Happy Thursday, friends. If dogs aren’t your thing, then feel free to come back tomorrow, when I’ll have more “human-friendly” content. But, if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, you’ll know that Aaron and I welcomed two cute golden retriever puppies in June.
And, well, now that they are just over five months old, I thought it would be fun to give you an update on how they’re doing. Affectionately referred to as “the Spuds,” Tex and Cali are now about 35 pounds each. This is a huge difference from the tiny little 4-pound pups we brought home in June. I could hold both of them easily. Now, picking one up can be kind of a chore. Here they are at 5 months.
They were much lighter when we first got them, and it makes me happy to see their beautiful coats growing in. If you remember my Sawyer, he was a gorgeous red.
How was it house breaking a puppy?
Well, it was a lot of work. Working from home was a blessing in disguise, because we were able to get them on a consistent schedule right away. I was able to take them our frequently, and the bell method by the door worked like a charm. Tex will still ding his little bell to go out. We haven’t had an accident a long time, so I’m grateful for that. I think they understand that outside is the best place to go!
And, a lot of the behaviors I was kind of worried about when they were itty bitty? They’ve grown out of so many of those habits.
Is littermate syndrome a thing?
Because Tex and Cali are siblings, we had many people warn us about littermate syndrome. It’s essentially when two dogs from the same litter are so bonded with one another, that they don’t (or can’t) bond with their humans. It can also cause aggression later in life. Now, I’ve known several people who have littermates, and it’s never been a problem. We also chatted with our vet, who didn’t think it would be an issue – especially if we planned to train our dogs (most definitely).
I haven’t seen any signs of aggression out of these two. They don’t have a mean bone in them, really. And, while they love to play with each other, both of the dogs have each bonded separately with Aaron and I. Tex really gravitates toward me, and Cali loves her some Aaron. We are spending a lot of time walking them separately, and training each of them pretty extensively.
We also have the ability to spend a ton of time with these two. So, if we see behaviors we don’t like, we can stop them right away and redirect to a more positive behavior. Now, they do love to be together – but they also really love to be with their humans. So, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but so far so good!
We are using both verbal commands and hand signals to train Tex and Cali. I enjoy having two methods to give them the opportunity and ability to listen. Because we have two – who have the potential to be large dogs – and they are an active/excitable breed, training them is very important to me.
They can do basic commands like sit, stay, come and down. Do they do this 100% of the time? Nope. Do they do it when they are excitable? We are working on it. 🙂 I will also start incorporating some harder commands like “place,” which will really help me when the doorbell rings.
And, because they are golden retrievers, they love people. So, we are working on the whole not jumping thing when people want to pet them on their walks. It’s a work a in progress, but we are getting there. I started working with them as soon as we had them – and have been reinforcing the commands ever since. Little Cali could do a teeny tiny little shake when she was about 12 weeks old.
Because they are retrievers, they love the water – any kind of water. They love the hose, sprinklers, pool, you name it. So, we wanted to teach them how to swim – and to make sure they are confident in and around water. They LOVE the pool. Cali mores than Tex, which meant we needed to teach her she can only get in when someone is outside with her – or when she’s invited in (they are like kids). She’s a pretty confident little gal in the water, though.
These two are definitely still crated any time we leave the house for any amount of time. They really can’t be trusted 🙂 They can be trouble – and they are in the stage where they are messing with everything that isn’t theirs. They don’t looooove the crate, but they don’t hate it either. I always give them a dog biscuit when they go in there, and I never use it as punishment. I leave the crate open during the day so they can go in there to sleep, and I do find one of them in there from time to time. So, we are making progress. I did have to remove the bed from the crate because they were tearing all the fluff out of it.
But all in all, Tex and Cali are really good dogs. They haven’t destroyed anything major, and they have such sweet personalities. Cali is more independent, and she is more cautious. She likes to assess a situation before diving right in. Tex is a big goofball. He’s such a sweet guy, though, and he is really attached to me. You can find him right next to me during the day while I’m working!
Thanks for listening to my dog chat – or maybe you just came here for the cute puppy pics – and I hope I delivered. See you all back here tomorrow!