Our little furry wheaten man turned 17 weeks old this past Friday. No parties or anything, but I might have snuck him an extra treat or two. Shh, don’t tell the wife.
Thought it would be a good time to give you a quick update on Andy’s progress thus far on a couple of fronts.
First, let’s talk about Andy’s teeth. Little man has been losing teeth at a pretty rapid pace. All of his baby bottom front teeth have been replaced by noticeably less sharp adult teeth. This is good news for our hands. He has lost at least a couple of teeth on the top front row as well. We haven’t noticed any change to his back teeth or K-9′s. We’re pretty excited for the puppy K-9′s to take a hike given their needle like sharpness. Guessing this will happen soon.
The biting situation: At 16 weeks Andy’s biting subsided significantly. His 17th week saw a little bit of regression here. The teething I’m sure has a lot to do with it, but he has been mouthing more than we would like. What we’ve been doing here is giving the little man some Antler Bones to chew on each time he starts biting. These bones are apparently really good for their teeth etc. Kind of pricey, but worth a shot. Spoiled Wheaten Terrier alert. He’s a brat when it comes to bones, he always tries to get us to hold the bone for him while he chews it. Way too much work negotiating that on his own I guess. He does not bite anywhere near the face anymore however, which was a problem a few weeks back. This is good news.
Walks: He is getting much better on the leash. He understands that walks are fun and is doing less leash biting and more walking.
The tapeworms: are all gone, thank goodness. Things were gross. To be honest, after the first time we saw them, they never showed up again in any subsequent bowel movement. I’m starting to wonder if we were seeing things, but better safe than sorry on this one for sure. He took his last pill this Sunday and hopefully we can wash our hands of that little crisis. We caught him eating deer feces in the backyard the other day so we’re thinking that’s where he may have contracted them from. I think Wheatens are intelligent dogs, but sometimes Andy gives me cause for concern…
Housebreaking: We live in New Jersey and it’s been an unusually cold couple of weeks. We have a stake that we screwed into the ground and attached a 25 foot lead to in the backyard. We have been putting Andy out on that periodically when he should have to “go” and he has been great with it. We used to stand out there and freeze trying to get him to focus on going to the bathroom. This works much better. He’s gotten to the point where we put him on the lead and he goes to his area and does his business then bounds up the steps waiting to come in. He gets a treat of course each time he successfully completes his task so he is always eager to come inside. The past month or so have unfortunately left us with some yellow stains on the carpet however. We used Nature’s Miracle No More Marking to clean up the stains and he hasn’t returned to those spots since. Link below. I’d give it a shot, as Andy seemed to keep going back to the same spots over and over.
Andy loves to eat. Andy has a lot of energy. So what do you do with a wheaten terrier puppy who loves to eat and has a ton of energy? Put his food in a Kong wobbler.
The kong wobbler unscrews on the bottom (where the yellow/blue piece is in the picture) allowing you t dump food into the top. The bottom is weighted with sand or something similar so the wobbler wobbles. Instead of putting his food in the bowl, especially at night while we’re eating too, we simply unscrew the wobble toy, put his food in there and bada bing, our little wheaten is spinning it all over the floor trying to get his food out. Not only is this hilarious, he really seems to love the thing. Maybe it appeals to his natural sense of the hunt? Regardless, it seems to really tire him out both physically and mentally which is awesome.
The only drawback from this feeding method is of course the fact that he now is relegated to eating off of the floor. He doesn’t seem to mind, but I can’t imagine this is the most sanitary way to feed your pup. He is a dog however who licks feces so all in all, the floor isn’t so bad.
Andy will be 4 months old this Friday. Our little wheaten is growing up. Fast. My wife and I were playing with him last night and noticed that he was missing a couple of his front teeth. He looks hilarious. We’re interested to see how this teething process goes. His mouthing has subsided considerably over the past week or so. It seemed like he was finally over the teething process. I fully expect there to be a restart now as his big boy teeth come in.
I’ll tell you what though, we’ll be happy to see those little needle teeth give way to his adult teeth. They are sneaky sharp.
As far as Andy’s housebreaking is concerned, he is coming along nicely. Of course, he still has a few areas of the home where he likes to make potty, but we have become much better at keying in on the signs that he has to go. This is really important for anyone with a new soft coated wheaten terrier in their home. Pay attention to your puppy’s actions at all times. Do your best to correlate his actions with future acts. We now can see him sniff the floor in a certain manner and immediately realize he has to relieve himself. When he needs to make #2, his sniffing is combined with his tail standing on end. Gotta clear the runway I guess.
Andy now has full command of “Sit” and “Give Paw.” If he is rowdy, we can ask him to sit and he will do it 90% of the time. Which is awesome. He shakes hands well, but often likes to give us both at once in an effort to get his treat faster. My wife worked with him this week to slow the process down into separate commands. This has worked wonderfully. He still doesn’t respond consistently to “Come” but Wesley, my wife’s family’s wheaten never really did either. I think that’s just a wheaten terrier stubbornness thing. We’ll keep working on that one.
I almost forgot, Andy is a great guard dog! Our alarm went off last night and as soon as he heard it he sprung out of bed, and dashed towards the bedroom door growling and barking. The alarm goes off every time we walk in the house, so it’s not as if it is a foreign sound. It wasn’t blaring, it was just doing the steady beep thing. But I guess something in his little wheaten terrier brain told him this shouldn’t be happening now, at this time and he went into full family protect mode. Cute. And his bark is pretty manly for a 16 lb. little monster.
Other than that, things are great. We need to make it a point to socialize him with other dogs in the coming weeks. We took him to PetSmart and he smacked a Pit Bull in the head. Not advisable. We learned of a fenced in dog park not far from our home, so we’ll be trying that out soon.
Everybody thinks their dog is smart. But how does one truly define intelligence when it comes to a canine? There are websites all over the place that rank breed intelligence, and the soft coated wheaten terriers come in somewhere in the 40′s. 40th?! Yes, according to most sites there are 39 breeds smarter than the wheaten terrier. However, let’s look a little deeper into the ranking methodology used in determining which breed ranks where. The overwhelming majority of rankings use command response repetitions as a major determining factor. For instance, one site that ranks the Wheatens 40th exactly notes that they typically require 25-40 repetitions to learn a “new command.” This begs the question however, does the mastery of commands define intelligence?
In humans, we define intelligence based on one’s ability to solve problems. Whether they be math problems, or real world problems, this is how we define “smart.” Commands require a reactive and repetitive type of intelligence. Acquiring a bunch of commands that your dog can respond to is great, but those things are built into the dog’s subconscious when young. Ever hear the term “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” ? It didn’t stick because it was patently false. Puppy brains are sponges, and the commands learned while young are seared into the subconscious mind of the adult dog. Wheatens are no different. Andy learned very quickly, in a day or two, how to Sit and Give Paw. Lie down took a bit longer, maybe another couple of days to master. Ok, so he can react to a word and a treat. Great. He’s a genious! Not so fast. How does he reason? How does he solve problems?
I firmly believe that the wheaten terrier is a very intelligent breed. They aren’t great “reactors” when it comes to commands because the commands may interfere with whatever they have planned. Other breeds may show greater obedience, but I see this as a lack of unique thought, which allows the dog to simply wait for a command before he takes action. The wheaten takes action on his own first and reacts to commands second. This is an important distinction. When I ask Andy to “come here” it’s a 50/50 proposition. If he is on a mission to get into or over something, the command will go unanswered. If not and he thinks I may have food or something he wants, boom, he’s at my hip. There was thought involved. A conscious decision whether to obey or ignore. Interesting.
I am not one to laud someone for undeserved achievement. Andy is an amazing problem solver. He really is. Here is a small example of what I mean. Andy loves to be on our bed. Bad habit, I know. The other night he was not on his best behavior so we decided to let him sleep on his bed for the night. It is memory foam and super comfy, but we felt this was a good punishment. Our bed is about 30 inches off the ground, too high for a 13 week old wheaten puppy to reach without help. Andy nudged his bed over next to ours, then used it as a stepping stone to reach our bed in a single leap. He defined the problem, improvised a solution, and executed. That’s more than most people I know could handle. So are wheaten terriers smart? I’d say so. They may not obey every command, but they reason. And that is how I define intelligence. Have a story of wheaten terrier intelligence, share it below!
I just thought these were really cute. When I found them online I was actually looking for socks to put ON Andy, not socks to put on people. Wheaten clothing is just so funny to me. The soft coated wheaten terrier community I find to be full of pride, which is awesome. But socks? With wheaten faces? Sounds silly, but to a wheaten owner it is par for the course. I don’t know if it’s the relative rarity of the wheaten terrier breed that brings out this prideful exuberance, or their ultra unique personalities, but whatever it is I’m glad that I am a part of it. Andy has definitely changed my life in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. He has only been a part of our family for five weeks, but he has already made his mark. Many fun years ahead. I’m still in search of a pair (is it called a pair when you’re looking for 4?) of socks for Andy. He comes in after his walks and makes an absolute mess of our hardwood floors. Not that we didn’t expect this, but a solution would be welcomed. I’m thinking socks with little grippers on the bottom similar to his paw pads. Ideally they would help keep the home a bit cleaner, but let’s be serious, he’s a wheaten, and there is no way he’s leaving socks on his feet. If I find them I’ll probably give it a shot though. Can’t hurt to try. Anyone have any luck with something similar?
Yesterday we noticed that there were small, white rice like worms in Andy’s number 2. Not good. My wife nearly lost it. We got him to the vet today and found out that Andy has himself a tapeworm. Tapeworms in dogs it turns out are relatively common. The vet did not seem surprised nor concerned by the fact that he had tapeworms. I on the other hand was pretty stressed out. As new puppy parents of course we blamed ourselves for his little issue. Turns out however that there’s no conceivable way that we could have helped Andy avoid this mishap.
So how do tapeworms in dogs form? The veterinarian noted that Andy could have contracted the tapeworm a few ways, the most common of which is ingestion of a contaminated flea. The vet checked our little wheaten for fleas and did not find any, thank god. Who knows where the little fella found the flea that he ate. Could have been anywhere. The vet also mentioned that tapeworms in dogs also occur due to their unique fascination with sniffing/eating other dogs’ poopy. Not cool.
Recap – Symptoms of Tapeworms in Dogs:
Rice like worms found in the fecal matter
Your wheaten acts a little differently than normal (Andy was spending more alone time than usual over the last day or two)
Treatment for Tapeworms in Dogs: The veterinarian provided us with four 22.7mg tablets of Drontal Plus. We were instructed to give him two today and two three weeks from today. We gave him his first one, and in smart soft coated wheaten terrier fashion he promptly at the treat it was housed in, spit the pill on the floor and looked up at us for another treat. Already?? I mean, I was impressed by it, but come on buddy, we’re trying to help.
So what to do if you have a dog with tapeworms?
Get him/her to a vet. It is not an emergency, but I wouldn’t wait too long.
Clean your house! We ended up finding some dried up tapeworm remains on our bed as well. Keep an eye out for that if your wheaten sleeps on the bed with you. Kind of nasty. Vacuum/sweep all of the rooms your dog inhabits thoroughly. You don’t want any parasitic evidence lying around.
So what have we learned? Tapeworms in dogs are gross. Super gross. I hope we never encounter anything other than poop in his poop again. It was a pretty terrible sight.
I have mentioned before that wheaten terriers are special. Special of course is a relative term, however, when it comes to our little boy, I think it means goofy special. He’s unique in that he has been able to make us laugh every day, and there’s certainly something special about that. Last night Andy and I arrived home, the wife was treadmilling as usual, and Andy decided he’d like to join her. The video below shows what happens next.
I’m not sure if Andy is the first soft coated wheaten terrier to share a treadmill with his owner, but I’d argue he might be the cutest. But that’s just me.
Honestly, I think this could be an incredible exercise tool for him. There’s no reason he couldn’t get a representative workout using the treadmill. Of course we plan on walking him often, but in the event that it snows, rains, or there’s another superstorm, the treadmill could be our wheaten’s new best friend. He seems intrigued by it now, which contributes to his willingness to hop on and take a jog. But the puppy mind of a wheaten terrier is extremely impressionable. So much so that I’m confident we can make him the first wheaten to keep up with the kenyan dogs at the local park. Stay tuned for updates on that front.
The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is notorious for suffering from separation anxiety. Wheatens are lovers. They love their family to a fault, so much so that any time you spend apart drives them insane. Separation anxiety manifests itself differently from wheaten to wheaten. When my in-laws would leave the house, their wheaten Wesley would leave little spite pee and poop droppings strategically throughout the house. The look on his face when they arrived home always told the story.
So now with Andy, me being the curious and over cautious puppy parent that I am, I bought an IP camera so that my wife and I could watch Andy remotely when we left the house. This is probably something a lot of pet owners have always wanted to do. Let me tell you, it is pretty funny, but can be heart wrenching at times. The first time we left him home alone we used a combination of gates zip tied to his crate in our laundry room to corral him. In total he had about 75 square feet plus his comfy crate, food, water, toys out the wazoo and a wee wee pad. The house was set at 68 degrees, lights left on etc. I hope I’ve succeeded in painting a pretty posh puppy palace for Andy to spend some alone time in. Well, you would have thought we left him on a bed of nails. He wailed, he cried, he barked, he howled, he jumped around the gate trying to find a way out. He made number 2 within 10 minutes of our departure (he had just been out and pooped prior to us leaving so this was just a nervous dooty) and proceeded to step in it and track it everywhere. He stepped in his water bowl, food bowl, water bowl again. In general he just hated the fact that he was alone and we were gone.
So, how do you fix soft coated wheaten terrier anxiety? Honestly I have no clue. But I’ve done quite a bit of research and have learned a few tricks that we will be trying out in the coming weeks. First tip: Don’t under any circumstance create a major commotion when you come or go. Apparently putting on a charade and showering your wheaten with kisses before you leave only increases their separation anxiety over time. As puppies they are extremely impressionable, so we have started doing this post haste. Second tip: When sitting around the house, at night for instance, leave your wheaten gated in the kitchen area while you are watching TV for instance in the adjacent room. This is supposed to teach your wheaten independence. Andy will usually cry for a minute now but then relaxes. It was much worse a few weeks back so this seems to be having a positive effect on his anxiety. Third tip: Keep the little one off the bed at night. We’re bad at this. He’s fun to snuggle. After all wheaten puppies look like teddy bears, so why in the world would you not let them adorn your bed? Well apparently it’s a bad idea. We’re trying and he seems fine sleeping on his bed next to us, or in his crate.
That’s all for now. Leave your experiences with your soft coated wheaten terrier separation anxiety below!
Andy is most definitely a puppy. More specifically he is a soft coated wheaten terrier puppy. Now to those of you who do not own a wheaten, that might sound silly. But it really isn’t. The wheaten terrier breed is special. I’m convinced of it. They have more energy than any breed I have ever come into contact with. Wesley (my wife’s family’s wheaten) passed away at 15 years of age. A week before he passed he was dashing up the driveway, sprinting through the backyard and doing the Lambeau Leap onto the back porch on his way inside. He normal breed puppy energy his entire life. It was awesome.
Balls of Energy
Enter Andy. Andy is a puppy, like I said, a wheaten puppy, and he has more energy than any puppy I have ever encountered. He will run and play and jump and bite as long as my wife or I can continue to play with him. He gets extra crazy when he finds a lone morsel of food on the floor. Like last night, Andy found a rogue garbanzo bean on the floor. He grabbed it and sprinted around the house, under anything he could find, over anything he could find, behind anything he could find. You get the jist. Based on what I’ve found on youtube I think this is normal for a wheaten. I hope so. Because otherwise he’s just plain crazy. My wife calls it his ginger bread man routine. You know, catch me if you can…and guess what, you can’t catch him.
Quick With the Teeth
Andy’s 12 weeks old now and he is already faster than me. That’s not saying a whole lot, but it’s still pretty impressive given how small his legs are. I mean I’m at least 7 times his size. My stride alone should give me the advantage. Nope. He likes to nibble. Ok, bite. He likes to bite. He will only do it when I’m on the ground playing with him. He goes into full puppy play mode, which apparently includes a lot of rolling around, jumping, pawing and gnawing. It’s all in good fun, but his jaw is getting stronger and he doesn’t realize it but it’s starting to hurt when he bites. We’ve been giving him a solid “No Bite” instruction for the last few weeks. He is becoming very receptive to it which is fantastic.
Andy’s an oddball when it comes to eating. Or at least I think he is. When we put food out he doesn’t eat it all, or even close. He usually take a few bites, then goes back to playing. Half hour later he goes in for a few bites and then back to playing, and so on. Mix a nap in and that’s his feeding schedule. I think this is a good thing from a health perspective. He doesn’t try to stuff himself which is great. We never have to worry about leaving too much food out for him. I wonder if this will change with age? Guess we’ll see.
Napping & Sleep Habits
My man lovesssss to nap. Loves it. He’s you’re classic nap hard play hard kind of puppy. He has two speeds. Crazy or napping. Not much in between. He sleeps like a rock too. Moves around some, but he will sleep until my wife and I wake up. We tested him out one lazy Sunday and he slept right with us until 10am. Love it. Seriously Andy, that’s awesome. I think this is a soft coated wheaten terrier thing. Wesley used to sleep in too. It really is a great trait. Waking up at 6am every morning to walk the dog isn’t ideal. If you enjoy your rest on occasion, the wheaten terrier might be the dog for you.
Andy loves to eat. He’s a puppy, so that’s no surprise. If my math is correct, he’s burning somewhere in the neighborhood of a bazillion calories a day. He’s got energy abound. So we decided to do some research on the fuel that we’re going to put into his little dynamo of a body. After walking around PetSmart for an hour with one of their sales people and then scouring the interweb for info, I was convinced that Blue Buffalo was the way to go. I’ve read that I could eat the stuff if I was hungry. Key point here is that I am not a dog. Hey, if it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for our pup. It is of course the most expensive food out there, but hey, Andy’s worth it.
The rep told me that when looking at puppy foods, or dog foods for that matter you want to focus on the ingredient list. The first thing on the list is what the manufacturer uses the most of. Blue Buffalo’s website echoes this point in their comparison tool. If you go through the tool you will also receive a $5.00 coupon off of your puppy’s food purchase. This brings the price in line with some of the other popular brands out there.
What really drew me to the Buffalo Blue was that they claim to use no chicken/poultry byproducts in their food formula. These include the leftover parts of the slaughtered chickens etc. including feet, necks, eggs…stuff you wouldn’t want to eat so why feed it to your new wheaten?
Amazon, as usual has good if not the best prices on this stuff, around $50ish for a 30 lb. bag. Aff link below if you’re interested.