Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Barking issues continue, food change, Knightley nearly 20 weeks!

4 months 2 weeks old

Knightley definitely isn't so little anymore. He's continuing to shoot up - perhaps even faster than before. You are certainly not meant to increase food around this age, but he was really looking quite skinny, so I have increased the amount I am feeding him.

Knightley showing his much less fluffy coat off. In parts
it is very much an adult coat. He really only has puppy fluff
left on his head. It is sad to say goodbye to it! He has
also lost his first 'canine' tooth. From what I've read they
all kind of go quickly from now on. Poor pup.
It is somewhat difficult to keep him at a good weight as I am going through a long swap over from one food to another. I had him on Nutro's Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy - which whilst it isn't a great food, it was the best I could get my hands on in Australia without having to travel hours, or having to make it myself. I recently bought a bag of Canidae's All Life Stages to swap him over onto. Theoretically I could have had him on it from the beginning, seeing as it brands itself as for puppies, as well as adults and seniors - but I wanted a food that was higher in protein (28%) for his first four months of life and the associated growth spurt. Now I would rather slow down that growth, although it is still reasonably high in protein at 24.2%. The most important thing is it is a high quality food, much better than the vast majority of muck for sale in Australia. It is a food imported from the US, which has only become available here in the last year or so... and you can only get it over the internet. Oh, and it costs quite a bit. Still, it is worth it. Knightley will even train for it dry, he likes it so much! Considering the slow growth plan has kept him smaller than he could have been, I think he will be quite large when fully grown. He is already 51cm (20 inches) at withers height, which is the minimum height for a female golden - so he's definitely on his way already. He should only grow another 10cm (4inches) or so as he reaches maturity.

Looking handsome. He has no feathering to speak of yet
of course, although his tail seems to be starting. Other than
that, and the fluff on his head, he looks almost like a Labrador!
If another person tells me that he's a Lab I'll scream!
We've had a few good outings in public with Knightley - and as long as he doesn't get frustrated by anything, he generally doesn't start his rather ridiculous barking. We took him into our town centre this last weekend, and he was extremely well behaved. It was the first time he has been around semi heavy traffic, and he didn't seem to notice it. I think it was partly because when he was quite young we used to take him up to our local shops every evening to get him used to people and bustle, and inadvertently, traffic. Upping the number of cars, and speed, didn't daunt him at all. It was a hot day, so we didn't spend much time walking around, but what we did do I was extremely pleased with. My husband and I then took Knightley, along with a rather late lunch for ourselves, down to our local lake, for a rather pleasant romp for Knightley. He even got his feet wet in the lake! But I hadn't brought a towel, so I couldn't let him swim. I was actually surprised at the number of people swimming in the lake. I used to swim in it occasionally when I was about 4 years old, but since then it hardly has the reputation of cleanliness.

Random photo of Knightley, soaked after we've gone for a
slow but longish (for me!) walk together. Whenever it's humid
or we go during a hottish part of the day, I make sure I cool him
down when we get back. Dogs can overheat much more easily
than humans, and Knightley enjoys getting wet, then dirty.
We continue to have barking issues though. I am getting a little stumped with it all. I don't know why he suddenly became barky. He wasn't at all as a baby, when we got him. He basically barks from frustration... for instance, if he's: penned, tethered, ignored for a long time, crated if we're still in the room, if I'm eating, if I have high value treats and he wants them NOW, when we are doing zen work, if we are out somewhere and he wants to say hello to someone (especially another dog) and I won't let him. He is now starting to bark just during normal day to day training, so what I am doing is just not working to stop the gratuitous barking. Some days the barking is almost nil, and I think the techniques I am using are working, and then there will be a bad day. Sigh!

All wet from playing in pool, check. Lying in dirt, check.
Mummy looking quite cross, check (heh heh heh always
so fun). Right, time to eat leaves and dirt and get really
 gross and mucky!!!
Despite the barking problems, I am training a few new things... and Knightley has officially done his first Assistance task for me! He picked up a sock, and gave it to me! Of course he probably wouldn't have been so eager to give it to me if I hadn't had some kibble in my pocket (the curse of the positive trainer!) but, I pointed it out to him, he saw it, picked it up, and came to me. I make sure I try to *always* give him a treat when I take things away from him that he is not meant to have, so that even surrendering things that he really wants becomes a pleasurable experience. I think I am going to have to step this up with even higher value treats because he has figured out that he is now tall enough to "counter surf" (ie, stand on high hind legs and grab things off the kitchen counter), and I want to make sure he at least surrenders them, or preferably brings them to me for treats. So in this case, even though he was meant to have the sock, Goldens have inbuilt sock obsession, and I knew he would need a yummy swap deal to give it up, so I was happy to swap food for a sock. I was happy with him, even though it wasn't a formal Assistance retrieve.

In my last couple of entries I mentioned getting a Freedom harness, made by Wiggles, Wags and Whiskers.... and earlier this last week, it arrived. It has really been great so far, but I plan to do a review entry on it, so I won't say much more about it. Suffice to say it is good for someone who can't risk a dog pulling them over. I am definitely happy with it, although it only *just* fits Knightley, but at least it means he can fit it for a while. It took me a long time to find a site that would ship it to Australia for something less than a house mortgage, but finally found 2 Hounds Design, which was great and has a deal with another company who does their very reasonably priced international postage. So that was great.

I can't believe Knightley is 20 weeks old in just a few days. That means we've had him for 12 weeks, and boy has that time flown. It's almost like I can't remember a time when we haven't had him. Despite whatever challenges there may be, he brings a lot of joy to my life that wasn't there before. Leaving this post with one of my favourite most recent photos of a very dirty Knightley.

Looking beautiful but very mucky. Knightley sees no reason why he can't
go inside, but Mummy sure does!

1 comment:

  1. I remember the days when Aspen (our now 8 year old female golden) looked like a lab. she really didn't start feathering (she's the show type) until she was over 7 months of age. Our male golden (now 2.5 years old) is more of the field type so isn't really overly feathered but has the medium length coat and fluffiness.

    I'm really not sure what to suggest for the barking. We usually hold our puppy's mouth closed (lightly putting our hand around the muzzle) and say ""No, quiet" and it seems to work. Rogue (now 8 months old) was a bit of a barker but it was more when she wanted one of the older dogs to play or when she was crated, so we just ignored her until she stopped and th$en said "Good Girl, Good Quiet".

    Knightley sounds like such a handsome boy. We feed our dogs a raw diet so Rogue has also grown a lot slower than the puppies we have raised on a traditional commercial diet. I did not realize there was a "slow growth plan" until reading your blog. Rogue is not much taller than Knightley. She is currently 21ish inches tall at 8 months of age :)