My Experiences Hand Raising A Puppy
Taking Home A Two Week Old Puppy
Normally, I would not even think of taking a pup away from its mother until it was at least 8 weeks old. But in Shiloh's case, her mother had run out of milk, and I already had puppy formula on hand. In her quest for milk, she had left the nest, and in so doing, ended up falling off the deck. The owner of the mother dog suggested I take her early and hand raise her. So I did. On getting her home, I discovered she had fleas, bad. The only way I could safely remove the fleas on such a young pup was to do two things...the first was to dust her with diatomaceous earth, and in a week, I gave her her first bath, using original blue Dawn dish washing liquid. That took care of her flea problems, but I soon discovered she had worms. At the time, I did not realize just how heavy an infestation she had. I called my vet and he sent me some worming medicine for her, and I was to repeat it in about 4 weeks.
By the time I was ready to order the second dose, I realized she also had mange. I had thought she was itching because of the fleas, and then because their residue might have irritated her skin, then she began losing some hair. So i ordered ivermectin instead of the stuff i got the first time. The ivermectin definitely helped cut down on the itching, but she won't be done with it til after her final dose, which she gets next Monday. Sunday the 11th of November she turned 6 weeks old, and got her first set of puppy shots.
Shiloh is a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix. I had wanted something with German Shepherd in it, though I wasn't sure what this particular mix would become. I have since heard from several people that it is a mix to be desired, for it produces awesome dogs. And in truth I think I believe it.
You see, she already shows intelligence, a willingness to please, and a marked desire to do her personal business outside. She does still have accidents in the house, but always on newspaper. The only drawback I have found in her is that she does have a temper. I had my hand around the back of her neck, kind of resting on her shoulders, and I was gently holding her still. She grew angry and began snarling and snapping in earnest. As soon as I removed my hand she spun around and bit my finger. I took my other hand and placed it around her throat from the front. I did not squeeze at all. I took my other hand and scooped up her hind end and laid her over on her back. The hand around her throat was merely resting there, mostly resting on her chest with my thumb and finger to either side of her neck. At first she became angry again. But when she realized she could not get up, she began to panic. I spoke to her until she calmed down, then I removed my hand and helped her up. I was using a puppies instinctive knowledge that they are vulnerable on their back to discipline her. At no point was she harmed. So far she has not displayed anger at being restrained. She does not cower from me. In fact where ever I am, there she is, usually between my feet.
I have been teaching her to sit and stay and come, almost since the day I brought her home. But not as if she were in training. I tell her to sit when i giver her a treat. At first I had to show her what sit meant...After that she knows if she wants the treat she must first sit. Stay is a bit harder, she just has so much energy, but she is coming along there to. When she is in the sit, I tell her to stay. If she gets up I put her back in a sit and repeat the stay command. Right now, I only make her stay about a half a breath, then I tell her "OK, Good Shiloh" and let her up. She simply doesnt have the attention span right now to make her stay longer, but that will improve as she grows.
I use her natural desire to be where ever I am to teach her to come. I can walk faster than she can run, so I get ahead of her, and call her to me...Since she is already on her way to me, I simply praise her when she reaches me. Now that she is a bit older, she is beginning to feel a bit more independent, and the training for come has taken a step back, but this to will improve as she ages.
Shiloh seems to have promising potential, and I am pleased with her. She will be getting spayed in June or July, when the clinic comes here. Normally I would never suggest taking a pup from its mother before it is 8 weeks old...But sometimes doing so can save its life...Just make sure you know what you are doing and you are prepared to hand raise it.