This is the first blog in the Echo’s Endeavor’s series. The intention of this series is to be used as a reference point as to what one can expect or do with their puppy at each stage of development. All puppies are individuals, so this should be used as a guideline and not a rulebook. To see all posts in this series, click here. To see all posts in the Maple Media series, click here.
Date of Birth: November 7, 2019
Weight: 7 lbs.
Welcome, home Echo! Echo joined our family on January 2, 2020 at 8-weeks-old. She’s a little thing, but she isn’t lacking personality. We are so in love with her confidence, curiosity and naughty ways. She was bred by the same breeder as Blitz (Sundance GSPs) and shares a similar pedigree to both Blitz and Echo. It’s no secret how obsessed I am with my Blitz, so my intention for picking this litter, this specific pup and her name was to replicate the things I love most about Blitz, but still have her own individual traits. Hence the name, Echo!
If you followed along with my Maple Media series (thank you!), this will be a similar style but unique to Echo. It’s already apparent that Maple and Echo will be pretty different, as well as my goals for Echo are not the same as Maple. I will be focusing more on engagement and drive building with Echo and less on obedience for now.
Here’s what we’ve been up to for her first week home:
Introduction to our other dogs: The most important thing to keep in mind when introducing dogs or puppies is to advocate for all of them. It’s a common theme for owners to allow new puppies to pester the older dog, and then when the older dog finally has enough, he corrects the puppy and gets in trouble for it. If you notice your other dog is not interested (such as trying to move away or avoiding the puppy), separate the puppy from the other dog before it gets to the point that the older dog has had enough. The same goes for the older dog pestering the puppy, as well. If the older dog is playing too rough or trying to play with a puppy that doesn’t want to engage, separate the older dog from the puppy before the puppy gets scared.
Proper obedience work (having boundaries and structure already in place) will also help with the transition. Putting an older dog on place while working with a new puppy (and eventually switching the roles when the puppy is old enough!) is a great way to keep both dogs together without them having to directly interact with each other. Do not feel obligated for both the puppy and the older dog to constantly interact. It is perfectly fine, safe and appropriate for the puppy and older dog to spend time apart, either crated or one crated while the other is out. This is a great way to set the puppy up for success in not being depending on constantly being with the other dog. If they simply ignore each other, that’s fine, too!
Crate Training (from my first blog): crate training is an essential part of raising a puppy. The crate does a few valuable things: helps immensely with potty training, prevents unwanted chewing, teaches independence and confidence being alone, introduce the puppy to the concept of place training, and so on. I always recommend that everyone crate trains their puppy, even if their goal is to eventually leave the dog out unattended.
Just like children, we don’t leave them home unattended ad puppies should be either. To introduce crate training, we have been doing some simple games of throwing the kibble into the crate, allowing her to eat it and come back out and repeating. This is helpful for teaching Echo how to go into the crate on her own vs. just shoving her in. Feeding her in the crate is also a great way to make the crate a positive space for her. Echo stays in the crate overnight and anytime she is unattended. Even if it’s just a quick shower, puppies cannot be left unattended. Not only could that create bad pottying habits, you do not want them getting into anything when you aren’t around to stop them. The crate is the safest place for them.
It’s also important to allow your puppy to be in the crate even when you are home, too. I do not want Echo to assume that just because the humans are walking around and talking that she needs to be out and involved. This is a huge step towards preventing separation anxiety (which is common in GSPs) and teaching her an off-switch (also extremely important with these high-energy dogs). Just because I am doing something doesn’t always mean that she will be! So she’s also in the crate while we’re eating dinner, feeding the other dogs, or busy with chores. She takes a lot of naps at this age and it’s perfect for her to learn to nap in there!
Echo has caught on to crate training quickly and has made really big progress in the short week she has been here. The first night She cried and screamed for a few hours before settling in. I do not bring puppies back out for crying and whining unless they have been sleeping and have woken up and clearly need to go out to potty. So over the course of this week, she has become comfortable in her crate and understands that crying/whining do not accomplish anything. She is now comfortable to be in her crate without whining when we are home, overnight, while in the car, etc.
Potty Training (from my first blog): The best way to potty train a puppy is by preventing them from having accidents in the first place and rewarding them for pottying in the correct place. Punishment (telling them NO! or a small tap on the butt) for pottying inside does not work and can create anxiety/worse behavior for potty training. If your puppy potties inside, it is the human’s fault and there should be no blame on the puppy! To prevent accidents inside , never let your puppy be out unattended or without 100% of your focus. If you see your puppy sniffing around, chances are they are looking for a place to potty. Take them outside and reward them for going in the right place. If you can’t have eyes on them at all times to watch for this, they need to be in their crate. Anytime you take your puppy out of the crate, even if it was just for 5 minutes, they need to go out and have a chance to potty. Anytime they stop playing, finish eating, or get up from napping, they need to go out to potty. Give your puppy PLENTY of opportunities to get it right! Stay outside with them long enough to see that they pee and poo before taking them back in. If they don’t do both and you know that they need to, put them back in the crate for a short time and try again.
Every time your puppy potties outside, there should be a food reward. When I know Echo needs to go, I will say “go potty,” to help her learn a cue and as soon as she’s done she always get’s a food reward. It’s only been a week and now as soon as she potties she runs to me licking her lips because she already knows there’s a reward for that! Potty training can be stressful but it doesn’t need to be! Set yourself up for success as much as possible and know that accidents will happen, but that’s part of being a puppy owner!
Echo has been much more difficult to potty train than Maple (who was kind of an anomaly) and Blitz. I attribute it to her size and small bladder, but already it’s greatly improving. I am taking away her access to water after 7 PM and am getting up 2x overnight to let her out which is really helping prevent accidents in her crate. As of now, her routine is 10 PM (last potty before bed), 1:00 AM, 5:00 AM, 6:30 AM (out of the crate). I hope within the next week I can cut that down to 1x a night, but it just depends on how she’s doing. She is already understanding to wait to potty to go outside, but she needs let out frequently. Every 15-20 minutes while she’s awake and every 30-60 minutes if she’s napping.
Training: I am taking things slower with Echo than Maple, so I have just introduced clicker training and started recall. Right now I am building recall repetitions and really focusing on building toy drive. Videos to come in the next blog!
It’s been such a fun first week with Echo and we love her so much already! So many fun things in store for this spicy girl!