Friday, April 30, 2010

Raising a Puppy

I would like to take this time to talk about raising a puppy since birth.
Our first family dog was Laura when we got her 10 years ago. At that time, a dog was a dog, we didn't even know what a notorious name a rottweiler had in Malaysia when we got Laura! Rosie wanted a dog, and we got her one that we all loved so dearly. I'm so sure that there are very few rottweilers in the world that are so tolerant, so well behaved, so patient, beautiful, kind, sweet, I could go on forever! 

Never have we imagined getting a sheltie. That was Rosie's dream when she was older. 

And least of all, never did we imagine we'd become 'parents' to a newborn pup! Unluckily we did not witness the birth of Eva but having her grow up in our house, watching her every day learning something, there's something very beautiful about it. 

At the beginning, we were so worried that Eva without littermates would be different, unusual, weird.
That is true in some ways, she hasn't learnt how to self defend herself, play with puppies, bring them down, ask for attention - luckily for us, she learnt that during the 6 days Sweetheart was with us. Raising her has never been easy. We've been through happy times, funny times, also many sad, heartbreaking ones. 

Last week, we realised that treating her like a puppy, like our cuddly toy will only make her behaviour worse. Her adolescent period (now) has been one of the hardest times we've been through with her. This week, we've decided to start from the basics again.
For example, whenever she gave us her 'moody' face, we used to try to comfort her. Then we learnt ... it's her face she puts up - that she's bullying us. So we ignored her. Few days later, she's back to her normal happy self.

Another thing we learnt from Sweetheart when she came was that she would always come and ask for attention because living with so many littermates, you have to fight for what you want. Eva gets it without asking for it. That's why she never bothers to come to us and even worse, if we pat her, it's like the most uncomfortable thing in her life and she'll walk away from us. We're still working on this but at the moment if Eva doesn't want to come, I'll leave her alone until she wants the attention.  

We really wish she could be good like her grandma, or even better like her mother but we can't ask for that because she's who she is. All we can do is mould her into a better dog with a better personality. We just hope that our 'inexperience' with raising pups hasn't had too huge and bad an effect on our beloved girl. 

The thing that worries us most are her hind legs. As many of you may know, they are very weak and we've been keeping her on grass, and mats. All we can do is hope and pray that it will not be too serious when she's older. We don't know where to take her swimming which apparently is the best exercise, our facilities here do not have hydrotherapy or water treadmills! 

Each problem will always lead to the next, but having Eva, our miracle has been a very exciting journey in our life, and we hope to share our journeys with you all always. 


katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

This post is very touching. There are so many worries when raising a puppy and when you have different circumstances, as you and I both have had, there can be many more worries!

The comment about "a dog was a dog" is something I think many of us can relate too. We didn't used to treat our four legged friends as we do now, and it does lead to more worries. But if you guys are educating yourselves in the best training practices and implementing them in your and Eva's life then you are doing the best for her. Maybe you know about it already, but if not learning about the four quadrants of positive reinforcement training, and now there is a fifth called extinction, could be very helpful. It sounds like you are already applying the extinction part with some of her behaviors. If you haven't already you could check out my friend blogs: and is raising 5 shelties right now and has worked with many others through the years. Her blogs could be a very good resource for you. You can also link to it from Lessons From and For 4 Legs.

Sorry this is so long I guess you stuck a chord with me and maybe I am only saying what I want to hear for myself, but the fact that you are worried about training at all is a sign you are on the right track to me!

And don't forget:teenagers are teenagers, no matter how many legs they have and they all grow up eventually!LOL

Sara said...

Eva is going to turn out just fine. You are doing a great job. Each dog is going to develop their own personality, no matter what you do!

I hope Eva's legs will not get any worse, and that she will be able to run, play and grow strong. Water therapy is not a common thing to find, I just happen to be lucky enough to have one near me.

Chris and Ricky said...

I think Eva will turn out just fine too! There are plenty of puppies that are lovingly raised by people with no puppy-raising experience (like me!).

I also hope Eva's legs will get stronger instead of weaker. What about trying that "get on the ball" strengthening that Sara is doing with Oreo (she posted a PT tricky t-day video about it awhile ago). I haven't tried it yet but it might help?

koko said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with Eva's growing years... perhaps you may want to consider one of those inflatable children wading pool for Eva to try.

Licks, hero

Remington said...

All will be fine! Sometimes just being aware of things to watch for is the key to catching it before a major problelm. You do such a great job!

AC said...

I feel your worry. Kona isn't a puppy anymore, but being my first dog, I'm often wondering if I'm doing the right things with her.

Adolescence can be tough with a pup. Kona wasn't too challenging, but I also don't feel like I bonded with her until she was through it, and over a year old. It was worth the work and wait!

Do keep telling Eva's story. Can't wait to see the dog she grows up to be.

Josie said...

Oh Priscilla,

You're little Eva is going to be just fine. She is just a puppy and testing you. And you are learning too. You love her soo much and she is sooo lucky to have a loving family. That is the MOST important thing. There are so many dogs out there, that have no love or discipline and then are adopted and make wonderful dogs. It's the personality of the dog that you see developing. She is testing you. She is smart. That's all. As for her hind legs, a lot of pure breeds have certain health issues and it's good that you are aware of such things.

You are doing a fantastic job raising Eva. Never doubt that!

We love all of you so much!

Much Love,
Woofs and Hugz,
Josie and Blues

katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

hey priscilla, I hope you got those links I responed to you on

I thought of another link for you to check out of the positive/clicker training front:
Susan is another clicker training "superstar". She did a cool podcast at:

What everyone has been saying is so kind, I hope your feeling better about Eva. What is wrong w/ her legs again? Sorry, I seem to have missed that part.

Anna the GSD said...

From a now "older" diva I can tell you, the teenager phase is just a phase. Gah, I thought mom was a total spaz and soooo embarassing! Everything I had learned like sits and downs? Pfft...out the window buddy!

It was fun just to get in trouble and do my "neener neener" at her just to see her spaz. I still have my moments, but dude, puppy-teenagerdom is rough! You're doing fine!

I'll have to look back and see what might be wrong with Eva's legs. Is it displaysia? Mom knows of lots of supplements to help with that since Duncan has arthritis.

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