Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

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Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby LoganZ » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:09 am

Hello everyone,

My wife and I recently got our first Brittany (Piper :D) . We got her at 7 weeks and 5 days and she's now 13 weeks. I apologize in advance for this long post. Just trying to get some feedback to see if our doggy is behaving the way a typical Brit should and tips on how to train/correct some issues.

1. Potty training - she's doing much better. We have maybe 2 or 3 accidents a day, but that's mostly on us (waiting a bit too long to get her outside). She only pees inside, has never gone #2 indoors. She holds it well in her crate (2-3 hours easily), but seems to go every 10-15 minutes when she's roaming the house. We try to take her out every 5-10 minutes after she drinks for about 4 or 5 potty breaks, but still have a few oopsies. She doesn't give many clues that she needs to go. Kinda stops playing and then pees 5 seconds later. Is this something that will just take time and repetition to learn that indoor potting isn't good? Are we doing anything wrong?

2. Play biting - I've read enough to know that her "zombie biting" fits are perfectly normal, but not too many posts about correcting it. We've tried distracting with toys, but our hands, jeans, and shoes are more interesting to her. We've tried dominant behavior with gentle muzzle holding, reprimanding, etc. That only seems to get her more wound up. Seems like the best approach is a timeout. Sometimes it works, but often times she goes right back to it a few minutes later. She walks usually 3 times a day for 30 minutes, plays fetch, runs around, and gets plenty of exercise. Not sure what else to do.

3. Digging - saw another post about this, so I assume the random digging is normal? She does it in the yard, on the tile, along the molding, etc. Just something she's prone to do?

4. Defensive behavior - this just started within the last day or two, but it's the biggest concern I have. Once it was a stick and the other time it was a bottle cap. We went to pull it out of her mouth for fear of her choking on it, but she bit pretty hard. Not a typical puppy bite, this was pretty obviously aggressive. She's never done anything like that before so I want to nip it in the bud early. What is the best way to get her to leave things she places a "high value" on without simply removing it by force? She's great with drop it when it comes to most items, but not with these random things (caps, cig butts, wrappers, etc). We've been very clear that we don't want to use a heavy hand with her, so I don't know how to show that we're the alphas of the pack without doing something aggressive in return.

5. Stinky ear wax - Pee-yew! Does my dog produce some fowl ear wax. The vet checked her for mites and it came back negative. I've been using cue-tips to wipe out the wax, but I'm not comfortable enough to get deep (she's too fidgety to get in there). Comes out almost black and smells like rotten cheese. The routine cleaning has helped the smell, but she still produces a lot. This is my first "floppy ear" dog, so I assume it's just a normal problem. Anyone else had to deal with this?

6. Socialization - we didn't let her around many dogs until she got her 11-week shots. She would meet dogs, but didn't play with many. Now that we're socializing her routinely, she's often times too much for the other dogs to deal with. She plays like a typical puppy: chasing, jumping, nipping occasionally, but the other dogs seem intimidated by her. Most dogs are her size, so we introduced her to a friend's extremely well behaved 12-month old Husky mix and she was a wreck. Scared to play with the other dog despite the husky's very playful intentions. She was squealing and barking at the dog. It goes without saying, but the play session only lasted a few minutes. She was very interested in the dog, but not really "playful". If she's too crazy for small dogs and too timid with larger (50ish pound) dogs, what do we do to get her to be comfortable?

I realize some of these questions probably sound silly or amateur many of you, but I figured this would be the best forum for learning more about our poochie and her tendencies. Any feedback you can provide would be greatly appreciated!


Also, not sure how to post a picture, but if someone can tell me that too I'd love to share a photo of her!

Thanks in advance,
Logan
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby gagesbarb » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:23 pm

I'm not the most experienced, but here are a couple of thoughts about your questions...
with the resource guarding/defensive biting...we teach to practice "trade." Get a really high value treat (string cheese, chicken, braunschrieger, etc), and offer to puppy as you take the shoe or whatever...try not to pull the treasure away...if your dog learns that you will "take" it, he will guard it when you approach...practice with a greenie (hold on to the greenie, let him chew, keep holding it, present the treat to the side of his nose/mouth, give him the treat when he lets go, and and then give back the greenie--a double reinforcer--he gets the treat when he lets go and then gets the greenie back; practice with other things, over and over...so if sometime, for safety, you have to take something away, there is a history of positive trades...

zombie biting...we find that sometimes, the puppy is just tired and needs a nap, but doesn't know it...like an over-tired child...we also teach that if the puppy starts to bite, instantly, interaction is over, and you walk away to where puppy can't go (other side of a gate) or the puppy goes to time out..you are right to try to anticipate when he comes over and offer a substitute toy...if puppy continues to bite, he goes into his crate for a time out...remember, in either case, he may need to nap rather than come out right away...

potty training requires persistence and supervision and patience...make sure when you take him out, go with him and observe that he pees and doesn't get distracted...he may need to pee a couple of times...if you have a pattern that he he walking around inside and then in 5 seconds, he pees, try to get him out as soon as you notice him walking around...I try to go out the same door and often the "cue" for needing to potty is going to that door...but will take a while for him to put it together...again, supervision and patience are key..

Good for you to recognize that being positive is most important...your puppy wants to please, he is learning sooo much and sooo much is new and interesting to him...
but his attention span is not long...hang in there...it is worth it!!!

You may want to look for a puppy class where there is supervised play...we do that starting with 8 week old puppies...puppies learn so much about appropriate and inappropriate play from other puppies/dogs...things we cannot teach them...If you trust that older dog who "corrected" him, he may benefit from playing again with that older dog, even if he got corrected...he needs to learn what is appropriate and that he can play but needs to be polite...the trick is to have a trustworthy older dog...

I'm sure others will have lots of good ideas...also, note the "search" box at the top of the page...put in some key words and there will be lots and lots of info...
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby gagesbarb » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:24 pm

just re-read your post and apologize for referring to Piper as "he..."
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby LoganZ » Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:59 pm

Thank you for your reply, and don't worry everyone calls Piper a him.

We'll definitely have to utilize the drop command with rewards more and more. Like I said before, she's pretty good but not great with it. Timeouts are also going to have to be a go-to move.
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby Barb Wright » Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:49 am

Most of your questions were covered except for number 5. A black, smelly substance in the ear is NOT normal. It sounds mostly like a yeast infection and I'd venture to say it was caused by either antibiotics or more likely the "puppy shots". These drugs interfere with the immune system to some extent and allow bacterial imbalances to occur in various parts of the body. The ear wax should be very pale yellow and smell slightly sweet....the wax is a lubricant to trap debris which will normally be loosened and expelled by shaking the head, or dogs will scratch at their ears briefly which will do the same thing. The climate in the ear is slightly moist and soft (floppy) eared dogs should have no more issue with ear problems than prick eared dogs, less even because the ear is protected quite well by the ear flap.

Do NOT use Q-tips to clean out the ears, you can do damage easily if the dog is wiggling or resisting....best to use a WARM saline solution to rinse out the ear, then gently wipe the outer canal with a damp gauze. Do not try to get down into the ear canal, just clean as best you can with the WARM saline rinse. Emphasis on "warm"....a dogs' temperature is normally 101 degrees, anything cooler than that will feel cold and will hurt a sensitive or irritated ear. If you hurt the ear often enough you will always have a battle on your hands if trying to treat the ears. Warm any solution or drops you put in the ears....a good test is like you would do with baby formula. This goes for drops put in irritated eyes as well....warm the liquids first. I would not use alcohol based rinses...they just dry out the ear and irritate already sensitive tissue.

Your vet should be able to suggest good protocol for yeasty ears....JMO but checking for mites is a bit off the wall!! I think adding a probiotic as a supplement to the diet would help to some extent to get the immune system back in balance, and rinsing out the ears with the saline solution should help cut down on the nasty black goop so the ears can clear up. Hope this helps with that problem.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby LoganZ » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:31 am

Thanks Barb,

We have a vet appointment in two days, so I will ask her about a possible yeast infection. That sounds like it may be it.
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby Barb Wright » Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:04 pm

I had to deal with it twice with Cassie....both times the yeast infection in her ears was a result of taking antibiotics after minor surgery. The rinsing out can be sort of messy because they have to shake their heads and then the stuff flies :shock: But, just do it in a place easy to wipe up. They do need to shake their heads, it's a given and you just have to allow it. I can't quite recall the time frames now, was years ago, but it seems like it was just a few days of rinsing out twice a day before the amount of goop started to subside. Cassie was pretty good about the treatment, though I sure did get sulky looks when I started getting out the solution, gauze and towels :D Probably the most important thing is that the treatment doesn't become uncomfortable/painful, no fun trying to help a dog that wants no part of it :roll: I think getting some of the goop out each time you treat actually makes the ear a bit more comfortable for awhile until the stuff builds up again. This is one of those messy problems we sometimes have to deal with as caretakers....it can be a positive event if the dog figures out you are actually helping them :wink:

Just wanted to add: When you put some of the solution down the ear canal you do have to massage gently a bit...this helps loosen some of the goop and then the dog can shake it out. As I recall I did this a couple doses, then wiped out the outer canal gently with a moist gauze pad. I'm sure the vet will go over this with you....hope it turns out that it is just a yeast infection.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby Canned Ice » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:00 pm

As far as yeasty ears go, we found keeping Buckley's extra under-the-ear-flap hair trimmed up helped because he will dunk and splash his ears in the water bowl. He's a very enthusiastic water drinker and will sometimes just play in the refillable outdoor dish for fun. Keeping the hair short helps his ears dry faster after water bowl play sessions. We also had one particularly bad ear infection caused by a ball of wax coating a seed pod he picked up from who knows where. Once the vet removed that ball of wax, the ear washes cleared up the rest.
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby Barb Wright » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:56 am

Hi Logan....just wondering how it all went with Piper??
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby LoganZ » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:30 pm

I'm starting to think my pooch is smarter than I am. The vet appointment is for THIS Friday. You can imagine my embarrassment walking into the vet clinic last week to be told I went the wrong day lol.

I will say that while there is still some debris in her ears and an odor, it's not as noticeable or as pungent as it was before. I suppose it's possible that her immune system is combating the issue naturally, but it's still something I will bring up this week.

We've elongated her walks and that seems to have helped with the zombie biting. All things considered, she's doing pretty well since implementing some of the recommendations in this thread!
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby DeceiverBob » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:33 pm

At about 4 1/2 months Sage lost the last of her baby canine teeth and the play biting really slowed down. She only does it now when we're rough-housing. The adult teeth don't hurt near as much.
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby LoganZ » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:05 pm

Quick update:

1. Stinky ears have really been much better. Vet said they looked great, smell is all but gone, and the wax is much more of a honey color than black. Wheeew!

2. She also said that once the adult teeth come in we should see a dramatic difference. Adult teeth are soft until they develop dentene over time.
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Re: Info/tips from experienced Brittany owners

Postby Barb Wright » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:22 pm

Great news !!! The immune system did it's job WTG :-)
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