Some newbie questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mandarin, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    Some things that I notice with this little 12 week old chap that get my attention, and I wonder if you have any thoughts on it....

    When walking, he rubs his head on my leg quite a bit. I find it cute but I'm just wondering what this means =)

    When walking, he likes to put the lead in his mouth. I'm not sure if this is a comfort thing or a leading thing. But he walks beside me / slightly behind.

    We've been crate training him... he still howls and woos a bit when left. During the day, he follows me around pretty much. Even if he's relaxed and asleep, if I get up to go to the kitchen and get myself another cup of coffee, he gets up and follows me. He's much more clingy than my Lab was. I ignore him, but I want to make sure that he doesn't have issues when it comes to leaving him for a couple of hours to go to the shop or somewhere that we can't take him.

    Feeding him...the breeder said 1/2 a coffee cup, 3 x a day. The morning and evening food has to be soaked in water. The midday is just dry. She said not to overfeed him because we don't want him to grow too fast. He IS growing very fast. I can almost see it happening. We met a lab the same age as him, and he was double the size of the lab! (certainly not fat, just tall and fluffy and towering over it)

    Oh the nose...there's a little white mark next to his nostril. Just wondering if that's something that will blacken later or not. It's cute either way =)

    The fur... I read that they are heavy shedders. But so far, I've seen 1 hair in 3 weeks. Unlike our lab who shed the whole time if you touched him but shed particularly wonderfully when the seasons changed. Does BMD hair pretty much stay attached between seasons? or is it just the puppy primary coat?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    as your puppy gets older he will be a heavy shedder. 2x a year they shed bad.

    as for slowing the growth down, yep the vet is right. they can get joint problems when they grow to fast. I thought the vet was nuts when she told me to slow storms growth down. I understand now with his problems and would do it with any berner puppy. watch stairs as well and jumping.
  3. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    Thanks for your answer =)

    Can you please elaborate on how to limit growth? googling this comes up with all kinds of wrong answers. From what the breeder said, it's a case of limiting food. The food he has soaked 2x a day has dried puffed rice or something like that. Something of a low calorie filler I assume.
  4. easchaars

    easchaars New Member

    Our dog does the same thing (he's 9 months old) when we leave the room. Even if he is sleeping and we leave the room to get something quick, he will get up and follow us. I think it's just the breed because they always want to be with you. He cried in the crate too when we first started, but now he goes in there with the door open and will sleep there.

    The white mark on the nose should fill in as he gets older. Ours had the same and now his nose is all black.

    And for shedding, we didn't have any shedding until around 4-5 months old when he really started to get his adult hair. Then it was all over the carpet, but brushing helps a lot. Now that he has his adult hair, the shedding isn't bad (yet!). I brush him once a week and that helps with the hair. I would HIGHLY recommend a Furminator for long hair to use for brushing him. It's amazing how well it works for getting the undercoat off him. It's pricey (around $70), but completely worth it!

    Hope this helps with some of the questions!
  5. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    Thanks Easchaars!
    your dog is gorgeous.
    I saw the furminator in NY on a recent visit. I remember because I was astonished by the price! but I will find myself one.

    Such a loyal companion. I remember my Lab at this age, and he didn't care if I lived or died until he was about 1 1/2 years old =) and then he was mah baby.
  6. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    basically you are decreasing the food intake. I had to take storm off of puppy food and limit how much. He was weighed every week and we were amazed at how fast he was growing.

    I freaked because I figured the vet wanted me to starve him, but he needed to slow down. he did grow to fast and now there are issues, big ones. we also have problems with his weight, keeping him down. He never went on an adult food, he is on weight control kibble. I have also changed his diet to almost vegetarian to try and keep the weight under control.

    talk to your vet. You will not be starving your puppy. It is for his benefit.
  7. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    Thanks Frissel
    Didn't like the vet we saw today. We had a good one for our Labrador, but she's moved away. Maybe it's worth the 2 hour trip to go see her =) but I'll try another local yokel.

    But this new one didn't click with me at all..and had no advice about growth other than to plug a particular (Royal Canin) food that they sell themselves.


    Poor pup had his vaccinations and had a lot of pain in the area... he's ok now though, 3 am =) potty run... hideous weather =)
  8. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    I would see a vet you like. I remember that storm got weighed each week in puppy class and he would gain like 9 lbs a week. that is a lot.

    I have a lab husky cross as well and they are not a like in any way. storm is my baby and he will lay in the garage till i come home. he will not go for rides on the 4 wheeler or do anything he loves to do until I come home, but once I do he rides on the 4 wheeler, snowmobile anything as long as he is coming with me.

    limit stairs for your puppy and don't walk to much. my vet told me if they sit they are tired, the walk is done. watch for limping. these guys have joint issues bad. and listen to your breeder, if she is a good one.
  9. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    I've just had a recommendation for a vet not so far away... one who cares at least, so that's a plus. The vet I saw - never to see again I've decided - I just can't imagine why anyone would become a vet unless they loved animals. Somehow I think she would find vinegar in every glass of wine.

    I am trying to imagine a Labrador Husky cross, and I would love to see some pictures! I would imagine it's a frolicking happy lunatic =) I love both breeds.

    Berners are somehow very different.

    Actually it was my birthday when we got him... it was just 2 weeks after we lost our 10 year old Lab that we ...adored to the deepest core of our being. I was feeling very sad so I wanted to go and LOOK at some puppies. We went to the breeder where we had got our Lab all those years ago and they had this one Berner. Unlike any other puppy I've ever seen, he looked with his eyes, not his head. He looked right at us and I could tell he was a really special guy. I was determined not to leave without him, and here he is!
  10. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    A lot of questions so I will tackle them one at a time here.....

    Rubbing the face is usually a sign of eye irritation and often allergies......depending on where he is rubbing, it can also be itchy ears p particularly if there is yeast present....just food for thought and worth ruling these things out.

    Berner pups putting leads in their mouth is breed standard :) These are draft dogs, designed to pull carts and want to lead naturally. Don't allow any one to convince you this is a behavior issue or "dominance" - not so. A natural behavior for a breed that is typically "mouthy" and looking for something to deal with energy via mouth. I always allow my berner pups to carry the lead in their mouth as long as they are walking nicely. I also often offer a toy to carry in non-leash situations when the mouthy desire is strong to help deal with their energy.

    Berners are very different from labs and other independent breeds. Consider this: labs are gun dogs designed to work away from their owner...Berners on the other hand are designed to never leave the farmer's side...and this is what they do. Mine never let me out of their sight on a hiking trail....whereas my golden would follow her nose right off a cliff and never look back :)

    For this reason, Berners are not independent breeds and rely heavily on human interaction, and being in the center of the pack. Leaving alone for long prolonged hours is not a good idea without developing behavior issues and yes, you should expect your Berner to be your shadow at home. I always acknowledge my pups and never discourage this behavior any more than I would discourage herding in a border collie. Leaving alone for up to 5 hours without a human is fine but this should be the limit and as a young pup, such time alone should be slowly built up so as not to set in separation anxiety.

    I don't ever recommend crating during the day when left alone. Crate training is ideal for potty training and managing night-time activity - spending all night in the crate however is long enough, and if also spending time during the day in the crate, this becomes excessive confinement which is not good for development. If you need to leave him alone during the day, using at least an x-pen, with enough space to roll over, work on a stuffed Kong/Premier toy, and play is essential.

    As for growth, as others have stated, yes it is essential not to grow a large breed too fast or joint issues can be assured. Optimal growth in this breed is 2-3 lbs per week, with the exception of two growth spurts in the first year (and this should never mean more than 5 lbs per week). Anything more than this, and the pup is growing way too fast.

    Always weigh your pup every week and monitor growth. Here is the U.S. walking into a vet clinic to use any scale is no big deal, and easy to do....hopefully that is the same for you.

    Puppy foods are never recommended because they are much more calorie dense. Usually those who feed kibble freed an adult kibble from the start for slower growth. Nutrients are usually not sufficient however when doing this, and a multi-vitamin is often in order.

    I do not feed dog food, so can't help more in this area.

    The nose should fill in and if you are not seeing shedding yet, hold on to your hat :)
  11. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    Thank you ever so much for your answers =))) it feels good to learn from your experience! makes me feel more confident.

    I am actually home all day with him. He uses the crate (with door open) at will. I closed him in for 30 minutes this evening while I went to the shop, but at other times I go off upstairs and leave him loose...but keep returning to look through the glass and see if he's still busying himself with his own toys (he has 18 toys at last count, and he goes from one to the other and leaves our stuff alone =)))

    The reason I ignore him (probably 50% of the time) is because I don't want him to be completely dependent on my being there. I am a little stoic toward him, trying to display Cesar Millan style calm leadership. Of course, I just want to grab him and make as-shrill-a-voice I can =))) but I have to restrain myself.

    Thanks again =))))
  12. sa1821

    sa1821 New Member

    Yup, Berners love to carry things in their mouth! I always walk Molly to get the mail and give her something to carry back, she gets going faster and sticks out her chest as soon as she gets it....such a proud Berner lol!

    We used to soak my Newf's food in water too- the only thing is you have to make sure it's a high quality food or I think bloat can be a risk. If we soak Molly's it doesn't really expand and I think it's because it is a higher quality one.....not totally sure about this- maybe others have some more insight?
  13. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    How cute Molly sounds =) sticking her chest out proudly =)))

    I will look more into the food situation. The Royal Canin one that the vet suggested seemed good, as it was meant for large breed puppies. But if I look online, I see all kinds of recall notices.

    Purina also looks bad if you read the Internet =)

    so I'm a bit stuck on what's available here and what's good..... would love to take care of his diet myself, if I could do it properly.
  14. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    I have been like you with the dog food. It seems like there is no food right or it depends on what person or vet you talk to. you should feed them meat, grain etc etc.

    I use kibble now as a supplement. I feed storm my way . I have 2 dogs, storm which is not active and have to watch weight. A lab husky that is over active. So I did not want to do 2 different kibbles.

    go with your heart and how your puppy reacts to food.
  15. mandarin

    mandarin New Member

    sa1821 - totally does make sense what you say about the food expanding. I've got 2 x 30lb bags from the breeder that I will give to the dog pound now! don't want to use it any more (probably suitable for other breeds).

    I've been to the pet store and they had Hills, Iams Eukanuba (looked like lots of grain) and Royal Canin. I think the Royal Canin for giant breeds looked best. They didn't have puppy, but they had junior (8 months - 24 months)... puppy (Indi) is 3 months old. I'm considering the Junior though as it is probably less calorie rich than Puppy.

    Brain-implosion! time to follow my heart like you say Frissel =)))

    Good thing is, Indi is thrrrrrriving. Happy, lovely, playful, obedient, frolicky =P and oh-so-fluffy!

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