Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

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Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

Postby Harlans_Mom » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:01 pm

Hi everyone,

I’m a new Brittany owner to a 9 week old male, Harlan, and new to the forum although I’ve been reading various posts on here for months. I’m a pretty anxious new owner and have some questions that I could use some help with or just to give me some peace of mind. We live in Washington D.C. in the city, although we are in the southeast neighborhood on the Anacostia/Potomac so live in walking distance to the river, lots of parks and dog walks/parks, and in short driving distance to Virginia countryside and state and national parks.

My husband and I settled on the Brittany breed because we wanted a dog that loved the outdoors, hiking, hunting, as well as smart and a temperament for training. We grew up in the rural Midwest and plan on moving home within the next few years after spending some time here for our careers. We were well aware of their energy level and other quirks but wanted a smart, loving dog, and my husband’s aunt and uncle have had them and is how we fell in love with the breed.

So initially I didn’t think giving him space to run was going to be an issue since we live so close to places he can run freely, in fenced in or non-fenced in areas. However, I guess being naïve to raising a dog in the city vs. Midwest I didn’t realize the exposure to other dogs. In his first 2 days we sort of walked him, carried him most of the time, but put him in green spaces where he could run a little and explore. In addition, at our apartment, he’s potty training very well in our little courtyard that has mulch and grass. But other dogs come through since it is an apartment. I usually carry him down and then back into the building and then let him run down the hallway with me back into the apartment. Our building requires dogs to have all their vaccinations but I am now worried I may have exposed him to too much by taking him to the park and areas that dogs frequent. He had his Duramune vaccinations from the breeder - Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 1 (Hepatitis), Adenovirus Type 2 (respiratory disease), Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus – at 6 and 8 weeks but obviously hasn’t had his boosters and rabies yet.

1. Obviously I’ll discontinue to exposing him to so much so early and he hasn’t shown any signs of illness – still drinking and eating normally, crate training and potty training are going great. Our first vet appointment is Friday so I’m hoping they calm me down, but how concerned should I be that I’ve exposed him to something? I called them frantically this morning and they told me just to watch him if he seems like he gets sick but to try to watch where we are taking him.

2. How do I get him his exercise and playtime in the city if I can’t take him anywhere – I’ve signed us up for puppy kindergarten for dogs under 14 weeks, starting next week but what do I do on a day-to-day basis? He gets the “zoomies” about once a day and can get aggressive with his biting and growling – I’ve read the advice on here about dealing with it – turning my back standing still and ignoring it usually works, or I hold him tight say “no” and hold him out in front of me until he calms down and that also usually works, but if it happens more than 2 or 3 times I tell him a stern “no” and put him in his crate for timeout. Outside of that he is so lovable and will let you cuddle and hold him whenever you want. He snuggles in bed, on the couch, when your playing on the floor. I don’t necessarily think the "zoomies" are because he’s not getting enough exercise, I think he’s just a puppy but if I can’t take him out much yet how do I get him the stimulation he needs? He loves his crate and his toys but gets bored with the kong and peanut butter, and also how much peanut butter is too much? I want to keep him from destructive chewing. My husband works from home full time, and I work from home about a day a week so he’s not crated all the time and we don’t plan to crate him for long periods like full days or more than a few hours.

Any help is greatly appreciated and thanks for providing a great resource for new owners.
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Re: Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

Postby Barb Wright » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:51 pm

Harlans_Mom wrote:.... but how concerned should I be that I’ve exposed him to something?[/u] I called them frantically this morning and they told me just to watch him if he seems like he gets sick but to try to watch where we are taking him.


JMPO but I wouldn't worry too much....their advice to keep a close eye on him and limit, for the time being, where you take him is about all you can do. Having had two shots already he is pretty well covered, the third shot should relieve your mind totally. Rabies shot comes after six month (the later the better actually and be sure to get the Mercury free shot). Once he can start puppy classes and be with other dogs for play time you will find that he is getting well dog-socialized, so you can concentrate on car rides, meeting strangers, learning new sights and sounds, etc. for the rest of his socializing.

Harlans_Mom wrote: How do I get him his exercise and playtime in the city if I can’t take him anywhere ........ if I can’t take him out much yet how do I get him the stimulation he needs?


Until he can be around other dogs you and your husband are his "pack" and have to do all you can do to amuse him. The "fierce" puppy playing is absolutely typical and deal with it best you can. Re-directing him to a different play game is usually better than trying to discipline him to stop. Zoomies are normal and will continue until he is old and gray, and maybe even show up then. At his current young age just be on the outlook for him getting over-tired, that can lead to a tantrum.

Harlans_Mom wrote: and also how much peanut butter is too much?


I'd venture to say that at his age consuming a tablespoon a day would be tops, just a guess....if he gets loose stools that might indicate he is getting too much. As he gets older he will probably tolerate a bit more PB at a time.

Hope this helps some :-)
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13
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Re: Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

Postby gagesbarb » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:46 am

Congratulations on your puppy! sounds to me like very normal puppy behaviors, but I am also a worrier so I understand your concerns...

Barb, as usual, makes excellent points and I'm glad you have taken advantage of the "search" and found all the advice here...couple of other ideas--I stuff sterilized bones/kongs with canned dog food and freeze them...easy on tummies and takes longer to chew...I also hope you'll find the puppy class helpful...I help teach a puppy kindergarten and we talk a lot about the issues you raise...also gives your puppy the opportunity to learn from other puppies- things it is very hard for people to teach...We talk about how puppies need to learn self regulation so when you play tug, etc. stop periodically (hopefully before puppy goes "over the top"), let him calm down and then start to play again...let's them experience what "ramping up" and "calming down" feels like...also, remember that puppies need a lot of sleep so sometimes when they are crazy wild, they need a nap...little different than a time out...but like kids, they don't want to leave the action, so we have to help...I also agree that exposing your puppy to lots and lots of things is very important in helping him develop a "world view" that new and different things are OK...those first 12-16 weeks are a critical period...of course you have to balance safety/health, so I wouldn't go to dog parks (for health and also because unfortunately, there are dogs there whose behavior is not appropriate and can teach your puppy things we would like him not to learn), but other exposures, like Barb said, are important...we have some hardware stores that allow dogs...the people at your dog class may have other suggestions of places to go in your area...Sophia Yin's puppy book has lists of things to expose your puppy to that are in everyday life...may help...

let us know how things go and don't hesitate to ask questions...this group has a tremendous amount of experience and certainly understands worrying about our babies :D
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Re: Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

Postby Harlans_Mom » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:33 pm

Thank you calming my nerves! I definitely appreciate the advice and responses.

We are one week in to ownership and he loves his crate, we've had no issues there and potty training is pretty normal. We got him into a puppy socialization class on Saturday morning for puppies 9-13 weeks or until they get too big/aggressive.

We are still having trouble with his little outbursts. They are easy to spot but harder to know whether we should just put him down for a nap or try to calm him down and redirect his behavior. I don't want him to always think he's in trouble. Hopefully it will get better as we work to get him on more of a schedule.

If you have any suggestions on how to start working in leash training or some commands it would be greatly appreciated, even just links to some of the best posts on the subject.

Thank you again!
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Re: Anxious new Brittany mom/owner

Postby gagesbarb » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:16 pm

We use Sophia Yin's Perfect Puppy in 7 Days in our puppy classes...lots of basics about socialization and teaching basic behaviors...she calls her
program--Learn to Earn...she is a positive trainer and we find her book is easy to follow and not overwhelming...

I would think dealing with Harlan's little outbursts "depends;" the all-so-common answer to training questions...if he has been up for a couple of hours, I bet he needs to nap...if you aren't sure, try to re-direct and if that doesn't work, helping him calm down with a time out is fine I think...from his point of view, if he is tired, helping him nap is a positive...likewise, if he is over-the-top and can't settle down, helping him calm is also a positive...by being consistent and helping him learn that he can play with you and be with you and get attention when he behaves appropriately helps him see the world as predictable, one that he can understand and he learns he can rely on/trust you
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