Thursday, November 6, 2008

Housetraining: The New Reality Show

Dawson leaves on Sunday and I am talking to a woman about Madison, so Madison may also soon have her forever home as well. Dawson had several interested people and I hope Cadi produces enough puppies to provide for all the wonderful homes we have waiting -- especially those who want boys.

Speaking of Cadi -- she is quite large with two weeks to go. Galen thinks there are 12 (perish the thought!!) but most of us are guessing in the 7 - 10 range. I will take and post pictures of her as we get closer.

We are doing okay here but the next litter needs to go home at eight weeks! Multiple puppies who need to be housetrained is a chore and sometimes I feel like I am in some strange comedy reality show. I take all four out and I get two to potty so we all come in, except one or two decide to chew on a stick so I have two in and two out. I go to get the two who are out and the other two run out in another direction. This goes on and on sometimes! In the meantime, I am trying not to let the cats out and I am freezing and barefoot! Yes, I need slippers for these early morning adventures.

Faith moves downstairs with Galen tonight so that will help, and soon Dawson and Madison will also be gone -- and then I will miss them and wish they were back so I could engage in this crazy game some more!

I wanted to mention a couple of things. Karen's vet noted that Maya (Darby) has vaginitis -- I think almost every girl puppy has this (or so it is said) and I do not even worry about it. I am a BIG FAN of not treating things that will resolve on their own so for puppy vaginitis I just trim hairs around the private parts and it works itself out. How abnormal can it be if most puppies get it? Apparently Maya did not appreciate the bikini trim she received!

And last night we had two incidents of diarrhea with a little blood -- most like from the same puppy. I do not let this freak me out. Puppies eat so much stuff that it is a wonder they do not always have bloody diarrhea. All puppies are acting normal and so my strategy is to just keep an eye on it, add some pumpkin/rice and not stress about it. Running off to the vet with every little thing is a sure way to waste money and expose the puppy to things s/he does not need to be be exposed to -- including unneeded medications. Of course, if a puppy is acting sick (not eating, lethargic, etc.) we need to go to the vet but I think going too much is just as bad as going too little -- a sensible balance is important.

I wanted to mention some resources for berner owners. First, everyone who loves berners should be a member of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America! The website is and you can find membership info under "forms" -- if anyone needs sponsors let me know I am happy to help out and find you another one if needed.

All berners should be entered into the BernerGarde database: I already have the F Litter in but now need to input the individual puppies and then the owners will take over the upkeep of their puppies' records.

The Berner-l is "the" on-line community for berner owners:

Anyone interested in training a berner is welcome to join the berner working group: This group is a great resource for ideas, support and getting to know others who appreciate the importance of giving our dogs things to do.

Terri sent a picture of her two puppies in the safety harnesses she made for them -- the smaller puppy is Peaches (Sula). I have included a picture of Faith (Lolo) -- doesn't she look great?! And there is a close-up of Madison and one of Madison playing with another puppy.


  1. I have a slipper recommendation for
    you--they are online at
    shipping is free and fast, they are "Old Friend" slippers. They are rubber soled, so do great outside. Several times when i have read you are barefooted in the
    Montana night toiletting puppies I have thought of your cold tootsies. Thanks for continuing the blog--Faith does look beautiful. Ruth

  2. I have a slipper suggestion, too. I suggest Croc flip-flops. I have two pairs and love them. Since they are made rubber, if you step in something you can easily clean them up. However, I will warn you... I am presently walking my girl out on leash as she is 9 days post TPLO and I only step in somthing wearing my sneakers. It could be that the Crocs have a built in poop repellant, which to my tired brain makes sense.

  3. I can't imagine the craziness going on at your house right now . . . and what a hard decision it must be to choose the right family for Dawson. I can see why so many are smitten with him, he is just gorgeous and seems full of personality from his pictures.

    And thanks for the resources, M-A! I am trying to learn about getting into carting and working titles and so I appreciate the working dog group listserv.

    Here's hoping your day is filled with cooperative puppies . . .

    ~ Liz A.
    Urbana, Illinois

  4. Another wonderful post, and thank you for the photos; despite the madness of housetraining four puppies, their numbers do seem so reduced!

    I really appreciated your comments about not fussing over every little 'problem' -- wish I could pass along that idea to my daughter-in-law who is far too busy looking for problems to worry about in her new baby (human) -- oh, well, that too will pass.

    If anyone needs an additional 'push' -- I strongly support your resource recommendations. Most of the little I know about Berners (and dogs in general) I've learned from the Berner-L and the Workingevents (sp) list; I'm a member of the BMDCC (Canadian) but getting ready to join the BMDCA (American) because of its greater resources; and I use the Berner-Garde all the time. And just to make the point, I am 'just' a pet owner -- never have shown my dogs.

  5. Hi Mary-Ann,

    After only three days of having two puppies, I can't imagine having four to get outside and potty trained, plus four grown-up dogs; you have my complete respect!

    My two have totally different potty habits and trying to remember who has done what when... well I think I'm going to have get a chalk board and put it by the door just to keep track!


  6. Ok, lunch break posting time: :)

    I wonder if Galen would be willing to share his "treat recipe" with us? I'm curious to know about his early training methods . . .

    ~ Liz A.
    Urbana, Illinois