Teeth

Puppy teeth are sharp! Zeke has the double whammy of being a puppy, and a Labrador.

All puppies explore the world through their mouths. They also grow a mouthful of adult teeth in one go (ouch). Chewing relieves the pain. I’ve been dodging the excited teeth, the tired teeth, and the hungry teeth! I’ve tried to keep Zeke’s teeth occupied with ‘legal’ chews. I’ve also been occupying him with a frozen Kong from time to time. Licking is calming, and I hope cools his gums.

On my course I’ve been learning about TYPES. This describes dog behaviour in more detail than breeds and categories. I’ve been exploring predatory motor patterns of Labradors, and how this drives Zeke’s behaviour. As a result, I’m making sure I give Zeke opportunities to expend his energy in ways that suit his motor pattern, and avoid over working his puppy joints.

For example, Border Collies as I’m sure you know, were bred to work livestock. Most people have probably seen a Collie that chases or barks at moving vehicles such as bikes or cars. This is an example of a Collie rehearsing its motor pattern. If this drive to work isn’t channelled into something productive (activity classes), whatever the motor pattern, the dog will find another way to channel it. Failing to recognise this is when dogs are either sadly given up, or when advice is sought from a vet and a subsequent referral to a clinical behaviourist takes place.

Zeke already retrieves instinctively. Through generations of Labrador breeding selection, he instinctively carries things in his mouth. So, if I throw a toy to distract him from licking bird poo in the garden (yuk), he will retrieve the toy and bring it straight back. I’ve not taught him to do this. In fact, I’m careful not to play repetitive games with him to protect his joints, so I’ve taught him instead to search for his favourite toys in the house and the garden. We only need to spend ten mins and he needs a long sleep afterwards! Win win.

Until next time

Jen

ps Pic above is after Zeke’s first shower, he’s been sitting in my shower cubicle most mornings waiting for me to turn the shower on for him. I washed paw by paw first, and gradually increased exposure until he sat quietly as I shampooed and rinsed him. Such a good boy.

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