Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shopping For Toys

Buster definitely needs some new toys. He doesn't seem to be very interested in our most popular toy, the squeaky ball. Rusty can't get enough. I think Buster is just now coming into an improving eyesight where he can see more detail. I think his interest in the ball will greatly improve. He loves chewing on his rope, a big foot-long 1 1/2" blue and white rope with a knot on each end. And, he really likes baling twine. While trying to write the first sentence he tore to the back bedroom, grabbed one of my dirty socks and headed back at full tilt...twice.

This morning we headed to Petsmart to do a little shopping. Buster is too young to go into the store.  We'll do that after he gets his next vaccine on Friday. I didn't want to leave him in the truck unattended, so I loaded up his carrier in the back seat. Buster did very well while I was gone. 

The dog toy business seems quite strong. I hadn't realized you could buy deer antler chew toys for $20!!!  Sorry, Buster, I went for the three nylabones for $9. But, hey, they ARE flavored!  So far his favorite seems to be the peanut butter. Like father, like son. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weigh Day

Day 8:  We'll make Tuesdays weigh day.  He came in at 12.5 lbs  That's about a pound and a half weight gain in a week.  Amazing.  A 10% increase.

He continues to sleep about the same amount at night.  He is good walking on the leash.  We're even working on a few sits, stays, and comes in a playful manner.

Last night there was a post on Facebook about "high drive" dogs.  I had heard the term, but it seems like our language is full of terms that don't necessarily mean any thing.  We got our first taste of Buster's high drive.  He had a fifteen minute burst like someone had given him a Red Bull.  He tore around the living room, around Rusty, dodged a few cats before pouncing on his chew toy.  I think I just sat there mesmerized mouth agape.  Oh, it's going to be a ride.....

Monday, October 27, 2014

Canine Philosophy

Our K-9 Philosophy

Editor's Note:  My philosophy notes may sound a bit technical or regimental form time-to-time, but that's only because it is written down.  Believe me, we're raising Buster with a very fluid philosophy.  Ranae and I discuss and come to a consensus on many of the ways we interact with him.  Please feel free to comment about them at the end of the post.

We've owned dogs most of our adult lives.  They have all had, of course, their own unique personalities.  A dog is a bigger commitment than most folks consider.  If you are lucky, you'll have the dog for a decade or longer.  The habits and tendencies they develop will be something YOU have to live with for a long time.

The partners I've had over the years have taught me much - both in what to do and what NOT to do.  Firstly, they've demonstrated the ability to learn at a very young age.  That doesn't mean you can't let them be a puppy and do their crazy puppy shit, but you can also teach them far more than where to pee and poop at nine weeks of age.

I think Buster is going to be quite a headstrong dog.  He has a tenacity to him.  That's one of the characteristics of his breed.  My challenge is how to channel that tenacity.  Catahoulas will try and exert their dominance in the pack.  I'm hoping to develop a confident dog that does not always have to exert his influence.

Our first week has been really just been working on our bond.  Buster has had a lot to learn about the household: how to interact with our other dog, Rusty, and the five other cats; about the crate and his sleeping arrangements; about feeding protocols; and, of course, elimination schedules.  That's quite a curriculum for an 8 week old in a new environment.  He's done fairly well with everything.  He's shown a lot of love and affection.  He has a great sense of humor and is also a bit of a clown.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ah the First Weekend

It's great to have another set of eyes on Buster.  Ranae and I can take turns playing and watching him.  He looks to get into everything, he is a puppy after all.  We have tinkering with his feeding schedule a bit.  We are trying to tweak it to help him get his play and sleep time more in sync with our own.

The boy has an appetite.  We tried him with 3/4 of a cup of dry food and he was still looking for more.  I bumped it up to a full cup last night, but I think it was a bit much.  We'll keep it at 3/4 cup four times a day for now.  He is a nose surfer, always looking for a bit of kibble dropped on the floor or running his nose along the edge of the coffee table to see if any snacks may have been left behind.

He has discovered the delicacy of horse poop.  Rusty taught him that.  He also also a good appetite for hoof pieces.   The farrier came the day after we brought Buster home.  I've collected as many of the pieces as I could find, but Buster's nose is stronger than my eyes.

This morning he slept until about 5 am.  He has gotten very good at going outside to pee.  As with any puppy this age, you just kinda have to let them figure things out.  The cats are tolerating him more and more.  We have to be a bit careful because during his "high energy" times his motor is revving and he wants to chase everything.

The crate is working well as long as we don't try to put him in there during one of his energy periods.  We've found it best to play hard and just as he is winding down, place him in there.  He fights it for a short time, then dozes off.  We me trying to take him everywhere I go he may have to spend some time in the crate inside the truck.  Right now the temps have cooled off.  It will be interesting to see how he handles that when the time comes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oh, How We Long for the Good Ole Days

Oh, How We Long for the Good Ole Days... 

Which were like two days ago.  Buster is gaining confidence.  He also has begun his training.  He is not allowed to jump up anymore.  And, he's not allowed to use us as a chew toy.  The jumping has improved quite a bit.  We use the gentle knee bump timed to set him back a bit.  The chewing I'm sure will be a much tougher problem.  He has his toys, but as most puppies, he prefers our socks, the throw on the sofa, or Rusty's tail.  Rusty is helping keep her in line.

Buster slept through the night.  He woke around 5 am and I let him out.  We walked around a bit after his constitutional and, because he had some energy, we played for a bit.  My normal start time is around 6 am.  Instead of placing him back in the crate for an hour we laid on the floor.  He played with his toys for about 15 minutes then he curled up next to me and was just about ready to fall asleep when one of the cats wanted out.  I got up, he waited in "our" spot.  A couple of minutes later he was slipping into sweet Morpheus when he was attacked by - duh, duh, dunnnnn - puppy hiccups!  Eventually we got about a cat nap's worth of shut-eye and were ready for a hearty breakfast at six.

Ready To Walk
We have just about transitioned him over to our house brand of food, Blue Buffalo.  He is getting almost a full cup in the morning, about half a cup at noon, about 3/4 cup at dinner, and 1/2 a cup an hour before bed.  His stools have been good.  He's only had one accident in the house and that was because I need to grab a jacket before taking him out and he couldn't wait.

Our walks are growing longer.  He still is afraid of almost anything that makes a noise, but his fear is getting less and less.We walked by the train today and the air brakes gave him a terrible fright.  We kept moving and everything was okay.

It's just about time for we go!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Well, That's Not Fair

4:40 am:
Buster slept most of the night. I heard him stir and before he could move around too much I was up and had him outside. He seems to know the words "potty time". He took care of business rather quickly. I gave him some "atta boys", and back in the house we went.  He is still small enough to pick up.  I scooped him up, gave him a couple of snuggles, then placed him back in the kennel.  

Boy, did we hear about it it!  He is just now quieting down after nearly half an hour of barking. He has a point too.  I hope he'll sleep just a little longer tomorrow and we can just get up and start the day.   It's just not fair to get him up, let him run around, then expect to go back to sleep.  And, I'll need to work on the stark contrast of having him safe and comforted in my arms one sec and lonely and in his kennel the next.

He is getting pretty good at the recall.  I gotta work on my whistle.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Third Day


I had "Liked" a pet shelter page on Facebook that was located in Texas.  The name escapes me now - I'll add it later.  (It is called Friends of Weatherford Animal Shelter.)  One of the photos that came across my feed was of a lost dog that was available for adoption.  They called it a Catahoula, a name that sounded vaguely familiar, but I could not recall any traits of the breed.
Max, our trusted Australian Shepard, has been gone for three months now.  We were back in the dog market.  I had looked at a "rescue", but the dog just wasn't the right fit.  We have another older dog, Rusty, and five cats, along with two horses.  It's easy to disrupt our household.  I wanted to make it as painless as possible.

About a week after seeing the shelter pic, I was taking photos of a horse training event about an hour away.  The wild horses being cared for on private land were the charitable beneficiaries of the event.  A silent auction including photos of the horses and handmade art were included.  There was also a listing for a Catahoula pup.

I searched out the donor and breeder of the puppies.  We had an extended conversation about breed characteristics and temperament.  I knew that if I got another Aussie he would be compared to Max and that seemed unfair.  This breed was labeled as smart, energetic, and short-haired (a handy trait when owning other furry creatures).

I bid and won.  The pup would be ready on the 21st.  I would have three males to choose from and picked the red one who first approached me.  It was a difficult choice.  With a litter of eleven it was chaos.   I liked the fact that this puppy was curious about the world around him, but kept coming back to check on his humans.

Between the time I won the bid and the time to pick up the dog I did a little more research.  Catahoulas are a combination of many breeds.  They are determined herders with a mind of their own.  They believe in pack hierarchy.  Obedience training is  must.  These are all things I am ready to handle.

We flip-flopped over a few names.  I landed on Buster. Buster has a good ring to it.  Our last Buster was a cat - a stray - who was tough as nails, courageous, and loyal (the food thing helped that).

So, it's on to this life.  A dog's life.  Raising a puppy happens about once every 10-15 years for us.  I forget how or what the last one was like.  I'll chronicle a few things here for the next time if needed, or as a resource for others out there.

Today, Buster officially turned eight weeks old.  He weighs 11 lbs.  He was born on 8-22-14

Monday the drive home was uneventful.  We crate train.  He had a little accident the first day in the crate.  He also had a slightly loose stool.  We are transitioning him from the breeders food to our brand, Blue Buffalo.  We've chosen not to use puppy food.  Some believe it fuels quick growth that causes bone or joint problems later on.  I am not so concerned about this as I am hoping he may not reach his full size potential of 70 lbs.  Fifty-five to sixty lbs. would be just great.  He woke up three times during the first night and I let him out.  He promptly did his business and returned to the crate.  He cried for about 15 minutes the first time, ten minutes the second, and five the third. Once in the crate, we leave him be.  We do not talk to him or let him see us.

Last night, he cried a bit longer the first time we put him in.  He slept about half the night.  I let him out.  His crate was clean.  He did his bidness.  Once back in he whimpered a bit then slept until WE woke him at 6 am.

The breeder had been just giving him straight dry kibble.  I started adding a small amount of warm water to the food and I think that helped the digestibility because coincidentally his stools started firming up.  I am feeding him about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of food four times a day.  We'll have him re-checked for parasites a week from Friday when he gets his next vaccination.

He has had his first shot and worming.  On October 16th he got Parvovirus, Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza.

I start training from day one.  This conflicts with many who feel the puppy should be isolated from public areas for fear of disease.  I weigh these risks.  This is golden teaching and bonding time.  I am not going to stay home and be isolated with him.  Plus, he's just been separated from his ten brothers and sisters.  The interaction, bonding, and training are more important than the risk of disease. I do limit his exposure by not taking him to dog rich areas, but we do walk the public streets.

There you have it.  Feel free to comment.  Raising dogs is like raising kids - everyone has slightly differing opinions and that's okay.  I hope to chronicle how Buster's life goes and let's see what happens.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome To Buster Brown Dog

Follow the life of Buster, our Louisiana Leopard Catahoula, from puppy to dog, from training to fun, from vets to adventures! Enjoy & Share!