What Sharp Teeth You Have!

Teething. It can already be a nightmare for babies, let alone pups with almost knife sharp incisors! Key words here are acceptable items.  Luna tended to get this term confused, and thought it meant she was able to chew on anything her mouth could get a hold of. And add in another puppy just getting into the teething stage? Dun Dun Dun! Destructo Duo! Training, initiated.

Riku and Luna love peanut butter.

Puppies begin teething at the age of 12 weeks old when their teeth begin to grow in. When the new teeth are putting pressure on a puppy’s gums, chewing is a natural reaction. You did it at some point also! We just don’t remember it.  I’ve heard of babies that start gnawing on their crib, leaving forever teeth marks ingrained in the wood. Babies or puppies’, growing in the chompers is a fact of life.

If you don’t provide a chew toy, your puppy will look for something else to chew, including furniture, shoes and other things you value. Luna just loved Eric’s insoles. Maybe our little girl has a foot fetish? Puppies and shoes seem to be a common understanding, leave your shoes out and you’ll find they’ve been torn amuck! We started hiding them behind the couch, and she still found where they were, the smartie! “Daddy can’t hide these gems from me, wahaha!” So we made an investment. Eric and I are both organizational minded individuals, so it was an investment we’ve wanted to make for quite some time anyhow.

We bought a shoe rack. And do you know what Luna still did? She knew exactly which shoes out of the 12 on the rack contained his one pair of insoles, would pluck the shoe right off the rack (and they even faced backwards so the insoles could not be seen!) and take for her capture the insole! All the while leaving the shoe intact. It must have been the texture, the rubber of the Dr. Scholl’s massaged and soothed her tender gums. The lesson here is to take the knowledge that your puppy gives you and use it to find him or her an appropriate toy that parallels the item they go after to teethe.

Riku with his Peanut Butter Hoof.

I subscribe to a couple dog-centered magazines, such as Dogs USA, and have read countless articles on teething both in the magazines I subscribe to as well as in training books and online. (One more hint to do your research before adopting a puppy J ) Many people have the issue that their puppy will chew anything it gets its mouth on. Well, of course! They can’t differentiate what is “ours” and what is a toy. That must be taught. Don’t scold the puppy for doing what they would do instinctually and naturally, rather partake in positive reinforcement methods and get the puppy some chew-acceptable items to gnaw on.

If you own a larger breed puppy, or a wolf dog like Luna, it’s hard to find something that they won’t demolish in a matter of hours. There are toys that claim right on the package, that are designated for “teething,” to “last a month!” Well, this company must have tested it on a Toy Dog Breed, as Luna’s sharp teeth demolish a large, supposedly one-month investment sized bone in a matter of two hours! Why spend over $10.00 on a chew toy that is only going to have a lifespan of a mere couple hours, right? Not to fear! There are numerous inexpensive tricksto help your puppy through the teething stage.

There are five tricks I suggest when it comes to training, and together they will provide your puppy with a new HABIT.

H. Hoof– This is the brightest gem of them all! They LOVE them! Luna’s trainer (and Riku’s mom!) handed us this idea that we use on a weekly basis. They love cow hoofs. Rawhide is a big No-No when it comes to something to chew on. A larger breed puppy or dog can chew it into tiny pieces that splinter and get caught in their intestine, puncturing and rupturing the intestine that is fatal. Since this does happen more than one might think, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But if not rawhide, is there another cheap option? Hooves are where it’s at! Since Luna loves peanut  butter, (as most dogs do!) we simply put peanut butter in the hoof and freeze it. It will take a while for her to get through the hoof, weeks actually, and will provide a cool, soothing effect for her gums. At $1.00 a hoof, it’s a definite WIN!
You can see the pups in action and can tell how much they love their hoof in my video HERE. 🙂

A. Antler- These are perfect. They can be quite pricey but last forever. Luna still has her large one we bought four months ago! They are safe, and have a texture of their own naturally that puppies love to chew on. What’s even better is that they are yet another 100% way to calm your puppies gums.  As shown in the picture, you can buy ones that are quite large for larger breed puppies. Luna still loves hers to this day, and brings it with her into her crate each and every night to chew on.

B. Bone- To recapitulate, I never suggest using rawhide, Rather there are natural bones with flavoring on them that Luna loves. We buy her the biggest one possible and she’ll have it for about two weeks, and they are only about $8.00 a piece! The coating breaks apart however, so I suggest them for an outside chew toy.

I. Ice- Easiest and cheapest teething remedy you may find! How expensive are ice trays and water? They go crazy for them! Kong just recently put out a toy that is just this, but why pay for what is essentially an ice cube tray and flavorings to freeze? You can simply fill the ice trays with your own flavor, such as chicken or beef broth, and freeze them for a delectable teething treat. The ice helps to numb their gums for the time being, and is crunchy fun to-boot!

T. Teething Toys- Like I said, there are other less expensive options than buying toys geared for teething puppies. But some can be quite fun for the pups! Given the option of all five HABIT’s, Luna will always pick an actual chew toy last, but every so often she does enjoy playing with them, preferably ones with various textures and strings.

There are many ways to help your puppy through their tormenting teething stage, but with these simple tricks I have learned along the way, it doesn’t have to be such a nightmarish experience as described by many, and your shoes can be saved!

“Love is represented by a rose not only because of it’s eternal beauty,
but also because of it’s destructive thorns.”

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The Big Bad Wolf.

Remember the childhood story of Little Red Riding Hood? In this story, the big bad wolf is getting a revamp.

I own a hybrid. A Red Wolf/ German Shepherd mix. She’s now 9 months old and has grown to look like a complete wolf! Hybrid’s many times get a bad rap for owners that do not care for them PROPERLY. If you do not do your research and just want a Wolfdog for it’s popularity, then you should indeed reconsider. They are not half as obedient as domestic dogs as they have a mind of their own (it’s truly like owning a five year old who already can open doors!) and will learn obedience training and tricks remarkably quickly, though will not always do them right on command as they have a “on my time” attitude.

That said, not all breeders are legitimate, so that you have to know if the breeder is selling actual Wolfdog/hybrid puppies and not just a Husky/Malamute, or is claiming that they are greater than 70% wolf. First time owners should never buy a dog from a breeder who sells puppies as “High Content.” When buying a hybrid (meaning half wolf half dog for both parents,) it’s like mixing a bag of marbles and picking two. You might end up with a dog that is mostly wolf, mostly dog, or something anywhere in between the continuum.  Luna? Well, she’s more on the wolf side..

My Wolfdog, Luna, is the sweetest girl. She has completed her Petsmart training and is incredibly affectionate and responsive. She does however have quite the mind of her own, and continually tries to assert herself as the alpha on a daily basis  Owning a wolf hybrid is not to be taken lightly, but with the right knowledge, love for the animal, and compassionate training and proper care, they can truly become a best friend.

One thing I’ve learned? DON’T Google search hybrid without knowing what you may find. The horrific stories of wolf hybrids attacking children, are just that, horrific events stemming from either, A. The owners neglect and lack of knowledge on how to properly care for and train a hybrid, or B. A mentally off-centered dog. There’s been news stories of even golden retrievers having attacked children too. Wolf hybrid rescues are created for that specific reason. Many people deem hybrid’s to be “confused, not knowing if they’re a wolf or dog.” It’s like saying a person is transgendered when they simply have two parents with different racial backgrounds. Make more sense? In that, they are used to different “cultural habits” lets say, in the case of hybrids, dominance is one distinct habit.

Wolves do not have a single behavior not found in dogs as a whole. Don’t believe that? Try to find one. 😉

  • If you lean over a shy or dominant hybrid (any variety), he feels threatened.
  • If you avert your eyes or make yourself smaller and slower, it has a calming effect.
  • If something runs by quickly, it catches their attention. Anyone have cats in the house??
  • If you reward them with high value treats for acting on command, they will do it reliably. Petsmart training is highly recommended!
  • If you condition them to enjoy being leash walked as a runt, they’ll look forward to it eagerly.

*One note is that it took WEEKS to completely leash train Luna. She now jogs on the right side of me on command, knowing when to stop, wait, increase/decrease speed, etc. She wouldn’t move at first, it was like dragging her on ski’s. But with patience and persistence, they CAN and WILL learn, it just takes a little time and effort.

  • If your hybrid has gotten a “big head”, a No Free Lunch rank reduction program (SIT!– then the reward) will return them to the guidance of your leadership. And on, and on…regardless of the shape, size or color, it’s all a matter of proper ownership.

100% Leash Trained.

It’s instinct for them to have a hierarchy, and fight their way to the top. Therefore, one must know the signals and physical behavior of dominance, making sure to differentiate dominance from plain aggression, as they are quite different.Food aggression is a result of your dog’s individual temperament, plus how much effort you put into training him otherwise. We’ve trained Luna quite repetitively using the dominance theory and making it known that we can touch her mouth, her food, and her toys at any time, even if she’s in the middle of eating or playing, without her acting on it. Plenty of Wolfdogs are fine about food/possessions. Plenty of dogs are not. If you have a food-aggressive hybrid, then somewhere along the way, there was human error involved.  As a wolf dog owner, you simply have to be knowledgeable on the different instinctual behaviors that Wolfdogs have from domestic dogs, and train accordingly. Wolfdogs just aren’t going to head or comply to your every command as a domestic dog might, and that is  quite alright.

When it comes down to it, you, as the owner, need to know what you can handle. There are no such things as “bad dogs,” but there ARE bad owners. If you do your research and dedicate time to your new family member, you’ll have wonderful memories to last a lifetime. If you want to know how to successfully raise, handle, and manage Wolfdogs, talk to those who have done it—and have great animals to show for it.

If you want to fly, study those who are doing it—not those who say it can’t be done.

Inspiration

Thanks for visiting!

If you are a weightlifter, strongman, exercise enthusiast, or just looking for a good read, do head over to Eric's blog RIGHT HERE..
He is my inspiration in more ways than one, especailly when it comes to pursuing my writing.

Oh, you know you want to be stronger, doesn't everyone? ;)

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