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Training Charlie Brown Weeks 12-16

Charlie is growing so quickly! At twelve weeks Charlie weighed in at 24 pounds, and now he’s 39 pounds. (that’s close to four pound gain a week!!) He has more than tripled his weight at 8 weeks when I brought him home. He’s lost all of his puppy fur and now looks like a little dog. His color is as that breeder predicted all brown. He is now all up to date on his vaccines and at 16 weeks just received his rabies, last distemper series, and bordetella. 

Charlie had a few firsts this month; his first time in the water, first campfire, and first Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day we celebrated with my in-laws, and the Saturday following Thanksgiving we celebrated with my family. He was very well behaved at both parties!

We continue to work on socialization almost every day. We have had several puppy play dates, lots of hikes on several different trails, and regular visits to the Manchester Library. At almost exactly 14 weeks while we were hiking Charlie had decided that he thought he might try his hand at being protective. We ran into three different men on our hike, and he growled at all of them. Of course I spent the time with him making sure he can tell the difference between the people to protect us from and the people to just ignore. Since then, no issues!

Of all the activities that I do with him, I like visiting the library the most. Last week, towards the end of the story hour, Charlie made a little visit to each of the kids, walked over to me, then laid his head in my lap and was instantly asleep. He keeps many of the kids smiling, and with one little boy (that usually sits out) gets him to join in each week.

Unfortunately Charlie had his first negative experience with another dog. (I’ll refer to him as Joe) With hindsight being 20/20, I can look back on the situation and change so many things, but in reality I can only learn from my mistake. Joe was a 10 month old intact male. He was new to his family, having only been with them a few days before he met Charlie. Charlie and Joe were playing with a few of Charlie’s toys. Joe had been playing with Charlie’s favorite toy and Charlie wanted it back. When Joe was distracted Charlie picked it up, and when Joe took it back from Charlie, he took it very aggressively. My human instinct wanted to scoop in and offer lots of comfort the human way. I wanted to hold Charlie tight and tell him he was ok. It was challenging and while I did lots of petting and kissing, I restrained myself from actual hugging and repeating “it’s ok” over and over. I looked Charlie over really good, made sure he had no serious injuries (there were none), and then took Charlie outside where Joe had been taken to. I made sure they got back together again and had some fun to prevent Charlie from developing a fear of Joe. Do you remember I mentioned I made a mistake?....I was the one distracting Joe when Charlie picked up his toy. I was trying to see if Charlie’s car harness would fit Joe, and in doing so I removed the harness he was wearing. So when he did go after Charlie there was no way for anyone to really get good control of him. If I had just waited until the dogs weren’t together, or Charlie was in his travel crate…the whole thing may have been avoided. Was it all my fault? Nope…and it wasn’t the fault of Joe’s owner either. It was dogs being dogs in a scary way. Just like kids don’t always get along, sometimes dogs have a hard time sharing too. It doesn’t mean either dog is bad, but both dogs probably need a little time spent on manners around other dogs.

I’m making the obedience more challenging for Charlie, and we’re spending more time on it now that Charlie is not so little. I try to keep my obedience sessions short and fun so Charlie continues to look forward to them. I don’t wait until he’s so tired he can’t do anymore, but instead finish when he’s having lots of fun and looks forward to our next obedience session. We spend less than fifteen minutes on each obedience session, then spend five to ten minutes on tricks, and finish up with a fun game like fetch. This is almost twice the amount of time I spent with him four weeks ago. Most training sessions are twenty to thirty minutes in length. 

Charlie is doing very well with his housetraining. In the last four weeks, Charlie has only had one accident. It was one of those that I knew he had to go, and just didn’t get him out fast enough. He still hasn’t had a poop accident. I’m not waiting for him to tell me, I’m still relying on a consistent schedule and getting him out at regular intervals. (at 15 weeks) On Thursday December 1, Charlie went potty 19 times and went poop 4 times. I took him out 11 times. I still take him out just after coming out of the crate, before going into his crate, and about every hour when he’s outside of the crate. During our hour of outside fun time in the afternoon, Charlie will fill up on lots of water and go potty several times.

My biggest behavior problem with Charlie these last four weeks was chewing on his leash. I keep the leash on him whenever he’s outside of the crate, to help with training. I use the crate when I can’t watch him to prevent him from being destructive, and when he’s outside of the crate I have my eyes on him or the leash attached to my body. 

At exactly 16 weeks, Charlie lost his first tooth. So the teething time has begun. The next four-five weeks he will have an obsessive need to chew. He won’t discriminate between things he’s supposed to chew on and things that are just fun to chew on. It will be especially important to keep an eye on him and prevent him from destructive chewing. 

The Christmas tree is up, and he has checked it out several times. I’ve debated putting up at barrier around the tree to prevent him from getting too close to it, but I decided to give it a try without a barrier. After it being up a little less than a week, he did take one of the bulb ornaments off and run around with it. He not only brought it right to me, but also dropped it right away! Thank you game of fetch and release!!    

Our schedule hasn’t changed much. Charlie spends his time awake and asleep for longer periods of time, can hold his bladder for much longer, and is getting more trustworthy.

Our schedule at sixteen weeks old looks like this….

4:30am wake up, potty and poop, and breakfast in his crate

6:30am potty break, training for 10-20 minutes, fun play time

7:30am potty break, take kids to school

8:00am sleep in the car

9:00am potty break, training, socializing opportunities, running errands

11:30am pick up from preschool, 2-3 days a week he joins me on letting dogs out to go potty

1:00pm potty and poop break, lunch in his crate

3:00pm potty break, 20 minutes of training

3:30pm potty break, bus drop off, outdoor fun play

4:30pm crate time

6pm potty break, dinner in his crate

7:30pm potty break, training for 10 minutes, relaxing with a bone

9:30pm potty and poop break, in bed for the night.

With my kids starting up winter sports soon along with the holidays, we have some big schedule changes coming. I’m thankful that Charlie is getting a little more trustworthy this time of year, and that he can go longer without needing bathroom breaks. Most of the winter sporting events don’t allow dogs, and can be very challenging on getting him outside enough. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season, and that your days are filled with light, laughter, and unforgettable memories! 

As always, please ask if you have any questions!

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