Puppy Schooled! Gwen Bailey's Puppy Diary

"Otto the Vizsla came to us at 9 weeks from a brilliant breeder who took every care with his upbringing.  He arrived bold and lively, with a lever arch folder of information that was larger than him!  I felt a huge responsibility to keep up the good work.


On the first day he met my partner’s dog Bear, a 10 year old lurcher who has been around plenty of puppies in his time and knows just what to do. Otto’s first lesson was ‘do not pounce on Bear’s tail, even if it looks like one your toys’.  He learned this well with a few carefully timed growls and gentle face grabs and so was prepared nicely to meet 10 year old Inky the cat who was even more protective of his tail. I introduced them when Otto was VERY tired after the end of a long second day, holding on to him so he couldn’t chase or jump.  After a few hisses and paw whacks from Inky when Otto’s nose got a bit too close, Otto soon learned to be respectful and to keep a distance.  Both Bear and Inky soon became more lenient and began to tolerate the occasional indiscretion from Otto, providing it wasn't repeated too often.


A lot of playing with toys was needed early on as Otto was used to brothers and sisters and seemed a bit lost on the first day without them.  He soon got used to playing with humans instead and our task then was to keep the toy moving and us still so he wasn’t tempted to bite us instead.  He took him a while to get this but by the end of the week he was making an effort to remove his teeth from our hands if he got them by accident and to redirect his bites onto the toys instead.


We had a bit of unexpected socialisation during Otto’s car journey to the vets when a nasty crash happened in front of us on the motorway and we were stuck behind it for 1.5 hours.  Otto took his first lead walk on the motorway and went to toilet on the grass at the side.  I kept a tight hold of the lead and he wasn’t phased by the air ambulance landing and taking off, cars whizzing past on the other carriageway, or police cars/ambulances arriving with sirens blazing.  He met lorry drivers and policemen and other stranded motorists and generally seemed to have quite a good time.  We missed our vet appointment and so we visited two lots of friends close by until another appointment became free. After the vaccinations were done, we drove home and had been on the road for 7 hours!


One thing I’d forgotten was how much puppies need to sleep. There is no keeping them awake once they’ve decided it’s time, although sometimes he is so excited by what he is doing that he doesn’t go to sleep when he should and gets cranky and begins to bite hard. This is particularly likely if visitors have come to see him.  Putting him in his playpen when this happens so he can rest prompts a frenzy of indignant yelps and howls. Then, suddenly, peace reigns as he falls sound asleep and when he wakes up, he is a lot better tempered.


Otto’s breeder had got the puppies up every morning at 6 am.  So this is the time when Otto wakes up and nothing I do has convinced him to change.  He needs to go out to toilet, which means I have to go out in a dressing gown and wellies and pretend to enjoy padding round the garden while half asleep. Sleep deprivation set in after the 3rd day of early mornings until I learned to go to bed earlier and take naps when he did.


As the week went on, I remembered how puppies are massive time sink holes – time seems to pour into them and eat up the days. Suddenly it was the end of the week and I haven’t done half as much training and learning to be isolated as I intended. Never mind, Otto is happy and well adjusted so far and there are plenty more weeks ahead."


Join us over the coming weeks for the second installment of Gwen's new puppy diary.


otto 9 weeks

 puppy, training, puppy school

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