Meeting the Family

The Mindful Puppy Blog

By PAPIA ROWE

Puppies – welcome home.

Exciting times continue. We’ve got our lovely puppies safely back home, and they are getting used to playing with each other in their puppy bedroom.  We have the TV on in the background and we have been enjoying watching them play with each other and their new toys. They are teething a bit so filling their kongs with their kibble is keeping them occupied. The puppy nylabones are also really useful to give them something safe to chew their needle teeth on. 

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 Our breeder shared a great teething support – giving the pups some chopped up carrot that’s been sat in the freezer for five minutes. The cold of the carrot eased their gums as they chewed through the carrot. Wonderful! The chewing of the nylabones on their own did not ease the pain as Twinkle still whined at the same time as chewing. The moment I swapped her onto the frozen carrot – the crying stopped so I am convinced that the cold of the carrot eased her gums enough to give her some respite.

Being in the puppy bedroom meant that the puppies were in a safe space while our older dogs got used to meet them. Young puppies generally have no manners and two against one is a little unfair. Puppies are desperate to get the attention of older dogs and older dogs have no desire to have little puppies jumping in their faces, trying to lick the inside of their mouths. So, the first sniff was with the puppies in their bedroom and the dogs on the outside having a sniff of them. We made sure to give the dogs as little or as much time as they wanted sniffing the puppies in this safe environment.

We also have two 6 year old cats living with us. Of course, we have dogs that are older than the cats. So when the cats were still kittens, they were sort of brought up by our current 14 year old dog Magic. Even now, Tiger the cat sleeps with Magic at night when she is too cold to go out hunting mice. Magic loves the dogs even if they don’t always like the way she creeps around them and buts into them! So she was an excellent choice for introducing to the puppies. Since cats can cause serious damage to a young dog by scratching their eyes out, we make sure to keep the puppy under control while the cat can walk around, or escape when she has had enough. The first encounter was a little much for Star as he was a bit scared. So the first meet and greet was very short. 

A few days later, Tiger came to visit them again while they were visiting their toilet, so again, we held the puppies while Magic did her thing. This time Star did not growl out of fear and just had a little sniff. Twinkle gave her a lick and then got excited about a new playmate. So then we took the puppies out of the way before Tiger and the puppies got too excited.  We will keep repeating these short, controlled, encounters over the next six months – and even continue further until we are convinced that Tiger the cat and the puppies have got some good behaviours with each other.

I think the biggest difference between how we raise our puppies and dogs and how inexperienced handlers manage them is in how we manage our own emotions. We are constantly maintaining a calmness in us and around us. Yes, we do put a lot of energy and excitement into play, but if we are not in active play, then it’s calm and quietness that we exude and model. We allow and expect our puppies to sleep without being disturbed. Our puppies and dogs and cats have the space to be who they are, and to fall asleep in a state of calmness at any time. By living like this, our puppies grow up understanding how it feels to be calm, they get to sleep properly and be refreshed by their sleep to be ready to wake up and do some more learning.

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