Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Puppies: Dealing with soft stools, teaching self-control and getting them socialized

Eclipse is a pretty cool pup. He leaps and yips and is pretty much joyous all the time. But he had one issue that is not uncommon with young puppies: soft stools. Kind of the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. This went on for a week. During that week I was in touch with the breeder and the vet and waiting to see if it would correct itself. It didn't. I tried adding yogurt and pumpkin to his food. That didn't work. At this point, the vet recommended prescription food for a week plus daily probiotics.

The first night after the new food was introduced was filled with loose stools and some diarrhea. Then the vet added a daily dose of Albon to the mix and that did the trick. From that day to this, Eclipse has had normal puppy stools and just as important: he tells me when he has to go potty by whining. There have been no more accidents in his crate, he's sleeping 8-9 hours a night and all of those barks and howls and yowls he made at the beginning are going away. Why? Because I ignore them. Pretty good for a 10-week-old puppy. While potty and crate training Eclipse, leash training has been in full swing. When he's out of his crate, he's on leash with me - except when it's off-leash play time. Tethering him to me prevents him from wandering around and getting in trouble. He's curious about everything and even though my house is pretty darned puppy proof, he could still find ways to get in trouble. Not every electrical cord is hidden, there are rugs he could chew on, and all kinds of furniture he could jump on - habits I don't want him to start here and continue in his new home. Teaching self-control to a puppy goes something like this: teach the puppy to sit and wait. For everything. Especially food. Here's a video to illustrate.

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Socialization - meeting lots of people - is key to a puppy's well-being. In Eclipse's case, it also means getting him out and about to places other puppies might not go because he's training to be a service dog. We visited a friend's home recently, introducing him to Beca, Jeff, and Sammy, their adult Lab. Thanks, you guys!

Thanks to my friend, Sue, for arranging a visit to VCU. I'm not sure who had more fun, the puppy or the students.

And thanks to Jack Trammell for hooking Eclipse up with his students at Randolph Macon. Here he retrieves a cell phone. Good boy!

Eclipse has also been to Lowes, Target and BassPro today. If you see an adorable black Lab puppy in a blue "service dog in training" vest, stop us and say hello.

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