This is the fourth blog in the Maple Media 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.
Weight: 19 lbs.
Crate Training – Maple has been so great about crate training; I will no longer be updating this unless something changes. She sleeps through the night, rides well in the car, hasn’t chewed up her bed, and comes in and out of her crate when asked. Super!
Potty Training – There isn’t really much to update on this topic, either! She has yet to potty in her crate or poop in the house. She’s still occasionally having accidents inside, but it’s always the human's fault in not taking her out often enough. One thing that I did want to mention that I should have mentioned earlier: do NOT expect your puppy to show you that they need to go out! This is a ridiculous thought and will lead to a ton of accidents. Take your puppy out regularly (every 10-15 minutes when they first come home. At 15-weeks-old it’s basically every 30 minutes). I don’t support the “ringing potty bells” method because that’s a really great way for a GSP to take advantage of the system for anytime they want to go out. Just take your puppy out regularly and you won’t need them to show you they need to go out.
Training – At this point I am introducing some new concepts that are going to take longer to learn, such as holding objects and hind end awareness. I am doing this all through shaping, so it’s baby steps. We are still working on standing stacked which is slow progress, but still going well!
Leash Walking – Up to this point, I haven’t done any official leash walking. Obviously I have taken Maple on a ton of walks, almost daily. For the most part I have been using food to reward her for engagement (eye contact) while we walk, which keeps her moving with me. This is a really great way to set her up for success for heel because she’s already been rewarded a ton for focusing on me instead of the environment. It’s also important for her to learn to drag a leash around for future check cord work, so when we are doing free runs I often just leave the leash on her and recall if she gets too far away. She’s just now getting to the point where she really wants to explore, so more formal walk work will be coming soon!
Socialization – We are hitting the end of the critical socialization period, but I am thrilled with all we have accomplished! She went on her first road trip over the weekend, stayed in someone else’s house for the first time (and did SUPER), and got to meet a bunch of new people! She has been swimming a few more times and is doing great with that! She’s been to plenty of new environments, met lots of people and dogs, is doing super with nail trimming, has had a few baths, rides in the car almost daily, and so on. At 15-weeks-old, she was also introduced to her first bird! I haven't experienced enough puppy work to compile my thoughts on "when a dog needs to be introduced to birds." I think genetics and good experiences are more important than the actual timing. With most things, earlier is better but I don't think it's critical.
The idea with her first bird is to just build prey drive! Pointing is a modified stalking behavior, so they have to want to hunt in order to want to stalk in order to point. So building up her drive is the first step! Maple was a little cautious as first, but had a lot of fun chasing the quail!
More Maple updates to come! If anyone has any specific questions or puppy-related topics the would love to see covered, feel free to reach out any time! Leave a comment, fill out the contact form or reach out to me via social media!