It's a girl!

Yeah, so... no, we're NOT having a kid anytime soon. But we DID decide to add to the family with a new puppy! We have a dog and two cats; the dog, Sid, is getting on in years and we figured it was high time to grab ourselves a little tiny terror to keep him company, and most likely to be the first dog when we DO have a kid!

So here she is... she's a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Her name is Silverbelle, or just Belle for short (from Beauty and the Beast ... there's no reference to any vamipres here no matter how suspicious it may seem!)

Her first day home with us:

Lookin' cute. It's what she does.

Well okay, she also pees and eats. But mostly she's just cute.

She's about 3 months old right now, and last week she weighed 15.5 pounds. She's probably up near 18-ish now. Her brother Hank is estimated at about 60-70 when he grows up, but Belle will probably be about 50. Maybe. We're not sure.

That's the fun of rescuing a puppy of mixed breed (which she may NOT be... she could be all Catahoula for all we know). Ya never know what you're gonna get!

She's a sweetie so far. She's working on figuring out how not to pee on our carpets but we're not expecting her to "get" that right away. She's also figured out that if she sits at Mom's feet instead of leaping up and biting her hands she will get a piece of kibble, which she worships. She's very smart when there's food involved.

Anyhow, this is what's been occupying my time for the past week and a half or so. Enjoy!

Darsa 15 years ago
Sweeeet, sweet sweet, what a FACE!!! And I love the coloring, what a gorgeous girl you've got there!
Den 15 years ago
.. there's no reference to any vamipres here no matter how suspicious it may seem!)

LOL - suuuuuuuuuuuuuure!

She certainly is a cutie though...and looks like a lot of fun. Too bad she's so HUGE (or going to be).
She really has a cute face.
Mileron 15 years ago
Cuteoverload submission material right there!

Such a cutie!
Blackrabbit 15 years ago
I dunno, I think huge is a bonus. I hate little dogs! Well, hate is a strong word. They have their place. Generally, under someone's armpit.

Belle was Andy's suggestion. I wanted to name her Silver. He was cycling through Disney princesses (Aurora was a close second)... and we finally engaged in the fine art of compromise and called her Silverbelle.

There may, however, be some distant vampiric ancestry as we caught her going for my jugular:

So maybe I spoke too soon. She's definitely out for blood there!
Beli 15 years ago
Glad your family expanded. Hope the transition goes smoothly, especially with the other animals in your household. How did the cats and the dog accept Belle?
Blackrabbit 15 years ago
She's getting along as well as can be expected for a puppy. The cats avoid her so we're going to have no issues there; if she ever gets too "into" them she'll probably get a swat for her troubles. We may take her to Andy's parents next weekend. They have 4 cats who are more likely to swat first and THEN run, and we want her to learn to respect the cats early on. Mine are too damn slippery for her to get that.

We've had to limit playtime with big brother Sid as well, since she was getting too attached. The trainer tells us that can be a bad thing early on as it may make her more aggressiv e to dogs outside her "pack."

So basically, she is getting a long a little too well with everyone! She's very playful though, so we do let her romp with Sid for a little while. Just not all day long.
Den 15 years ago
LOL - yes, I admit I like 'armpit' dogs...actually, the only kind I'd consider having would have to fit in a purse...consequently, I'm afraid I'm going to have to stick with the cat ownership title.

"Silverbells...silverbells...its Christmas time at the Raggedy's" lol
Vebran 15 years ago
PUPPY!!!!!!!!!! So very darlin', bunny! Grats!
ROzbeans 15 years ago
PUPPY!!!!!!!!!! So very darlin', bunny! Grats!

Haha oops, that was me.
Lillaanya 15 years ago
Awww!! She is so freakin cute!!
Lolanae 15 years ago
CUTE! My puppy in Louisiana is that same bred. It's a great bred. Super playful and super loyal. Your puppy is soooo adorable!
Blackrabbit 15 years ago
I am pretty sure she's going to drive me insane. With the chewing, the jumping on shit, the peeing all over the floor... she's psycho, lol.
LillianaSapphire 15 years ago
wow shes' really unusual, pretty dog....Lovely addition to any family!
Blackrabbit 15 years ago
So in an effort to bond and get her to stop chewing on my face and stuff, we've started some training. Turns out she's so food-oriented that she's fairly easy to train. "Sit" came naturally and she's -almost- ready to do that with a verbal command with consistency, but she kept bouncing up on my leg so I decided to address that by teaching her to lie down.

After several successful attempts to "lead" her into the correct position with a piece of food, she sat there, stared at me, and made the leap of logic herself, lying down without my showing her how. Very cute.

The book I'm reading says that once the pup learns a behavior well enough to get your attention by performing it at will for a treat, she's ready to learn the vocal aspect of it.

Only thing is, the book does not tell me how to get her to -stop- doing it. Belle has now learned if she lies down, she gets a piece of kibble. I can't get her to -stop- lying down. Furthermore (and freakin' cute), once she's down, if I didn't give her a treat (usually because she just got one 5 seconds ago), she wriggles her belly on the floor and tries to figure out how much more "down" she can get, and makes a funny little squeaking noise as if to point out that shes a really, REALLY good girl and needs a treat.

It's freaking hysterical. I'm going to try to get it on video, with the potential drawback of our not actually having a camera of any sort that does videos.

Thank God we start class with a trainer soon. Andy's supposed to go to orientation tomorrow, since I'll be at work... otherwise we have to wait until next Monday for it, and I don't want to wait that long for fear I'm doing something totally wrong!
Den 15 years ago
LOL - You're so sound just like a proud new mama.

Belle also sounds like a truly bright dog, which is always so much nicer than one who isn't. She doesn't sound at all stubborn either which makes training so much more enjoyable.
Verileah 15 years ago
Not that I'm an expert or anything, but we did go to a lot of dog training classes...

It sounds like Belle is training you to give her treats . She needs to learn that if you tell her to sit, or down, that means sit and don't get up until you get another command. Put a word to it, like 'free', when she's allowed to get up. If she's sitting, getting her treat, then getting up, sitting again, and expecting a treat, she's wrong and needs to know that. It sounds strict but you kind of have to be hyper-literal with it.

So if she's 'earning' her treat, then trying to earn it again, it's time to say 'no', and repeat the command, with no reward this time.

Now to contradict myself a little, if you tell her down and she downs and -stays- down, reward -that-. Like every five seconds. "Good down" and a treat. Work on duration first, then distance. Some of the dogs in my class didn't get regular meals - they had to earn every bite. We never got that extreme with Yukon but we did cut back on his regular food and gave him a measured portion in treat form. I forget what it's called, but there's this dog food that's like sausage. We chopped that up and used it for treats.

Hope that's not totally annoying unsolicited advice. In the short time we had Yukon we really learned a lot about training, seemed like a shame for it to go completely to waste :X.
Blackrabbit 15 years ago
That's great advice Veri, and I'm already employing some of it. At first I wanted to reinforce the good behavior by treating her when she did it, but now I'm certain she's got the hang of it, we're adding vocal cues and working on duration.

When she stays down, she receives a treat and a "good down" just like you said, and if she gets squeaky I turn my back on her and ignore her until she quiets down again. I can't ignore how freaking funny it is though, watching her wriggle around like a little fish.

We do use her food as a treat... she's very food motivated. We were feeding her three times a day, but since she likes her food so much we've cut out the noon feeding and we just keep that portion on-hand for rewards throughout the day.

Did your trainer teach anything regarding puppy nipping? I'm getting tired of not being able to "snuggle" at all because it turns into a puppy nipping session. All my resources say to ignore her, which is almost impossible unless i want my furniture chewed or peed on. The other resort I have is to crate her, but I am reluctant to use that as a form of punishment, as she already dislikes it. So I can't figure out a method to teach her that lap-time is not bite-time. Putting her on her back has no effect, and saying "no" is equally ineffective as she has no idea what the word means. Tone of voice doesn't seem to effect her either.

If you've got any wisdom to share on that score, that too would be equally appreciated. people seem to think that since I'm a vet tech I have all kinds of knowledge on puppy training... I've got zilch! I know how to treat medical conditions, not behavioral ones!
Verileah 15 years ago
Nipping was probably our biggest hurdle with Yukon. The ignoring technique didn't work for us but I hear it works for others. Another technique that worked for others is to make a loud yelping sound when she nips - something to get her pause - and then say 'no' firmly. Sort of imitating puppy socialization.

Your comfort level might prohibit you from doing more than that. Other advice included filling up a water bottle with pebbles and shaking it when she bites - some dogs find this very unpleasant. And that's really the key - when she nips, the response needs to be immediate and unpleasant, and then it needs to be over. Matt never really struggled with making Yukon understand who was boss - pretty much the only time there was a pissing contest between two very 'alpha' males was if Matt stayed in Yukon's face after a correction. Yukon was very willful and would push back in that situation. So whatever you do, whether it's shaking a bottle or (this sounds unenlightened but...) giving her a little two fingered bop on the nose, it should be immediate and over quickly. Puppies live in the moment and don't necessarily 'get' more sophisticated social engineering like ignoring. They aren't going to sit there and think about what they've done wrong.

Mostly for us it took time and consistency, like most things involved with puppyhood. Apparently most dogs don't want to escalate once you make your boundaries clear. Yukon was a bit of a knucklehead and we really had to work with him to keep him in line. It meant a lot of discipline, a lot of little ways of showing we were in charge. We worked to wear him out and drain his natural drive in more acceptable ways as well - playing games and walking perimeters. Socialization is good too - hopefully your training class allows some 'playtime' for the puppies.
Den 15 years ago
When I had my yorkie, I had the nipping issue, and man that dog had SHARP teeth!
The quick tap to her nose, accompanied with a stern 'NO' cured her in less than a week. Consistency was a big deal with her, just like with kids. The nose tapping got her attention, it was in the general vicinity of where she was creating the negative action, and the 'no' simply reinforced it wasn't acceptable behavior. always have your fingers with you...sometimes a bottle full of pebbles isn't handy
Lillaanya 15 years ago
Our last German Shepherd, before the puppy we have now we got when he was about 3 1/2 years old, and he still had issues with nipping/mouthing. That was a really tough behavior to break at that age, not only because of how long he had been allowed to do it, but because of the strength of the dog (hubby had bruises all over his hands and forearms for months from playing with him) Gentler methods just did not work for us, and in the end we ended up every time he would nip or mouth us we would grab his bottom jaw and hold it. Dogs don't like this at all because in a sense you are taking away his hands for a few seconds. If he repeated the nips, the second time instead of just grabbing the jaw it was accompanied by a finger in the back of his throat. Doesn't hurt, but it is not pleasant in the least. It took about 2 weeks, but once he figured it out, he would not put his mouth anywhere near when playing.

Having said that, puppies need to chew. It is a good idea to keep things on hand for her that she is allowed to chew at all times. We found that pigskin (ears, hooves, etc) seems to be a bit better than rawhide, it takes them a little longer to get through it and where rawhide just gets soggy, pigskin will break up in to tiny bits and is less of a choking hazard.

We've just gotten our newest German Shepherd puppy past the nipping stage at about 5 months. He's lost all his baby teeth now too...that helps a lot. He still will mouth me a little, but only me, and he is extremely gentle. He tends to take me by the hand either to the door to go out now, or to his food dish to tell me he's hungry, or now he has taking to trying to put my hand on the exact spot on his belly he wants scratched lol.