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 All of his baby bottom front teeth have been replaced by noticeably less sharp adult teeth.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.
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.
Well, we know that wheatens are typically aggressive and territorial. However, their playful nature is actually very similar to that of the feline variety. I would say that the soft coated wheaten terrier should actually play along quite well with a cat. However, I would warn you that a well established wheaten may be less receptive the the arrival of a new feline bundle of joy than would a younger wheaten.
Cats by nature are less territorial and although initially frightened or appalled by the addition of a wheaten terrier to their space, should warm up quickly.
In either case, the first encounter is paramount. You want to make sure that the wheaten and the cat have a pleasurable first interaction. To do this you want to keep your wheaten leashed and your cat in the arms of an individual with whom he or she is comfortable. Slowly bring them together and let them smell eachother. Animals loveeeee to sniff. Once they have proven they can interact while constrained in a civilized manner you can put them on the floor together and under a watchful eye let them play. The wheaten will be stronger than the cat, but the cat will be quicker and meaner if instigated. If they begin to get noticeably angry at one another separate them and try the sequence again later.
There is really no reason that cats and dogs can’t live peacefully together. Just give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is smart, and therefore stubborn. Housebreaking a wheaten terrier is typically the most difficult task a new owner will face in the first few months of puppy ownership. Our puppy, Andy was born and raised on a farm and was therefore very comfortable using the bathroom outdoors. Since coming home however he has reverted slightly (which is entirely our fault) and has been going to the bathroom in the home on almost a daily basis.
Starting out – The crate is the den, and dog’s don’t like going to the bathroom in their “den.” It’s an instinctual thing. They will however use the bathroom in your mud room, family room, bedroom, kitchen, you get the jist. What you want to do is set a schedule of let out times throughout the day, typically first thing in the morning, after breakfast, around lunch time, mid-afternoon, after dinner and before bed. If you stick to a schedule your puppy will learn to hold his excrement for those time periods with the expectation of being let out. Also, do your best to use the same door each time so that your wheaten knows to go to that door when the need arises.
Pee Pads? – Pee pads are nice backup plans. We used them in the rooms that he was evacuating most frequently in. He generally finds his way to or near them when the need to go comes, however I think they may be a bit of a crutch that has inhibited his progress.
The Plan Going Forward – We will be working to set a more solid schedule for him. We will also be using his crate indoors more frequently than we have been. He’s so much fun that we have let him out with us early and often. This has certainly led to his regression. We will attempt to crate him more often, especially an hour or so before his typical potty time. Let’s hope this works. We’ll keep you updated.
Have a long ride like me? I picked our wheaten terrier up 200 miles from home. For a first time puppy traveler this was a daunting task. So what can I teach you from my research and time spent traveling with my pup? Hopefully a lot. The first thing I learned while scouring the internet and talking to local vets was that under no circumstances was I to stop at a public rest stop or motel type area to walk the puppy. These places are breeding grounds for grown up dog diseases, which, if transmitted to a puppy could be fatal. Dogs are sniffers, and love each other’s excrement. Turns out this is a good way to get sick. Stick to places you wouldn’t expect a lot of dog traffic for relieve your puppy. I was lucky, Andy didn’t have to go once. And trust me, we tried. Nothing. There was a moment there when I really thought we were doing it wrong. Turns out he was just really good at holding it.
Crate. Crate. Crate. That crate was a lifesaver. We went with a nylon crate rather than one with the metal bars. Seemed more inviting. It fit perfectly in the back seat of the car and it served as Andy’s car seat the entire ride home. The crate had a zippered see through flap that faced the front of the car so we were able to keep an eye on him. He would whine for a little bit but it quickly subsided and he slept like a baby for 90% of the ride. Really a great thing since we had to go through New York City at rush hour. There would be no pit stops there my friend.
Remember to bring little tupperware containers for food and water. I brought one. Not sure why I didn’t think to bring a partner for it, but hey, I had a lot on my mind. The breeder was able to lend me one for the ride home and presumably the rest of my life. The breeder also provided us with a two liter bottle filled with the tap water our little Andy was raised on. She said it would help with potential diarrhea if we blended our water with theirs and our food with theirs. He has had nothing but solid doots since his arrival. Too much info? Better than the alternative.
Bring a few t-shirts with you. I asked the breeder if we could rub a them on the mom and the rest of his litter mates. Turns out dogs have great noses and can sniff their parents from miles away. The balled up t-shirts seemed to help comfort him. We’ve since washed the shirts but we still leave them in his crate with him when he’s alone. Not sure why at this point but you never know. Worth a shot.
Plan to stop for food before you pick the little fella up. You don’t want to have to stop on the ride in for anything un-puppy related.
Last but not least, bring a travel partner. I brought a buddy of mine with me since this was a surprise for my wife. He was a huge help. I wouldn’t have been comfortable handling the road and the pup at the same time.