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Old 02-14-2008, 07:15 AM   #1
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Default New puppy owner looking for some hand holding ...

I have read over the threads that cover what I am going to talk about and I am pretty sure I am on the right track but would still like the reassurance that I am doing the right things and advice if any of you have some

My new puppy is now almost 11 weeks old. She is a lab/shep/husky mix and is a rescue puppy, we got her when she was just 6 weeks old. So far house training is going pretty good and I feel she is a smart dog but there are a couple areas where I have concerns that I want to focus on because she is not going to be a small dog(she's over 11 lbs already and doubled in weight from 7 weeks to 10 weeks).

My first concern is our cat. Mojo is 9 years old and was raised by our old lab/rot cross(he passed Xmas day 2006) and has lived the last year with no dog in the house. Susie(the puppy) was afraid of Mojo at first but since she is now close to the same size as the cat(as tall as anyway) wants to play with him. Unfortunately the play ends up looking like this:

Yes, Susie has her mouth open on the back of Mojo's neck. To me it looks like she is trying to dominate the cat and now whenever she sees him she tries this move, pinning the cat to the floor. Over the last couple days I have been making it clear to Susie that Mojo is now off limits and most of the time a "Susie, no!" will get her off him or stop a run towards him or at least get her to back off.

Am I on the right track?

My second concern is her nipping my younger children, especially my 4 year old. My 4 year old tends to run in the and Susie runs right next to her nipping at her pant leg. How do I train her out of this?

Okay that's it ... pat my hand and tell me what I need to do


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Old 02-14-2008, 08:17 AM   #2
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A puppy, a kitty, and little kids! Sounds like your place is hopping!

My guess regarding Susie and Mojo is that Mojo is the closest thing to a litter /playmate that Susie can find and so she is trying to play with the old boy the way she would with another puppy. A littermate of course would nip back, but the cat is more than likely just bewildered by these episodes I'm guessing. Usually what happens is that a cat will get fed up enough to give a dog a carefully placed swipe across the snout. Cast seem to know how much those claws hurt a doggy's nose and so doggy learns fast where the limit is. But I think you are right in discouraging it since it helps to show Susie that you disapprove. You might want to keep a can filled with pennies handy and shake it when Susie goes after the cat. The noise is good at distracting and getting their attention.

10-14 weeks seems to be the worst time for puppy nipping. This might help a little:
But you may have to train your younger child along with Susie. Again, it sounds like Susie wants to play, so if your 4-yr-old runs away, it ends up being a game of chase. Any chance you can get your youngest to play "statue" when Susie starts to nip?

Sorry this turned out so long...
good luck and hopefully more folks will chime in with advice for ya!
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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Hopping is a good word - I have three kids; 12 year old girl, 7 year old boy and 4 year old girl and my husband and the cat and the puppy. The house is small but the yard is huge. So far we're keeping Susie in the main living space(living room, hall & kitchen).

Mojo is pretty good about standing up for himself but has what I call "soft paws" he has his claws on all paws but never actually uses them(he prefers to bite) ... I actually let them interact for a day or so and yes I agree Susie is playing more than anything else but my worry is that soon she'll be bigger than the cat and that play could cause injury or death(if unsupervised) in the cat. My main issue is with the fact that Susie is pinning the cat and biting the back of his neck.

I will check the thread and suggest the statue game to my daughter. Thanks for your reply!

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Old 02-17-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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Sounds like you are doing a lot of things right instinctually

The good news about the photo you posted is that clearly your puppy has already learned some pretty good bite inhibition or the cat would be objecting strongly. On the whole I think you are spot on that with a large breed dog my preferred rule is that dogs are allowed to approach household cats at a walk, to gently sniff and to lick (if the cat will allow), but never to play, mouthe, run up to or chase. I too would simply interrupt the interaction then distract the pup with an appropriate toy. If the pup persists in returning to harass the cat I would pop him in his safe area (play pen / puppy proof room with child gate etc) for a couple of minutes to calm down.

Re the children, teaching them to 'be a statue' is a fabulous idea. Also teach them that when the mouthing gets too hard they should say loudly 'ouch' and leave the room without talking to the dog and shutting the door behind them. You may also need to find a compromise for some separation when the kids are wanting to be boisterous, run around making a lot of noise etc - this may be a good opportunity for the pup to have half an hour's quiet time in a crate with a stuffed kong. Reintroduce the puppy when the kids have calmed down a little.

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