you’ll wonder why you did this (tee hee) :smiley: Then, it will be adolescence, where he’ll forget the meaning of the word “Come”, or “Sit”, and look at you with this “Oh yeah? WELL MAKE ME!” attitude. Good news is, that passes too. :wink:

A recommendation to take the pup to your vet if you haven’t already. Not for the runny poop, diet change can do that. But it’s not too soon for your vet to get to know your new addition and a health check is always a good idea. Shelter dogs may come with unwelcome guests, if you know what I mean. And of course, that series of puppy immunizations - you can’t forget those!

Congratulations on your baby.



This sounds strange, but it does work.

If you get a clock that ticks loudly (like an old-fashioned alarm clock, be sure the alarm is off…), wrap it in a blanket and put it in his basket. The clock sounds like a heartbeat and he will be happier staying there.

Good luck, he’s lucky to have you!

I second Elenfair’s suggestion of a crate. It really helps with housebreaking, because puppies instinctively avoid soiling where they sleep. You can put his basket in there if you want. You can keep the crate in your bedroom, and actually probably SHOULD until he gets used to his new home. It helps them bond to hear and smell you while they’re in their beds.

Now, he may just not like the basket. Don’t force him to sleep in it if he prefers the floor. Dogs have preferences just like people. My older dog has consistently refused to sleep on any kind of dog bed since she was a pup. Put it in the crate, and if he opts to sleep on the floor of the crate beside it, you’ll know.

Take Capone out every two hours or so at first. I know it’s a pain, especially at night (you can expand it to every four hours at night) but the best way to stop potty training mishaps is not to let them happen in the first place. As he gets older, slowly extend the time between trips outside. (My puppy is eight months old now, and goes out about every four or five hours.)

If his stoll doesn’t firm up in a couple of days, take him in to the vet. My puppy had pudding-like stool when I first got her. I kept waiting to see if it would firm up, and changed her food to see if that would help. I finally took her in, and it turned out she had a bacterial problem in her stomach-- common with puppies who come from the pound. A week on an antibiotic took care of it.

You might want to think about getting him into an obedience school soon. Even if you know how to train a dog, being in a class setting seems to accelerate matters.

Don’t let him do anything you wouldn’t want an adult dog to do. It’s cute when a puppy jumps up on your legs when he greets you, but it won’t be so cute when he’s an adult, knocking into you as you’re trying to carry groceries or a hot pan.

Don’t give him anything of yours to chew on, like old socks. He’ll get the idea that all socks and shoes are chew-toys. You can scent-train him as to which toys are his by putting a drop of lemon juice or vanilla on all of his toys. He’ll learn quickly what belongs to him.

Almost everything’s going pretty well here. We’re sleeping through most of the night now, we haven’t had an accident inside for a day and a half and we’re going well on the leash. And poop is pretty good, not so sloppy any more (but he has mega killer stinky farts). Now the hard bit…

Training him to be on his own.

This probably would be made a lot easier with crate training, but unfortunately right now we don’t have access to a crate, so the laundry is his ‘crate’. I’ve tried to make it a nice place for him, he’s got toys and food and toys with food hidden in them, water, a warm and comfy ‘bed’ in there (not his real bed). I put the radio in there and leave it on too. We’ve not used the laundry as a punishment room, so we’re trying to make it so he only associates being in there with being happy and having things to do. But we’ve still got a whiny, yelpy puppy on our hands.

We’ve tried small intervals, 5-15 minutes, at varying times during the day. We try not to make a fuss of him. We put him in the laundry with some food/treats and close the door and walk away quietly. Yelping, scratching and crying will start up shortly afterward. It’s really quite heartbreaking to listen to. We stick out for the full amount of time that we’ve nominated, and go to let him out, but then we’re stuck with what to do when it comes time to let him out. If he’s noisy, do we keep him locked in there? If he quiets down but is still whining a little bit, does that count?

This one’s the hardest bit so far. Everything else he’s picking up so well, and Hubby’s had a dog in the past who was really dependant, so he’s worried about what’ll happen if we can’t train this out of Capone. Any more suggestions about how to handle this one would be great, thank you.

And, it is one that is in my top five of my current rotation of Dogs I Shall Obsess Over This Week. The others are a Border Terrier, Italiano Spinone, English Bulldog and Pug. Check back next week to see my current obsession whilst doggie shopping.

Capone is a great name.

We want pictures! Not nearly enough dogs pictures. This place is overrun with pussies!
Oh, and this is for Elenfair what are your thoughts on loooong walks (1mile or more) with puppies before they are fully grown? Is that really bad for their joints in the long run?
YAY for puppies!

Heheh. I’ll get mum’s digicam at some time, and we’ll put some puppy pics up.

To answer my own question, somewhat, he seems to be okay being left alone if he’s got a real, meat bone (not a rawhide or toy one) to gnaw on. I put him in the laundry with one, and hid in the toilet. No puppy anxiety. So I left the laundry. He saw me go, he didn’t care. But to me this seems to be a bit of a stopgap solution. If I go and close the door while he’s engrossed in his bone, is the likelihood going to be that he freaks once the bone’s gone/he’s bored with it? Or will his little short puppy attention span then just go to seeking out his other toys/food or perhaps collapse into sleep?

The bone is a good idea to keep him occupied. Watch carefully that he doesn’t start actually breaking off chunks or splinters-- those can become lodged in his gut and make him very ill. But as long as he’s just gnawing on it, you should be okay.

I fill bones for my puppy with penut butter and dog treats and then freeze it overnight. It provides hours of yummy fun. Rubber Kong toys are great for this purpose, too.

Your puppy is just being a puppy. He’s crammed full of energy, and he gets bored very easily. He’s also a pack animal, and gets very lonely; being a puppy intensifies this, because they instinctively want to stay close to the adults.

You might want to consider doggy daycare. I’ve been preaching this since I got my puppy eight months ago and saw what a difference it made. I started her as soon as she had all of her vaccinations, and it’s really done her a world of good. She used to be a very timid puppy who would get aggressive if cornered, but now she’s much better socialized.

Some centers offer training as well as games and activities for the dogs. You can drop them off before work and by the time you pick them up, they’re worn out from playing all day. A tired dog is a good dog.

If that’s not an option, make sure he has plenty of things to do: interesting or tasty toys and plenty of them. Even so, be prepared for him to tear up your laundry room. I’ve heard of some dogs gnawing on the woodwork, or to even ripping up the linoleum.

I heartily recommend The Kong for doggie amusement. Stuff it full of cheese, melt it, cool it and give to Capone.

Fun to be had for long lengths of time.

Capone loves peanut butter. A peanut buttery Kong is giving him raptures at the moment.

I’ve gone back to work for the first time since we got our little baby. Apparently hubby’s having some problems. Capone’s been a bit hyper all day, chewing and running around a lot, and when I called to check up on my boys, Hubby said he’d been all sorts of naughty since I left. Hopefully it’s just him playing up today because he’s a bit hyper, and not anything more.

Wear him out. Play fetch until he drops. Get a remote controlled car and drive it all over the livingroom so he can chase it. Shine a flashlight beam on the floor and let him chase that.

As I said, a tired dog is a good dog. Puppies have vast amounts of energy. He has to get it out somehow, and it’s either going to be expended chewing on your stuff or vigorous play.

Having a puppy is hard work-- more than most people realize. It’s like having a baby. They need nearly constant attention during their first few months. This is the time when you have to train the puppy, showing them what is allowed and what is not. If you neglect this, you’ll spend years trying to work out negative behaviors.

We’re looking at some crates now. There’s one on ebay that’s about 92x58x66 cm (36x23x26")… Would that be the right size, and would it be good for him when he grew, or would that start to get a bit small after a while?

Sierra - regarding crates, I highly recommend one with a separate panel you can use to make the crate smaller.

A good place to get “cheap” crates is here: http://www.jbpet.com/

Our service dog organisation, and many rescues use their crates because they are affordable, and customer service is great. Look into Midwest “Life Stages” crates, which allow you to buy a crate big enough for your pup when he’s full grown but will offer the divider panel so he can “grow into it”, as it were.


Enjoy puppyhood!