This blog is to tell the story about the search for and the upbringing of our new German Shepard. We live in Sydney a pretty dog friendly city so we are looking forward to many outdoor adventures!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Late March Hare

Murphy is growing fast and is doing very well. He had a small case of diarrhea last weekend but he has gotten over that. We brought into the vet for a quick check to make sure it wasn’t anything untoward and he said to feed him some rice with his dinner to settle his small intestine and it worked well. He is pooping like normal again.  J

After watching the DVDs supplied to us by the breeder I’ve learnt a few more training techniques such as, always use a hand command with a verbal command like sit or stay. It will enable the dog to learn to respond to both. The idea being that if he has strayed too far away from you and he is in danger of running out onto a busy road you can signal to him to sit or ly down from a distance that your voice may not carry to. There was also a mention of how to do a correction on the lead while walking. The point being; always do the correction at the shoulder height of the dog so if the dog is small you need to bend down to do it. This has helped and Murphy is responding to us better and paying more attention to us. As he is a puppy and most things he is seeing for the first time are very exciting to him it is very hard to keep his attention on the walks. As things become more familiar to him I hope he calms down and listens to us more. Overall he is doing well on the lead.

There has been no peeing in the house lately, which is great. In Sydney the past week we have had a lot of rain. Murphy doesn’t like going out in the rain so when we are at work he got bored and tore up his bedding. That wasn’t too great. It was also soaking wet so it is up in the bathtub drying off :-/ I left him a rawhide bone to keep him entertained but clearly it wasn’t enough and he found it before I left so it didn’t have the desired effect. The following day I put out 2 kongs and a bone and he behaved much better. It’s all a game. Since being sick he hadn’t dug any more holes but today when I came back from training there were 2 news ones starting so I am not sure what next week is going to entail.

He gets his next set of vaccinations on Friday and then starts his puppy pre-school on Saturday. I am really looking forward to it. I am scheduled to be away that weekend and Mark is to bring him but I think my plans may be cancelled so I can attend which would be great. He will also be able to go into dog parks after Friday as well. I can’t wait to see what he does off the leash.

New bits and bobs:
  • Murphy doesn’t like the wet grass or the rain
  • He now pees on the stones if the grass is wet…such a princess!
  • He gets hiccups like the rest of us
  • He really likes socks and he also got hold of one of my bras… I caught him in time
  • Murphy thinks birds are amazing
  • We have started to master stay and drop commands hope to post a video soon
  • My selfies are getting better!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Progressing through March

Well thankfully Murphy passed the vet checkup with flying colours. They all thought he was adorable. He also got to meet a few other dogs while there and the vet showed him how to meet them so Mark said it all went very well which is great to hear. He is in perfect health and he has a few more fans in the clinic too. Other good news is that we can start bringing Murphy out on very small walks but we are to keep him away from dog parks until he is fully vaccinated. Murphy and Mark had a great boys weekend. They went down to the local café for breakfast in the morning and got a ton of attention from passers-by and patrons.

So now the exciting times of lead training begins. We’ve had the lead on him around the house so he can drag it around and get used to it. Every so often he grabs it and starts chewing. I try to stop him quickly but it must feel great to chew because as soon as I do he is back to it again. We have had a few successful walks and a few half successes. He instinctively knows when we turn to head home. I must be giving off some signal that he knows we’re close. He then starts to pull and race ahead. I’ve combatted it by turning and immediately walking the back the other way, this is to teach him that I dictate where we go not him and it seems to be working. It takes a very long time to walk about 30metres and in the evenings I definitely have a lot more time to work with him on it. We had a very good walk today so it’s an improvement but who knows what tomorrow brings.

I was just going to comment on well his toilet training has been going and he has peed on the kitchen floor behind me. I guess we can’t cross that one off the list just yet. The annoying this is I had just walked outside with him to see if he needed to go as well. Very annoying… house privileges for this evening revoked!!

We are trying to alternate his toys as well so he is kept entertained. Clearly this wasn’t enough for him yesterday as he dug a lovely big hole in the garden. If I was to guess he wanted to get into the dog next door. Thankfully our fences go quiet deep and our grass is quiet hard so he didn’t get through. To stop him going any further I brought down a plastic storage box and filled it with water, no chance of him being able to move that. I also gave him a small chew bone and a tennis ball. He has never had a tennis ball before so he had loads of fun with that which is good. I came home to no new holes and no attempts to getting into the one already dug. I’m chalking it up to a success.

Now for some snippets:
  • Murphy loves sitting down on walks
  • He doesn’t chew on the lead that much anymore
  • His ears are starting to stand up… it’s very cute
  • Crate training is the best thing in the world he sleeps like a baby every night
  • I am very grateful to have tiled floors
  • He doesn’t like the broom handy to keep him from charging in the door. Just its presence is enough to persuade him to stay back.
  • He still hasn’t discovered there is an upstairs in the house I pray he never does
  • Murphy discovered his tail yesterday and ran in circles, gave us a good chuckle
  • If someone has a smacko (dried beef strips) Murphy is your best friend

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The First Week Continues

As days have all rolled into one at the moment this next post will combine most of this week and the trials and battles we have had J

I’ll start off with the good parts because that’s always nice. Murphy has started to eat more for breakfast and he is still keeping his bedding nice and dry. I am really happy for those small things. I have booked him in for his next round of vaccinations and puppy pre-school. I am really looking forward to being able to take him out for walks as his energy levels are growing and the amount we can burn off in the garden isn’t enough.

The downsides of this week are small but frustrating. He has reverted to charging at the back door again and is not going back into his bed when we want to go back into the house. I believe this is natural behavior for pups to act up and not listen to you but I was foolishly hoping that he would learn it and keep doing it.

He is coping well with being at home most of the day without us. There has been no terrible destructive behavior. He chewed a wire on something we don’t use and most likely never will. He has chewed up parts of a foam mat I have put out for him. Mainly though he has concentrated all his time on chewing his toys which is great.

This morning I decided that I would try to introduce his lead to him again. I would just attach it to him and let him drag it along with him. I needed him to get used to it again, as last time I put it on he wouldn’t stop chewing it and it drove me a bit mad Haha.

Mark is taking him to the vet this evening to get a mini checkup and it would be handy for him to not be going mad with having the lead on him. Murphy has been scratching a lot around his hind legs and his private parts. It’s either down to mozzie bites, our grass irritating him or worse, fleas. As his skin is grey and his fur is so dark I can’t tell the exact reason, so I thought it was best to go to the experts and ask them. Also it is a good time to see how Murphy will do surrounded by other animals and noises. I would like to be there but I’m away this weekend so Mark and Murphy get some boy’s time. Good luck Mark!

Back to work for us

First Week we all go to Work and Murphy stays at home

Monday rolled around quite quickly and it was time for us to see how Murphy would be left at home for the day alone. Mark gets up way too early these days so I got up at 6am to make Murphy’s breakfast and to wake him up. It was about 6.30 when I was ready to go out and wake the beast.
He was quiet until I start moving the sheets off his crate. I waited until he had calmed down before opening his crate and then walked straight over to the grass to encourage him to relieve himself. A check of his crate and it was dry which is great.

I took his toys away, put his breakfast into the crate and closed the door behind him. I left him so I could go have my breakfast. When I head back into the house he gets a little fussy and whines a bit but after a couple of minutes goes back to eating. This was the first morning he had eaten pretty much all of his breakfast. I have reduced the portion size and it seems to suit him better.

After my breakfast and his, back out I went to have some playtime with him. Took away his bowl and walked around on the grass again to see if he needed to go to the bathroom again.

We played some tug of war and then it was time for me to leave. I left him with a kong with some of his breakfast in it to keep him entertained during the day. I gave myself 10mins to get back into the house as I want him to learn that he can’t come in with me every time. I ask him to go into his “bed” and “stay”. I walk towards the door slowly repeating the word “stay” every step. If he gets up and comes to follow me I simple ignore him walk back to his crate and say “bed” pointing to it. Sometimes he puts up a little bit of a fight but he goes in eventually on his own accord. Eventually I get him to stay in his crate while I open the door and most of the time I get inside the house before he moves. Recently he has let me open the door and then he starts to walk towards it. It’s better than his previously dashing to the door J

I am working in the city so I can get home pretty quickly this week, nonetheless when time came to get off the bus I did almost break into a run. I got in and there was silence. Dropped off my bags and went to the back door. He was there chewing on his toy but came dashing up when he saw me. Opening the door slowly wasn’t really an option. He started peeing from excitement, so I didn’t pet him I walked over to the grass and gave him the command to go to the toilet and he peed on the grass so then I gave him a lot of praise. I had a look around the garden to look for damage didn’t get up to too much mischief.

Side note: To encourage him more into his bed I have put his toys into the crate. As before he used to just run over to them and start playing and ignore me, which was not ideal. The end goal is to not need the toys at all… I have managed this once but it took a long time. That’s alright though it’s all progress.

Monday, 10 March 2014

First Weekend at Home - Sunday

I was out again in the morning. Mark was a little sensitive from a night out on Saturday night so I fed and played with Murphy in the morning and calmed him down before leaving so he would be happy being left alone for a little while. The plan worked which was great.

We had a nice morning playing and just chilling. At one point I was in the house alone with Murphy and decided I would give him a little test… I ran to the toilet quickly and when I came out sure enough he was in my bedroom… test failed. Although what I hadn’t noticed until Mark came home a good bit later was that he had peed in the bedroom. First mistake in the house but I blame myself more; it was too big of a test J.

The rest of the day went by with no issues.

The First Weekend - Saturday

We got up early as we knew that would generally be his routine during the week, plus we didn’t know how late he would sleep in. I prepared his breakfast, then we headed out and Mark pulled back the blankets and tarp to find a very happy puppy. He either woke when we came out or he was awake already playing with his toys. Mark brought him straight onto the grass and he peed straight away. I checked the crate and it was dry. Another success! I place his food outside his crate beside his water and left him to eat.

When I came back out he had only eaten a little. As soon as I went to pick it up he went straight back to eating it. I think he will eat more when I watch him almost like he has some competition for the food but I needed a new tactic, as I couldn’t do that all the time. I got in touch with the breeders giving them an overall update and some photos and asked them what was best to do. I was advised to put the food in his crate with him and take his toys away to remove any distractions and close the door. He definitely ate more this way. Another point to remember is that he was competing with 8 other pups for food and the breeders didn’t know exactly how much each puppy was eating so perhaps he was used to eating less than the others. I wasn’t worried and he was peeing and pooping like a champ so I believed everything was hunky dory.

I left Mark alone for the morning and Murphy whined all morning. Mark wasn’t too sure what to do. Who knew Mark was going to be the softie. So when I came home I took Murphy out the back and drained some energy by running around the back garden for ~10mins or less. Puppies don’t need that much exercise – remember the golden rule, if it is too much for a 2 year old toddler it’s too much for a puppy. So after a run and some more play time he was a lot quieter and obedient.

Things we worked on today, was not charging the back door when it was opened to get in and staying outside when we wanted to go in and leave him outside. He did really well on both of these. He is not there just yet but another week and I say he will have it nailed… I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!

Dinnertime came around and I gave him some chicken carcass in his crate. He ate that like a champion! So I was happy with that outcome.