Trying A New Puppy Food

I spent some time yesterday researching a new puppy food.  Sadie’s new vet recommended we switch to a puppy blend.  She agreed with the other vet that an All-Stages dog food is not good for puppies.  She said the brand didn’t matter, but it had to be a puppy blend.  So, back to the dog food review web sites.  After an hour or two of reading, I went to Pet Smart to see what they carried.  I want a good dog food, but not one that will break the bank.  I bought one bag of Wellness Puppy food.  Then I stopped by the local specialty pet store.  I spoke to the woman working and she recommended this Holistic Select food.  Their prices are normally the same as the Pet Smart prices, but currently the food is 46% off!  Sold!  I decided to try the Holistic and return the Wellness.  Holistic is a 4 star brands on Dog Food Advisor, so I feel good about trying it and seeing how Sadie responds.  I’m switching over gradually so she won’t have any digestive issues.  I have 1/3 of the bag of the old dog food left, so there is no rush to switch.  I’ll take about 10 days to switch over.

Here are some more photos from our park walks… Sadie is going to LOVE the lake house!

Sadie chased this bird into the tree.  She watched it for a while, hoping it would come down and play!?!

Sadie really wanted this stick ~ok, branch.  She eventually gave up in search for something more her size.  🙂

Sadie has been doing very well in the car.  No car sickness and mostly good behavior.  She loves to stick her head out the window and doesn’t understand that it is only ok when there are 2 people in the car.  Mom can’t drive and let her hang out the window!

We have a 9 hour drive home for Easter.  Here’s hoping for a smooth trip!

Advertisements

Sleepy Saturday

Sadie loves to spend time with Dad.

Sadie and I lounged around most of the day.  She had little bouts of play, but nothing outside.  It was cold and rainy.  Better snuggle weather than play.

Sadie’s big project was trying to jump up onto the couch by herself.  She even tried a running start, but she just can’t quite make it up.  Of course, we give her a boost, she is allowed on the furniture.  Frankly, I don’t think it even occurred to her that she wouldn’t be allowed.  She immediately tried to gain access to the couch when she first came home.  🙂

As we napped on the couch, I considered that maybe I was over exercising her.  She seemed perfectly happy to be a couch potato today.  She proved me wrong around 6pm.  She woke up and had dinner and was full of energy to burn.  I took her outside and she ran circles around the back yard.  We came into the house and she terrorized her toys for 2 hours.  I took her back outside twice during that period and she did even more sprinting.  Lesson learned… she likes and needs all the outdoor play I have been providing her.  It is currently 8:20 pm and she is zonked out on the couch.  Energy expelled.  Whew.

I feed Sadie her food off of a glass pie dish.  I like using this because it is easier for a puppy to eat off of a low dish, but the sides keep the food in while she pushes it around.  We used a cookie sheet for Daisy, but it was so big, she ended up standing on the sheet and getting food in her paws.

I know potty training is a little early until puppies are about 12 weeks old, but since Sadie knows she is supposed to go outside to potty, I decided to start the training now.  I want to teach her to ring these bells when she needs to go outside. They hang on the door handle and I have her hit them with her nose or paw each time we go out to potty.

Home Is Where the Dog Is

If it takes until she is 12 weeks old (or longer) to really sink in, no harm done.  But, there have been a few times she has tried to tell us she wants to go out, but we missed the signals.  She doesn’t whine, cry or bark.  She moves from one door to another to get let out.  It’s much easier to hear bells!  I will not ring the bells when we go out to play… potty only.  I am going to try to be very consistent.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

http://astore.amazon.com/taiwag00-20

Second-Guessing

Definition of SECOND-GUESS

transitive verb
1
: to criticize or question actions or decisions of (someone) often after the results of those actions or decisions are known <meet almost every morning and, over coffee, second–guess the local coach — Bruce Newman>; also: to engage in such criticism of (an action or decision) <second–guess the general’s strategy>
2
: to seek to anticipate or predict <lived royally by his ability to second–guess the stock market — Time>
sec·ond–guess·ernoun
Merriam-Webster
Yesterday I found myself second-guessing my decisions.  Not the decision to get Sadie.  Oh, no!  🙂  She is a joy and we are so glad to have her!
I was a second-guesser (#1) during our morning crate training sessions and I was a second-guesser (#2) while researching the dog food issue the vet discussed with me.
I was being a bit neurotic.  I know the importance of getting off to a good start with puppies.  We made a few training mistakes with Daisy and it was a struggle during her adult life to fix those bad habits that were “cute” when she was a puppy. {jumping during a greeting} After talking to a friend last night, I realized I just need to relax and Sadie will develop into a great dog.  (thanks Rochelle!)  Ah, being human!
So, yesterday was a great learning day for Mom.  🙂
Dog Food
After extensive Googling, and a very helpful website (thanks Allison!), I’ve decided to stay with the breeder’s food, Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal and Sweat Potato dog food.  This website is great!       

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/natures-domain-dog-food/

I remember stumbling upon it a while ago and searching Hills Science Diet (Daisy’s food).  It did not get good reviews.  Nature’s Domain is a 4 out of 5 star (highly recommended rating) and it is a very reasonable price at Costco.

I also love this website.

http://www.consumersearch.com/dog-food/review

I use it regularly.  It is a great summary of product reviews.  They scour the internet and printed reviews (Consumer Reports) and tell you the best high-end, moderate and economical choices, and it’s free!  I used it yesterday to pick a new electric razor for Marcus!  🙂

Sadie is doing very well on Nature’s Domain and she is growing normally.  I feel there is no reason to make a switch.  Nature’s Domain is an ‘All stages of Life’ dog food with quality ingredients.  The research says quality is the most important consideration in picking a food.  It also clearly explained that ‘all stages’ means all stages.  “Poor” quality dog food makers created puppy formulas because they were skimping on quality nutrients puppies need to grow.  Quality ‘all stages’ dog food has the nutrients puppies need.  You may need to feed a puppy a little more for the extra calories they need and you may need to reduce quantity for senior dogs that are not very active.  I will continue to monitor her growth and make a change if there is a reason to change.

My Editor

Crate Training

Sadie continues to do well in her bedroom crate and she does well when I am in the room.  She does not like when I leave her alone.  I sat in the den and worked on the computer for 45 minutes today after a good outdoor play session.  She was tired, but cried the entire time.  She would calm down for a few seconds, whimper, and then get really loud.  I let her out during a quite moment, but I was hoping she would fall asleep first.  Not yet.

I want to make sure I do not create a “Velcro dog” with separation issues, so I am slowing working with her to build her confidence being alone.  She just left her Mom and siblings and has never really been alone.  I’m home all day.  We spend a lot of time together, which I love.  But, I need to be able to leave the house and know she is safe and happy at home.  (I am training for a half-marathon… that takes time!  🙂 )

I created this safe play area for her that provides more room to play, unsupervised.  I know, it is tall.  LOL!

We had this for Daisy, in a different house, fit for that space and purpose.  It was tall so she couldn’t just jump over & out.  This is just temporary to help build Sadie’s “alone” confidence.

The crate door is open and lets her go into the play area as she wants.

Sleeping peacefully.

When she woke up, I gave her a chewy.  She loves it!  It actually kept her busier longer than the peanut butter toy.

I actually got all the bathrooms cleaned, the house dusted and the upstairs vacuumed!  But, it only lasted a while.  I suspect the vacuum noise was a little scary for her.

We practiced some more while I made dinner.  Good results.

I took the big gate down after dinner (Marcus wanted to actually see the TV, ha).

Today I’m going to focus on giving small treats to reward being quite inside the crate.  I will build my time away and return with a treat.

I discovered she really likes carrots, so I’m going to give her those instead of dog treats because I see needing a lot of rewards!  🙂

Crate Training Breakthrough

We had a big day yesterday.

Sadie discovered her bark.  She was playing before breakfast and got really mad at this toy.  It is a rubber glove with a baseball.  The baseball is part of the glove and Sadie was barking at the toy because she couldn’t get the ball out.  It was fun to watch… I should be taping these moments.

After breakfast we had a good play session and then I put Sadie in her crate while I ran some quick errands.

I gave her a treat in the crate to distract my leaving.  It was a small biscuit.

When I returned home, Sadie was crying loudly from her crate.  I suspected she was crying the entire time I was gone.

Not good.  I took Sadie outside for a play session and then we had lunch.  After lunch I took her upstairs to have some good experiences in the crate.  I put a little treat in, she would enter, I’d shut the door and come and leave the room.  We did this for a while.  It was working, but as soon as the treat was gone, she’d cry.  She needed something that lasted longer.

I took this blue toy and put some peanut butter inside two ends.  It is like a kong with 4 ends to fill.  I put it in the crate and closed the door.  I folded the laundry and kept moving into and out of view.  She still got upset when the treat was gone, but now she was entering the crate on her own… she quickly learned that if she goes in, she gets something yummy!  🙂

We stopped the training to go to Sadie’s first vet appointment.

It went very well.  She had a very pleasant experience at the vet and in the car.
No shots today.  She weighs 8 pounds 6 ounces.  She got a check-up and her nails clipped.  Oh, and a few more treats from the staff. 🙂

I really like this vet.  I think it is very important to trust your vet… listen to your instincts.  We discussed vaccinations and when to spay Sadie along with some training advice.  He suggested I move the crate into the family room during the daytime to help her adjust to being in the crate when I leave the house.  It is a wire crate that collapse to move easily.

The vet also recommended I switch Sadie’s dog food to a puppy formula.  The breeder was feeding her a blend that is supposed to be good for all stages of life.  The vet said no.  He said those blends do not have enough nutrients for bone growth.  Of course, I already bought a 30 pound bag of that food.  I’m going to do a little research today to make up my own mind.  I respect the advice, but the brands he recommended included the food we used to feed Daisy.  When the breeder originally emailed us the food brand, I researched it and it rated very high.  I was surprised that Daisy’s food was not rated highly.  I’m a little conflicted… so I’m going to educate myself and see what I discover.

After returning home, we had a play session outside and then we went in and moved the crate into the family room.  It actually was kind of annoying to move.  It is not something I’d want to do every morning and night.  I decided to see the results before worrying about that.

I was floored with the success!  That’s Sadie sleeping peacefully inside the crate!  🙂

The smart girl went right inside when I set it up and laid down.  I didn’t even tell her to.  She was tired, so I sat on the floor to see what would happen.  Eyes closed, I went and shut the door.  She picked up her head and laid it back down.  Huh.  Ok, I locked the door.  She went to sleep.  I stayed in the room and when she would stir, she’d check to see I was still there.  She woke up and I took her out to potty and play.  We practiced being in the crate a few more times that evening.  Some sessions were great, others were a little noisy when I left the room.  But, she never lost control and calmed herself eventually.  Progress!

Springer Kisses for Dad

I told Marcus about our progress and he told me to go get a second crate for the bedroom.  So, I made a late night trip to my favorite place… TARGET!

And bedtime?  Continued progress there, too!  She went right in and with very minimal whimpers, went to sleep.  I was actually laying in bed thinking “She’s sleeping and I’m not!”  🙂

She did wake up for her potty break and I was so tired, I think I forgot to lock the door to her crate when I put her back in.  I woke up an hour and a half later when I heard the gate make a noise.  I looked down and she was standing outside the crate!  Luckily I’m a light sleeper!

I’m off to play and then research dog food.  I’ll share the results tomorrow.  By the way, it’s 60 degrees today!